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Melissa Studdard

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Melissa Studdard
Studdard reading at Flintridge Bookstore and Coffeehouse in Los Angeles in 2012
EducationUniversity of Houston (BA, MA)
Sarah Lawrence College (MFA)
Known forDear Selection Committee, I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast
WebsiteMelissa Studdard

Melissa Studdard was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and is an American author, poet, talk show host, and professor. Her most recent book is the poetry collection Dear Selection Committee. The title poem from her collection I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast was produced as a short film and featured as an official selection at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival and the Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Film Festival.[1] Her middle-grade novel, Six Weeks to Yehidah won a Forward National Literature Award and Pinnacle Book Achievement Award.[2] The accompanying journal, My Yehidah, was released in December 2011 and was adopted by art and play therapists for clinical use in adolescent therapy sessions.[3]

Studdard is a full-time college professor at Lone Star College–Tomball. She is the former host and producer of VIDA Voices & Views for Vida: Women in Literary Arts.[4] In her podcast work she has interviewed such figures as Jane Hirshfield, Rita Dove, Julia Cameron, Robert Pinsky, Patricia Smith, Cheryl Strayed, Joy Harjo, and Krista Tippett. Studdard is also a past president of the Women's Caucus and moderated their annual meeting at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference.[5] She is also an honorary Professor at the International Art Academy in Volos, Greece.[6] She co-hosts the poetry series "Poems You Need" with Kelli Russell Agodon.

Early life[edit]

Melissa Studdard was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States, and was raised in Texas. She received her B.A. (1991) and M.A. (1995) from the University of Houston, and her M.F.A. (1997) from Sarah Lawrence College.

While at the University of Houston, Studdard worked on the college's literary journal, Gulf Coast, as a production editor, curated the Gulf Coast Reading Series, and taught college courses for the Houston Community College System.

While at Sarah Lawrence College, she worked as an assistant editor at Chelsea (magazine) and taught for City University of New York at Baruch College, John Jay College, and Hunter College. She then briefly taught at San Jose State University and the University of Houston–Downtown, prior to accepting a full-time teaching position with Lone Star College in 2001.[7]


  • Dear Selection Committee, (Jackleg Press, 2022) ISBN 9781733023313
  • Like a Bird with a Thousand Wings, with Christopher Theofanidis (Saint Julian Press, 2020) ISBN 9781733023313
  • I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast (Saint Julian Press, 2014) ISBN 9780988944756 [8]
  • The Tiferet Talk Interviews (Tiferet Press, 2013) ISBN 9780615737591
  • My Yehidah (All Things That Matter Press, 2011) ISBN 9780984721566
  • Six Weeks to Yehidah (All Things That Matter Press, 2011) ISBN 9780984651702

Selected short works[edit]

Studdard's work has been published in multiple journals, magazines, newspapers, blogs sites, and anthologies, including The New York Times,[9] The Best American Poetry,[10] Ms. Magazine,[11] Poetry (magazine),[12]The Guardian,[13] The Academy of American Poets' Poem-a-Day,[14] Southern Humanities Review,[15] Kenyon Review,[16] Harvard Review,[17] Verse Daily,[18] Missouri Review,[19] and Psychology Today.[20][21]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 2023 Winner: Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest.[22]
  • 2022 Finalist: Julie Suk Award.[23]
  • 2020: Winner: Lucille Medwick Memorial Award for poem on a humanitarian theme for "Migration Patterns". Poetry Society of America.[24]
  • 2020: Longlist: The Emerging Poet Award. Palette Poetry.[25]
  • 2020: Runner Up: The Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Prize for "In the house, I built another house" and "When my lover says hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia". Munster Literature Centre.[26]
  • 2019: Winner: The Penn Review Poetry Prize for "The Pain is so resplendent it has babies". The Penn Review.[27]
  • 2019: Winner: Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for "Migration Patterns". Winning Writers.[28]
  • 2019: Runner Up: Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Prize'. The Missouri Review.[29]
  • 2019: Winner: REELpoetry Audience Choice Award 2019 for I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast. REELpoetry International Film Festival.[30]
  • 2019: Shortlist: Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 2019 for "Fascinating the Parts of Us". Aesthetica Magazine.[31]
  • 2019: Poet-in-Residence: Hermitage Artist Retreat.[32]
  • 2019: Semifinalist: Jack Grapes Poetry Prize 2019. Cultural Weekly.[33]
  • 2018: Winner: Kathak Literary Award 2018/19. Dhaka International Poets Summit.[34]
  • 2015: Inclusion: Bettering American Poetry for "Respect"[35]
  • 2015: Finalist: Readers’ Favorite Bronze Award for I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast [36]
  • 2013: Winner: International Book Award for 2013 Six Weeks to Yehidah [37]
  • 2013: Winner: Readers Favorite Award for The Tiferet Talk Interviews [38]
  • 2013: Winner: The Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for The Tiferet Talk Interviews [39]
  • 2012: Finalist: Readers Favorite Award for Six Weeks to Yehidah[40]
  • 2012: Finalist: The National Indie Excellence Award for Six Weeks to Yehidah[41]
  • 2012: Winner: The Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Six Weeks to Yehidah[42]
  • 2011: Winner: The Forward National Literature Award for Six Weeks to Yehidah[43] Archived 2012-04-25 at the Wayback Machine


