Donora Hillard

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Donora A. Rihn
Donora Hillard-Hare.jpg
Born1982 (age 36–37)
Alma materKing's College, Wilkes University, Rutgers University Camden, Wayne State University
Period2006 – present

Donora A. Rihn (née Hillard; born 1982) is an American educator and author. She was first made notable in the fields of institutional critique and trauma studies, specifically for her first full-length collection of feminist poetry published when she was 27 years old.[1] Her projects have appeared on CNN,[2] WBEZ Chicago,[3] and MSNBC,[4] owing to her inclusion in a Norton Anthology of hint fiction.[5]

She has published several works of hybrid text, poetry, and theory: Parapherna (2006), Exhibition (2008), Theology of the Body (2010), Covenant (2012), and The Aphasia Poems (2014). In 2015, her play The Plagiarist was produced in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts' The Big Read initiative.[6] In 2016, Cobalt Press published her most recent full-length poetry collection, Jeff Bridges. As of 2017, she frequently collaborates with her husband, the writer and scholar Andrew Rihn.[7]

Early life[edit]

Rihn was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. "Home for me," Rihn has said of the rural setting of her upbringing, "is being lost in the woods with people telling stories about something terrible all around you."[8] Some of her earliest works of poetry were recognized locally.[9]

She later matriculated at King's College, where she would become President of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society, and attain a membership to the Aquinas Society, the King's College honor society.[10]

Academic career[edit]

After completing her BA in English from King's College (Pennsylvania) in just under three years, Rihn went on to pursue an MA in creative writing from Rutgers University. She would later finish that degree and also receive her MFA in creative writing from Wilkes University in 2008.

It was during her tenure as an English instructor at a private Roman Catholic high school near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania that Rihn cultivated the experiences that would inform Theology of the Body, her first full-length poetry collection. In 2014, while teaching composition and literature at Lawrence Technological University, Rihn's work, The Aphasia Poems, was published by S▲L. After moving to Northeast Ohio, Rihn completed the requirements for her PhD in English from Wayne State University.

Selected works[edit]

  • Theology of the Body (Gold Wake Press, 2010; rereleased as Covenant, Gold Wake Press, 2012) is a feminist response, through the fragmentation of form and memory, to the teachings of Pope John Paul II, also published under the same name (Theology of the Body).[11] This work of hybrid text would lead one staff reviewer at Kill Author to claim, "I think Donora Hillard has visionary powers."[12] In summarizing her own belief structure, Rihn has said that it "hinges upon the Gospel of Thomas and the phrase 'Talitha cumi,' which is Aramaic for 'Girl, get up.'"[13]
  • The Aphasia Poems (S▲L, 2014) is a collection of poems adapted with permission from Rihn's clients with linguistic disabilities, to whom she was a disability advocate and mentor in Wayne County, Michigan.[14] According to one reviewer, while some writers might be inclined to "speak about or for these individuals, Hillard allows them to speak for themselves."[14]
  • Jeff Bridges (Cobalt Press, 2016) was published in April 2016 and critically acclaimed.[15]


Books and Chapbooks of Poetry[edit]

  • Parapherna (dancing girl press, 2006)
  • Exhibition (Gold Wake Press, 2008)
  • Theology of the Body (Gold Wake Press, 2010)
  • Covenant (with Zachary C. Bush) (Gold Wake Press, 2012)
  • The Aphasia Poems (S▲L, 2014)
  • Jeff Bridges (with illustrations by Goodloe Byron) (Cobalt Press, 2016)
  • The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: An Election Cycle (with Andrew Rihn) (Moria Books/Locofo Chaps, 2017)
  • The Day of Small Things (with Andrew Rihn) (Really Serious Literature, 2018)


  • The Plagiarist[6] (2015)


  • "'But this is a world': Alzheimer’s writing and punk pedagogy" (Lybba, 2012)
  • "Interfaces and Infrastructures: Examining New Media Objects in the English Studies Classroom" (Pedagogy, 2012)


Awards and recognition[edit]

  • 2010 – "Departure" was included in Norton's first anthology of hint fiction.[5]


  1. ^ Staff, Harriet (August 25, 2010). "Donora Hillard explains it all". Poetry Foundation. Archived from the original on February 19, 2011. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  2. ^ Grinberg, Emanuella (August 17, 2012). "5 states in 7 days bonding over whiskey and a shared love of writing". Archived from the original on October 11, 2014. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
  3. ^ "Series A: Donora Hillard, Julia Miller and Eric Gelehrter". WBEZ. October 6, 2010. Archived from the original on October 27, 2015. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  4. ^ "Hint Fiction". NBC News. Archived from the original on October 22, 2013. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Departure",; accessed June 6, 2017.
  6. ^ a b "The Big Read One-Act Plays". April 21, 2015. Archived from the original on October 27, 2015. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Hillard, Donora. "The Blair Witch Project". Archived from the original on October 27, 2015. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  9. ^ "ONLY YESTERDAY: Steve Skammer pitched no-hit game in Wyoming Valley Baseball League 1975". Times Leader. May 11, 2015. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  10. ^ Faux, Sandra (March 4, 2004). "KING'S COLLEGE RECOGNIZES STUDENTS' ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS". Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  11. ^ Ripatrazone, Nicholas (2013). The fine delight: postconciliar Catholic literature. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books. p. 134. ISBN 978-1-62032-172-0. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  12. ^ Castillo, Elaine (October 29, 2010). "Elaine Castillo on Donora Hillard". Kill Author. Archived from the original on October 25, 2015. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  13. ^ Keating, Andrew. "Interview: Donora Hillard". Cobalt Review. Archived from the original on November 15, 2013. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  14. ^ a b Veladota, Christina (July 27, 2014). "The Aphasia Poems". maybesopoetry. Archived from the original on December 9, 2014. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  15. ^