Sarah Jefferis is an author, editor, and mentor. Through her consultant business, Write. Now., Sarah serves as a 1:1 writing coach for graduate students working on dissertations and for writers who need assistance with brainstorming, revision, editing, organization, query letters and the like. She designs and leads generative workshops on the creative process and the necessity of vulnerability, as well as subject-specific writing workshops that empower mothers and children to honor their artistic spirit and develop confident voices. She offers poetry readings on surviving trauma, and on trusting the writing process as a tool to speak out and effect change. Sarah holds an MA in Creative Writing and Literature from Hollins University, an MFA in Poetry from Cornell University and a PhD in Creative Writing from SUNY Binghamton.
Her most recent poetry collection, What Enters the Mouth, was published in February 2017 by Standing Stone Books. It was praised by Ansel Elkins, author of Blue Yodel, who wrote “these are fearless poems—a reckoning of the violence of girlhood rendered with grit and clarity.” Forgetting the Salt, her first book of poetry, was published by Foothills Press in 2008. She won the Bea Gonzalez Poetry Prize for her poem “Motherhood.” Her poems and nonfiction have appeared in Rhino, The Mississippi Review, The American Literary Review, Stone Canoe, Icon, The Hollins Critic, The Patterson Review, The Healing Muse and other journals. Her essay entitled “Blood and Chocolate” appears in the anthology Labor Day: True Birth Stories by Today’s Best Women Writers, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2014. She has been both a poetry and fiction fellow at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers in California and held residencies in poetry and creative nonfiction at the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts in New York, and at The Studios at Mass MOCA. She has completed her first novel, entitled Running After Jesus, as well as her third collection of poetry, After Marriage. She is working on a collection of essays about race, love and violence.
Sarah recently served as the Interim Program Director and Academic Advisor for the McNair Program at Cornell’s Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives, which supports first-gen, low-income, underrepresented students of color. Currently she is a part-time lecturer at Cornell University and makes a home for two brilliant feminist girls in Ithaca, New York.
- Colgate Writers Conference, Colgate University, Poetry (2015), Fiction (2014)
- SOS Grant for Fiction, Community Arts Partnership, Ithaca, NY, Winter 2014
- Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize, The Patterson Review, 2010
- Bea Gonzalez Poetry Award, Stone Canoe, 2014
- Link Fellowship, SUNY Binghamton, Fall 2009
- Francis Newman Fellowship, SUNY Binghamton, Fall 2008
- Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for Service, Hollins University, 1995
- Cornelson Halsey Leadership Award, Hollins University, 1994, 1993
- John M. and Emily B. Clark, Distinguished Teaching Award, Cornell University,
- Spring 2001
- Hart Crane Memorial Award, Kent State University, 2001
As someone who is first gen and grew up below working class and outside of the dream of Higher Education, I intimately know the immense economic obstacles placed before students who are attempting to acquire a Bachelors and/or Graduate degrees. I know how difficulties can stop individuals and how they can serve as motivators. As a white bisexual woman, I believe it is my responsibility to challenge and intentionally debunk systemic structures of white supremacy in order to work towards manifesting racial equity and economic justice in every situation. I am called to examine my own blind spots and to not let them inhibit me from creating a vision.
I could not have gotten here alone. Theater and Writing professors mentored me along my own educational path, and their guidance combined with my internal grit motivated me to continue to be both an educator and a learner. In workshops and with students, my cultural responsive pedagogy of teaching centers on four words: validate, affirm, build and bridge. I am passionately committed to helping first gen, low income writers from under-represented communities across the disciplines through the written word. I hope to inspire writers to have an intentional relationship to the words in which they choose to speak, to believe in the possibility of joy, and to understand that we are all stronger together.
Please feel free to contact me for help.