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English professor publishes four pieces in 2021

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Posted on Monday, November 1, 2021

Three poems and a short story written by a member of Westminster College’s English faculty have been published during recent months.

Assistant Professor of English Dr. Trisha Cowen composed the poems “Nantucket Island, 1971,” “Roadkill” and “Shooting: An Ode to My Daughter, Yet to Be Born,” all published during spring and fall 2021. She also has a new fiction piece out called “A Reef, Someday.”

Cowen is relatively new to writing poetry. As one who has written exclusively in long form—creating manuscripts, essays and short stories that “really want to be novels”—Cowen said it wasn’t until she became a mother that she began writing poetry.

“Motherhood compelled me to slow down, to hesitate on a single image, to linger on the beauty of writing in its most condensed and microscopic form,” she said.

“Shooting: An Ode to My Daughter, Yet to Be Born,” a poem about parenting in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, was featured in the spring 2021, issue 15 edition of Cheat River Review, an online literary magazine dedicated to showcasing the talents of emerging and established writers, run by West Virginia University’s MFA program.

Cowen’s poem “Nantucket Island, 1971,” published in the summer 2021 edition of Passengers Journal, commemorates the Stonewall riots of June 1969, a series of events between police and LGBTQ+ protesters which stretched over six days. The poem explores the pervasive effects of homophobia and conformity.

“Roadkill,” published in August by Ember Chasm Review, is a poem about the world collectively looking away from traumatic events and trauma, unless it directly affects them. It's about a new mother driving home and seeing a dead mother deer on the side of the road and contemplating the loss while her own baby cries in the backseat.

“A Reef, Someday,” a short fiction piece inspired by the underwater sculptures of artist Jason deCaires Taylor, was featured in the summer 2021 issue of the Hawai’i Pacific Review.  The piece is about what happens after an artist puts their work out into the world. The online literary magazine of Hawai’i Pacific University features poetry and prose by authors from Hawai’i, the mainland and around the world.

Cowen, who joined the Westminster faculty in 2018, earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in writing, literature and publishing from Emerson College and a doctorate in literature and creative writing from Binghamton University. She specializes in creative writing, American multicultural literature and transnational literature.

Her creative work has appeared in The Portland Review, Bitter Oleander Press and Solstice Magazine, among many others. She is the author of the chapbook "Mobiles in the Sky" (2014), published by Gertrude Press.

For more information, visit or email her at