Jessica Guzman

Jessica B. Guzman, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Co-Coordinator of Creative Writing Program

Affiliated Programs


  • PhD, English, Creative Writing Emphasis (2019)
    University of Southern Mississippi (MS)
  • MFA, Creative Writing (2015)
    West Virginia University (WV)
  • BA, English (2011)
    University of South Florida (FL)

About Me

I received my PhD from the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers. My collection Adelante (Switchback Books, 2020) was selected by Patricia Smith as winner of the Gatewood Prize, and individual poems can be found in Shenandoah, The Academy of American Poets' Poem-a-Day, and elsewhere. In addition to writing, I chair Poetry and Poetry Studies for the Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association and serve on the masthead of Memorious: A Journal of New Verse and Fiction.

In my courses, I encourage students to see writing and reading as ways of making connections: connecting with a community, connecting with other texts, and connecting with the self. Whether workshopping student works or discussing writing strategies, our purpose is never to write by committee; rather, the value of workshop and discussion comes from recognizing how different strategies and styles make different connections.

At Home with Humanities

Take a virtual tour of the Humanities Department featuring artwork from our students and published works from our faculty


Research Interests

My research focuses primarily on all things poetry and poetics. My book, Adelante, is a collection of poetry that examines the relationships between place and loss, juxtaposing the death of my Cuban father with the suffering and resilience of the natural world. I am also interested in global poetic forms and ekphrastic modes. Other creative pursuits include creative nonfiction and place-based writing. My critical interests include immigrant, Latinx, and Caribbean literatures, and I have presented scholarship on writers such as Eduardo C. Corral and Derek Walcott. Whether crafting original poetry or critically engaging literature by others, I am interested in how images conceal and reveal ideas.  


  • Guzman, J. (2020). Adelante. Switchback Books.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

  • Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP)
  • Popular Culture Association (PCA)


  • Gatewood Prize, Switchback Books (2019)
  • Poetry Award, American Literary Review (2017)
  • Milton Kessler Memorial Prize for Poetry, Harpur Palate (2017)
  • Poetry Scholarship, Tin House Winter Workshop (2017)


In the Media


  • Writing Faculty Named Periclean Faculty Leader

    Assistant Professor and Co-Coordinator of Creative Writing Jessica Guzman has been selected as a Periclean Faculty Leader by Project Pericles, a national group of colleges and universities committed to furthering and promoting civic engagement in higher education. 

    Periclean Faculty Leaders create and teach courses across various disciplines that tackle large-scale issues such as climate change, public health, voter engagement, and many more. This award comes with funding dedicated for use in creating and implementing a new course, which will be implemented in the Spring 2023 semester.  

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  • Three Humanities Faculty Invited to Join Summer Leadership Development Program

    Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing Jessica Guzman, Assistant Professor of English Christine Woody, and Assistant Professor of Sociology Jennifer Padilla Wyse have been invited to participate in Swarthmore College’s Humanities Leadership Development Program. 

    This program is designed for faculty in the humanities and will provide facilitated discussions, guest speakers, case studies, and more for faculty from Widener and select other Philadelphia-area colleges and universities. The goal is to support faculty in growing their leadership skills and continuing to step into leadership roles within their institutions. The experience is funded by a grant from The Mellon Foundation, a known advocate for humanities and the arts.

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