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, where I specialized in poetry and poetics. My poetry collection Adelante (Switchback Books, 2020) was selected by Patricia Smith as winner of the 2019 Gatewood Prize, and individual poems can be found in Shenandoah, jubilat, The Academy of American Poets' Poem-a-Day Series, and elsewhere. In addition to writing, I read submissions for Memorious: A Journal of New Verse and Fiction and Split Lip Magazine. I also volunteer for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, a non-profit organization that works to address identity-based imbalances in the literary landscape. 

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