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Department of English
Marquette Hall, 115
1217 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Marquette Hall, 224MilwaukeeWI53201United States of America(414) firstname.lastname@example.orgPersonal Website
I began my university teaching career in 2012 as an instructor of record at City University of Hong Kong. Previously, I'd worked as a journalist and editor, covering both business and arts sections, and I tried to bring my experience in professional writing to the classroom. As an editor, I'd learned that clear language comes from clear thought, and so focused on developing my students' prewriting process. Almost all of my students were second-language English speakers, and working with them gave me a deeper appreciation of the ways in which American and British academic and business writing conventions are culturally determined. In approaching these customs from the perspective of my students, I found my own relationship to them evolving. While at City University, I received my first MFA in creative nonfiction in 2015.
I've written creatively for many years, beginning with a BA in English in poetry from the University of Wisconsin Madison, where I drew inspiration mostly from classical Japanese and Chinese traditions. After moving to Taiwan in 2005, I shifted my focus to creative nonfiction – first travel narratives, then literary journalism and finally the personal essay – publishing in and writing about Asia. Only after facing up to the limitations of immersion narratives on a sojourn to Nepal in 2014 did I return to poetry. I re-started my poetry practice at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, receiving a second MFA in 2017. I rely heavily on historical research for my poems, working mostly in personae and ekphrasis to offer a radical reevaluation of America's natural spaces. For an on-going project, I am writing a sequence of poems related to the development and marketing of Yosemite National Park in the 19th century. You can read some of my more recently published pieces at https://sebastianbitticks.wordpress.com/.
I bring all of these threads – cross-cultural communications, commercial editing and journalism, and creative writing – to bear on my teaching here at Marquette. I view my role as a facilitator rather than a lecturer, and push my students to see their writing as places to develop their own discoveries. Academic and expositive forms offer a process of critical inquiry, and through emphasizing this process rather than the resulting essay, I hope to help my students better engage with a fast-changing world. Milwaukee-born, but more than fifteen years removed, I am excited to again be a part of this community.