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Janet Pocorobba

Associate Professor and Associate Director, MFA in Creative Writing


I am interested in building power and voice with language, and in writing true stories that push the edges of self. Both of my longer works-in-progress—one about Japan, one about Vermont—explore the self shaped by larger contexts—a culture, a community. In these books, a place, or a music almost becomes a character. I love stories of outsiders and how they interact with the world around them, and the painful process of growing up. My favorite book is The Great Gatsby. I write and love portraits and “double portraits,” with a narrator  as ‘witness,’ who reveals herself as much by what she is seeing as saying.

I work with mentees in writing, on the phone, however they need to work. Listening is my role, and I do that on lots of levels due to a background in psychoanalysis. What people don’t say and leave out is just as important as what they do!  “Who is this person writing the piece,” I want to know, “and how might they need to separate themselves from the work to see it more clearly?” My pet area of interest is point of view in memoir. I’m a word nerd. My second favorite book is a dictionary of synonyms. I believe that form leads to content. Writing is not just about self-expression but imposing limits. “Form gives you an enclosed space to work within and keep it from descending into chaos or tantrum,” said Billy Collins. The intuitive and artfulness comes only when one applies a shape. I learn this over and over again with my students and it never ceases to amaze me. Demystifying writing doesn’t have to take the magic out of it. It only adds to the awe.

For more information about Janet, visit her website: www.janetpocorobba.com



The Fourth String: A Memoir of Sensei and Me  (Stone Bridge Press, forthcoming February 2019)

Work has been published in the Rumpus, Harvard Review, The Writer, Kyoto Journal, Indiana Review, The Journal, Provincetown Arts, Metropolis, American Athenaeum, and others.



AWP, Grub Street Muse & Marketplace, Boston University, Writers’ Room of Boston, Brown University, Cambridge Center for Adult Education, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute


Turkey Land Cove Foundation Grantee, Vermont Studio Center Artists’ Residency, Bildner Creative Writing Scholar, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Scholar


International Women's Writing Guild, Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), Post Road, Writer's Room of Boston, PEN-New England, Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis, Grub Street, Simmons University, Lesley University Interdisciplinary Studies Master's Degree Programs, Lesley University Low-Residency Bachelor Completion Program, Japanese musical performance


M.A. in Psychoanalysis from the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis
M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Lesley University
M.A. in Linguistics,  Northeastern University
B.A. in French Language & Literature, Smith College.

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