(Scroll down the page to watch my brief video interview with Kathi Appelt at Vermont College of the Fine Arts July 2010)
Born in Illinois in 1947, Leslie Ullman graduated from Skidmore College and received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Iowa. She is the author of three poetry collections: Natural Histories, which won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award in l979; Dreams by No One’s Daughter (University of Pittsburgh Press, l987), and Slow Work Through Sand University of Iowa Press, l998), co-winner of the l997 Iowa Poetry Prize. She has been awarded two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and her poems have appeared in magazines such as Poetry, Hayden’s Ferry Review New Letters, The New Yorker, and Poetry Miscellany and many others, as well as in numerous anthologies. Her poetry reviews have appeared in Kenyon Review, Poetry Magazine, and The Denver Quarterly, and her craft essays have been published by The Writer’s Chronicle and Southern Indiana Review.
For twenty-seven years she was a professor in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Texas-El Paso, where she established and directed the Bilingual MFA Program. Now a Professor Emerita at UTEP, she continues to teach in the low-residency MFA Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts (where she has taught since 1981) and she also does freelance manuscript consultations. Through long experience of teaching adults and motivated undergraduates, both in academic settings and at writers’ conferences and retreats, Ullman has developed a teaching/editing style aimed at drawing writers out and helping them not only to discover their potential as thinkers and writers, but also to value the process itself, with all its starts and stops and changes of direction.
Recently Ullman has become a certified instructor in the Ernie Blake Ski School at Taos Ski Valley, where she teaches skiing full-time during the winter. She also makes and sells handmade necklaces—“Bead Poems”—composed of natural materials such as ammonites and shells combined with carved jade, bone, turquoise, Murano glass, pewter, ceramic, and antique glass beads. She divides her time between ranchland in Southern New Mexico outside of El Paso, and Taos in northern New Mexico.