Meet Teaching Artist Tasslyn Magnusson
Tasslyn Magnusson received her MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University in Saint Paul, MN. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Broad River Review, Room Magazine, The Mom Egg Review, The Raw Art Review: A Journal of Storm and Urge, and Red Weather Online. Her chapbook, “defining,” from dancing girl press was published in January 2019. She lives in Prescott, WI with her husband and two kids and two dogs.
When did you start teaching? What path—career or otherwise—brought you here?
I received my MFA in writing for children and young adults at Hamline, and I'd taken classes at the Loft and been inspired, so I began to ask what it would take to propose a class. I've taught college-level intro history courses and just loved working with students on exploring subjects I was passionate about.
How would you describe your teaching style?
I enjoy knowing your goals for the class—what brought you to this class, what are you hoping for, dreaming about. I am an enthusiastic teacher about you—exploring, having fun, trying, messing up.
When it comes to imagining and creating classes, where do your ideas come from? What in particular inspires you?
I love poetry first and foremost. But mostly my ideas come from how can I meet a new writer (or an established writer) where they are at—and help them relax into their writing practice and listen to their voice.
What's the ideal environment for your classroom? What atmosphere are you hoping to establish?
I've only taught online with the Loft, and I kind of love it. I can give all the information I want to share with students —particularly offering opportunities to listen to writers reading their own work. That's amazing. And they get to chose how they engage with the work. And with me.
Regardless of what your class is specifically focusing on, what's the main goal you have for your students?
I believe everyone is a writer—as soon as they begin to write. My job as a teacher is to help you identify your voice and learn to listen to it—and to have fun. Writing is hard work and joyful work. You are already doing it—let me show you.
What are goals you have for yourself? These could be teaching goals, writing goals, career goals, community goals, etc.
I just want to keep writing—I've got a few novels drafted, I'm learning about revision. I want to continue to refine how and what of my writing satisfies me—to hear my voice and write toward it. And to mess up—and continue to be okay doing so. I've love to teach a class at the Loft (and have it fill) on poetic forms—I think they have so much to teach us about practicing, exercising our creativity.
What have been some of your own favorite educational experiences?
Hamline's MFA in writing for children and young adults. ANY class of Deborah Keenan and Sun Yung Shin. Both are inspirational teachers and their classrooms a study in joy-filled hard work.
To you personally, what is the most important part of the literary arts?
Providing access to as many people as possible. We are all storytellers—we all don't always get a chance or avenue to practice that storytelling. Creative makes us whole—and I want everyone who wants it, to have access.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
My greatest surprise at the Loft has been how much I enjoy teaching an "introduction" course. For many of the students, this is their first class at the Loft. And most of them have waited so long to test out this dream. To be there, for the first time sometimes, when they share their up-to-now secret writing life. It's an honor. What a brave step to begin to own that you are a writing. I admire them so much and love being lucky enough to connect with these writers on one of their first steps into a new writing world.