Johanna DeBiase

Instructor

Johanna DeBiase is an ecofeminist author of the fabulist novella Mama & the Hungry Hole (Wordcraft of Oregon, 2015) and the poetry chapbook, Gestation (Finishing Line Press,2020). She writes from her off-grid strawbale home in northern New Mexico where she is spellbound by the energy vortex of Taos Mountain. Originally from New York, she earned her BA in Literature and Creative Writing from Bard College and her MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. Her work has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Portland Review, Atticus Review, Prick of the Spindle, Queen Mob's Tea House, Monkeybicycle and more. She has taught Creative Writing courses around the country to all ages and all levels.

Johanna is a certified yoga instructor (RYT 200) and has been teaching yoga, meditation and pranayama (breathing exercises) since 2015. She is also certified to teach Yoga Nidra, an ancient practice of deep relaxation. Recently she has been trained as a Reiki practitioner and energy worker.

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Artist Statement

My work explores both feminist and ecological issues resulting from patriarchal western culture. A lifelong feminist, I write about women and their role in society. Women straddle the line between vulnerable and strong. We are smaller, make less money and have less power than men, but we give birth, raise children, and embody beauty and sexual influence. This balance can often be difficult to uphold, and women end up negotiating with reality in various ways, both positive and negative. As a result, my writing is often surreal, focusing on dreams and myths, where we go to work through life’s mysteries. I love the world of metaphor, imagery and the imaginal realm of the psyche. 

I also write about nature, though I don’t think this subject is so different from that of women. Nature is the feminine/yin aspect of our world. Women and nature have many parallels in the way they are devalued and revered simultaneously. Organically, humans and the earth are integrated in ways we often forget. As the decimation of our planet continues irresponsibly in full force, I seek to draw out and reveal this interconnectedness in my work.

From my off-grid desert home, I live and write in the liminal space between time and reality. I have one foot in the primitive past and one foot in the present era of internet, social media and cell phones. My work is inspired by my daily walks along the rim of the Rio Grande Gorge National Monument only a short hike from my front door. The world is visible 360 degrees in every direction. I witness the walking rain, distant lightning bolts, rainbows, rising moons and sunsets splayed across the sky. Here the world of nature and art are one and the same, as my life and art are one and the same. In everything, I seek magic, the connection between our societal constructs of reality and the moment-by-moment intervention of the divine in our mundane lives. 

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Some Publishing Credits

  • Gestation (Finishing Line Press, 2020)

  • Queen Mob’s Tea House, May 2016, “Aching Afterthoughts”

  • Hayden’s Ferry Review- The Dock, February 2016, “One Chance to Breathe“

  • Atticus Review, January 2016, “When They Came For Us: a video poem“

  • The Notebook, Winter 2016, “Fever on the Yukon” (creative non-fiction)

  • Mama & the Hungry Hole (Wordcraft Series of Fabulist Novellas, 2015)

  • Moving Poems, February 2015, “When They Came For Us: a video poem”

  • HOWL: UNM Taos, 2015, “A Day in the Life”

  • Monkeybicycle, October 2014, “Good Deed”

  • The EEEL, August 2014, “Goody Gum Drop”

  • Gravel, May 2014, “Anniversary Gift”

  • Melusine, Spring/Summer 2014 “Song Catcher”

  • Convergence, Summer 2013, “Petrified Slumber”

  • Prick of the Spindle, May 2013, "Threadbare: a video poem"

  • Portland Review, Winter 2013, "Isabel & Stanley"

  • San Antonio Current, October 2012, “Time Upon Once: Three Tales”

  • HOWL: UNM Taos, 2012, “Remnants,” “Filtered Light”

  • Home Tomorrow, Sixth Element Publishing, 2011, “Dead End”

Essays

Accolades

  • Scholarship to Pikes Peak Writers Conference in Colorado Springs, CO 2019

  • Long-listed for the 2018 End of Our World writing contest, aftermath magazine, for the short story “One Chance to Breathe”

  • Master Writing Workshop with Min Jin Lee, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, June 2018

  • Writing Resident, The Rensing Center, June 2014

  • Short-listed for 2014 Serena McDonald Kennedy Award, Snake Nation Press for novella Mama & the Hungry Hole

  • Scholarship to San Miguel Writers’ Conference in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, 2014

  • Runner-up (top 20) for Mainstream/Literary Novel, 2013 SouthWest Writers Annual Contest for novella Mama & the Hungry Hole

  • Best of Flash Fiction Blog, San Antonio Current, October 2012

  • Writing Resident and grant recipient, The Vermont Studio Center, April 2012