I am an honorary Kentucky Colonel and regular contributor to the arts and literature blog, Bark. I teach writing and publishing in the University of New Mexico’s Honors College. In 2010, I received my MFA in Creative Writing from the Inland Northwest Center for Creative Writers at Eastern Washington University.
In my free time, I am often occupied with open space, white space, CMYK and RGB, flash fiction/essays, long trails, f-stops, line breaks, and/or several Adobe programs running simultaneously.
I may be reached at ketchama (at) unm (dot) edu.
“From First Rust,” Composite Arts Magazine, 2013
“How to Determine Truth,” anthologized in Authenticity, ed. Shane Borrowman
“West Mesa,” Glassworks Magazine, 2013, p. 1-3
“Twilight for the Tinderbox,” Cactus Heart, 2013, p. 12-17
“Northwest and Inland,” Flycatcher: A Journal of Native Imagination, Winter 2013
“The One I Did Not Smash,” Sacred Fire, Summer 2011
“We Shall Split at the Seams,” Rio Grande Review, Winter 2011
“I Want to Believe” and “The Survivor Pronounces,” Cavalcade Literary Magazine, forthcoming 2013
“I. You. Question. Sonnet.” Emerge Literary Journal, forthcoming 2013
“Lost Histories at the VLA” and “Higgs Boson,” Bosque Magazine, Issue 2, 2012
with Composite Arts Magazine on May 16, 2013
Literary Community Projects
In August 2012, I began serving as the faculty advisor for Scribendi, an arts and literature publication sponsored by the Western Regional Honors Council and University Honors Program at the University of New Mexico.
Functioning largely as an educational internship in small publication production, this yearlong literary magazine course provides practical, hands-on experience in proofreading, copyediting, typography, magazine design and layout, professional desktop publishing software, fundraising, marketing and distribution, as well as small business management.
The Scribendi experience differs from the usual academic class in its focus on the dynamic classroom experience. When class is in session, we are holding both staff meetings and seminars, which means intensive discussions, teamwork, and active learning. While students work in and out of class to build skills necessary to produce the publication, this course is also an environment in which learning takes place alongside professional jobs tasks that must be accomplished, such as fundraising, social media management, website development, and campus involvement. To learn more about Scribendi, visit the staff-run website here.
In 2010, I helped found Bark, a literary and arts blog associated with Willow Springs magazine.
Contributors post creative essays, ars poetica, reviews on everything from children’s books to concerts, and more. The blog maintains a steady mix of M.F.A. students, professors, editors, and baristas. In 2012, Bark began receiving 300-500 visits/post.
Some of my own popular posts include:
Willow Springs is the literary magazine associated with Eastern Washington University. Founded in 1977 and published twice yearly, Willow Springs publishes contemporary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, as well as interviews with some of the most notable authors in contemporary literature, including Marilynne Robinson, Stuart Dybek, Aimee Bender, and Robert Bly.
I worked with the magazine from 2008-2010, producing four issues (63-66). As assistant managing editor and later, managing editor, I typeset and edited issues 63-66, determined the order of content, and worked on interior layout. The design remains consistent through the issues; however, each issue brings a special challenge in how to manipulate the design to best represent work. The challenge may be a poem with long, Whitmanic lines, or, in the case of issue 66, a short story that presents two parallel narratives in columns broken by a single column.
I handled all contributor and subscriber correspondence, database management, and grant proposals. I designed various promotional materials, as well as the covers for issues 65 and 66. Willow Springs develops contracts with artists to use their art for the cover; however, the managing editor adapts the artwork to design the cover. While I was the managing editor, I contracted a local artist, Mel McCuddin, and adapted two of his paintings for the covers of issues 65 and 66.
While managing editor, I focused on developing Willow Springs’ web presence. In addition to planning the best way to for the magazine use social media, I aided in creating online-only content. The author profiles section of the website grew out of this initiative. Six authors from each issue respond to interview questions about the work published, as well as teaching, writing, and reading. The profiles are rolled out four times a year, in groups of three. As another aspect of web focus, I created HTML e-mails to stay connected to our readership. The e-mails contain information on new issues and new web content.
I was a member of the team to found the magazine’s blog, Bark, which is much more than a “company blog.” The contributors post reviews on everything from children’s books to concerts, creative essays, ars poetica, etc. They range from M.F.A. students, to professors, to editors, to marketing professionals. In 2012, Bark began receiving 300-500 visits/post.
