Isaac Pressnell, MFA

Division Chair, Associate Professor of English

I have always been drawn to creative writing because it is a means of investigating the human experience that also helps engender an authentic connection to others. It is a powerful tool for feeling less alone and untethered in our messy and often-terrifying world.


Poetry in particular is my passion, but I’m also really into comics and film. I don’t subscribe to a particular school of poetry, but I tend to write in a narrative mode. Somewhat recently, I have become enamored with experimental and collaborative writing. A poem from one of my experimental projects appears in the anthology, Best American Experimental Writing 2015. Other poems of mine have appeared in American Literary Review, Carrier Pigeon, Cream City Review, Harpur Palate, Hotel Amerika, Indiana Review, Mid-American Review, Ninth Letter, RedividerSouthern Indiana Review and elsewhere.

As much as I love writing poetry, teaching poetry (and creative writing in general) is one of the joys of my life. Engaging with student work is endlessly rewarding, and there are few things I enjoy more than watching a class turn into a close-knit community. What I love most about Graceland is its unique ability to create a strong sense of community from such a diverse group of people, and the writing community here is no exception.

When school is out, I spend my time traveling and backpacking, sometimes with my wife, Raquel, and sometimes with some of my colleagues. Perhaps my greatest summer achievement was hiking a 500-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail over the course of a month, starting in Vermont and finishing at the northern terminus of the trail at the top of Mt. Katahdin in Maine. Raquel and I also often spend a chunk of our summer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with her family.

Office Location

Briggs Hall, Rm 17

Mail Location

Briggs Hall, Rm 17