Joan Marcus

Joan Marcus

Assistant Professor, Department of Writing
Faculty, School of Humanities and Sciences

Phone:(607) 274-3470
Office:408 Smiddy Hall
Ithaca, NY 14850

Although my graduate training and much of my professional experience involve fiction writing, I recently made the shift to nonfiction and am currently working on a collection of essays. I enjoy exploring this essentially hybrid genre, one that involves elements of personal writing, philosophy, cultural or literary analysis, and investigative journalism. My teaching aims reflect my writing interests. I specialize in teaching students how to bridge what I see as a false dichotomy between “creative” and “critical” writing, helping them to produce works that are simultaneously analytical, reflective, illustrative, and highly inventive.


  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Fiction
  • The Familiar Essay
  • Academic Writing


  • M.F.A. Creative Writing, University of Arizona, 1992
  • B.A. Creative Writing and History, Oberlin College, 1986

Some Publications & Works in Progress

  • Still Life with Stelazine, memoir in progress.
  • Tripp's Passage, middle grade novel in progress.
  • "The Women's March on Washington: It Doesn't End Here"  in The Jerusalem Post, Jan. 22, 2017.
  • "Embrace the Mystery" (essay) in Superstition Review, Arizona State University, Dec. 4, 2014.
  • "Sweet Words" (essay) in The Smart Set and Table Matters, Drexel University, July 16, 2014.
  • "The Naked Truth" (essay) in The Smart Set, Drexel University, Nov. 29, 2013.
  • "The Wounded Man" (essay) in The Smart Set, Drexel University, August 1, 2013.
  • "My Mess" (essay) in The Journal, Ohio State University, Summer 2013.
  • "Speechless" (essay) in Laurel Review, Maryville, MO, Spring 2010.
  • "Survival Stories" (essay) in Alaska Quarterly Review, Anchorage, AK, Fall & Winter 2009. Anthologized in Man in the Moon: Essays on Fathers and Fatherhood, Colorado State University Center for Literary Publishing, June 2014. 
  • "Curse Like a Sailor" (essay) in Brain, Child, Lexington, VA, Spring 2009.
  • "Exalting the Weird" (essay) in Fourth Genre, East Lansing, MI, Spring 2009.
  • “Along for the Ride” (essay) in The Sun, Chapel Hill, NC, April, 2006.
  • Chapters from Saturn Returning (a novel) published in the Constance Saltonstall Foundation 1999 Chapbook.
  • "Cartoon" (short fiction) in Gulf Coast, Houston, TX, Summer 1996.
  • "The Taking of Charlotte" (short fiction) in The Georgia Review, Athens, GA, Summer 1992.   
  • "Birobidzhan" (short fiction) in Beloit Fiction Journal, Beloit, WI, Fall 1992.
  • "The Dead Are Eating" (short fiction) in Puerto del Sol, Las Cruces, NM, Summer 1992.
  • "Scrub" (short fiction) in Sun Dog: The Southeast Review, Tallahassee, FL, Spring 1992.
  • "Jacob's Heart" (short fiction) in Tucson Guide Quarterly, Tucson, AZ, Summer 1992.

Grants & Awards

  • 2007 Constance Saltonstall Grant for Memoir/Autobiography. 
  • 1999 Constance Saltonstall Grant for Prose Writing. 
  • 1996 Pushcart Prize Nomination for "Cartoon" (short story).
  • 1993 Pushcart Prize Nomination for "The Taking of Charlotte." Listed in Pushcart Prize XVIII "Stories of Note."
  • 1992 John Weston Award for outstanding University of Arizona graduate fiction writer.
  • 1991 Minnie Torrence Award for graduate student achievement in writing.


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