Hi. I’m Stephen Mills and I’m an innovative teacher and poet who believes in going on your nerve. This is my story.Photo by Stephen Mills
I was born and raised in Richmond, Indiana, which is the RV capital of the world.I’ve never owned one. Photo by edebell on Flickr
From a very young age, I loved to read and write. My ﬁrst poem included the line, “My mother is as pretty as a white duck.” My ﬁrst job was shelving books at the local library after school where I discovered even more books to love.Photo by austinevan on Flickr
I graduated from Richmond High School in 2001 andheaded to Southern Indiana to attend Hanover College. It’s pretty. Photo by hanovercollege on Flickr
I majored in English Literature and minored in Art.
At Hanover, I fell in love with modernism and focused a lot of my study on that period.Photo by Stephen Mills
Photo by ell brown on FlickrIn 2003, I studied abroad. I spent a month in Stratford- upon-Avon studying at the Shakespeare Institute.
Photo by steve-h on FlickrI spent a second month researching James Joyce inDublin on a grant I received from Hanover College.
If you do not tell the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about other people. -Virginia Woolf
At Hanover College, I also served as... Editor of the campus literary magazine Design Editor of the campus newspaper Student Representative on the Community Arts Committee Co-leader of the Gay Straight Alliance Writing Center Tutor Mentor to International Students Art Gallery Attendant
In 2005, I graduated from Hanover College and received the Senior Alumni Award and the Bucks English Award. Photo by adam.declercq on Flickr
From college, I went farther south to attend one of the top graduate creative writingprograms in the country.In the summer of 2005, I began course work atFlorida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.Don’t be fooled, it wasn’t on the beach. Photo by perpetualpain on Flickr
In the middle of the Spanish moss and palm trees, I found my voice as a poet. I took risks with my work and explored the use of pop culture in poetry as a way to connect with my audience.Photo by Fernando X. Sanchez on Flickr
At Florida State, I had the honor of working with manyﬁne poets including the National Book Award nominated poet David Kirby.
At Florida State, I also worked as a Teaching Assistant for the English Department for three years. This required me to teach and design two courses each semester for the First-Year Writing Program. Photo by elaynab on Flickr
I taught various English Composition courses thatpushed students to think about their place in the world.One course focused on multi-cultural issues and asked students to examine stereotypes in ﬁlm and television. Bringing pop culture and current events into the ﬁrst-year writing classroom engages and motivates students.
Photo by Stephen MillsI also designed and taught a course called Pop Poetry. This was a freshmen writing course that got students examining the use of pop culture in poetry beginning with the 1950s and ending with contemporary poets.Students also wrote their own pop poems in the course.
In 2006 while teaching at Florida State, I presented at the National Council of Teachers of English conference. My paperwas titled “Yes, I’m Gay and Your English Teacher.” I spoke on apanel about diversity in the ﬁrst-year writing classroom. Photo by Stephen Mills
In 2008, I graduated from Florida State University with my MFA in creative writing. In my three years there, I was nominated twice for teaching awards. Photo by Fernando X. Sanchez on Flickr
My poems have been published in over 25 journals including The Antioch Review, The New York Quarterly, and The Los Angeles Review. In2008, my poem “Iranian Boys Hanged forSodomy, July 2005” wasawarded the Gival Press Oscar Wilde Poetry Award. Photo by Stephen Mills
An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all. -Oscar Wilde
After graduate school, I moved to Orlando,Florida (home toMickey Mouse).In Orlando, I got a job teaching English Composition at Full Sail University. Photo by Stephen Mills
I’ve been at Full Sail University for three and a halfyears. Full Sail is a non-traditional school that caters tothe entertainment industry. I’ve taught classes both oncampus and online and have adapted my teaching style to the accelerated pace of the school and to the wide range of students who attend.
Photo by Ross LaRocco on FlickrTwo years ago, I was promoted to Course Director of English Composition at Full Sail University. I currently oversee the curriculum for the course and supervise sixteen instructors.
In March of 2012, myﬁrst book of poems, He Do the Gay Man in Different Voices, was published by SiblingRivalry Press. The book had more pre-orders than any book in thepress’s history and it is continuing to sell well and gain praise.
Praise for the book "Strategically obnoxious and spectacle-driven, Stephen S. Mills’ debut book of poems He Do the Gay Man in Different Voices takes a violent swing at our queer sensibility. The only thing is we don’t want to duck. We should be ashamed to delight in reading poems about Jeffrey Dahmer, mindless Southern boys, creepy prison letters with inappropriate come- ons. Full of admirable, comic self-loathing and even some hope, his poems hurt us in ways we haven’t dreamed of. And we’re all the better for it." --Steve Fellner author of The Weary World Rejoices
Praise for the book "There’s a fortune teller in one of those poems who’s no good at her trade. But who among us is? Everybody tries, but nobody can predict the future. Yet a good book of poems can, in a way, and this is just such a book, one that describes a world in which people of every kind adore or at least put up with each other. Stephen Mills has a big heart, and I love how he uses it. Oh, and he has the best titles: if My Boyfriend Tells My Parents I’m Writing to a Gay Porn Star in Prison doesn’t make you shout, “More, please!” then nothing will." --David Kirby author of Talking About Movies with Jesus
Another interest of mine is the study of pop culture. I presented a paper on gay representations in reality TV at the Pop Culture and American CultureAssociations in the South Conference in 2006. I’ve also presented on the use of superheroes in poetry. I continue to explore pop culture in my own work. Forexample, I’ve written a series of poems using Brad Pitt ﬁlms.
I continue to keep myself informed and involved in the poetry and teaching world. In March, I attended AWP in Chicago and the Rainbow BookFair in New York City where I read from my book. Photo by Dustin Carter
In 2009, I started my own blog where I write mostlyabout poetry and the writing process. I also use the blog to help promote poets I truly enjoy. One way I’ve donethis is through an interview series with emerging poets. I also do podcasts of my work.
In my personal life, I strive to be active in the community and to support causes I care about. In November of 2011, I completed the Smart Ride, which is a 165 mile bike ride from Miami to Key West to raise money for those with HIV/ AIDS.Photo by Dustin Carter
Now I’m preparingfor the next step in my journey. My plan is to move toNew York City and once again go on my nerve. Photo by Stephen Mills
Grace / to be born and live as variously as possible. -Frank O’Hara