My name is Maria Thiaw (pronounced CHOW) and my pen name (the name I used to publish my books and poems) is Maria James-Thiaw. My early books, before I was married, have the name Maria C. James. Whatever name you use, I am your new Creative Writing Teacher!
I grew up writing stories and fan fiction. I read mostly fantasy and sci fi books but I also love history! I wrote my first poem when I was about 6 years old and won my first poetry contest when I was 7. My love for poetry stuck!
Today, I am a performance poet and a playwright. I've been active with local poetry communities including Nathaniel Gadsden's Writers Wordshop and the Almost Uptown Poetry Cartel. I've published three collections of poetry and two choreopoems. (A choreopoem is a play written in poetic form. One example is 'For Colored Girls...' by Ntozage Shange)
My favorite place to write is France, where I studied poetry writing with my mentor, Marilyn Kallet. Of course, if I can't get to France, you may just find me at Barnes and Noble in Camp Hill working on my craft!
I have a graduate degree in Creative Writing - Poetry concentration, from Goddard College in Vermont and another in Communication Studies from Shippensburg University. As an undergraduate Communication/Journalism student, I minored in Ethnic Studies. I love people!
I continue to live the writing life, submitting my work and finding time to create even as a busy mom and teacher. I also love to hit the local open mics and listen to other poets read their work.
I am excited to share my passion for writing with you!