Energy: The Life of John J. McKetta Jr.

Energy tells the life of Dr. John J. McKetta Jr., a first-generation Ukrainian American coal miner who worked his way up from the mines to become the world’s foremost energy expert, a university dean, an encyclopedia editor, and one of the most widely known and respected professors in his field. In this biography, granddaughter Elisabeth Sharp McKetta retraces Dr. McKetta’s path to becoming the godfather of modern chemical engineering.

Award-winning short film: view here.


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Poetry for Strangers Vol 2

Now in its fifth year and second volume, Elisabeth Sharp McKetta’s Poetry for Strangers has changed hundreds of people’s relationship with poetry. These collected poems on words (among them “umbrella,” “bubble wrap,” “sullied,” & “eudemonic”) celebrate moments of giant beauty in everyday life. Click on book to download free preview.


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Fear of the Deep

The first book-length collaboration between author Elisabeth Sharp McKetta and artist Troy Passey, Fear of the Deep joins the atmospheric artwork of Passey with fifty poetic fragments by McKetta, resulting in limited edition books on the theme of the ocean and how words become lifeboats. We will donate 10% of proceeds to Suicide Prevention Action Network of Idaho. Read reviews in the Idaho Statesman and Boise Weekly. Click on book to download free preview.


  • Get the book here.

Poetry for Strangers

Poetry for Strangers

Since its inception, the blog Poetry for Strangers has changed hundreds of people’s relationship with poetry, mobilizing poets and non-poets alike to share their writing on an eclectic array of weekly words. Now in book form, these fifty poems—each inspired by a weekly word given to the author by a stranger—are a testament to the small moments of beauty in every ordinary life. Click on book to download free preview.


  • Get the book here.

The Creative Year: 52 Workshops for Writers

The Creative Year: 52 Workshops for Writers

Most writers struggle with three things: how to get started, how to improve, and what to do with a piece of writing once it’s finished. The Creative Year: 52 Workshops for Writers is a guidebook that illuminates a path for all three. Each workshop contains three parts: process, prompt, and venue. Used together, these techniques provide the scaffolding for a sustainable, fulfilling writing life. Click on book to download free preview.


  • Get the book here.

The Fairy Tales Mammals Tell

The Fairy Tales Mammals Tell

Fairy tale expert Maria Tatar has written of The Fairy Tales Mammals Tell, “Elisabeth McKetta taps fairy tales, and, presto, they transform themselves into living things that reach out and tug at us, reminding us of the exquisite fragility in ‘once upon a time.'” The book is published through Monkey Puzzle Press.


Shorter Writings



Two Hawks Quarterly: Ghost Auction” (2017)

Signaturen (translated to German by Anna Ospelt): Urkundung (2016)

Lilac City Fairy Tale Anthology: “My Beast” (2016)

Rivet: “Still Life: 35,” “How to be a God” (2015)

District Lit: Savior” – Poetry Prize Finalist (2015)

The Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine: The Faithful” (2015)

Mid-American Review: Cartography of Human Bridges” (2014) 

The Raintown Review: “Basic Anthropology: How Words are Born” (2014) 

The Coachella ReviewArk,” “New Psychology for Infant Spiders” (2014) 

Literary Mama: An Occasional Elegy for Milk,” “Water Children” (2013), “Their Infinite Questions” (2014)

Rainbow Crow Press Fairy Tale Anthology: “Why the Children Followed,” “The Frog King” (2013) 

GEM Literary Magazine: “The Sadness of Gifts,” “Losing Paradise Lost” (2013)

St. Petersburg Review: “The Breaking Point” – runner-up in 2012 poetry contest (2013)

Red Wheelbarrow: “The Sphinx,” “Each Broken Heroine” (2012)

District: A Creative Review: “Alternative” (2012)

Boise City Revue: “When You Leave a City That Loves You,” “That Blade” (2012)

Texas Poetry Calendar 2012: “Healing Waters” (2011)

Talking River: “Tryst” (2011)

PacificREVIEW: “Sabotage,” “Carnivore,” “Mary” (2011)

Tattoo Highway: Raspberries,” “Never Set a Pirate Upside-down” (2011)

Anderbo: When a Sister Loses a Sister” (2011)

Monkey Puzzle: Sanctuary” (2009)

RE:AL: “Watching my Grandmother Empty her Files” (2008)

Ardent!: “Found” (2007)

Intersections Journal: Rapunzel”; “A Woman Needs Two Countries”; “Thirty” (2006)


CREDO: An Anthology by Cambridge Writers’ Workshop: “How to be a Writer” (forthcoming)

Luna Station Quarterly Column: “Mythic Memoir” (2014)

Gingerbread House: Rustic” (2013)

Eagle & Greenbelt Magazines: Living Long, Living Strong” and other features (2013)

The Best Life Stories (Reader’s Digest): The Beauty Blade” (2012)

The Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine: A Bird in the Hand” with co-author Yo-El Ju (2012)

District: A Creative Review: The Softness of Spikes” (2012)

InfectiveINk: Break-up Form Letter” (2012)

Real Simple: Winner of Simply Stated Blog Contest; wrote eight blog posts (2011)

bosque (the magazine): “Awake with Asashoryu” (2011)

DTBF: Moist: A Journey out of Chapstick Addiction” (2011)

Luna Station Quarterly: Ghost Inheritance” (2011)

Pynchon’s Against the Day: A Corrupted Pilgrim’s Guide: “Mapping & the Unmappable” (2011)

Boise Weekly: Milk Traps” (2011)

University of Texas Graduate School: Spotlight on Faculty: Dr. John J. McKetta, Jr.” (2008)

Accent: On First Wives and Their Coffins” (2006)


Listen to Addicted to Chapstick and The Scream,” both featured at Story Story Night.