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Professor pens book of poetry

Hayley Haugen began her love affair with poetry when she was in high school in Los Angeles.

Then a professor at Cal State-Long Beach took that passion to a higher level in his writing class when Haugen was an undergraduate. That is when Haugen knew what she wanted to do with her life — write poetry and teach it at the college level.

“For me and what I try to get my students to understand is to share an experience with the reader, to be able to get a reader to understand a state of mind,” Haugen said. “To take someone on that journey and to do it in the economy of the language is a fun challenge. You don’t have as many words as you do in a novel.”

On July 15, Haugen’s book of poetry will come out — “What the Grimm Girl Looks Forward to.”

Published by Finishing Line Press out of Georgetown, Kentucky, the book features 28 poems, some dating back to Haugen’s days as an undergraduate.

“It refers to images of girls in the original Grimm fairy tales,” she said. “Those girls don’t fare well. It is about girls and young women trying to negotiate life’s difficult times. I wouldn’t say they are all happy poems. But they speak of true life experiences.”

Haugen, who earned an MFA in poetry from the University of Washington and a PhD in 20th century American literature from Ohio University, teaches composition, American literature and creative writing at OU Southern.

“I had my 20th anniversary of teaching at the college level,” she said. “I’ve had a great opportunity, a wide range from California to Athens to here in Ironton. I get to meet new faces. I tend to stay in touch with my students. I like to get students excited about reading and writing.”

The book can be pre-ordered at finishinglinepress.com. Haugen will give a reading this September at an upcoming festival of books.