February 2024 Meeting

On Saturday, February 3, 2024, Associate Professor Robin Carstensen, Director of the Creative Writing Program at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christ, gave, to 30 members, an enthusiastic presentation about her function as the first woman “Poet Laureate of Corpus Christi,” an honor bestowed upon her by city leaders. Accomplished and community-oriented, Dr. Carstensen embodies a love of country, a passion for teaching and mentoring, a pursuit of learning, and a commitment to aspiring poets.

As a young woman, she served in the Air Force as a sergeant and then as a medic. After, she followed her desire for intellectual development to universities: a bachelor’s degree, an MFA, and a Ph.D. in English at University of Oklahoma.

As “Poet Laureate,” her purpose is to foster creative writing among community groups and students at various levels. She mentors budding poets and writers of fiction. This mentoring parallels with her dynamic, university teaching activities—instructing and guiding undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. Carstensen developed new undergraduate and graduate courses designed to meet student needs and propel them toward their potential as readers, evaluators, and editors for the literary publication, Windward Review, an exposition of original poetry, fiction, photography, and art works.  Windward Review embraces work and topics that may be excluded in other expositions: equity, women’s rights, immigration, intersections of cultures, and protecting our environment.

Professor Carstensen read to our attentive members her work. In Waiting in Line Waiting for Gaea*, the poet expresses joy in simple, comforting surroundings–looking at a puppy: “two black oval marks on the littlest terrier’s backside, spots that look like continents …” and watching squirrels outside “doing frolic.”

In late February, at a city-wide gathering, titled People’s Literary Fest, held at Del Mar College and All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Dr. Carstensen and other accomplished poets, fiction writers, and essayists presented their works. Also, high school students received the “Robb Jackson Award for High School Poets”: 1st, 2nd, 3rd place winners and 7 honorable mentions, $750 total amount.

With excellent teaching, mentoring, and enriching community activities, Dr. Carstensen distinguishes herself as “Poet Laureate of Corpus Christi.” For our meeting she proudly wore the attractive, august medal of a woman champion.

Dr. Diana Cardenas, AAUW Program Vice President; speaker Dr. Robin Carstensen; and Dr. Catherine Cox, AAUW President.

Story by Dr. Diana Cardenas

*Gaea: Greek name of earth/ Personification of earth.