Syracuse, New York
Research Focus:Fiction writing, short stories, novels, Southern Literature, book reviewing
David Poissant has always had a passion for art. Throughout his childhood and teen years, he spent most of his time cartooning and dreamed of pursuing his love for drawing as his future. His goal was to become a visual artist and one day illustrate comics for Marvel.
As an undergraduate art student at Berry College in Georgia, Poissant made comics, editorials, reviews, and news items for the college paper. However, everything shifted when he discovered his love for a different form of art — writing. His love of writing became stronger than drawing, so he switched his major from art to journalism, then from journalism to English. Not only did he love to write, but he also loved to share his knowledge with others. He paired his English major with a Secondary Education minor and taught high school English in Atlanta four years after graduating.
Though teaching high school wasn’t a fit for him, Poissant realized how much he enjoyed teaching and knew he wanted to channel his love for his craft into educating students. He also wanted to focus more of his attention on writing fiction. “I got serious, wrote a bad novel, filed it away, wrote some bad short stories, wrote increasingly better stories, and hit a ceiling with my abilities,” he says. He knew he needed instruction, so he applied to MFA programs in creative writing, landed at the University of Arizona, and began to think seriously about life in academia and fiction writing.
Upon finishing his master’s degree and earning a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Cincinnati in 2011, Poissant began searching for teaching positions at various institutions around the country. He received many offers but decided that UCF would be the best fit for him, which turned out to be the right decision. “At UCF, I am fortunate to be in a position to put both students and writing first,” he says.
Currently, Poissant teaches undergraduate and graduate classes while advising the Graduate Writers Association and PARCELS, the UCF MFA student reading series. The most rewarding part of his job as an educator is seeing students grow, whether watching a graduate student sign a book contract with a major publisher or watching a student learn to differentiate between types of narrators. “Large or small, student learning inspires me to continue learning and contributing to my field,” he says.
For his work at the university, Poissant has received various awards and accolades. Recently, he was recognized at the 2021 Luminary Awards, which he describes as a great honor. In addition, he has achieved great success in his career, having published several notable works. His story collection The Heaven of Animals and his novel Lake Life were published in English by Simon & Schuster and translated into six additional languages. Lake Life is out now and was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection.
Poissant intends to continue pursuing his passion for writing while helping his students reach their artistic potential. “My field matters because art matters. I wouldn’t want to live in a world without art,” he says
- Advises the Graduate Writers Association and PARCELS
- Published works "The Heaven of Animals" and "Lake Life", were translated in six additional languages and one made the New York Times Editors’ Choice selection
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