Darlene Pagán, PhD

(503) 352-2748
UC Box 
Bates House 13

Website: www.darlenepagan.com

Darlene Pagán is a Professor of Arts and Humanities at Pacific University, where she teaches creative nonfiction, research and writing, poetry, first-year seminar, and twentieth-century literature including courses such as Native American Literature and World Literature. She is an Associate Editor with Airlie Press in Portland, Oregon, and offers workshops in creative writing to the public including elementary schools, libraries, and community centers. Pagán's creative work includes a chapbook, Blue Ghosts (2011), and a book of poems, Setting the Fires (2015)

Of her work and teaching, Pagán says:                                             

Listen to children on a playground and it’s obvious how much of their lives are steeped in story. The stories are full of beauty and heroism and trouble of the highest order, and they persist into adulthood, perhaps in less obvious ways. We’re drawn to music that tells the story of heartbreak and love. We spend hours on end lost in a world of daydreams and fantasy, and at night, our dreams our vivid and strange. 

Stories aren’t all play. They have tremendous power. They can tell us who we are, where we come from, and what we’re capable of. In his book, The Truth About Stories, Thomas King refers to stories as medicine, and says, “a story told one way could cure…told another way could injure”. Whether in the classroom or in my own writing, I want students to recognize the power that their own storytelling can have to shape their lives and the world for the better. That often begins with recognizing and studying how literature has created change throughout history by challenging existing narratives.

In my classes, we read widely and write across multiple impulses and genres to develop our own analytical skills, but also hone our creative muscles. We learn through trial and error, writing and rewriting, and ultimately, through play.


Engl 223 Native American Literature
Engl 227 World Literature: Magical Realism
Engw 206 Poetry Writing
Engw 209 and 309 Creative Nonfiction
Engw 180 Research and Writing
Hum 100 Storytelling
YA Literature

Selected Publications:


Setting the Fires. Airlie Press, 2015


“After the Parade.” Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction 37 (2011).
“Where Muscle Connects to Bone.” Montana Mouthful 4.2 (2021).


Hiram Poetry Review
Hayden’s Ferry Review
Valparaiso Poetry Review
Calyx: A Journal of Art and Literature by Women
Cold Mountain Review
Hawai'i Pacific Review
Poet Lore
Apple Valley Review


The Pacific University MFA is thrilled to celebrate the news that faculty poet Kwame Dawes has been named the Poet Laureate of Jamaica, serving a term lasting from 2024-2027.

Alex Bove teaches a wide range of courses in the English Department, including 19th century British literature, literary theory, and special topics in film and literature.

Mapmakers alumni institute fall & winter 23-24

Videos of the fall and winter 2023-24 Mapmakers Alumni Institute sessions are now available.

Anis Mojgani Leaning Against Wall, Wearing Winter Coat

Anis Mojgani, the 10th poet laureate of Oregon, brings his dynamic combination of poetry and visual art to Pacific University's Forest Grove Campus for the 2024 Whiteley Distinguished Lecture on Thursday, Feb. 15.

Cover of Map-Maker by Kwame Dawes

Shella Parcarey MFA '24 Awarded Spring 2024 Mapmakers Teaching Assistantship