As a teacher, Hilda Raz’s approach to the creative writing workshop focuses on critical engagement and the release of the imagination. Students read contemporary books by writers writing now, discuss process and theory, create new works and revise rigorously in order to reach and extend individual and collective writing goals. In Hilda’s courses, poems, essays and points of view evolve. The writers’ community goes far beyond the boundaries of the classroom into the greater world of literature, culture and publishing. At the University of Nebraska, Hilda has taught across a range of levels from undergraduate to graduate, including the following titles, Graduate Prosody Workshop, Women and Poetry, 20th Century Women’s Literature, Poetry and Publishing and Poetry in Culture(s). Additionally, she has led classes at conferences and academic programs such as Nebraska Summer Writers Conference, Taos Summer Writers’ Conference, U. Florida-Gainesville MFA Program, Antioch LA MFA Program, Pacific University MFA Program , Mid-Atlantic Creative Nonfiction Summer Writers' Conference at Goucher College, Split Rock Arts Program at the University of Minnesota, Writers at Work and Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.

Student Commentary

“Over the last twenty-five years, few poets have established the presence, and influence, on U.S. poetry that Hilda Raz has. To study with her was a joy and a privilege. Her knowledge of poetry traditions is unparalleled. Her ability to recognize and engage the pulse under the poem's skin is awe-inspiring. As a poet with a well for an imagination, Hilda is extremely perceptive when advising individual writers about their work. But perhaps the best thing about knowing Hilda--the poet and friend--is that her courage is utterly contagious. In writing Bird Eating Bird, Hilda's guidance made all the difference.”

     — Kristin Naca, author of Bird Eating Bird


“Hilda Raz is a fierce and brilliant editor. I read the Schooner for years, alongside The Paris Review and Ploughshares, when I was still an undergraduate living in NJ. Those journals were a live pulse that made me feel part of a literary community, and still do. It was Hilda’s work at Prairie Schooner that first brought the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s PhD Program to my attention. And once I read Hilda’s work, I was smitten. Her writing vibrates—is electric, razor sharp, merciless and thrilling, and blends innovation and playfulness with a finely hewn formal impulse. It’s a balance I try to achieve in my own work. I still hear Hilda’s voice in my head as I write, and, now, my own students do, too.”

     — Hadara Bar-Nadav, author of A Glass of Milk to Kiss Goodnight


“I met Hilda Raz when I won a scholarship to the Nebraska Summer Writers Conference for her poetry manuscript workshop in 2007. I have to invent an adjective for Hilda's teaching style, because it is so singular—she's empathetically incisive. She pulls no punches when she tells you that your manuscript is messy and needs to be cleaned up; she doesn't hesitate to question whether a poem you love is doing enough work in terms of the book you're trying to build. Hilda's criticisms forced me to take my manuscript seriously and treat it as a book instead of an MFA thesis. The whole time I studied with her, I felt keenly that she simply wouldn't waste time on poems that she did not believe could make a great collection. And that made me want to work to prove her right.”

     — Erinn Batykefer, author of Allegheny, Monongahela


“Hilda has a gift for cutting through to the essence of a poem, a problem, an idea, and stating it with simplicity and authority. I fondly remember meeting in a regular writing group with Hilda as a graduate student at the University of Nebraska. Once when I had a poem up for critique, she offered me a word substitution that blew my mind and changed the way I wrote poetry from then on. It was, simply, to switch the word “here” to “cold,” taking an abstract line and making it concrete. Rather than describing how a poet should think, she showed me how a poet does think. A predilection for imagery, a love of language and etymology, an honoring of human relations to each other and with the natural world, a sensitivity for the nuance of mood in uncommon situations, and a preternatural awareness of what is around the bend—all are marks of Hilda’s work as an editor, writer and teacher. I hope that I include in my own work some portion of her quiet fearlessness, her rigorous curiosity, and her grounded determination in tumultuous times.”

                                 — James Cihlar, author of Undoing


"Every day, when I walk into my own creative writing classroom, I imagine Hilda’s voice urging me to be razor-sharp in the workshop but always generous and compassionate when dealing with my students. Studying with Hilda made me realize that a good writing teacher teaches writing, while a great writing teacher teaches the Writing Life, what it means to do the daily work of a poet, how important the job is, how necessary. She is my role model, as a writer across disciplines, a professor, an editor, as the most stylish of dressers, and as a woman who has built a warm home for herself in the (sometimes) barbed world of poetry."

     — Jehanne Dubrow, author of From the Fever-World

Student Publications

Hilda’s students have been awarded National Poetry Series' new mtvU Award, Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry, ABZ First Book Poetry Contest Prize, Three Candles Press First Book Prize, Washington Writers’ Publishing House Book Prize, MARGIE/IntuiT House Book Prize, Slipstream Chapbook Contest, among additional prizes. Books and chapbooks by Hilda’s students have been published by HarperCollins, University of Illinois Press, Milkweed Press, Louisiana State University Press, Red Hen Press, University of North Texas Press, Little Pear Press, Northwestern University Press, ABZ Press, Washington Writers' Publishing House, Noemi Press, and many others.

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