My mother, from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and my father, from Waterville, Maine, met in Washington D.C. during World War II, had an epistolary courtship while my father served in the South Pacific, and married in Winnipeg after the war. I was born in Washington D.C. but grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, attended The Ohio State University, lived in New Jersey for a few years, and returned to Ohio State for graduate school in English. I have lived in Columbus ever since.
I married my husband, Patrick Fix in 1971, and we raised three children, Madeleine, Sonya, and Daniel, and a few pets too. And Pat’s son Eric, who passed away in May 2006, was also a beloved member of our family.
I taught in an adult literacy program in Atlantic City, at Ohio State, at Bishop Watterson High School, then, for the last twenty-nine years, at Columbus College of Art and Design. I am now an Emeritus Professor at Columbus College of Art and Design, still teaching a bit, whether Writing and the Arts, Film and Literature, American Literature, Writing Poetry, Introduction to Literature, and various Literary Studies classes like The Artist as Protagonist, Reading Poetry, Word and Image, and Road Trip: The Picaresque Novel. I chaired the English and Philosophy Department from the mid to late nineties until summer, 2012.
I started writing poems when I was eight, wrote through adolescence, went on pause while raising children, then suddenly started buying reams of paper and pens, and lo! I was writing again. I have performed readings locally and throughout Ohio. I helped run the Poetry Forum at Larry’s for years (now The Poetry Forum at Rumba Café), and I have been workshopping and performing readings with five local poets, The House of Toast Poets, for something like fifteen years.
I received poetry fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council in 1993 and the Greater Columbus Arts Council in 1995 and 2002, the latter the Columbus Literary Award administered by the Thurber House. And I have published poems in various literary magazines, among them Poetry, Hotel Amerika, The Antioch Review, Mudfish, Negative Capability The Ohio Review, Cincinnati Review, Chicago Review, The Journal, Manhattan Review, Artful Dodge, and Rattle.
My chapbook Mischief (2003) is available from Pudding House Publications, and my collection of poems, Flowering Bruno: A Dography (2006) is available from XOXOX Press. The poems in Flowering Bruno--inspired by a pup one of my CCAD students found in a box on a church steps and encouraged me to take home--are illustrated by friend and retired CCAD philosophy professor, Susan Josephson. And my chapbook Charlene Fix: Greatest Hits, 1998-2012 was published in fall of 2012 by Kattywompus Press. A new collection of poems, Frankenstein's Flowers, was published by CW Books in 2014.
I have won two national awards from The Poetry Society of America. Eleanor Wilner chose ten of my poems from the “Filmography” section of Frankenstein's Flowers for the Robert H. Winner Memorial award in 2007. And David Lehman chose “On the Outskirts of Vertigo” for The Louis Hammer Memorial Award for a distinguished poem in the surrealist manner in 2011.
I also write criticism. My essay on the search for the father in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review in summer 2008. My essay, "Yes! and Yass: Dean Moriarty's Ecstatic and Lugubrious Affirmations in Jack Kerouac's On the Road," appeared n Xavier Review in 2014. Harpo Marx as Trickster, my book-length study of Harpo Marx in the thirteen Marx Brothers films, was published in spring 2013 by McFarland Publishers Inc.
I have a daily yoga practice. Every five years or so I pick up my guitar and try to play again. I hike with my husband. And I love watching films, especially old screwball Hollywood, the Marx Brothers, French New Wave, and Italian Neo-Realism. Reading is my drug of choice, I love 19th Century American writers best, and admire and many contemporary writers. But most, I love the gifted makers of poems through the ages, including our own. I read them, appreciating their ecstasy and labor and perseverance. Whitman and Dickinson are my rabbi and therapist. Hopkins, Celan, Hayden, Kinnell, Olds, Levine, Stern, Simic and many others teach me and teach me.