Melissa Rhoades

MFA Alumni Bio

September 1, 2023

Melissa Rhoades earned an MFA in 2003. Her poems have been published in Redactions, Coal City Review, Nerve Cowboy, and other journals. Her poem “Dutch East India Company” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2003, and is featured in SUNY Open Textbooks’ Naming the Unnameable: An Approach to Poetry for New Generations (2018), by Michelle Bonczek Evory.

Shortly after graduating, Melissa secured a copywriting position with an online commerce company. Thanks to language skills learned through the study of poetry at EWU, Melissa’s search engine optimization (SEO) text succeeded in achieving first-page, above-the-fold organic rankings for key industry terms in Google’s search results in the 2000s and 2010s.

In the 2010s, she also dabbled in freelance SEO copywriting, freelance editing for up-and-coming writers (including Gregory Davis), and freelance copyediting (assisting in final copyedits for Jane Austen and Philosophy (2017), edited by Mimi Marinucci).

“I love my job! And I got where I am in large part thanks to the MFA Creative Writing program at Eastern Washington University. This program gave me a solid grounding not only in the art of finely crafting the written word, but also in the practical business of editing, teaching, and public speaking – skill sets that prepare students for a wide range of career options.”

Since 2016, Melissa has delighted in working at the Spokane County Library District. Among myriad other responsibilities as a fulltime Public Services Specialist, Melissa:

· Writes blog posts

· Presents weekly Storytimes that prepare the next generation for a lifetime of loving the written word

· Facilitates group Learning Circles

· Assists patrons one-on-one with reference questions

· Upholds the First Amendment right to intellectual freedom (including the right of library users to choose for themselves what books they read)