About Us

Department of English and Linguistics - Curtis Crisler

Curtis Crisler

Curtis Crisler

Associate Professor



I was born and raised in Gary, Indiana. I received a BA in English, with a minor in Theatre, from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), and I received my MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

When teaching, I want students to discover their writing voices. Voice is specific and descriptive to each writer. I enjoyed the voices of characters in the literature I was taught, but I also yearned for voices that resembled mine. June Jordan: poet/writer/teacher/activist, who edited the anthology soulscript, says in the anthology’s introduction, “Poems are voiceprints of language, or if you prefer, soulscript” (xvi-xvii). I want to teach students that once they establish their voice, it transfers to all aspects of writing and critical thinking.



Southern Illinois University Carbondale

MFA, Poetry (2004)

Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne

B.A., English; Minor: Theatre (1999)


Areas of Expertise

As a scholar, poetry is my specialization, but I also publish in the genres of fiction, drama, creative nonfiction, and essay. I am enthralled with voice, and how an author creates her tone, persona, and style. For me, the various complex and compelling voices and cultures in our literature exhibit how so many backgrounds, beliefs, and races address why and how we are who we are. When hired as a faculty member at IPFW, I inherited, and returned to a place I call home, where I could continue research on my passion with poetry and writing, and to use my voice academically. Writing is a vital communication tool we share to understand one another. It is through this communicative art that we learn about ourselves, about others, and our history. I’m interested in Dadaism, Surrealism, the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement, the Beat Movement, the Black Mountain Poets, Cave Canem, The Dark Room Collective, the Affrilachian Poets, and Afrofuturism to name a few. I’m enthralled with artists resembling the voices of people like my parents, friends, and neighbors, such as Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, Jean Toomer, Lawrence Jacobs, and Frank X Walker. This moved me to find refuge in Black voices in the margin of society (the “Black Aesthetic” and what I call “The New Black”), which helped me establish my voice. It is through my understanding of my own environment that I’m able to decipher why we do what we do as humans, and as a community. Because of the above mentioned, I coined my writing as an “urban Midwestern sensibility,” and define it as “the community and creativity of the varied relationships of descendants from the southern migration, where I explore their relationship to place/environment, history, family, and self.”



  • Creative Writing: Poetry  
  • Creative Writing: Fiction 
  • The Performance of Poetry
  • Writing Fiction
  • Advanced Fiction Writing 
  • Technical Report Writing
  • Composition
  • Creative Non-Fiction