Bellee Jones-Pierce


Your name: Bellee Jones-Pierce

Your home town: Brandon, Mississippi

Your major(s):  I majored in Psychology and Creative Writing as an undergraduate.  I have an MFA in Poetry and an MA in Renaissance Studies.  I'm currently a PhD Candidate in English.

Are you fluent in any language(s) other than English?  No

What are your career plans?  Writing, learning, and supporting writers and learners, likely in a university setting.

What is your favorite book and why?  My favorite book is Line by Line: How to Edit Your Own Writing by Claire Kehrwald Cook.  It’s the most straightforward guide I’ve ever come across, and I appreciate Cook’s thorough and thoughtful examples.  Line by Line never leaves my desk, and I often recommend it to clients and colleagues.

What is your favorite word?  I’m partial to “coffee.”

Describe (in a short paragraph) a significant breakthrough in your development as a writer:  When I was a sophomore I took an Early British Literature class with Dr. Cecile Gray, and my second paper for her came back with an C on it--not because my ideas were bad, not because I hadn't cited sources, and not because my paper was appreciably worse than the first, but because my grammar and style were sloppy and I'd done "just enough."  Further, she'd expected more from my second paper because I'd had the experience of writing the first.  My already good writing wasn't good enough anymore; I had to demonstrate momentum and improvement.  To put it simply, she knew I could do better.  She was right.  I learned how to interpret and incorporate feedback in my work, and I learned that writing is much more rewarding when it's effortful.  I learned, too, that the best writing often takes risks and rests on adventurous readings.  Even better, I really understood why I hadn't gotten an A.