Default Font Size Icon

Derek Sheffield

Derek SheffieldOffice: Sexton Hall 6026A
Phone: 509-682-6737

Professor of English
Transfer English Division Chair
Co-Advisor: WVC Beyond Recycling

Coordinator: Wenatchee Valley College Visiting Writers Program

MFA / English (Poetry), University of Washington
MIT / Education, Seattle University
BA / English (Creative Writing), University of Washington

Courses Taught:

  • English 276: Poetry Writing
  • English 275: Fiction Writing
  • Northwest Nature Writing: English 135 (Creative Writing), Biology 127 (Northwest Environments) - a learning community
  • English 202: Critical Analysis
  • English 113: Introduction to Poetry
  • English 111: Introduction to Literature
  • English 101: Beginning Composition

Publications and Awards:

Derek Sheffield’s collection, Not for Luck (Michigan State University Press, 2021), won the Wheelbarrow Books Poetry Prize judged by Mark Doty. His other books include Through the Second Skin (Orchises Press, 2013), finalist for the Washington State Book Award, and A Revised Account of the West (Flyway, 2008), winner of the Hazel Lipa Environmental Chapbook Award judged by Debra Marquart. With Simmons Buntin and Elizabeth Dodd, he is coeditor of Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy (Trinity University Press, 2020).

Sheffield's poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including The Southern Review, Poetry, The Georgia Review, Poetry Northwest, Orion, The Gettysburg Review, and AGNI. He has been awarded fellowships from the Spring Creek Project, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, Artist Trust, and the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. Other honors include the James Hearst Poetry Prize judged by Li-Young Lee, a finalist selection for the 2018 Lynda Hull Memorial Poetry Prize judged by Vijay Seshadri, and a Special Mention in the 2016 Pushcart Anthology.

Professor Sheffield has won both the Alcoa Excellence in Teaching Award and the Linda Schultz Herzog Faculty Member of the Year Award. He has twice been invited by WVC’s students to be their commencement speaker.

Through the Second Skin

Through the Second Skin cover imageDerek Sheffield's first book of poems, Through the Second Skin, was published by Orchises Press (2013). Read reviews of the collection here:
Center for Literary Publishing
Quill & Parchment



Selected Presentations

  • Moderator. Virtual Town Hall: Readings and Conversations Sparked by Dear America, featuring J. Drew Lanham, Jane Hirshfield, Blas Falconer, and Kurt Caswell. June 24th, 2020.
  • Presenter and workshop leader. “One River, Many Voices / Un Rio, Muchas Voces.” With WA State Poet Laureate, Claudia Castro Luna. Wenatchee Valley College, Wenatchee, WA, October 2019.
  • Presenter and workshop leader. “Walking the Wild Side.” With Ana Maria Spagna and Heather Murphy. Wenatchee River Institute and Write on the River, Leavenworth, WA, October 2019.
  • Presenter. “Fire in Paradise: A Poetry Reading Roundtable.” With Todd Davis, Cecily Parks, Rose McLarney, and Noah Davis. ASLE, Davis, CA, June 2019.
  • Chairperson and presenter. “How Animals Die: Renewing Human Empathy in a Human-centric Age.” With Kurt Caswell, J. Drew Lanham, and John Lane. ASLE, Davis, CA, June 2019.
  • Chairperson. “Dear America: A Reading in Response to a Changing Landscape.” With Victoria Chang, Joe Wilkins, Alison Hawthorne Deming, and Blas Falconer. AWP, Portland, OR, March 2019.
  • Reader. “Dear America: The 20th Anniversary Reading.” With Joy Castro, Sean Hill, Rose McLarney, Taylor Brorby, Juan, Morales, and Alison Hawthorne Deming. AWP, Tampa, FL, March 2018.
  • Presenter and workshop leader. Wrote and presented a literary introduction of Arthur Sze. Gave a reading with Arthur Sze and Mark Irwin. Led students through an ecopoetry workshop in Zion National Park. Ecopoetry Gathering. Southern Utah University, Cedar City, UT, October 2017.
  • Presenter. Presented, gave a reading and talk with Paisley Rekdal, led a workshop, and taught a classes on the villanelle form and the use of humor in poetry. LitFuse. Tieton, WA, Sept. 2017.
  • Visiting Poet. Visited a class of poetry students who had studied my book, participated in a panel on ecopoetics, gave a reading. Gonzaga University. Spokane, WA. Oct. 2015.
  • Presenter. Presented, gave a reading with Ellen Bass, led a workshop, and taught a class on publishing. LitFuse. Tieton, WA, Sept. 2015.
  • Reader. “Resistance Movement: Readings from A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments.” Panel reading with Keetje Kuipers, Nathanial Perry, Catherine Quayle, and Chris Dombrowski. Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. Moscow, ID, June 2015.
  • Visiting Poet. Worked with a class of students in publication arts, gave a reading. Lewis-Clark State College, Lewiston, ID, April 2015.
  • Presenter and reader. With Blas Falconder, Oliver de la Paz, presented on the topic of “Family Matters: Ties & Legacies.” Gave a reading with Sherman Alexie and led a workshop. Skagit River Poetry Festival. LaConner, WA, May 2014.
  • Reader and Panelist. With Renee Sarojini Saklikar and Gordon Miller. “Geopoetics: Regional Ecology and Poetry.” Cascadia Poetry Festival, Seattle University, Seattle, WA, May 4th, 2014.
  • Presenter. “Talking Back: A Tribute to and Celebration of David Wagoner.” Panel presentation with Suzanne Matson, Christopher Merrill, Martha Silano, and Dan Lamberton. Associated Writing Programs, Seattle, WA, Feb. 2014.
  • Visiting Poet. Lion Rock Visiting Writer Series. Visited a class of poetry students and gave a reading. Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA, Feb. 11, 2014.
  • Reader. “The Poetry of Earth is Never Dead.” Pacific Northwest reading tour with poet Chris Dombrowski and singer-songwriter Jeffrey Foucault. Wenatchee Valley College, Elliott Bay Books, Gig Harbor Library, Nov. 2013.
  • Reader. “Wild Lives/Raucous Pens: Readings from Ecotone, Hawk & Handsaw, and” Reading with David Gessner, Sheryl St. Germain, Cynthia Huntington, Joe Wilkins, Lauren Eggert-Crowe, Hannah Kreitzer, and Bill Roorbach. Associated Writing Programs, Boston, MA, March 2013.
  • Visiting Poet. Worked with Richard Kenney’s class, English 285: Writers on Writing. Gave a reading and answered questions to a class of about 60 students. University of Washington, Seattle, WA, Feb. 2013.
  • Presenter. "Ice on the Stove: How Poetry Responds to the Northern Imagination." Panel presentation with Holly Hughes and Allen Braden. Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, UAS, Juneau, AK, June 2012.