  1. ^ "I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast". Motionpoems. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  2. ^ Forward National Literature Archived 2012-04-25 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Chiron Volume 31 Jung Foundation of Ontario" (PDF).
  4. ^ "About VIDA Voices & Views". VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. 2015-11-12. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  5. ^ "AWP: Conference Schedule". awpwriter.org. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  6. ^ "International Art Academy". www.artsociety.gr.
  7. ^ "Melissa Studdard - Bio". SAINT JULIAN PRESS, Inc. Retrieved 2023-05-16.
  8. ^ Sandage, Chivas (2022-11-30). "Ms. Muse: Melissa Studdard on the Power of Poetry to Create the World We Want". Ms. Magazine. Retrieved 2023-05-16.
  9. ^ "Being Women: Poetry and Imagery". The New York Times. 2018-08-17. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  10. ^ "The Best American Poetry". The Best American Poetry.
  11. ^ "Ms. Muse: Melissa Studdard on the Power of Poetry to Create the World We Want". Ms. Magazine. 30 November 2022.
  12. ^ Foundation, Poetry (November 22, 2022). "Melissa Studdard". Poetry Foundation.
  13. ^ Spencer, Jane. "Huddled masses? Losers! Trump v Statue of Liberty". the Guardian. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  14. ^ egonzalez (2015-06-22). "Respect by Melissa Studdard - Poems | Academy of American Poets". Respect. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  15. ^ "The 2010s". Southern Humanities Review. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  16. ^ https://www.https://kenyonreview.org/journal/novdec-2019/selections/out-loud-nd19/. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ Healy, Laura. "Home". Harvard Review. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  18. ^ "Verse Daily: Integrating the Shadow by Melissa Studdard". www.versedaily.org. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  19. ^ "Poems: Melissa Studdard | The Missouri Review". Retrieved 2023-05-16.
  20. ^ "Gratitude and Passion: To Love One Thing". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  21. ^ "Tiferet Staff". Tiferet Journal. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  22. ^ "Melissa Studdard and Chelsea Dingman Win the 17th Annual Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest Sponsored by Winning Writers". PRWeb. Retrieved 2023-05-16.
  23. ^ "Julie Suk Award". Julie Suk Award. 11 February 2019.
  24. ^ "Lucille Medwick Memorial Award".
  25. ^ "Winners of the 2020 Emerging Poet Prize!". 10 July 2020.
  26. ^ "Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Competition".
  27. ^ "Penn Review Prizes".
  28. ^ "Migration Patterns - Winning Writers".
  29. ^ "Past Winners | the Missouri Review".
  30. ^ "NameBright - Coming Soon".
  31. ^ "Aesthetica Magazine - Shortlist 2019". Aesthetica Magazine.
  32. ^ "Favorite Poem Project". poetrylifesrq.
  33. ^ "2019 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize – the Semifinalists - Cultural Daily". 16 October 2019.
  34. ^ "LSC-Tomball Professor Melissa Studdard Selected for International Literary Award". fatcatwebproductions.com.
  35. ^ "Voices of Bettering American Poetry 2015 — Melissa Studdard • VIDA: Women in Literary Arts". October 5, 2016.
  36. ^ "2015 Book Award Contest Winners". Readers' Favorite.
  37. ^ "International Book Award Winner -- 2013". Archived from the original on 2020-06-06. Retrieved 2014-12-26.
  38. ^ "Readers Favorite Award Winner -- 2013". Archived from the original on 2014-12-26. Retrieved 2014-12-26.
  39. ^ "Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards For 2013". bookmarketingprofits.com.
  40. ^ "Readers Favorite Award Winner -- 2012". Archived from the original on 2012-07-03. Retrieved 2012-07-10.
  41. ^ "Indie Excellence Award Winner -- 2012". Archived from the original on 2012-07-02. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
  42. ^ "Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards For 2011". bookmarketingprofits.com.
  43. ^ The Forward National Literature Award Winner -- 2011

External links[edit]