Ryan G. Van Cleave

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Ryan Van Cleave (born 1972, in Neenah, Wisconsin) is an American poet, editor, and creative writing teacher. Van Cleave was born as Ryan G Anderson. He changed his name in 2006 in tribute to his long standing World of Warcraft arena team.


He was raised in the Chicago suburbs. He taught creative writing at a number of U.S. universities including Florida State University, the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and Clemson University. He is the author of nineteen books, including the creative writing textbook Contemporary American Poetry: Behind the Scenes and the poetry collection The Magical Breasts of Britney Spears. His work has been published in The Christian Science Monitor, The Iowa Review, Harvard Review, Mid American Review,[1] The Missouri Review, Puerto del Sol,[2] Ploughshares,[3] The Progressive, Southern Humanities Review,[4] TriQuarterly, and Writer's Digest. In 2006 he co-founded C&R Press (with fellow poet Chad Prevost), a non-profit literary organization that publishes early career poets and offers free community writing workshops throughout the Southeastern US. He currently works as a freelance writer, writing coach, and script doctor in Sarasota, Florida; he also is a Professor of Liberal Arts at Ringling College of Art + Design and a contributing writer for Scene Magazine.[5]

In 2010, he published Unplugged: My Journey into the Dark World of Video Game Addiction, which was the first memoir on video game addiction; subsequently he became a popular speaker on digital media addiction and recovery at schools, conferences, and corporate events. After learning that a chair he sat in at Northern Illinois University had bullet holes in it after Steven Kazmierczak's school shooting on February 14, 2008, Van Cleave wrote a young adult book about gun violence in schools called Unlocked. This book received a Gold Medal in Young Adult Literature from the Florida Book Awards and was named a Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers by the American Library Association. About writing for young audiences, Van Cleave says, "They're the best audience in the world. They read for the pure pleasure of it, and they're at a crucial point in their lives where the right book at the right time can change everything for them."


Van Cleave was the 2000-2001 Anastasia C. Hoffman Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin–Madison's Institute of Creative Writing.[6] He was the 2007-2008 Jenny McKean Moore Writer-in-Washington at George Washington University.[7] His story "The Dynamite Train" received the 2006 Story of the Year prize from Spout Magazine. His poetry anthology Like Thunder: Poets Respond to Violence in America received the American Poetry Anthology Award (2003). His poem Aesculapius in the Underworld was included in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror (St. Martin's, 2002). He received the Theodore Christian Hoepfner Award from Southern Humanities Review in 2000. Also in 2000, he was an Edward H. and Marie C. Kingsbury Fellow at Florida State University.


Van Cleave obtained a B.A. in English from Northern Illinois University in 1994, a M.A. in American Literature from Florida State University in 1997, and a Ph.D. in American Literature from Florida State University in 2001.




  • Virgil Suárez, Ryan G. Van Cleave, eds. (2001). American diaspora: poetry of displacement. University of Iowa Press. ISBN 978-0-87745-746-6. 
  • Virgil Suárez, Ryan G. Van Cleave, eds. (2002). Like thunder: poets respond to violence in America. University of Iowa Press. ISBN 978-0-87745-791-6. 
  • Virgil Suárez, Ryan G. Van Cleave, eds. (2003). Vespers: contemporary American poems of religion and spirituality. University of Iowa Press. ISBN 978-0-87745-855-5. 
  • Virgil Suárez, Ryan G. Van Cleave, eds. (2004). Red, white, and blues: poets on the promise of America. University of Iowa Press. ISBN 978-0-87745-917-0. 


  1. ^ Mid-American Review. Popular Press. 2000-01-01. 
  2. ^ Puerto del sol. Writing Center of New Mexico State University. 2003-01-01. 
  3. ^ "Read By Author | Ploughshares". www.pshares.org. Retrieved 2016-04-10. 
  4. ^ Southern Humanities Review. Auburn University. 2000-01-01. 
  5. ^ Scene Magazine
  6. ^ "CW - Former Fellows". Retrieved 2009-02-26. 
  7. ^ "George Washington University English Department". Retrieved 2009-02-26. 

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