Dr. Melanie Almeder

Dr. Melanie Almeder’s interests have long been inter-disciplinary. As an undergraduate at the University of Virginia she studied literature, creative writing and art history. She finished an M.F.A. in poetry writing at the University of Massachusetts and a M.A. and Ph.D. in contemporary novel and narrative theory at the University of Florida.

While in graduate school Almeder volunteered in an Arts and Medicine program. Watching the writers, artists and musicians work with cancer patients taught her just how important the arts are to a community. This work inspired Almeder and a group of students, including Roanoke College alumni Molly Bass and Cristin Liquore, to start after-school creative writing programs at the West End Center and St. John’s Episcopal Church in Roanoke.

She has said that she always knew she wanted to write and has come to love teaching. An Associate Professor of English, Almeder teaches poetry writing, Native American literature, contemporary novel, and special topics courses, including a contemporary culture and literature course, “The Writer in Politics.” She deeply values the connection between liberal arts education and democracy.

“I cultivate an open mind,” Almeder said. “My students keep me intellectually honest. When you teach you have to break your knowledge and experience down and think about why you write and learn the way you do. I was lucky to have had so many wonderful professors throughout my education, people like: Charles Wright, Gregory Orr, Michael Levine, John Cech, Phil Wegner, Paul Muldoon, Elizabeth Langland and Debora Greger. They were rigorous, gracious, generous and deeply talented people. I try to create the kinds of learning environments and inspiration these teachers have created for so many.”

Almeder’s writing has been published in a range of journals including: "Poetry," "32 Poems," "The Seneca Review" and "Five Points." Her first book of poems, On Dream Street, won the Editor’s Prize at Tupelo Press and was published in February 2007. She is currently revising a second book of poems, Red Undoing, and working on a series of essays about writers in exile.

Dr. Almeder feels lucky to have landed in the English department, alongside such gifted and humble colleagues.