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I was awarded an honorable mention in the 2022 Utah Original Writing Competition for my collection "first poems after the stroke."


Finishing Line Press will publish my collection "first poems after the stroke" in May 2024.


Saturday, September 30, 2023I will be reading from my new collection "first poems after the stroke" at the Boulder Cliffnotes Conference.

Tuesday, December 11, 2023: I will be reading a poem at the Logan City Council meeting at 5:30 pm in the Logan City Council Chambers.

March 2024: I will be team-teaching "Poetry in the Park" workshop at Zion National park. I will team-teach the workshop with the poet Brock Dethier.

April 2024: I will be reading from my new collection "first poems after the stroke" at the Utah Poetry Festival. Time and date TBA.



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Past Events

Please e-mail me at if you are interested in asking me to teach a workshop in your community.

Click here to see my curriculum vitae.

“Seeing the Extraordinary in the Ordinary”

Poetry Writing Workshop

Write @ the Logan Library Writers Conference

Logan City Library, Logan, UT

January 25, 2020

Poet William Blake could “see a world in a grain of sand,” and with the right attitude and practice, anyone can discover the extraordinary in the world around them. We will read a few examples of poets fascinated with the beauty of the ordinary, practice tuning our senses and our brains to be aware as well as to verbalize what we sense, and write one short poem about something extraordinary. This session should be fun both for people who want to write poetry and for those interested in another kind of mindfulness.

“The Power of Repetition”

Write @ the Logan Library Writers Conference

Logan City Library, Logan, UT

January 25, 2020

All art uses repetition; poets repeat everything from individual sounds to entire complex forms like villanelles. We will examine and practice a few of the many kinds of poetic repetition: anaphora and the poetic form, the pantoum. Although this is a fairly specific topic, anyone interested in writing poetry can benefit from it. Artistically controlled repetition is an asset at any level of poetry. 

“A Celebration of Sound and Sense”

Kanab Writers Conference

Kanab Community Arts Center, Kanab, UT

 November 8, 2019


Poets of all levels of experience will benefit from this energetic workshop where participants will learn and practice basic poetic sound techniques, such as alliteration, assonance, and other types of sonic repetition. We will also gather sensory details and images from nature and write poems that will surprise and delight writers and audiences alike.

“Using Myth and Fairy Tale in Poetry”

St. George Literary Arts Festival

Dixie State University, St. George, UT

October 12, 2019

Many of us wish to write about deeply personal experiences, but sometimes the truth is too raw, and we freeze. In this workshop, Shanan Ballam will show how myths and fairy tales can create paths into our difficult personal subject matter, paths to help us gain the necessary distance from our subjects and to help us see our experiences with fresh eyes.

“Engage the Senses, Engage the Reader”

League of Utah Writers Summer Writers Symposium,

Eccles Conference Center, Logan, UT

June 15, 2019

Writers who incorporate the glow, texture, and fragrance of vivid sensory detail are more likely to engage their readers on a physical level. But writers who understand and utilize connotation and prose rhythm are likely to engage the reader on the more abstract levels of emotion and intellect. In this workshop we’ll examine passages by writers who have successfully engaged their readers on the physical, emotional, and intellectual levels, and then we’ll practice writing our own.

"Subtle Beauty: Creating Poetic Prose”

League of Utah Writers Summer Writers Symposium

Eccles Conference Center, Logan, UT 

June 15, 2018

In this workshop we will learn about and practice common poetic sound devices such as anaphora, alliteration, and consonance. We will also discuss connotation—the images and feelings surrounding words—and generate metaphors and similes. We’ll examine the ways all of these devices can expand and complicate our prose, deepening our connection with our readers.

"Elegant Solutions: Writing About Difficult Subject Matter"

Redrock Creative Writing Seminar

St. George, UT

 March 3, 2018

This workshop began with an explanation of “elegant solution”—in mathematics, it refers to a solution that solves the problem in the simplest and most effective manner. Artists are forced to confront problems ranging from minor to massive every time we face the page. One common problem is honestly facing difficult subject matter. In this workshop, we discussed: How do we write about things that hurt us? How do we avoid sentimentality? How do we contend with the complex “truth” of our situations? How can we approach the subject with a new perspective, one that will allow us and our writing to progress? I offered participants various writing exercises to help them write about their most difficult subjects.

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