Finding inspiration in Change
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 00:10
The creative writing department at CU Denver is full of amazing people. Professors, as well as students, make for an eclectic group that brightens up the program. Professor Nicky Beer is a perfect example of that incredible dynamic–with a personality to match.
Beer began her college career at Yale University where she majored in sociology. “People are always surprised to hear that I wasn’t an English major,” she said. “But I always like telling students, just to reassure them, that their major is not necessarily their life’s destiny.”
After she graduated she worked in the publishing business, but she knew it wasn’t what she was meant to do, so when a friend suggested she look into grad school at the University of Houston, she took his advice.
“He would send me emails and say, ‘This place is great. You should really think about applying. There’s a poet here named Ed Hirsch that I think you would really like,’” Beer said. “I read some of Hirsch’s poetry and I just absolutely went crazy for it and I said ‘yeah, I really have to work with this guy.’”
After getting into the program, Beer was amazed at the talent she was surround by. “I met so many other amazing poets, both professors and people who were MFA and Ph.D students. They were incredibly serious, and exciting and ambitious,” Beer said. “And I had really great professors and they were incredible models of what it could be to be a poet and to be a professor. And that was it. I was sold.”
By the end of her MFA, Beer was energized and ready to further her education. “I felt like I had just gotten started. And the thought of teaching at the university level really appealed to me,” she said.
Beer earned her Ph.D from the University of Missouri-Columbia and worked as a visiting professor at Murray State University in Kansas before coming to UCD.
These days, when she’s not writing or teaching, Beer really enjoys cooking. “It’s actually a pretty recent thing for me because neither of my parents could really cook,” Beer said. “Me trying to cook an egg was one of the most hilarious incredible things to see. I really didn’t come close to start learning until less than 10 years ago.”
But her classes and the students she gets to work with are her biggest inspiration. “The students at UCD are amazing. I love the variety of different kinds of people that I get in every single class,” Beer said. “The more different ideas and different voices we get inside the classroom winds up making the discussion that much more exciting. I’ve just come to love teaching more and more every year.”