Lois Roma-Deeley

Praise for Lois Roma-Deeley

northSight is above all a book of lives. Of the poet's own life, but that's not all. Of women's lives, but not only that. Of human lives, but not only that. Time and history, the transcendental, even a bead of sweat are given their voice in Lois Roma-Deeley's vital chorus, who song is of hard-won resurrection and the unlike survival of hope.--Jane Hirshfield
"It's taut, tough, in your face and orchestrates like a mad symphony of howls and laughters and blues, blues, blues, that burn to read. It's clean, crisp, starlight fire, that'll lead you back to your life purpose and make you rethink and reshape your view of life." --Jimmy Santiago Baca
"These poems are tough, brave, but also hold an almost physical balance against human suffering."--Norman Dubie
"That is the trouble with American poets these days --they have forgotten how to entertain the reader. The result is that almost no one reads poetry these days because it isn't fun any more. That's why running across someone like Lois Roma-Deeley is so satisfying."--Lewis Turco, Hollins Critic

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Lois Roma-Deeley: Biography, News and Updates

photo credit: Jia Oak Baker

Lois Roma-Deeley is the author of four collections of poetry. The Short List of Certainties won the Jacopone da Todi Poetry Book Prize and will be published in 2017 by Franciscan University Press.

Her other poetry collections include: Rules of Hunger (2004), northSight (2006) and High Notes (2010), a 2011 Paterson Poetry Prize Finalist. This book forms the basis of a music drama, "The Ballad of Downtown Jake," for which she has written the book and lyrics. For her work on "Jake," Roma-Deeley was chosen as a 2015 ariZONI Theatre Award for Excellence Nominee, Original Script—Adult-Play or Musical, 2015. Rules of Hunger and northSight are her first and second poetry collections.

She has won numerous awards and honors for her poetry and is the recipient of an Arizona Commission on the Arts, Artist Research and Development Grant, 2016.

In 2012, Lois Roma-Deeley was named the U.S. Professor of the Year, Community College, by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

Of the award, The Chronicle of Higher Education writes: "The honor is the nation's most prestigious teaching award, with national winners chosen from four types of institutions: a community college, a baccalaureate college, a master's institution, and a doctoral, research university."

Roma-Deeley is the first national winner of this award that Arizona has ever had in any category.

Scroll down this page and click on the video to hear Lois Roma-Deeley read her U.S. Professor of the Year acceptance speech.

Benu Press awards The Samuel T. Coleridge Prize for "an outstanding work of literature, written by a contemporary author, that fulfills Coleridge's vision of the artist as a reconciling architect of the imagination. Such a work invites us to examine our understanding of the world, establishing new meaning in a just future transformed by possibility."

Further, Roma-Deeley honors for her poetry also include awards for the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Competition and the Emily Dickinson Poetry Competition, and recognition as a finalist in the Paumanok International Poetry Contest.

Her poetry has appeared--or is forthcoming--in numerous in print and/​or on line literary journals in the United States as well as in Germany, Australia, Canada, U.K. and India.

In 2014, The Dr. Lois Roma-Deeley Creative Writing Scholarship Endowment was established by Paradise Valley Community College.

Roma-Deeley was chosen as the 2013 Pacific Regional Faculty Member by ACCT (Association of Community College Trustees).

In 2008, Roma-Deeley won the "Making a Difference for Women Award" from the Soroptimist International of Phoenix organization.

What the Critics Say
Critics have called her poems "brilliant," "tough and brave," "poignant," “a vital chorus,” and "soul-satisfying." Literary critic Peter Huggins writes that, in northSight, Roma-Deeley "presents a cast of characters worthy of Dante."

Editor's Note from Sivan Butler-Rotholz, As It Ought To Be,
Saturday Poetry Series Presents Lois Roma-Deeley ("Bougainvillaea and TV” )
There are times–or is it always?–that poetry better articulates the human experience than we ourselves are able. When the world breaks, when the world crumbles, when we feel helpless and hopeless, overwhelmed. It is in those moments that we most need poetry. That poetry best serves us. At the moment, it seems as if every day is one of those days. The breaking days. The days when we must “watch TV with the sound turned off.” On these days “I know I will never understand a thing. /​ The world talks only to itself. /​ Rain to war. Child to dirt. /​ Bougainvillaea and TV."