In 2012, Willow Springs developed a new teaching and publishing opportunity for editorial assistants, placing them in elementary schools throughout Spokane to teach poetry. They then edited a chapbook series of the students’ poems. I helped brand the Triceratops series to align with Willow Springs and Bark design standards. I also supplied photographs and drawings to use in their promotional materials and books.
Acme Press Company
In 2010, Eastern Washington University Press closed; however, the press still had projects lined up and an annual contest. One project was a collection of surrealist poems, “No Time for Dancing,” by Adam Hammer. Adam Hammer had recently passed away, and we wanted to present his poems at the Associated Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference. Before a more permanent solution (the creation of Willow Springs Books) was created, we formed the temporary Acme Press Company to publish Hammer’s collection. I worked on the cover design shown here. The collection sold out at AWP.
Inroads is an annual literary magazine that publishes poems and prose from Writers in the Community workshops. Students in Eastern Washington University’s M.F.A. program teach creative writing to various community groups, and encourage their students to submit work.
The contributors represent diversity in the community—not only are students from public schools published, but people from correctional facilities, a homeless youth shelter, a victims of domestic violence shelter, a retirement home, and a women’s cooperative.
I taught workshops and worked on Inroads from 2008-2010. Each involved a reading assignment and discussion, freewrite, sharing, as well as discussion of how to advance the in-class writing to a more in-depth piece. Typically 2-3 hours long.
• 2009–2010: Shrinking Violets Society: “Making Abstract Nouns Concrete,” “Writing a Redefinition
Essay,” “Folklore and the Short Story,” “Shifting Point of View in Memoir,” “Defining through the
Negative,” “Childhood Memory”
• 2009, 2010: General Public: “Defining and Developing Voice in Creative Nonfiction Writing” Four-Part Series
• 2008, 2009: Spokane Retirement Academy: “Shifting Point of View in Memoir,” “Biography of an Object”
• 2008: Lewis and Clark High School: “Imagination in Memoir: The Event You Did Not Witness”
• 2008: Crosswalk Teen Homeless Shelter: “Using Dialogue to Drive Scene and Characterization”
• 2008: West Central Community Center: “Writing Concrete Details in Slam Poetry”
To learn more about Inroads or Writers in the Community, see their website.
Barker High School
In 2009 and 2010, I went to Barker High School in Spokane Valley, WA, and helped the students assemble their own annual literary magazines. The class had worked on material for the magazine throughout the year, composing and editing poems, creating artwork, and writing essays.
I held workshops to discuss design, leading the students through selecting fonts, determining their design, ordering the content, and constructing a cover. To learn more about Barker High School, see their website.
Get Lit! Festival
Each spring, the Get Lit! Festival invites selected authors to Spokane to share their work and their passion for writing. Some of these authors enjoy a reputation in the Northwest, while others have earned national or even international renown. The week-long celebration features presentations and readings, writing workshops and panel discussions, visits by authors to K-12 schools and colleges/universities, community readings, and poetry slams, along with other events.
I participated in the Get Lit! Festival in 2009 and 2010, distribute posters and programs, engaging community members who stopped by information tables, and judging poetry slams. Since leaving Spokane, I have remained in contact with the festival organizer and occasionally offer feedback and suggestions on the design of their promotional material. To learn more more about Get Lit!, visit the festival’s website here.
The Spokane Shrinking Violets are a group of dynamic young women in the greater Spokane area who decided to create a “social co-op.” All participants are striving towards greater health, happiness and awareness in their lives and contribute to the group in ways they find socially and personally fulfilling. This can mean hosting gatherings, sharing talents, and volunteering to assist with group coordination. Through these interactions they hope to create new outlets for self-expression, and build an authentic response to the many challenges presented by the world.
When the cooperative was forming in 2008, I set up monthly writing workshops. I hosted these workshops at cafes around Spokane and led the group through readings, discussions, free-writing, and critiques.
Blue Mesa Review
The literary magazine published by the University of New Mexico’s creative writing department, Blue Mesa Review, was originally founded by Rudolfo Anaya, Gene Frumkin, David Johnson, Patricia Clark Smith, and Lee Bartlette in 1989. It is an entirely student-run publication. I worked on Blue Mesa review as an editorial assistant.
