Sara Quinn Rivara’s poetry and essays have appeared in a wide variety of journals. She is currently dean of the Humanities and Social Science divisions at Mt. Hood Community College, in Gresham, Oregon. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and she was the winner of the inaugural Lake Prize. Rivara is also a classically trained singer, and performs with a variety of choral groups around the Pacific Northwest. She holds a BA in English and Music From Kalamazoo College, and an MFA from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.
I grew up in the North Shore of Chicagoland–Lake Michigan a bike ride to the East, the city a Metra ride to the SouthEast. We could see the Sears Tower from the top of the waterslide at the pool. I went to college in Kalamazoo, Michigan because a) once my extended family when on a vacation to Michigan when I was in high school and 22 of us stayed in a double-wide trailer and a few tents and it was the only vacation I remember and b) Kalamazoo College sends every junior abroad for their junior year. I went to Aberdeen, Scotland. I want to go back. I stayed in Michigan because I got a boyfriend and got cervical cancer and then got married and worked as a factory girl, a waitress, a receptionist, an assistant librarian in a one-room rural library, choir manager, alto section leader, freelance singer, preschool teacher, then I went to grad school, became an adjunct instructor, got a tenure-track teaching job, bought a house next to an abandoned paper mill, had a baby, and got divorced when I was 30. Then I learned how to be fierce. Then I learned how to be free.
In 2014, my son, my two dogs and two cats moved across the country to the Pacific Northwest. I have never felt more afraid. I have never been more at home.