"I want to get through the curtain of things as they appear, to things as they are, and then into the larger, wilder space of things as they are becoming."
- May Swenson
Shanan Ballam is the Poet Laureate of Logan City, Utah. She survived a massive stroke in January 2022 that left her without speech and without the use of her entire right side. She never quit writing poetry, though, and she was awarded an honorable mention for poetry in the Utah Original Writing Competition for her collection "first poems after the stroke." She has since published many of her stroke poems in places such as Sugar House Review, Wordgathering, Kaleidoscope, and Quarter(ly) (click on the hot links to read and listen to my poetry). Her collection of poems about her experience with the stroke "first poems after the stroke" will be published in May 2024 by Finishing Line Press.
Her most recent poetry collection Inside the Animal: The Collected Red Riding Hood Poems, a semi-finalist for the 2017 Trio House Press Louise Bogan Award and a finalist for the 2017 Hillary Gravendyk Prize Poetry Book Competition from Inlandia Press, was published by Main Street Rag in June 2019. It is available for purchase here: Main Street Rag Online Bookstore.
Shanan is a Senior Lecturer for the Utah State University's Department of English where she teaches poetry writing and composition. Shanan earned her MFA in Poetry Writing from the University of Nebraska, Omaha, under the guidance of her mentor William Trowbridge, Poet Laureate of Missouri 2012-2016. She is the author of the chapbook The Red Riding Hood Papers (Finishing Line 2010) and a full-length poetry manuscript Pretty Marrow (Negative Capability 2013), a semi-finalist for the 2010 Brittingham and Pollak Poetry Prizes, the 2010 May Swenson Award, the 2010 Philip Levine Prize in Poetry, and the 2012 Louise Bogan Award; in 2012 it received first place in the Utah Division of Arts and Museums Original Writing Contest, judged by Sue Walker, former Poet Laureate of Alabama.