Meet Teaching Artist Rachel Zarrow

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Headshot for teaching artist Rachel Zarrow

Rachel Zarrow's writing has appeared or is forthcoming in the San Francisco Chronicle, Electric Literature, BUST, Bon Appétit, Epiphany, the Atlantic, and the Coachella Review. She is a creative writing instructor at Polyphony Lit and a graduate of the MFA program at UC Riverside Palm Desert. Rachel currently resides in San Francisco with her partner, two dogs, and a menagerie of house plants.

You can find Rachel's current classes by visiting her author bio site.




When did you start teaching? What path—career or otherwise—brought you here?

I started teaching during the pandemic as I embraced the ability to connect with other writers and students over Zoom regardless of geographic constraints. Before teaching, I was an MFA student studying fiction, and before that, I worked in marketing.


How would you describe your teaching style?

Approachable, honest, and light-hearted, with clear communication.


When it comes to imagining and creating classes, where do your ideas come from? What in particular inspires you?

Ideas for classes often come to me as I'm reading and engaging with other writers' work. I often wonder, "How did the writer do that?" and then create classes to answer that question.


What's the ideal environment for your classroom? What atmosphere are you hoping to establish?

I'm always hoping to establish a safe space in my classroom, a space where all questions are welcome and a sense of play is encouraged.


Regardless of what your class is specifically focusing on, what's the main goal you have for your students?

I hope students leave my classes with a new understanding of a concept or text and a stronger sense of confidence as writers.


What are goals you have for yourself? These could be teaching goals, writing goals, career goals, community goals, etc.

I want to stay consistent in my writing practice, continue to bring a beginner's mindset to every project, and see my longer work in print!


What have been some of your own favorite educational experiences?

I love participating in workshops as both a student and a teacher. I particularly loved going back to school for an MFA because it was an opportunity for me to focus on a passion that I hadn't fully discovered as an undergrad.


To you personally, what is the most important part of the literary arts?

The power of storytelling to connect humans across places, cultures, and times.