- Senior Instructor
- Literature, Writing, and Composition
I am fortunate to work as an instructor. The material always sends me on unexpected adventures toward deeper understanding, and students continue to teach me about learning and our world.
Born and raised in Arvada, Colorado, I now hold a BFA in Theatre and a BA in English from Stephens College, a 1025-hour CMT from the Rocky Mountain Institute of Healing Arts, and a literature-extensive MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. Additionally, numerous national and international literary journals have supported my poetry and other works, and The Poetry Foundation selected me as a 2011 finalist for a Ruth Lilly Fellowship.
Since 2008, I have taught at three universities – including CSU since 2012. Classes I have led here so far include: World Drama, Reading Without Borders, Introduction to Poetry, College Composition, Self/Community in American Culture, Twentieth Century Fiction, and Study of Literature. I work with an average of 200 undergraduates a year. Additionally, I'm grateful to have had the opportunities to volunteer with CSU's community literacy outreach program SpeakOut! and UAF's rural and indigenous student services writing center.
Recently, I have been featured as a poetry reader, workshop leader, or panelist with Telluride Institute: For Place and Planet, Western Colorado Writers Forum, “Rabbit Holes” for KAFM Radio and WCWF, Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival, CSU’s Master Teacher Initiative Program, Xi Draconis Books, Lithic Bookstore and Press, 100,000 Poets for Change, CALYX, and Poets' Co-op, and, distantly, I have enjoyed several leading roles in a small number of local theatres, a 2000 title of young “Best Actress in Colorado” from the International Thespian Society, and a 2014 CSU Alumni Association Best Teacher Award nomination.
Being raised by an environmentalist in a large, proud working class, active Coloradan family, and lived experiences in Northern India, Nepal, Ireland, Netherlands, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Thailand, Mexico (Northern to Southern borders), Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Morocco, England, Canada, Czechia, Austria, Switzerland, and twenty-nine USA states are notable contributors toward offering students a global and collective context and outlook.
Thank you for your interest, and please feel free to contact me.
As Erica Waters:
Plants & Poetry House, storytelling and agriculture, August 2020, poem
Weber—The Contemporary West, Fall 2019, vol. 36:1, three poems
Weber—The Contemporary West, Fall 2019, vol. 36:1, photo
As Airica Parker (maiden name):
El muro de Flores 12,000 Semillas, Summer 2019, miles 10.2 + 10.3
Lifeline Audio App Podcast, January 2019, short play
The Courtship of Winds, Summer 2018, one-act play
The Sun Magazine, Issue 510, June 2018, interview
Central Michigan University's Temenos, Fall 2016, poem
Mycoepithalamia anthology, Fungi Press, 2016, poem
Antipodes: A Global Journal, vol.30:1, 2015, review
Driftwood Press, vol. 2:4, 2015, poem
The Nature of the West: Camas, Winter 2015, poem
Fungi, vol. 8:2, Summer 2015, poem
CALYX, vol. 28:3, 2015, poem
Lalitamba, Annual 2015, two poems
The Voices Project, 2013, poem
Antipodes: A Global Journal, vol. 27:2, 2013, review
Skidrow Penthouse, Issue 14, 2013, poem
Antipodes: A Global Journal, vol.26:1, 2012, review
Fiddlehead: Atlantic Canada's International Journal, Issue 250, 2012, three poems
Antipodes: A Global Journal, vol. 25:1, 2011, review
Permafrost, vol. 32, Summer 2010, interview
40 Below: A Journal of Teaching and Writing, 2010, poem
University of Alaska in Fairbank’s Ice Box, 2009, poem
Healing Path Magazine, February 2009, poem
"Why do you still teach under your maiden name?"
Because students recommend me from year to year. For example, every semester I have students who are there because someone they trust has suggested they trust me. That trust - even from just one person in a room - can transform a classroom experience for the whole group. I'm a challenging and imperfect teacher trying to win students toward courageous exploration and sharing full of good humor, disciplined focus, and applied criticism. It's a big ask, but in many cases, it works so well that we all seem to levitate together. The threaded base of students who kindly admire and recognize me as "Airica Parker" tends to help new students get more from their experience, and the opportunity to be known as a person more or as much as a projection helps me teach at my best from day one. I'm very grateful. Additionally, I identify with all of my names by any spelling - a woodcarver I met in Ireland spelled my name "Aerica" - he is a keeper of myths, so you know that must be right. As I tell my students, I answer to many names - as a Taoist (I also identify as Christian), such things come naturally. Thank you!
First Generation Story
My parents were determined to provide us with strong work ethic, inclusive action, and advance education. They made many efforts and sacrifices to create new opportunities for me, and they taught me to value the role of an educated populace toward a healthy democracy. Because of generous scholarships, the ability to hold two jobs at times, and diverse support including that offered by my parents and grandparents, I'm now in a position to continue their efforts and dreams toward a fairer, healthier world as a teacher, writer, and healing artist. I remain rooted in the values of community and environmental responsibility, and I remain very proud of the labors and laborers who make our lives possible. My hope as a teacher is to uplift as many students as possible by challenging each student to work hard and consider other perspectives and the complexities of texts, contexts, resources, and ecosystems so that each student may share in the gift my parents gave me - the opportunity to grow and offer unique contributions and responses to our long, shared story. First Generation Students, welcome!!!