Deborah A. Miranda Thomas H. Broadus, Jr. Professor of English Emeritus

Deborah A. Miranda

Deborah A. Miranda’s primary teaching and research topics include American Literature that is off the canonical map - in other words, contemporary American Lit by authors from the margins of U.S. culture.  This literature typically approaches America culture from directions previously unconsidered, as we see the world through the eyes of Native Americans, Chicanos and Chicanas, African Americans, Japanese Americans, Chinese Americans, Appalachians, Southern Americans, and more.  Contexts such as environmental issues, economic limitations, linguistic barriers/advantages, and historical trauma are all explored in voices typically not heard in mainstream literature.  Many of Professor Miranda's courses are cross-listed with Women's Studies, Shepherd Poverty Program, Latin American & Caribbean and African American Studies programs and, with permission of each program's director and Professor Miranda, may be taken for credit in those areas.


PhD. in English, University of Washington (2001)
M.A. in English, University of Washington (1999)
B.S., Teaching Moderate Special Needs Children, Wheelock College (1983)

Professor Miranda has studied creative writing with numerous authors, including Norma Alarcón, Dorothy Allison, Ruth Behar, Olga Broumas, Norma Cantu, Sandra Cisneros, Janice Gould, Linda Hogan, Mimi Khalvati, Kristin Naca, Grace Paley, and Leslie Marmon Silko. She is a member of Macondo, the writer's workshop founded by Sandra Cisneros, and the Native Writing Circle of the Americas. 


Native American poetry, memoir, fiction. Non-canonial American Literature (such as Women's literatures, Gay/Lesbian/Transgendered/Queer/2-Spirit literatures, Chicanx literatures).  California Indian literatures and histories arising out of the Mission, Mexican and American eras. And of course, hand-made books and other alternative textual constructions.

Professor Miranda's 2012-2013 and 2017-2018 sabbaticals were both funded by Lenfest Sabbatical Grants for her project, The Hidden Stories of Isabel Meadows and Other California Indian Lacunae.


Selected courses taught at Washington and Lee University:

ENGL 413 Disobedient Texts: Hybrids, Impurities, & Genre-benders in Life Narratives

ENGL 413 Gender, Class & Sexuality in American Literature

ENGL 413 Handmade Poetry: Workshop & Chapbook

ENGL 380 Chicano/a Literature

ENGL 359 Made in the U.S.A.: American Ethnic Literatures

ENGL 361 Contemporary Native American Literatures

ENGL 305 Advanced Creative Writing Workshop: Writing Outside The Lines - Hybrid, Boundary- Crossing, Genre-Bending, Mixed, Multi-, & Outlaw Creations

ENGL 307 Advanced Poetry Workshop

ENGL 308 Advanced Poetry Workshop: Fresh/Local/Wild: The Poetics and Politics of Food

ENGL 309 Advanced Creative Writing Workshop: Memoir

ENGL 413 Disobedient Texts: Hybrids, Impurities and Genre-benders in Life Narratives

ENGL 394 “Mother of All Women”: Gender in Chicana and Native American Women’s Literature

ENGL 299 The Native Writes Back: Indigenous Literature and U.S. History

ENGL 293/380 Home/Borderlands/Identity: Contemporary Chican@ Literature

ENGL 260 Literary Approaches to Poverty (xlisted with Shep Pov)

ENGL 262 Indigenous Women’s Literature of North America

ENGL 204 Beginning Poetry Workshop

WRIT 100 Memoir and Identity


Selected Poetry & Memoir Workshops Elsewhere:

Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. “Desert Nights, Rising Stars” speaker and memoir workshop
leader. February 22-23, 2019. Tempe, Arizona.

“Writing Bad Indians” talk and reading; “Writing Your Bad Indians” memoir workshop for Diné community
members. University of New Mexico, Albuquerque New Mexico. October 12-13, 2018.

“Summoning Creative Power.” Workshop leader. Memoir workshop at Provincetown’s Fine Arts Work Center.
July 8-13, 2018.

