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Margarita D

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB)


Creative Writing, Poetry, Comparative Literature, Literary Analysis, Philosophy, Art, Art History, Literary Publishing, Dance and Performance History


I was born in Bulgaria where I attended a competitive American high school with many arts programs. In the US, I attended Franklin & Marshall College for my BA in English and Philosophy. I continued to receive an MFA in Creative Writing at New York University, and I published a book of poems. I am currently pursuing my PhD in Comparative Literature at UC, Santa Barbara where I teach at the College of Creative Studies and the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies. My interests include contemporary poetry, European literature, avant-garde art, the interaction of text and image, dance studies, and performance art. I love discussing stimulating literature and art and working with others to create new works.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Writing an Anthology of Ekphrastic Poems

Some of the greatest poems in history, including poems by John Keats and W.H. Auden, were written about works of art. They are called "ekphrastic poems." Would you like to write your own collection of ekphrastic poems, inspired by innovative paintings from art history and contemporary art? In this project, you will learn both about how to analyze art and how to write impactful and polished poems.

Creating a Virtual Reality Art Exhibition

Have you ever learned about the Russian Avantgarde of the early 1900's and how it influenced art practice and culture for decades to come? How would you like to learn about the history of some of the most innovative art movements and curate your own online exhibition of world art masterpieces, selected by you? Using an online template, you will design a 3D layout of your dream art exhibit and create a curatorial narrative about connections your have found between famous art traditions and styles. That involves learning how to research artists and mastering writing about art. Next time your go to the museum, you might be able to tell your friends or family why the curator has arranged the artworks in specific ways and what effect they were hoping to accomplish.

Literary Magazine Concept Design

In this project, you will design the idea for a new literary magazine. First, you will learn about the variety of literary magazines that exist today, what their creative and practical models are, what their aesthetic is, and how they are run and funded. Then you will apply this knowledge to creating a custom idea for your own literary magazine that you might one day be the founder of, just as I was! If you are passionate about great writing and literary publishing, you can also be part of it and create platforms for the great writers to come.

Languages I know

Bulgarian, Russian

Teaching experience

I have taught courses in writing, literature, art history and philosophy at the college level for 12 years. I am also a literary magazine editor and teach courses in Literary Publishing. Institutions where I have taught include, NYU, CUNY, and UC, Santa Barbara. In 2021, I received an award for an "Outstanding Teaching Associate" at UCSB. I teach courses on avant-garde art and have helped students curate their own online exhibitions or design conceptual artworks. I also have 5 years of experience as a Writing Center tutor, helping college students with specific projects in the Humanities.


Work experience

UC, Santa Barbara (2017 - Current)
Associate Instructor
CUNY (2015 - 2016)
Adjunct Professor
Paperbag magazine (2009 - Current)
Founding Editor
Ugly Duckling Presse (2009 - 2010)
Editorial Assistant


Franklin & Marshall College
BA Bachelor of Arts (2007)
English and Philosophy
New York University
MFA Master of Fine Arts (2009)
Creative Writing
University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB)
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Comparative Literature

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