Cate Marvin, a professor in creative writing at CSI since 2003, seeks to introduce her writing students to the formal innovations and challenges that the writing of poetry offers. Although Professor Marvin conducts her writing classes as “workshops” in which students critique one another’s writing, she places great emphasis on the relationship between the reading and writing of literature and encourages her students to look to the work of published authors as potential models for their own writing. She expects her students to operate under the assumption that no writer can write well without having read widely, avidly and voraciously. Professor Marvin believes that good writing requires ambition, a lack of self-censorship, deep feeling toward the subject at hand, a drive to communicate clearly to the reader, and a healthy attitude toward the sheer hard work that revision requires.


BA, Marlboro College

MFA, University of Houston

MFA, University of Iowa

PhD, University of Cincinnati

Scholarship / Publications

Professor Marvin’s first book of poems, World’s Tallest Disaster, chosen by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinksy for the 2000 Kathryn A. Morton Prize, was published by Sarabande Books in 2001. In 2002, Marvin was awarded the prestigious Kate Tufts Discovery Award  “for an emerging poet of genuine promise.” She later co-edited, with poet Michael Dumanis, the seminal anthology Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (Sarabande Books, 2006). Her second collection of poems, Fragment of the Head of Queen (Sarabande, 2007) went on to receive a Whiting Award. Individual poems from her third collection, Oracle (Norton, 2015), have appeared in publications such as Poetry, Volt, New England Review, The Harvard Review, and Tin House, among others.  Professor Marvin is a co-founder of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, a research-driven organization that works to increase critical attention to contemporary women’s writing as well as further transparency around gender equality issues in contemporary literary culture.