San Jose Poetry Festival, San Jose CA. October 21 & 22, 2017. Featured reader, workshop leader.

Selected Publications

Altar to Broken Things (forthcoming from BkMk Press 2020)
Raised By Humans (Tia Chucha Press 2015)
Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir (Heyday 2013)
Sovereign Erotics: An Anthology of Two-Spirit Writing (U of Arizona 2011)
The Zen of La Llorona: Poems (Salt 2005)
Indian Cartography: Poems (Greenfield Review 1999).

In Progress:
The Hidden Stories of Isabel Meadows (essays; under contract with U of Nebraska)

As Told To: Confessions of California Missions (poetry collection)

Selected Research

“They Were Tough, Those Old Women Before Us”: The Power of Gossip and Felt Theory in Isabel Meadows’ Narratives (Biography, 06/2016, Volume 39, Issue 3)

“Extermination of the Joyas: Gendercide in Spanish California” in The Gay and Lesbian Quarterly 16.1-2. January 2010, Duke U Press 2010

“Saying the Padre Had Grabbed Her: Rape is the Weapon, Story is the Cure” (Inter/texts, Fall 2010)

“Dildos, Hummingbirds and Driving Her Crazy: Searching for American Indian Women’s Love Poetry and Erotics” (Frontiers, 2002)

“What’s Wrong With a Little Fantasy? Storytelling from the (Still) Ivory Tower” and “Footnoting Heresy” (This Bridge We Call Home: Radical Visions for Transformation, Routledge 2002).

“Nomadic Tongues: American Indian Writers.” Shenandoah. Introduction to the special Native American portfolio issue. Ed. by R.T. Smith. v. 54 no. 3, 2004.

"A String of Textbooks: Artifacts of Composition Pedagogy in Indian Boarding Schools." The Journal of Teaching Writing. 16.2 (Fall 2000). Interview.

"I Don't Speak the Language that has the Sentences: An Interview with Paula Gunn Allen." Sojourner: The Women's Forum 24. 2 (Feb. 1999).

Recent Poetry & Essays

“Three Coyote Stories” and “Words I Would Use in a Sonnet to You,” in The Vassar Review, 2019.

“Excavation” (essay) and 5 poems (“Juliana, 1803,” “Indian Cartography,” “Novena to Bad Indians, ”Erasure: A Poem,” “Tears of the Sun” in Native Voices: Honoring Indigenous Poets of North America. Tupelo Press, 2019.

“Tuolumne” (reprint) in Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays by Contemporary Writers (University of Washington Press, 2019)

“After Charlottesville,” “The Last Poem,” & "Corazón Espinado,” in Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Fall 2018)

“Lunatic or Lover, Madman or Shaman: The Role of the Poet in Contemporary Culture(s).” Stealing Light: A Raven Chronicles Anthology. Raven Chronicle Press. 2018.

Poem. “Almost Midnight.” Split This Rock: The Quarry 7/15/18.

Three Poems. “Palimpsest,” “Love in the Margins,” “When You Forget Me” on Literary Hub’s Queer Indigenous Women Poetry, edited by Natalie Diaz. 2018.

“Ursula K. Le Guin – In Memorium.” Kenyon Review Blog. January 2018.

Poems “For The White Lady Who Had Kokopelli’s Statue Removed From a State Park” in Weaving the Legacy: Remembering Paula Gunn Allen. West End Press, 2017.

Poem. “Santa Grita de los Dioramas” in News From Native California. Heyday, 2017.

Poem. “What Whales Want.” Tending the Fire: Native Voices & Portraits. U of New Mexico, 2017.

Essay “Tuolumne” in World Literature Today. May 2017.

Poem “Acorn” on “Poet Spotlight,” Best American Poetry. November 2017.

Poem “Deer” in The Crafty Poet II: A Portable Workshop by Diane Lockwood. Terrapin Books 2016.

Essay “Voice” in Mud City Journal (Institute of American Indian Arts). 2016.

Poem “Deer” in The Dead Animal Handbook; The University of Hell Press. 2016.

