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Elisabeth Sharp McKetta


  • Education

    PhD, University of Texas

Elisabeth Sharp McKetta

Why I teach Creative Writing and Literature at Harvard Extension School

The students. They are outstanding. My favorite part of teaching is to see the communities that form when you get a bunch of writers together.

I’ve been a writer forever, even when I was making up stories and poems as a child; I think this is true of most writers. My teachers have helped refine my interests as I’ve gone along.

Student Collaborations

So many! Among them are the times in which students have become my collaborators – such as Margaret-Ann Simonetta on a CARC course combining writing and public speaking; and Kerry Garvin, on What Doesn’t Kill Her, an anthology of women’s resilience stories that we co-edited; many of my faculty aides (often former students) have become partners in some sort of great collaborative project.

My writing guide originated because of a student request. I know it is a cliché, but teachers grow so much by learning from their students.

More About Elisabeth

McKetta has taught writing for Harvard Extension School and Summer School since 2012 and was awarded the James E. Conway Excellence in Teaching Writing Award in 2018. She also teaches poetry for the Oxford Diploma in Creative Writing. She is the author of ten books including a biography, a writing guide, five books of poetry, a children’s book, an anthology of women’s resilience stories, and the novel She Never Told Me About the Ocean. Her poetry and prose have won awards and been published widely.

McKetta holds degrees from Harvard (BA, English), Georgetown (MA, English), and University of Texas (PhD, English). Much of her work focuses on the intersections between fairy tales and life writing. She lived three years in a tiny house with her young family, an adventure she discusses in her 2019 TEDx talk, Edit Your Life Like a Poem.

This summer she will release her first essay collection, Awake with Asashoryu, from Paul Dry Books.