Lynn Powell

  • Director, Oberlin Writers in the Schools (WITS)
  • Assistant Professor of Creative Writing

Areas of Study


  • MFA, Cornell University, 1980
  • BA, Carson-Newman College, 1977


Lynn Powell is the founding director of Oberlin Writers in the Schools (WITS), a program that engages Oberlin students in teaching creative writing in local schools. She also teaches a wide range of poetry and nonfiction courses in the college‘s Creative Writing Program.

Powell is the author of three books of poetry: Old & New Testaments (winner of the Brittingham Prize in Poetry); The Zones of Paradise; and Season of the Second Thought (winner of the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry). Her nonfiction book, Framing Innocence: A Mother’s Photographs, A Prosecutor’s Zeal, and a Small Town’s Response, won the Studs and Ida Terkel Award from the New Press.

Her poems have been published in numerous journals and anthologies, including the Paris Review, the Georgia Review, Poetry, FIELD, 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Everyday, and the Norton Introduction to Literature. Her poetry and prose have been honored with a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and four Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Awards.

Powell worked as a writer in the schools for more than 20 years—in grades K-12, in urban, suburban, and rural schools—for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and the Ohio Arts Council. Drawing on that expertise, Powell created Oberlin’s Teaching Imaginative Writing workshop, CRWR 450, a community-based learning course in which Oberlin students work collaboratively with her in poetry residencies in the Oberlin public schools.

Framing innocence book cover of old and new cover for zones of paradise.Season of the Second Thought book cover

Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry for Season of the Second Thought

Brittingham Prize in Poetry and the New Writers Award of the Great Lakes Colleges Association for the poetry book, Old & New Testaments

Her book of nonfiction, Framing Innocence: A Mother’s Photographs, A Prosecutor’s Zeal, and a Small Town’s Response received the Studs and Ida Terkel Author Award from the New Press.

Powell has received Individual Artist Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts for her poetry, and from the Ohio Arts Council (three for her poetry and one for her prose).

Spring 2023

Word & Image: Poetry in Dialogue with Visual Art — CRWR 212
Advanced Poetry Workshop 2: Special Topics in Poetry — CRWR 311
Practicum — CRWR 485


Lynn Powell Publishes Book

November 21, 2017

Lynn Powell, lecturer in creative writing, has published Season of the Second Thought, a book of poems from University of Wisconsin Press. The book is part of the Wisconsin Poetry Series and is the winner of the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry.

Lynn Powell Awarded

May 18, 2017

Lynn Powell, director of Oberlin Writers-in-the-Schools (WITS) in the Creative Writing Program, has been awarded the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry for her third collection of poems, Season of the Second Thought. Her book will be published by the University of Wisconsin Press in the fall of 2017.

Lynn Powell Receives Ohio Arts Council Excellence Award

May 8, 2014

Lynn Powell, Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, has received a 2014 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council for her recent poetry. The $5,000 OAC Individual Excellence Awards are "recognition of creative artists for the exceptional merit of a body of their work that advances or exemplifies the discipline and the larger artistic community. These awards support artists' growth and development and recognize their work in Ohio and beyond." This is the fourth OAC Excellence Award Powell has received: three for poetry and one for nonfiction.


Teaching in the New Normal: 18+ Ways of Looking at Mt. Fuji

April 28, 2020

These days, the classroom has taken on new meaning for both faculty and students at Oberlin. In this edition of Teaching in the New Normal, Lynn Powell describes a collaboration with the Allen Memorial Art museum and the benefits of digital presentations.