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West Virginia Women Writers: Maggie Anderson

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Maggie Anderson (1948- ) Keyser, Mineral County

Even though Maggie Anderson’s father was from Preston County and her mother from Pennsylvania, Maggie was born in New York City and spent her first 13 years there before her family moved to Buckhannon, and later to Keyser, WV.  Matthew Cooperman notes this move shifted the poet’s view from tall buildings, museums, and traffic to the natural flora and fauna of West Virginia, a perspective seen in Anderson’s poetry. 

For Anderson writing is a way of expressing her thoughts, and teaching is a way of learning. She taught writing in elementary schools, high schools, and colleges, senior citizen centers, and prisons as she worked on her Masters in Social Work. After receiving the degree from West Virginia University, she began teaching GED and creative writing classes at the West Virginia Vocational Rehabilitation Center.   

When she decided to concentrate more on her own writing, the West Virginia Arts and Humanities Council hired her as a poet-in-residence. She also served as poet-in-residence in hospitals, prisons, rural and urban communities, and public schools; and taught at West Virginia University, the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Oregon before she accepted a position with the Wick Creative Writing Program at Kent State University in 1989. 

These varied writing and teaching experiences fostered in Anderson “a strong sense of the act of writing poetry as a way of bringing communities together.”

Poetry Reading

Works by Maggie Anderson

Cold Comfort. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 1986.

Great Horned Owl, Riderwood, MD: Icarus P 1979 (chapbook).

Greatest Hits: 1980-2000 (chapbook). Columbus, OH: Pudding House Publications, 2000.

A Space Filled With Moving. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh Press, 1992.

Windfall: New and Selected Poems. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh Press, 2000.

Years That Answer. New York: Harper & Row, 1980.

After the Bell: Contemporary American Prose about School. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2007. Co-edited by David Hassler.

Backcountry: Contemporary Writing in West Virginia, edited by Irene McKinney. Morgantown [W.Va.]: Vandalia Press, 2002.

A Gathering of Poets. [an anthology of poems collected and read to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Kent State shootings] Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1992. Co-edited by Alex Glidzen.

Hill Daughter: New and Selected PoemsEdited with an Introduction by Maggie Anderson. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh P, 1993.

Learning by Heart, Contemporary American Poetry about SchoolIowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1999. Co-edited by David Hassler.

The Next of Us Is About to be Born: Poems from the Wick Poetry Series in Honor of the 25th Anniversary of the Wick Poetry CenterKent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2009.

 McNeill, LouiseHill Daughter: New and Selected PoemsEdited with an Introduction by Maggie Anderson. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 1993.

McNeill, Louise. Milkweed Ladies. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1988.

Trellis: A Magazine of Poetry and Poetics (Morgantown: The Trellis Press Association, 1971-81). Co-editor with Irene McKinney

Wick Poetry Series of the Kent State University Press.

Poems on online


Various websites about Maggie Anderson, her works, and biographical information.



2005 --  Iron Mountain Review- Maggie Anderson Issue: Volume XXI, Spring

2004  --  Featured author at the 23rd Literary Festival at Emory and Henry College in Virginia

2004  --  Distinguished Scholar Award from Kent State University

2004  --  Included on the West Virginia Literary Map, From A Place Called Solid: West Virginia and its Writers, from the West Virginia Folk Life Center at Fairmont State University

2003  --  Helen and Laura Krout Memorial Ohioan Poetry Award

2002  --  University Distinguished Teaching Award from Kent State University Alumni Association

2000  --  Ohio Arts Council Poetry Fellowship

1994, 1993  --  Pushcart Prize Honorable Mention

1994, 1991  --  National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry

1991, 1981  --  National Endowment for the Arts Individual Writer‘s Fellowships

1991, 1983, 1980  --  Nominated for Pushcart Prize

1980  --  West Virginia Arts and Humanities Commission Fellowship

1980  --  West Virginia Commission on the Arts Fellowship in Poetry

1980  --  Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship

1980  --  MacDowell Colony Fellowship

1979  --  Great Horned Owl won Best Small Press Books from the American Library Association

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