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Spartans of UD - Katrina Owensby

By University Relations Staff
Katrina Owensby - Spartans of UD

Spartans of UD highlights what makes the University of Dubuque special - the people.

Katrina Owensby, of Dubuque, Iowa, is a senior English major. She has three self-published books of poetry: Broken Bluebells, Pieces of Peonies, and Shards of Flowers.

When did you first became interested in poetry?

"I first became interested in poetry when I learned about it in fifth grade. As a fifth-grader, I was given daily assignments to write various types of poems for one of the language arts units we had. As I grew up, I began to explore different famous poets such as Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, and William Shakespeare. In high school, I pushed beyond traditional poetry when I discovered more contemporary poets that played with form. I always found poetry to be therapeutic for me. I continue to write poetry to share with others my personal journey and universal struggles, feelings, triumphs, etc. in hope of showing them that they are not alone."

You channeled that interest into three self-published books of poetry. What was the process like and what did you learn from publishing Broken Bluebells, Pieces of Peonies, and Shards of Flowers?

"I found that the process of writing and publishing an entire book of poetry was extremely challenging. I had to create book covers, write book descriptions, edit all my poetry, organize the poems, create manuscripts that would fit nicely on the pages, set prices, choose what type and size of paper to use, and decide upon small details such as what texture the book cover should have. With that being said, the only book I have available to purchase now is Broken Bluebells, which is available in paperback and eBook versions on Amazon. Since my poetry developed more over time and I learned how to better create and publish a book over the past couple of years, I decided to take the other two books off the market and showcase my latest book since it is the most effective of my abilities not just as a poet, but as someone creating and publishing a book independently."

What is your writing process like?

"My writing process for poetry is very random. Typically, I must first get a large burst of emotion or inspiration from something or someone. Since most of my poetry is dependent on strong emotions, I can count on one hand how many decent poems I have written using prompts. The birth of my poems always starts off with me getting a single line stuck in my head. This line will repeat itself until I write it down and then I'll think of another line. This cycle will continue until my poem feels complete. The only thing I change, typically, when I go back and edit my poetry, is the form of the poem. I play with how the poem looks on paper until I am satisfied with it."

Do you have a favorite style of poetry?

"I do not have a favorite style of poetry. I believe that if I can feel an unmasked honesty and depth of human experience within a poem, then a poem is great. Genuinely amazing poems come in various forms, so I try to read or listen to poetry of all forms in order to learn from and experience as much as I can."

Jessica Schreyer, PhD, professor of English at UD, shared that you are working on a program to bring writing to the Dubuque community. Can you talk a little about the program?

"I am currently the co-founder and secretary of the Masterpiece Literary Center. The MLC is the brainchild of UD alumna Aaliyah Herrion (C'19), who is the co-founder and president. The mission of the Masterpiece Literary Center is to 'provide a space for readers and writers of all levels. We strive to inspire, develop, and support our writers through community and relevant resources.' The MLC meets the needs of community members, especially the youth, that find themselves below the level of literacy they wish to be at. Since literacy is a spectrum, the Masterpiece Literary Center encourages community members of all ages and levels to get involved with us! You can visit us at or add us on social media! Instagram and Facebook is @themasterpiecelitcenter and Twitter is @theMLC_DBQ"