MUM Professor Nynke Passi


Performing in the play Misalliance by George Bernard Shaw as an MIU student with Mike Gibbons


With students in a memoir writing class

MUM alumna and faculty member Nynke Passi recently published a poem in issue 30:3 of CALYX, a prestigious magazine featuring literature and art by women. Her writing has been published in literary magazines such as Gulf Coast, Red River Reviewand The Anthology of New England Writers. Her poems have also appeared in national anthologies including River of Earth and Sky: Poems for the Twenty-First Century, Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace, and the just published Allegro & Adagio: Dance Poems.

Growing up in the Netherlands, Mrs. Passi was an imaginative child and enjoyed writing magical tales and poems. At age seven, she told her mother that she wanted to be a writer.

Mrs. Passi has practiced the Transcendental Meditation®technique since age 12, and came to MIU at her mother’s suggestion. She graduated with a BA in literature and a minor in theater in 1986. Her MIU professor Mark Spragg encouraged her to keep studying writing, so she earned an MA in creative writing from San Francisco State University in 1992.

While working for the New England Writers’ Association, Mrs. Passi was continually exposed to the work of accomplished poets, and her own poetry began to flourish. In 1998 she came to MUM to teach creative writing. Over the past 20 years she has developed and taught a variety of courses, including creative process, graphic narrative, poetry, poetry and transcendence, memoir writing, personal essay, fiction, and travel writing.

Mrs. Passi is director of MUM’s undergraduate Creative Writing Program and is currently developing an MFA in Creative Writing, which will be a sister program to the low residency David Lynch MFA in Screenwriting directed by Dorothy Rompalske. Mrs. Passi is also recipient of the MUM alumni award and three student appreciation awards.

Mrs. Passi often draws inspiration from her personal and spiritual experiences, family, and nature. “All these years of practicing TM definitely had a big impact on my writing,” she said. “There is always something in me that is fascinated with the transcendent, something silent or empty at the heart of things, and all my poems dance around that.”

She is currently completing her first book of poetry, as well as a chapbook of a personal essay that was a finalist in the 2014 Jeffrey E. Smith Editor’s Prize of The Missouri Review. Her tale is based on a true story of her father’s best friend, a Frisian farmer who developed a friendship with a wild swan that followed him around after the death of his daughter.