Graphic Design Service Projects
The National Association of Agricultural Educators is a non-profit that specializes in advancing agricultural education and promoting the professional interests and growth of agriculture teachers as well as recruiting and preparing students who have a desire to teach agriculture.
I joined NAAE from July 2011-June 2012 as a graphic designer and communications assistant. In addition to typical in-house design projects such as annual reports, brochures, flyers, posters, certificates, powerpoints, and html emails (the Monday Morning Monitor, New Teacher News, Teach Ag Update, Sponsor News, Advocacy Alerts, News and Views, and convention updates) on a weekly basis, I manage branding and design for subsidiaries of NAAE, such as the CASE Institute, Teach Ag Campaign, Teachers’ World. Each fall, NAAE has four areas at the National Future Farmers of America Convention and hosts their own convention a month later. I was responsible for creating booths and materials (signs, banners, brochures, T-shirts, and programs) for NAAE, Teachers’ World, the Teach Ag Campaign, and CASE.
In 2011, 55,000 people came to Indianapolis for the annual Future Farmers of America Convention. I went with the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE), for whom I had designed materials for three booths and an exhibit hall–totaling about 60 projects.
Pictured here are the Teach Ag Ambassadors who helped staff the Teach Ag booth, encouraging students to play a photo caption contest, leading them through the Cash Bus game, giving out prizes, and signing future educators up for our monthly newsletters. I designed six Ag Education Fact Panels, the Photo Caption Contest Materials, the large TAGGED banner and information signs that you see in the photo. I designed and constructed the bus for the Cash Bus game. In addition, I designed the T-shirts that we gave out as a prize for high scores.
For the NAAE booth in the Career Show, I designed a National Teach Ag Day poster and sign, as well as the annual report for members. For the CASE booth, I made brochures for an attractive display. Close to the CASE booth, I set up a TV to show the twitter feed on the #ffatw11 hashtag we popularized for Teachers’ World–an exhibit hall outside of the Career Show where teachers could connect at the internet cafe and attend workshops designed to enhance their knowledge and classrooms.
I had been in charge of branding Teachers’ World. For the Convention, I designed one 20ft x 10ft banner, four 8ft x 6ft room schedule banners, two 3ft x 8ft full workshop schedules, and multiple smaller signs that highlighted the Twitter hashtag, internet cafe, and our Communities of Practice website. On each of the banners and signs (excluding the large one), I added a QR code that once photographed with a smart phone would take you to our Teachers’ World website and list of workshops, where you could easily click on an .ics file and add a workshop to your calendar.
The Teach Ag Campaign is a national campaign run by the National Association of Agricultural Educators. As the leading graphic designer and the communications/marketing assistant, I have worked on numerous projects for the campaign. One of my first tasks was to create graphics for their teach ag game series, such as the “Think Like Your Ag Teacher” game, similar to the Newlyweds game show, and Cash Bus, which was based off of Cash Cab.
Each year, theyhold a National Teach Ag Day, encouraging students to spread the word about the vocation. I developed a social media cheat sheet for those celebrating with samples tweets/status updates for people to use (e.g. “Ag is my only class that uses all five senses. Thank you @[instructor]“), blog post prompts, and ideas on how to use tumblr or pitchengine. One of the fun publicity items that I worked on was a poster, seen to left, designed to be sent out in pieces so that teachers and students could assemble the pieces and hang them in classrooms. Once they had them hanging up, they took a photo with their smart phone and showed it to us at the FFA Convention.
As a prize for assembling the poster, we gave a small classroom grant to one school, drawn at random. To award those who succeeded at Cash Bus at the National FFA Convention, we gave out T-shirts. I designed the shirt, focusing on how an agriculture education can answer every student’s curious questions. Since the target audience was primarily high school students, I specifically researched fun trivia to use in a text-based design. Many students and teachers commented on how it was the best design they’d seen.
Each month, I sent out an html e-mail for the Teach Ag Campaign, and an email called the New Teacher News–these focus on our goals of teacher recruitment and teacher retention, respectively. Since Outlook is notoriously tricky with html e-mails, I redesigned the email as tables in a simple white field. I also designed graphic components to help brand the campaign, working with the green and gray hand logo, the “Western” fonts, and the destroyed look.
Broadway Bound Children’s Theatre offers full-scale productions by children ages 5 – 18 in Seattle. They also offer enrichment classes in drama, music, and dance, and a wide variety of summer camps. The combination of a supportive atmosphere and professional standards allows students to developing their creative potential and discipline.