Click on the video to hear Lois Roma-Deeley read "Apologizing for the Rain," her poem from northSight,

Selected Publications
She has published poems in numerous anthologies, including Voices of Power & Invisibility Anthology(forthcoming,) Political Punch: Contemporary Poems on the Politics of Identity Anthology; Villanelles (Random House/​Everyman's Library, Pocket Poets Series); Love Rise Up ; New Hungers for Old: One-Hundred Years of Italian-American Poetry ; The American Voice in Poetry: the Legacy of Whitman, Williams, Ginsberg; American Book Award winner Looking For Home; Letters to the World and others.

Further, her work has been featured--or is forthcoming--in numerous literary journals nationally and internationally, including Presence , , Rock & Sling, Rust + Moth, Verdad, Expound,Alyss, Lines + Stars, Eyedrum, Les Rêves des Notre Ours,Rabbit, Windhover, The Tishman Review,Water~Stone, Redux, Spillway, The Wallace Stevens Journal,Faultline,Columbia Poetry Review, Comstock Review, The Citron Review, Hamilton Stone Review, Bellingham Review,5 AM ,Studio Poetry,Superstition Review, Artful Dodge, Italian Americana, Paterson Literary Review, Iris: A Journal About Women, A Women's Thing,About Place Journal ,The Transnational (In English and German), Red Savina Review, and/​or literary journal , Revolver,Helen, The Virginia Normal,Sonic Boom,Juked,Profane Literary Journal, Elixir, Controlled Burn, Confluence,Sow's Ear (competition finalist), Iris,and many others. Her work appeared on BestPoem.com.

Artistic Collaborations
In collaborations with visual artists on several ekphrasis projects—most recently with visual artist and curator Beth Shadur—Roma-Deeley’s poems have been exhibited nationally and internationally.

In November of 2004 and 2005, Roma-Deeley was one of several featured poets participating in the interdisciplinary project called "A Poetic Dialogue: Poetry: Women: Art," a Chicago Humanities Festival event. In 2006, her work was featured in the Poetic Dialogue event hosted at the International Conference on Arts in Society at the University of Edinburgh, and published in the International Journal for Arts in Society. The poetry/​visual art collaboration project has toured nationally, including at the Transconference at the University of Wisconsin, as well as internationally. She worked with curator Beth Shadur on the third Poetic Dialogue project, "Collaborative Vision." This pairing of 31 poets and visual artists was a featured show at the Chicago Cultural Center from January through April 2009. In 2015, the fourth collaboration, Convergence: The Poetic Dialogue Project, opened in Chicago. ( see bethshadur.com for more information).

Further, one of Roma-Deeley's poems was featured on Beth Shadur's work as part of the "Cool Globes" project in Chicago, an innovative public art project of 124 globes designed to create awareness and inspire solutions to global warming. Cool Globes was on display along Chicago's lakefront from June to September, 2007.

In 2011, Roma-Deeley's poem "In This Otherwise Small and Deserted Landscape" was selected to be part of Passage: A Public Art Project by Mags Harries & Lajos Heder . Passage is a multi-faceted public art project set at the new library of South Mountain Community College in Phoenix, Arizona. The different elements of the project focus on poetry and the landscape of South Phoenix. The Acoustic Chairs located in the front of the library plaza extend the architectural floor pattern into a mountainous landscape, relating to South Mountain. Speakers inside of the Chairs play recordings of poetry when someone sits down and activates a motion sensor in each seat. The public art project is funded by City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture Percent for Art program and the Maricopa County Community College District Bond Program.

Roma-Deeley's poem "The Correct Yes" was exhibited with visual artist Mirjana Ugrinov's two panel painting, and was hung in the Ambassador's residence in Belgrade.

The poetic sequence "Voices From The Aftermath: New York City Requiem" (northSight, Singularity Press, 2006) was put to music by composer Christopher Scinto and sung by the Phoenix Chorale (formerly Phoenix Bach Choir) in a special "Remembrance" concert for the fifth anniversary of 9/​11.

In 2015, "The Ballad of Downtown Jake," a music drama with music by composer Christopher Scinto, made its World Premier. "Jake" is based on Roma-Deeley's award-winning collection of poems High Notes for which she wrote the book and lyrics, made its World Premiere. Scroll down and click on the video to hear the full production. Roma-Deeley was nominated for an ariZoni award for Best Script, play or musical (Adult).

