abby e. murray, writer & instructor

my background... English/Creative Writing:

I graduated from Seattle University with honors in 2005, earning a BA in English and minor degrees in Theatre Arts and German. While I was an undergraduate, I began working as an editor for Fragments, the literary magazine published there. I also volunteered for the Children's Literacy Project and was accepted into Lambda Iota Tau, the national Literary Honors Society.

After graduation, I moved with my husband to Eagle River, Alaska, and worked as a substitute teacher for the Anchorage School District, teaching K-6, high school level German, English and Orchestra, as well as classes for the autistic. I also began taking on students for reading/writing lessons as well as private violin instruction.

In 2007, I began my low-residency MFA in Writing at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. Over the next three years I moved from Eagle River to Vancouver, Washington, back to Alaska, and then to Atlanta, Georgia. (My husband's career in the military has taken us many places!) I founded and coordinated writing groups that still thrive in Anchorage, Vancouver, and Atlanta. From 2008 through 2009, I worked as Poetry Editor for Pacific's literary journal, Silk Road. In 2009, just two months after graduating from Pacific, I took a job as adjunct Lecturer of English at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia.

I moved to Colorado Springs in 2009, and taught English and Creative Writing courses at Pike’s Peak Community College. I taught workshops for Poetry West, and I also founded and coordinated the Colorado Springs Writers Reading Series, which featured readings by established authors preceded by an open mic reserved for community citizens. While in Colorado, my first chapbook of poems, Me and Coyote, was published by Lost Horse Press as part of the New Poets / Short Books series, edited by Marvin Bell.

In the summer of 2012, I moved to Binghamton, New York, and began work on my PhD in English at Binghamton University. My second chapbook, Quick Draw: Poems from a Soldier's Wife, was released by Finishing Line Press that fall. I currently teach at Binghamton University and work as Poetry Editor for Harpur Palate, the journal published there. Violin:

I began playing the violin when I was ten and began private lessons with Emily Bailey in Lynden, Washington, when I was eleven; I continued to study there until I was eighteen. Emily taught according to the philosophy of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, a Japanese teacher who has influenced most strings instructors today. His main idea was Talent Education; he believed that any child could learn to play the violin well and ultimately grow into a loving person so long as they practiced in a caring and consistent atmosphere. I encourage parents (as well as students) to read any of his literary works.

In high school I was a teacher's assistant for two local orchestra instructors, working with fifth, sixth and seventh graders for about an hour each session. I began offering half-hour after-school lessons with students who needed extra study, and this quickly became my most enjoyable work! I continued playing violin through college, participating in the university's orchestra program as well as working as a solo violinist for the Chapel of St. Ignatius from 2001-2005.

In June 2006, I audited a course for Teacher Trainees offered by the Suzuki Association of Southcentral Alaska. This has benefited both my personal playing techniques as well as my teaching skills. Over the summer, I began teaching private violin lessons to students of varying levels, typically between grades three and eight.

As I've traveled the country, I've continued to take on students for private instruction, and I have enjoyed every minute of it!