I joined Broadway Bound for the 2010-2011 theater season. I worked on some fun projects for them, including a new brochure for their annual funding drive, promotional postcards for fundraising events, and playbills for productions of Hairspray and Willy Wonka: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Holly’s Place Animal Rescue
Holly’s Place is animal rescue and adoption non-profit that specializes in pulling companion animals out of kill-shelters before their time runs out. They focus on training and socialization in foster homes prior to rehoming. In 2011, I redesigned their website (600+ pages) and transferred it to a content management system.
Holly’s Place also manages feral cat colonies and works to control the numbers in the feral population through a trap/neuter/release program. I also created this TNR ad campaign for their feral spay/neuter program.
Community-Minded Enterprises (CME) is a partnership of non-profit organizations in Spokane, WA. Their many initiatives include community economic development, sustainability, youth outreach and community development, family resources, community health, and community-access television.
In 2009, I worked to help brand the organization, focusing on cohesion. As the graphic designer and communications assistant, I created graphic standards for internal and external communications.
My work also included aiding in the development and page population of a new website and producing copy and new promotional materials that corresponded to the look, feel, and color scheme of the website. Here, I have included a few samples from a set of information sheets for a media kit that I designed during my time with CME.
Salud Juntos is a non-profit that runs health clinics in Honduras. They also collaborate with communities in the development of best public health practices and integrated medical services. In 2010, I designed these three T-shirts for the organization.
Sun People Dry Goods is a locally-owned distributor of green-living products in Spokane, WA. In addition to selling their eco-smart inventory, they hold hold community workshops and demonstrations, and occasionally show relevant films.
Sun People hired me in 2010 as a freelance graphic designer, right when the company was starting up, which meant that I took place in branding and identity development. For more information about Sun People, visit their website here.
In 2005, I worked on the Smithsonian Institute’s summer Folklife Festival.
The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage creates annual festivals as part of a “living museum” where museum patrons can interact with the displays and the people represented during that year. In 2005, the programs focused on Oman, the 100th Anniversary of the Forest Service, Latin music, and American Food Culture. Exhibits ranged from making adobe bricks and indigo dyes according Omani culture, a fire lookout house for members of the Forest Service, Latin music concerts, and cooking demonstrations, a garden that mimicked the Edible Schoolyard in Berkley, and cookbook signings by renowned chefs.
I planned, set up, and ran a book signing tent for chefs who were participating in the American Food Culture program. Emeril Lagasse and Paul Prudhomme were the most recognized of these presenters. In addition, I aided in constructing the Edible Schoolyard garden exhibit, explanatory signs, and tents on the National Mall, and helped Soy Silk set up a small replica of a machine that transforms soy beans to soy milk.
In 2008, I worked as a graphic designer and communications assistant focusing on a new anti-methamphetamine initiative for the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office.
I conducted research on meth creation, distribution, and health effects for the Protecting Children Against Methamphetamines (PCAM) initiative. Aside from massive amounts of reading, I interviewed county and city officials regarding the impact of methamphetamines and facilitated weekly PCAM meetings, where I served as Secretary for the committee. In addition to research and presentation preparations, I aided in designing some of the campaign materials.
2013 Southwest/Texas Popular Culture and American Culture Associations Conference Albuquerque, NM
Presented the essay “West Mesa” for the theme “Celebrating Popular/American Culture(s) in a Global Context”
2011 National Association of Agricultural Educators Convention St. Louis, MO
Presented workshop “Communities of Practice for the Advanced User: RSS Feeds.”
2011 Future Farmers of America Convention and Expo Indianapolis, IN
Presented the National Teach Agriculture Campaign to FFA students and advisors.
2010 Association of Writers and Writing Programs Annual Conference Denver, CO
Presented Willow Springs 64 and 65 to editors, publishers, and writers.
2009 Association of Writers and Writing Programs Annual Conference Chicago, IL
Presented Willow Springs 62 and 63 to editors, publishers, and writers.
2007 Lena M. Todd Award Reading for Excellence in Fiction Albuquerque, NM
Presented award-winning short story “A Night in Pewee Valley” to Works in Progress audience.
2005 Western Regional Honors Council Conference Las Vegas, NV
Presented Scribendi 2005 to honors students and faculty.
Participated in a panel discussion on literary and arts magazines.
