(C) Shanan Ballam 2016.  
All nature photographs on this site by Shanan Ballam
Portrait photograph by Robb Kunz






Tuesday, November 12, 2019, 6:00 pm, Weber State University, Hetzel-Hollen Room of Stewart Library: I will be giving a poetry reading for my new book, Inside the Animal: The Collected Red Riding Hood Poems. This event is free and open to the public.



I am very excited to announce that I was recently named Poet Laureate for the City of Logan! Read the article in The Herald Journal here: https://www.hjnews.com/news/local/new-logan-poet-excited-to-connect-with-community-offer-poetry/article_b5c84993-19a0-561d-9283-46b95fea38d6.amp.html


My new poetry collection Inside the Animal: The Collected Red Riding Hood poems was published by Main Street Rag in June 2019. Thank you, Editor M. Scott Douglass! Click on the link to order your copy from The Main Street Rag Online Bookstore.

Sink Hollow, our international undergraduate literary journal at Utah State University has a new issue. Please visit us at www.sinkhollow.org



Past Events

I love teaching workshops. Please e-mail me at shanan.ballam@gmail.com if you are interested in asking me to teach a workshop in your community.

Click here to see my curriculum vitae.

"Subtle Beauty: Creating Poetic Prose.”

Poetry Writing Workshop

League of Utah Writers Summer Writers Symposium

Logan, UT - Utah State University Eccles Conference Center 

June 15, 2018


Participants practiced common poetic sound devices such as anaphora, alliteration, and consonance. We discussed connotation, generated metaphors and similes, and examined the ways all of these devices can expand and complicate prose, deepening our connection with our readers. We also discussed message, diction, syntax, and I offered participants hands-on practice with basic sound elements.

"Elegant Solutions: Writing About Difficult Subject Matter"

Poetry Writing Workshop

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.

"A Celebration of Sound and Sense"

Poetry Writing Workshop

Utah State Poetry Society's Poetry in the Park

Zion National Park

March 2, 2018

This workshop included morning and afternoon writing workshops and a mid-day nature walk with a Zion Forever Project Naturalist. The morning session focused on explanation and practice of multiple types of sound sequences in poetry including alliteration, assonance, consonance, and anaphora, and the afternoon session included more practice with close observation, description, and “nonsensical” poetry. Participants included poets ranging in age from high school students to retirees.

"The Poet's Vulnerable Embrace"


University of Nebraska MFA Program

Nebraska City, NE

July 17th 2015


How does a poet create an authentic, intimate connection with a reader while maintaining a unique and authoritative voice? Fully embracing vulnerability is crucial for the poet’s success; “in order for connection to happen,” says Research Professor Brené Brown, “we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen.” Vulnerability for the poet means she must gaze deeply and fearlessly both inward and outward to create a space where, as writer Stacey D’Erasmo says, “Intimacy snatches you out of yourself, shows you how small you are in relation to the rest of the universe.” In this lecture I will use Brown’s ideas about vulnerability as a gateway to help us understand a few methods we can use to establish intimate connections in poetry, including fragmentation, scale, and contrast.

"Writing About Obituaries"

Radio Appearance with Author Heather Lende

Utah Public Radio, Access Utah Program

Logan, UT

May 18th 2015


How do you sum up a life? What do you include and what do you leave out? Heather Lende, author of the new book "Find the Good," is the obituary writer for the Chilkat Valley News in a beautiful but often dangerous spit of land in Alaska. She says "we are all writing our own obituary every day by how we live." Shanan Ballam, who teaches Creative Writing at Utah State University, wrote her brother Dylan's obituary. She felt that the obituary was not enough--it left too much unsaid.  So she's been writing "addendum" poems, to "more fully characterize, celebrate, and mourn [her] brother."