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Jaffe brings passion to Kirkwood

Eagle Spotlight

By Amanda Mayotte
On April 26, 2012

  • Russell Jaffe is a part-time teacher at Kirkwood, a poet and a Professional Development Fellow at the Kirkwood Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (KCELT). Amanda Mayotte

Russell Jaffe, a part-time instructor at Kirkwood Community College, is passionate about poetry and writing but loves teaching the most.

Jaffe is a native of Deerfield, Ill. He has since lived in Wisconsin and taught in Chicago and Brooklyn.

He attended Beloit College in Wisconsin for his undergraduate degree and Columbia College in Chicago for an M.F.A. in poetry.

He said he moved to Iowa in 2009 after teaching in New York. Currently Jaffe teaches Composition 1, Composition 2 and Write Poetry Right Now.

Though he holds a part-time position at Kirkwood, he said he wants nothing more than to be full time. "It kills me that I'm not," Jaffe said.

He said he appreciates Kirkwood's resources, students and the college's commitment to "transformational educational change."

While at Kirkwood, Jaffe said he has found a "huge" role model in Al Rowe, the executive director of Institutional Effectiveness. Jaffe described him as a "super-professional, hands-on, caring, passionate guy who is also very into outside-the box" and "transformational learning."

Jaffe said his poetry has been published in American Letters & Commentary and Colorado Review, among other publications. Three of his poems are now on the Red Lightbulbs website,
He is also the founder and editor of Strange Cage, a small poetry press in Iowa City. Strange Cage's website address is

"I've always liked to write," Jaffe said. "I've always had a lot of passion and I've always had a lot of natural critical questioning skills."

Jaffe has an online chapbook that will be released by the Red Ceilings Press in coming weeks. It can be found at

Jaffe said Strange Cage will hold a poetry reading May 2 at 8 p.m. at the Bluebird Diner, 330 E. Market St., Iowa City.

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