Women We Love 2022: Caroline Earleywine

Caroline Earleywine

by Callie Neel at Foster the Photography Collective

“I used to have to really help students unpack what they’d been taught about poetry, that it’s a riddle that has one right answer, that if you don’t ‘get it’ you’re just not smart enough, that it’s all written by old white men, that it’s boring,” poet Caroline Earleywine tells GO. However, she’s noticed a change recently. “Students come to me with an interest in poetry that I don’t have to convince them of. They understand it’s a space for them.” As a high school teacher of English in central Arkansas, she hopes to inspire students to love, or continue to love, poetry. And, as an out and proud lesbian, she hopes to be for her students “an example of what queerness can look like in adulthood.” With poetry, too, Earleywine leads by example. Her work has appeared in multiple publications, including NAILED Magazine and Barrelhouse, and she was a finalist for Nimrod’s 2021 Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. Her chapbook, Lesbian Fashion Struggles, published by Sibling Rivalry Press, focuses largely on the struggles of LGBTQ+ teens, topics her students would understand. “It’s the best feeling when they say they see themselves in my words, or that they are going to start writing,” she says. “Empowering them is the most important work I’ve ever done.” –AB

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