Vince Gotera

Professor of English

Vince Gotera

1002 Bartlett Hall

(319) 273-7061

Vince Gotera

Professor of English

   The Man with the Blue Guitar

In 2024, Vince Gotera was named the fifth Iowa Poet Laureate, with a two-year term beginning on March 1, 2024.

Vince Gotera came to the University of Northern Iowa in 1995 as a professor of creative writing and poetics. He served as Editor at the North American Review from 2000 through 2016. He also served from 2017 through 2020 as Editor of Star*Line, the print journal of the international Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association.

Before coming to UNI, Vince taught creative writing and ethnic American literature at Humboldt State University, where he directed the creative writing program. He earned his MFA in poetry writing and a double Ph.D. in English and in American Studies at Indiana University. Vince also studied at Stanford University and San Francisco State University.

Vince's publications include Dragonfly (a collection of poems from Pecan Grove Press in San Antonio, Texas) and Radical Visions: Poetry by Vietnam Veterans (a book of literary criticism from the University of Georgia Press), both of which were published in 1994. In 2003, Vince published a chapbook of poems titled Ghost Wars with Final Thursday Press. Ghost Wars received the 2004 Global Filipino Literary Award in Poetry.  He published the poetry collection, Fighting Kite, with Pecan Grove Press in 2007, as well as the chapbook The Coolest Month with Final Thursday Press in 2019. Vince's poems, short stories, and essays have appeared in PloughsharesAltered Reality Magazine, Eye to the TelescopeThe Kenyon ReviewThe Asian Pacific American JournalZone 3 and other literary magazines, as well as in such anthologies as Contemporary Fiction by Filipinos in America, Tilting the Continent: Southeast Asian American Writing and From Totems to Hip-Hop. In 2017, he won the Veterans Writing Prize from Stone Canoe journal.

Vince was awarded the Faculty Excellence Award by the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at UNI in 2006. He won the Regents Award for Faculty Excellence, from the Iowa Board of Regents in 2012.  His other awards include a Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1993, the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry from The Madison Review, the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award in Poetry, and the Academy of American Poets Prize, all three in 1988.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Vince also lived in the Philippines for some time as a young child. He lives in Waterloo, Iowa, and has five children: Marty, Amanda, Amelia, Melina, and Gabriel. Marty, a graphic artist, lives with his wife, Grace, in Bielefeld, Germany. Amanda, a filmmaker, lives in Los Angeles, California. Amelia and Melina were an indie folk duo that performed frequently around the Cedar Valley and across Iowa, but Melina has since moved to New York City, where she works in fashion. Amelia is now a sculpture major at UNI. Gabriel was a Theatre major at the University of Iowa and is now the executive assistant of the Director of Parks and Rec in Iowa City.

Vince plays electric bass, guitar, and drums — blues, rock and jazz. He is the bassist of the blues/rock band Deja Blue in Waterloo and in the worship band at St. John Lutheran Church in Cedar Falls. He is also the guitarist in Groovy News, a music duo with singer Amelia Blue Gotera, his daughter.

Vince's favorite color is any shade of blue: aquamarine, cobalt, cornflower, midnight, robin's-egg, sky.


PhD, Indiana University
MFA, Indiana University
MA, San Francisco State University
BA, Stanford University
AA, City College of San Francisco

Research Interests
  • Creative writing 
  • Contemporary poetry
  • Multicultural literature (especially Asian American)
  • American literature