2004 National Collegiate Honors Council Conference New Orleans, LA
Presented Scribendi 2004 to honors students and faculty.
2004 UNM Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium Albuquerque, NM
Presented with a panel “Media Portrayals of Native Americans.”
Received Panel Award.
2004 Western Regional Honors Council Conference Missoula, MT
Presented Scribendi 2004 to honors students and faculty.
From IDEA Forms:
“[Scribendi] is one of the best courses I have ever taken. Professor Ketcham’s clear passion for our subject inspired me to work harder and learn a wide range of new things. She had wonderful energy and made tough assignments enjoyable!” -Fall 2012
“Absolutely fantastic course, absolutely fantastic professor. Without a doubt the best course I have ever taken at UNM. Also, one of the best teachers I have ever had, which is astounding since it’s her first semester.” -Fall 2012
From Fellow Editors
“Amaris and I worked closely together at Willow Springs for 2 years. I served as Editor and Amaris worked for one year as Assistant Managing Editor and her second year as Managing Editor. I could not have been happier with her job performance. She’s incredibly bright, creative, hard working, affable, and reliable. She directed a staff of forty people, handled our day to day business and communication, did fantastic designs for the magazine’s covers and other media, and was instrumental in helping to transform us from a magazine to a literary organization that happens to publish a magazine. She works extremely well in small groups and large groups, and just as well on her own. She was an effective leader because of the respect each member of the organization had for her, including me. Amaris is one of the most competent, creative, and reliable people I’ve ever worked with. She has outstanding design skills, communication skills, editing skills, and management skills. If she doesn’t know how to do something, she learns. I would hire her again in a second.”
- Sam Ligon, Writer, Editor of Willow Springs, Assistant Professor at Eastern Washington University
“I had the extraordinary privilege to work with Amaris at Willow Springs. For that year, my primary responsibilities were to be her assistant editor and to learn as much as I could from her (as I was supposed to assume her role when she departed the following year). I could not possibly have asked for a better leader and colleague than Amaris. Her editorial insight easily crossed genres, her broad skill set allowed her to meet the many and varied challenges of the managing editor position with equal aplomb, and her personality made it incredibly easy to not only work with her, but to follow her lead. And Amaris proved to be just as excellent a mentor, not only talented and knowledgeable, but gracious with her gifts—patient, trusting, and encouraging in her instruction. I can’t recommend working with her enough.”
- Jason Sommer, Willow Springs Assistant Editor 2009-10, Featherproof Press Assistant Editor
“Amaris Ketcham wastes no time or talent. In every volunteer and professional project, she dedicates herself to the mission and future of the magazine, business, non-profit, and most importantly to the people who work on these teams. She’s an excellent coach because she’s a meticulous player no matter her role on the team. Her work ethic and expertise inspired the editorial staff at Willow Springs to collect our skills in design, social media, marketing, and training to overhaul our digital profile. She sees potential in diverse skill sets and knows how to put them together in stride.”
- Amanda Maule, Willow Springs Assistant Editor 2009-10, Instructor at Eastern Washington University 2010-2012
“Amaris was my managing editor at Willow Springs while I served as assistant non-fiction editor. I always appreciated her thoughtful comments and how well she managed our sometimes highly emotional editorial meetings. I also had the pleasure of team teaching community writing workshops with her. She’s a fantastic teacher with infinite patience. She truly cares about each of her students and will spend all the time it takes to make them succeed. I’ve also taken her writing workshops for writers and was wowed by how deeply she has studied the craft and how she makes me explore my own prose in new and interesting ways. What I admire most about Amaris is her dedication to the arts and how hard she works on every creative and teaching project she leads or lends a hand to. She is one of my most trusted readers of my own work. Anybody who has the chance to work with her, or learn from her, will have an amazing experience.”
- Asa Maria Bradley, Writer, Spokane Falls Community College Physics Instructor, Willow Springs Assistant Nonfiction Editor (2009-2010)
From the Internet
Two mentions and counting on Brevity’s blog.
“I noticed vast improvements in Willow Springs literary journal during Amaris’ tenure as editor. The Willow Springs website expanded greatly and Amaris was a driver in the creation of an affiliated literary blog, Bark, for which I write weekly. Additionally, Amaris’ writing on the blog is insightful, inclusive, and insistently beautiful.”
- Shira Richman, Instructor at Colorado School of Mines