By: Fayetta Doll, Staff Reporter
Alyse Knorr has loved creative writing and stories since she was a little kid. Before she knew how to write she would make up stories and have her dad write them down, drawing pictures to illustrate them. Later in life, she wrote poems in her graphing calculator in math class.
Now, as a creative writing professor at Regis University, Knorr teaches what she has loved for so long. During roughly three years at Regis, Knorr has garnered appreciation and respect from many of her students, including Violet Mitchell and John Malone.
“[Knorr has] a lot of energy and she has a wealth of knowledge to give us,” said Mitchell.
“[It’s] really helped me [to] see how to be a great professor, how to be a great person for your students,” Malone said.
Knorr saw a job posting for Regis University and was intrigued, so she decided to apply. She thought it was an “amazing school” and found the Jesuit mission “intriguing.” She also enjoyed the small school aspect.
“Everyone is so kind and sweet and it’s such an amazing community,” Knorr said.
Knorr attended Elon University in North Carolina, which also is a small school. She originally majored in psychology but switched to creative writing and journalism.
“My parents, growing up, were both teachers,” Knorr said.
Initially, she didn’t want to be a teacher like them; she wanted to be a journalist. However, when she graduated in 2009, the economy was bad, making it a good time to pursue a Master of Fine Art (MFA) in creative writing. Eventually, she realized she had to teach.
“I taught my first class and was hooked,” Knorr said. “My first day teaching felt a lot like my first date with my wife because I was immediately in love and it felt like a great fit from the beginning.”
Knorr says her job at Regis is the only job she’s ever had in which she feels more energized after work. Working at Regis University feels important to her and like something that needs to be honored. An example she gave was how seriously Regis takes assisting students in finding their vocations and how that makes her work feel important.
Right now, Knorr’s life is about to take a turn: She’s going to be a parent. Her wife is pregnant and the couple are closer than ever.
“We’re just having a great time,” Knorr said.
They’re picking out baby items for their child and getting the room set up. They even have a “family portrait” of Knorr, her wife and their cat drawn as animals. In this illustration, Knorr’s wife is a cat, their cat is—surprise—a cat, and Knorr is an orca whale.
Mitchell, a student at Regis University, sat on the hiring board that selected Knorr. She’s a senior now. A freshman when she met Knorr, Mitchell described the professor as “enthusiastic and passionate” during the hiring process. Mitchell has taken a class with Knorr roughly every semester since Knorr was hired. She says Knorr loves poetry and is dedicated to it.
“She helped me foster my love of poetry,” Mitchell said. “I’ve always brought her my writing and she’s given very supportive feedback.” Mitchell is on the Queer Resource Alliance, which puts together brave space trainings with Knorr. The two are founding members.
Another student Knorr has impacted is junior John Malone. He met Knorr in the fall of 2016, his freshman year, when he had a class with her called Digital Writing Lab that is required for all English majors. Since then he’s been her teaching assistant for her RCC first-year seminar, Superheroes, for two years.
“She’s very helpful; she’s been a great mentor for me,” Malone said.
He described how Knorr taught him how to be a good professor – to be open to students and make sure they’re OK outside of the classroom. Currently, Malone is an intern for Knorr and her wife’s publishing company.
“It’s a very unique press,” Malone said, describing how they only publish female writers. He said it’s a “great job” and that Knorr is very involved in the publishing company and in the poetry and fiction worlds. “She’s a fantastic poet, herself,” he said, “She has a lot of experience, too.”
“Speaking as her intern, I can say that she’s very good at keeping up with the authors they’ve published,” Malone said. “She still keeps in contact with them; she still promotes their work. She’s not the type of person who will forget about someone she’s worked with.”
Besides teaching and writing, another of Knorr’s passions is playing music. She’s in a band called the Plagiarists with other Regis faculty. She plays guitar and sings in the band. She also enjoys working on home renovation projects.
Knorr has lived her life with words scrawled into her soul. From an early childhood of storytelling and writing poetry on calculators to now with her work.