Betsy Brown

Betsy K. Brown is an educator and writer in Phoenix, Arizona. She is chair of high school humanities at her school and teaches humanities and poetry classes. She received her BA from The King's College, New York City and her MFA from Seattle Pacific University. During her leisure time she makes music and explores the desert with friends and family.

Betsy Brown Apr 8, 2021

During the six years I taught ninth grade poetry, my students continually reminded me of two specific needs of high schoolers: the hunger to be led and the hunger to be heard. It can be easy to view these two needs as competing goods. After all, shouldn’t students be listening to other, older voices before attempting to “find their own?” Perhaps formal poetry provides an answer. To assign students to write poetry with meter and verse is to give them a glorious little playground. Forms make good fences. Inside these fences, students can be led and heard at the same time. 


Betsy Brown Nov 4, 2020

In autumn of 2006, I unknowingly first walked by a future mentor in a hallway in midtown Manhattan. I was seventeen, and I was touring the liberal arts college that would soon become home for four years. The woman who walked past me was a small, dark-haired European professor, and someday she would become a beloved pedagogical mother to me.  This friendship bloomed right after undergrad, when I became a teacher at her daughters’ school.

Betsy Brown May 18, 2020

During my first year as a teacher, I moved to a Manhattan neighborhood that was a subway ride away from all my friends. My neighbors and I never learned each other’s names during the two years I lived there. I waved at them from my patio and they waved back from their balcony, but only once or twice. I shared one wall with a stranger I never even met.