Katharyn Howd Machan

Katharyn Howd Machan

Professor, Department of Writing
Faculty, School of Humanities and Sciences
Faculty, Women's and Gender Studies

Phone:(607) 274-3325
Office:424 Smiddy Hall
Ithaca, NY 14850

Katharyn Howd Machan grew up in Woodbury, Conn., and Pleasantville, N.Y. She studied creative writing and literature at the College of Saint Rose and at the University of Iowa, taught college for five years, returned to graduate school for a Ph.D. in Interpretation (Performance Studies) at Northwestern University and, now as a full professor, has been teaching on I.C.’s Writing faculty ever since, with additional active roles in the Women’s Studies Program and the Gerontology Institute. She has published 30 poetry collections, and her work has appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies, and textbooks. In 2000 she was awarded the Ann Stanford Poetry Prize from the University of Southern California by judge Dana Gioia for her poem “Tess Clarion: Redwing, 1888” and in 2006 the Luna Negra Prize from Kent State University for her poem “Gingerbread.” In 2002 she was named the first Poet Laureate of Tompkins County, New York.

As Zajal, she is also a professional belly dancer, with a special interest in combining dance and poetry in performances and workshops. In this capacity she has taught on the Aegean island of Skyros for the UK-based Skyros Institute, which emphasizes holistic studies. She also offers, in her persona as Zajal the Sugarplum Fairy, original audience-participation StoryDance performances for children.

Every March as artist-in-residence she leads a five-day workshop, “Writing in the Garden,” as part of the Mana Project, Inc. in Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden, located in the heart of Old Town, Key West.


  • Poetry
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Performance
  • Women's Studies
  • Children's Literature


  • Ph.D. Performance Studies, Northwestern University, 1984
  • M.A. English, University of Iowa, 1975
  • B.A. English and Speech, The College of Saint Rose, 1974


Published Poetry Collections


Anthologies Edited

Artistic Awards and Fellowships


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