Neil Aitken

Neil A.

Vancouver, WA

Lesson Details



Neil delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 13+

Teaching since:
September 2005

I am an award-winning poet, creative writing instructor, literary journal editor, and translator who enjoys working with both new and experienced writers, as well as students of all ages and backgrounds. Regardless of where you are in your process, I can help you hone your skills and bring your writing to the next level. I am currently available to give private lessons in your home or at an alternative location convenient to you.

I hold a PhD in Creative Writing & Literature (USC), an MFA in Creative Writing (UC Riverside), and a BS in Computer Science with a Math minor (BYU). As an experienced instructor of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction essay, I look forward to helping new students improve as writers and find success in their efforts to get their work published.

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Jan 2006 - Present
Boxcar Poetry Review

Read all poetry submissions and select best poems for each issue (we receive 150-200 submissions a month and have 0.7% acceptance rate). Boxcar has had a table at the AWP Bookfair every year since 2008.

Assistant Lecturer (Critical Thinking and Writing)
Aug 2008 - May 2012
University of Southern California

Taught undergraduate composition (analytical writing, critical reasoning, and thesis-driven argumentation). Mentored students on the finer points of essay writing: thesis formation, paragraph structure, and logical flow.

Creative Writing Instructor
Sep 2005 - Jun 2006
University of California, Riverside

Taught Introduction to Creative Writing to undergraduate students, focusing mainly on poetry and fiction (3 classes). Provided instruction on craft, style, and revision. Led workshops and provided detailed feedback. Created additional exercises and materials to help students understand core concepts better and thereby improve their writing.

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PhD Literature & Creative Writing
Aug 2007 - Aug 2015
University of Southern California
MFA Creative Writing
Sep 2004 - Jun 2006
University of California, Riverside
BS Computer Science
Aug 1992 - May 1999
Brigham Young University


Fluent / Native Proficiency
Mandarin Chinese
Professional Proficiency


Beyond Baroque Poetry Prize
Nov 2012
Beyond Baroque
DJS Translation Prize
May 2011
DJS Foundation
Philip Levine Prize for Poetry
Feb 2008
CSU Fresno / Anhinga Press


American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers
Jun 2009

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a membership association of more than 480,000 US composers, songwriters, lyricists and music publishers. The ASCAP is committed to nurturing music makers throughout their careers.

Photos & Videos

Featured poet at The Standard Hotel, Hollywood.

Tabling at AWP 2014 Seattle.


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