Editing, Writing, Judging
"A Conversation with Martha Collins," written by Elizabyth Hiscox, Cynthia Hogue and Lois Roma-Deeley was published in the Writer's Chronicle, an AWP journal in 2011.

Lois Roma-Deeley served as judge for the 2012 Binghamton University John Gardner Fiction Book Award. She choose Meg Wolitzer's The Uncoupling.


In 2013, Roma-Deeley served as poetry judge for the Simmerman Poetry Award.

Roma-Deeley has published six poetry book reviews in several literary journals, as well as serving for ten years as poetry co-editor for PKP Forum (formerly National Forum).

Selected Grants and Fellowships
Roma-Deeley is the recipient of an Arizona Commission on the Arts, Artist Research and Development grant, 2016.

She has been a fellow at the Ragdale Foundation many times.

Roma-Deeley has received grants for her writing from "Poets and Writers," Chicago Humanities Festival, Scottsdale Cultural Council and Tempe Cultural Council.

Roma-Deeley has taught creative writing at the graduate and undergraduate levels for more than 25 years. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Arizona State University where she studied under the direction of Rita Dove, Norman Dubie and Alberto Rios. Roma-Deeley holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Primary Emphasis in Poetry from the Union Institute and University. "The Geometry of Configurated Energy: A Poetic Theory" is the title of her doctoral project.

She has given poetry readings nationwide, including: Distinguished Poets Series, Poetry Center (NJ); Bowling Green State University (Ohio); Molloy College (NY), Women and Children First bookstore (IL); University of Wisconsin--Waukesha (WI); Northern Arizona Book Festival (AZ); AWP Conference in Atlanta (Georgia); West End Reading Series in Ithaca (NY); Chicago Cultural Center (IL) Chicago Humanities Festival (IL); Clearwater Flordia Public Library (FL); Harold Washington College (IL); Poets in Nassau (NY); Arizona State University (main, west and east campuses, AZ); Phoenix College (AZ); Austin Community College (TX); Suffolk County Community College (NY); Mesa Community College (AZ), Chandler-Gilbert Community College (AZ); Changing Hands Bookstore (AZ); Book Stall Bookstore (IL), Antigone Bookstore (AZ); Biblio Books (AZ), Reader's Oasis (AZ) Borders, Phoenix Writers Club (AS) ARC Gallery (IL); ARTFIT (AZ) Scottsdale Museum of Modern Art (AZ) Scottsdale Cultural Council (AZ) and many others.

Recent Honors
In 2013, she was named Woman of Distinction by Maricopa Community Colleges' Women's Leadership Group.

Lois Roma-Deeley was named 2012 U.S. Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). To read her acceptance speech, go to:

Roma-Deeley was accepted as a Fulbright Specialist candidate, 2012-2017.

She is available for readings, seminars and creative writing workshops.

Visit Lois Roma-Deeley's blog

Click on video to hear Lois Roma-Deeley's U.S. Professor of the Year acceptance speech.

Click on video to hear "The Ballad of Downtown Jake," a music drama based on Roma-Deeley's High Notes
Music by Christopher Scinto
Book and Lyrics by Lois Roma-Deeley

Contact Lois Roma-Deeley at:

Pulitzer Prize winner, National Medal of Arts recipient and former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove --and former professor of Lois Roma-Deeley-- AWP, Boston 2013

Lois Roma-Deeley at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. just after accepting her U.S. Professor of the Year, Community College Award

Reading at the Harvard Bookstore with (from left to right, at the table):Susan Kushner Resnick, Eloise Klein Healy, Nicole Terez Dutton and Alicia Suskin Ostriker.

Benu Press awards Lois Roma-Deeley the Samuel T. Coleridge Prize

Beth Shadur's "Witness" and Lois Roma-Deeley's "Bougainvillaea and TV", part of the 1st Poetic Dialogue Project

Lois Roma-Deeley

"Cool Globes" Shadur and Roma-Deeley

"Passage" poem-chairs project

Reading for the Distinguished Poets Series of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College, Paterson Poetry Prize Finalist,

Poetry Reading at Molloy College. Photo Credit: Erin Deeley

photo credit: Carmen Kern

Before giving a poetry reading, visiting Times Square. Photo Credit: Erin Deeley