Jenny Factor, MFA

Core Faculty, Poetry MFA in Creative Writing

Biography

Jenny Factor became interested in poetry from a very young age. In first and second grade, she began to study seriously with Poet-in-the-Schools, Myra Cohn Livingston, who sharpened her eye for imagery, and ultimately helped her practice sonnets, pentameters, iambics, and falling meters with daily exercises on the page.

At Harvard College, where she was the only incoming freshman admitted to Seamus Heaney’s master class, Factor received an AB summa cum laude, studying Anthropology on Heaney’s advice, and completing special projects in Spanish translation and writing for young people. Later, she supported her family and her writing as an archaeologist, a preschool teacher, and a Web editor and journalist.

Factor received her MFA in Literature from the Bennington College Writing Seminars. Her graduate thesis became her first volume of verse. Her second collection is almost complete.

Factor’s poem collection, Unraveling at the Name (Copper Canyon Press), won a Hayden Carruth Award and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Factor’s poems and reviews have appeared in the Paris Review and more than a dozen anthologies, including The Best American Erotic Poems (Scribner, 2008). Her work has been supported by an Astraea Grant in poetry.

“I believe in Generosity. The best writers and readers think ‘Oh. What a cool effect. How can I learn from that?’” Jenny Factor