About Me

Leslie Crislip Nielsen

What I believe about creativity is that inspiration is everywhere–no farther away than the tips of your fingers and whatever’s in reach. And I mean that quite literally. You may have been told to search in the clouds, but how do you get to the clouds? Start, for example, with the arm of your chair. Grasp it and feel its density. Run your hand across its textures. Identify the materials, their growth in a forest and manufacture from steel or plastic or stone. Name the process, the place, the sorts of people involved in shaping it. See their crooked eyebrows and hear the gasp when they get a splinter in their thumb. You breathe in impressions, raw materials, and a sense of momentum. You’ve been inspired. When you exhale in words, colors, movements, or tones, you’ll be making something new. Ride that breath to the clouds. It’s really that simple.

I think I became a creative because I was given time as a kid to explore my environment and a minimum of tools to mess around with. I made stuff up and got to hang out with it. That’s still pretty much all I’ve got. I go around gathering up things and people, putz and moodle, then arrange, revise, get interrupted, revise,  interrupt myself, revise, revise, revise, and occasionally deliver what some will call creative work. A good bit of it has been made for others to encounter on their own expeditions–that’s called teaching.

Interviews & Mentions


  • MFA: Poetry & Creative Nonfiction
  • MA: English Literature
  • Certification: Gender Studies
  • BA: English Language & Literature
  • Educator
    • 25 years teaching in higher education
    • Some really successful students
  • Writer
  • Visual Artist
    • Photography, Colored Pencil, Collage
  • Designer/Entrepreneur
  • Translator
  • Former publisher & editor: Poets’ Quarterly
  • Odd jobs
    • Accounting department manager
    • Front desk manager
    • Assistant camp director
    • Fast food, filing & mailing, medical assisting, hotel housekeeping, lemonade stand at the county fair
  • Additional language: Danish (professional proficiency)


  • Ohio farm kid gone abroad
    • horses, chickens, 4-H, the works
    • 15 months + 9 years in Denmark
  • Family: sisters, spouse & kids
  • House: perpetual renovation
  • Garden: sustainability & sustenance 
  • Music: vocal performance, ensembles & recording
  • Dance: modern, jazz & lyrical
  • Educational nomad: nursing, secondary education, journalism, photography
  • Other interests: calligraphy, apothecary & literary plants, trees, old furniture & lumber, yoga & fitness, travel