Lakeland Welcomes New Assistant Writing Professor


Reece Colberg

Lakeland University welcomes new Assistant Professor of Writing, Madeleine Wattenberg.

Rachel Pagel, Staff Reporter

Lakeland University has recently welcomed a new Assistant Professor of Writing. Madeleine Wattenberg starts next semester, and she will teach a variety of composition, core and creative writing classes. Her core classes will relate to her scholarly expertise of ecostudies and feminist and queer theory. Wattenberg has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, Masters in English from University of Cincinnati, a Master of Fine Arts in poetry from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA and a PhD in Creative Writing from University of Cincinnati. When Wattenberg was asked why she decided to teach at Lakeland University she stated, “I am really excited about Lakeland University’s emphasis on experiential learning, the opportunity to design and teach a variety of classes, and the close community that a small university cultivates.” She is also excited about watching her dad attempt to surf on Lake Michigan when he visits.

Wattenberg has been teaching composition, environmental literature and creative writing courses for around eight years. She also has experience in editorial roles. For example, she spent two years as an Associate Editor for the Cincinnati Review. Along with publishing numerous poems, interviews, reviews, and essays in journals, her poetry collection I/O was published with the University of Arkansas Press last April. Her poetry I/O collection was a finalist for the 2021 Miller Williams Poetry Prize. When questioned what motivates her to write she explained, “Poetry can do a lot of things—it can turn us outward or inward. It can be a very personal, solitary endeavor and it can be very communal. I like to embrace all of these aspects, but, for me, poetry is a form of transformative thinking. I want to feel changed by it. I want to finish writing a poem as a different person than when I began.” Wattenberg also uses poetry as a way of holding on to memories.

Wattenberg stated explain what she is most looking forward to, “Conversations in the classroom and, hopefully, helping students find forms of expression that allow them to articulate what is important to them, whether that is through an essay or a poem or a writing form not yet invented. ” Her favorite poets include Gwendolyn Brooks, Adrienne Rich, Harryette Mullen, Cathy Park Hong, Canisia Lubrin, and Oliver Baez Bendorf. She also stated her other favorite books, “I also have soft spots for John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and Alexande Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo.” Some fun facts about Wattenberg are that she is a lifelong vegetarian, has a cat named Pandora and she loves K-pop.