Pen Name: None
Born: in La Jolla, California
Johnston lives in Evanston, Illinois and currently teaches writing and literature at DePaul University and Columbia College - both in Chicago.
Biographical and Professional Information
Johnston has worked as a forest fire fighter, cook, musician, photographer, shake splitter, and roofer, among other occupations. He did his undergraduate studies in English at California State University, Northridge, and holds a Master's in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in American Literature, both from the University of California, Davis. Johnston has also done extensive course work in Education. He now teaches writing and literature in Chicago at DePaul University and Columbia College. He has been teaching at Columbia since 1998.
As a poet, one of Johnston's passions has been to record impressions of wild areas such as the woods of eastern Washington and the Sierra Nevada. These efforts have resulted in three sequences: Northport,published by Finishing Line Press in 2010; Return, an eleven-poem sequence detailing a journey from Phoenix, Arizona, to Desolation Wilderness, and Range of Light. Poems from these sequences have appeared in Rhino, Weber Studies, Softblow, Jabberwock Review, Quarterly Review of Literature-Singapore, Poetry Midwest, and Art and Academe.
Johnston has received a fellowship in poetry from the Illinois Arts Council, and has published one book of poems - Tasks of Survival — two chapbooks (Northport and Departures), and had work appear in Poetry, Poetry East, Midwest Quarterly, California Quarterly, and over fifty other journals. Besides writing poetry, Dr. Johnston writes about the relations between poetry and environmentalism, including studies of Robinson Jeffers, Kenneth Rexroth, and Gary Snyder that have appeared in ISLE, AUMLA, and the book Writing as Enlightenment, a volume on Buddhism in American culture from SUNY Press. His long poem Sable, on the life of Phillis Wheatley, told in her voice, was recently published in the Seattle Review.
Johnston has published several scholarly articles in the areas of literary criticism and educational theory. He has served as president, vice president, and secretary of the Society for Philosophical Study of Education, and works on the editorial board of the online journal SPSE Roundtable. He is also co-editor of the Journal for the Philosophical Study of Education (JPSE). He serves as a reader of poetry for Word River and as a judge for the Illinois Center for the Book's Illinois Emerging Writers Competition - Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award.
Tasks of Survival, Mellen Poetry Press, 1996
Northport, Finishing Line Press, 2010
Departures, Finishing Line Press, 2013
Contingencies, Finishing Line Press, 2015
Titles at Your Library
Tasks of Survival: Poems 1970-1990
Release Date: 1996-01
Release Date: 2013
Illinois Arts Council Finalist Fellowship, 1999
Pushcart Prize nomination, 2009
First Prize in the Outrider Press Literary Anthology Poetry Contest, 2010
Speaking Engagements and Upcoming Appearances
Speaking Engagement Availability: (Yes)
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