JoAnn Balingit, writer & educator
JoAnn Balingit is a writer, educator, editor and arts-in-education advocate. She served as Delaware’s poet laureate from 2008 to 2015, engaging students, writers and Delaware communities in the appreciation of poetry through performances, workshops, readings and a column “On Poetry” in The News Journal/ delawareonline.com.
Dr. Balingit works with young people, adults, professional writers and special populations in schools, colleges, libraries and non-profit organizations, offering classroom visits, beginners’ workshops, master classes, readings and lectures on the process of writing.
As state coordinator for Poetry Out Loud, she encourages high school teachers and students to get engaged with recitation, language and performance. She is interested in how sharing our stories can create empathy and connect us with the world. She believes in amplifying voices, and the issues that matter to people, to connect them with each other. Memorizing a poem proves to be one way to find that connection.
JoAnn is the author of a full-length collection of poems, Words for House Story (WordTech, 2013), celebrating “the house of our longings, our memory, and our hopes” (Fleda Brown). You can read three poems from that book here. Her poetry and prose is featured in journals and anthologies such as DIAGRAM, Kweli Journal, The Rumpus, Vallum Magazine, Verse Daily, at poets.org and in Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience (2019).
JoAnn holds Masters degrees in Literature and Library Science from the University of California, Irvine and Indiana University. In 2008, she earned a doctorate in Education from the University of Delaware, where she has taught composition and poetry writing courses. For many years, JoAnn worked as a library media specialist and teacher trainer in Delaware and Pennsylvania public schools.
In Spring 2020 JoAnn is speaking on panels at the annual Association of Writing Programs (AWP) Conference in San Antonio, and at the CityLit Festival in Baltimore. She has presented her work at venues and festivals such as Sunday Salon in New York City; Indianapolis Spirit & Place Festival, Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, The New Hampshire Writers Project, Delaware Art Museum, Spilled Ink (VA) and elsewhere. She had the honor of being a 2020 NEA/ArtsWorks panelist, judging grants to literary publishers and journals.
Her nonfiction and poetry has been supported by fellowships from Delaware Division of the Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, a Bread Loaf Writers Conference Bakeless Fellowship and a writer's residence at Hedgebrook. Awards include a 2010 Global Filipino Literary Award for her chapbook, Your Heart and How It Works, and the 2015 Westmoreland Poetry Award.
JoAnn is married to UD professor Fred Hofstetter, has four children and a granddaughter who loves to write and swim. She has lived in northern Delaware for 30 years and considers herself lucky to be a local steward of the White Clay Creek nature area, by proximity.
Newark, DE 19711