Carolyn Hembree

Assistant Professor (Poetry)Carolyn Henbree


Phone: 504-280-6491




Education Background:
MFA, University of Arizona

Carolyn Hembree was born to foreign language professors in the twin city of Bristol, Tennessee. The family later settled in Birmingham, Alabama. Following her graduation from Birmingham-Southern College, Carolyn moved to New York by way of Greenville, South Carolina. During these lean years, she found employment as a cashier, housecleaner, cosmetics consultant, telecommunicator, actor, receptionist, paralegal, and freelance writer. She least enjoyed her brief post in a hotel basement where she alphabetized business cards next to a ten-pound bag of defrosting chicken parts. Like so many stars, Carolyn burned too brightly: her film debut was, alas, her swan song. For the NYU student flick Altered States, the aspiring actor, an albino boa constrictor draping her shoulders, spun in the February rain atop a roof in Alphabet City. On a train ride from Emily Dickinson's Amherst, she decided to pursue the less perilous vocation of poetry. 

Carolyn received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. During her time in the desert, she studied with poets Jon Anderson, Barbara Cully, Jane Miller, and Steve Orlen. A Dean of Humanities Fellow, Carolyn was granted instructor rank and a course reduction. She taught composition and creative writing to undergraduates. She also served as Poetry Editor for Sonora Review, the university's literary journal.
In 2001, Carolyn and husband Jonathan Padgett moved to New Orleans, Louisiana. She soon joined the faculty of UNO. She teaches composition and creative writing and serves as Faculty Advisor of the English Club. A regular visitor to the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts and Lusher High, Carolyn enjoys her role as a teaching artist in the New Orleans community. She also volunteers regularly for the local chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Her first poetry collection, Skinny, was published by Kore Press in 2012. She has received three Pushcart Prize nominations for individual poems. Carolyn received a $5000 Fellowship Award in Literature from the Louisiana Division of the Arts. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Colorado Review, Cream City Review, DIAGRAM, Indiana Review, Jubilat, New Orleans Review, Poetry Daily, Puerto del Sol, and The Southern Poetry Anthology, among others journals and anthologies. She has written critical essays for Arkansas Review and the Gale Group. Carolyn serves as Poetry Editor of Bayou.

In her free time, Carolyn likes to tend her succulent garden, practice yoga and karate, listen to 90.7, and cook. Most of all, she enjoys spending time with Jonathan, Mamie, and their four rescue pets.