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John Estes

John Estes

Contact Information:
Haviland Hall L20

Assistant Professor of English, Director of Creative Writing


Ph.D., University of Missouri
M.A., Wheaton College
B.A., University of Evansville


Before coming to Malone John taught writing and humanities at the University of Missouri, and prior to pursuing his doctoral work taught in a variety of settings, including a classical liberal arts academy and a democratic free school. Beyond writing and poetry, academic interests include dialogue and the pedagogy of discussion, ecological literature, and Eastern philosophy and religions.

He is currently at work on a second book of poems and has begun a film/writing project on the ethnography of falling water and the experience of wonder.

Recent Scholarly Work


Poems, prose, and translations have appeared in more than 80 journals, including Tin House, New Orleans Review, The Journal, Southern Review, Circumference, Another Chicago Magazine, Laurel Review, Iron Horse, and AGNI.

Recent Essays:

  • "The Unorthodox Greek Orthodoxy of Constantine Cavafy." Mother Tongue Theologies: Poets, Novelists, Non-Western Christianity.  Darren Middleton, ed. Wipf & Stock 2009. 32-47. 
  • "Notes toward an introduction for Charles Simic." Cream City Review. 33.2 (Fall 2009), 12-16.
  • "A Space for the Marvelous and the Murderous." inscape Vol. 34(2009): 99-103. 
  • "The Poem as Built Environment." Caesura (Fall 2007): 55-63.

For links to poems and prose online and more about John's work, see his website

Teaching Assignments

ENG 231: Introduction to Creative Writing
ENG 331: Poetry Writing
ENG 332: Fiction Writing
ENG 431: Advanced CW Workshop
ENG 325: Writers Series Seminar
ENG 460: Environmental Literature Seminar (Fall 2013)

Advisor to the Literary Journal

A Statement About Teaching

I propose to students what they already intuitively apprehend: that in the artistic interplay between language, culture and their sense of self there is a possibility for transforming all three. The stakes are not simply producing a literary product, but discovering a language that resets or modifies their terms of engagement with the world and offers this possibility to a reader.

Unlike most classes they’ve had in school, the writing workshop provides students an opportunity to activate aesthetic and emotional sensibilities alongside the intellectual and to be present in a way approaching (as the cliché goes) a whole person. Part of my task is bringing students into conversation with diverse styles and voices, to expand their sense of the possible and give them permission to experiment with forms, dictions, and personas. A turning point comes for many students when they realize that a literary work is not strictly a medium of self-expression, but a work of artifice that must consider with some strategy an addressed or overhearing audience.

My hope is always that students gain not only a repertoire of figures and devices and find in the tradition a reason to study it, but that with a deepened knowledge comes a deepened love for the discipline and attention needed to write well.