Poem "Indian Cartography" in Red Indian Road West: Native American Poetry from California. Heyday 2016.

5 poems (“San Zombie de los Muertos Vivientes,” “San Amnesia de La Lobotomía,” “Santa Mariposa de las Piedras,” “Santa Grita de los Dioramas”, and “Erasure: A Poem”) in News From Native California: Surviving the Mission, Spring 2015.

"Introduction" to Surviving the Mission: News from Native California, Spring 2015.

Poem. “Juliana, 1803.” Featured poem in West Trestle Review.

2 Poems. Yellow Medicine Review. "San Amnesia de La Lobotomia" and "Santa Mariposa de las Piedras." Spring 2014.

2 Poems. Codex. "San Zombie de los Muertos Vivientes" (also includes audio) and "ERASURE: A POEM" 2014.

Poem: "Quickening." Obsession: Sestinas in the Twenty-first Century (Dartmouth College Press, 2014).

Poem video. “Indian Country.” Shenandoah.

Previous publications in Association for Studies in American Indian Literature (ASAIL), Bellingham Review, Bellowing Ark, Bricolage, Callaloo, Calyx, The Cimarron Review, Natural Bridge Literary Journal, News from Native California, Platte Valley Review, Poets On, Raven Chronicles, Snake Nation Review, Southern California Quarterly, Studies in American Indian Literatures, Weber Studies: An Interdisciplinary Humanities Journal, West Wind Review, Woman's Journal, Wilderness, Yellow Medicine Review, Snake Nation Review.

Poetry Anthologies

Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Blue Light Press 2013); New California Writing (Heyday 2012); En esa redonda nacion de sangre: Poesia indigena estadounidense contemporanea (La Cabra 2011), Sing: Poetry of the Indigenous Americas (U of Arizona 2011), A Bird Black as the Sun: California Poets on Crows and Ravens (Green Poets 2011), Ecopoetry: A Contemporary American Anthology (Trinity U 2012), Spring Salmon, Hurry to Me (Heyday 2008), Aunt Lute Anthology of U.S. Women Writers, Vol. 2 (Aunt Lute 2007),  The Red Issue: Love and Erotica (Nov. 2003); A Fierce Brightness: Twenty-five Years of Women's Poetry in Calyx, ed. Bevery McFarland (Fall 2002); The Dirt is Red Here: Contemporary Native California Poetry and Art, ed. Malcolm Margolin (Hey Day Books, 2002); Bearing Witness, Reading Lives: Imagination, Creativity, & Cultural Change, ed. Gloria Anzaldua and AnaLouise Keating (forthcoming); Through the Eye of the Deer: Contemporary Animal Poems and Stories by American Indian Women, ed. Carolyn Dunn and Carol Comfort (Aunt Lute Books, 2000); Durable Breath, ed. John Smelcer and D. L. Birchfield (Salmon Run P, 1996); Native Literatures: Generations, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetry

Work Forthcoming
“Raised by Humans,” “Indian Country,” “The Language of Truth,” “When My Body is the Archive,” “Indigenous Physics: The Element Colonizatium,” poems in American Indian Culture and Research Journal 42:2 (2019)

Afterword. Beth Brant: A Generous Spirit. Sinister Wisdom Press. 2019.

“Eastern Box Turtle” (poem) in A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia: an anthology project. U of Georgia Press, 2018.

“Fireborn,” a short story, American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 2019.


“Feeding Ourselves with Stories, and the Gift of Having a Body: A Conversation with Deborah Miranda” by Dr. René Dietrich, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. American Indian Culture and Research Journal 42:2 (2019)

The Culture Trip, “Deborah A Miranda on Mixing Genres to Confront Cultural Trauma.

“Deborah A. Miranda” New Letters on the Air, 2016.

“An Interview with Deborah Miranda” by Donna Miscolta, 2013.

“Bad Indians: An Interview with Deborah Miranda, 2013.

“Interview with Rose Amador on Native Voices TV,” 2013.


"Bad Ndns" blog