Johnny Turtle, Director of Operations

Photograph of Turtle

Johnny Turtle aka Tree Turtle (known mononymously as Turtle) is the Director of Operations for the Kratz Center for Creative Writing at Goucher College. Turtle teaches the gateway, introductory creative writing courses in poetry and fiction within the English Department. A veteran administrator for the arts, peace, and equality, Turtle was the Curatorial Assistant to the late Guy C. McElroy; the Executive Program Assistant to the Managing Editor (Jessica L. Andrews) at Washington DC’s Shakespeare Theatre Company; the Dramaturgical Assistant to Jennie Knapp at the Shakespeare Theatre Company; a Project Supervisor on data collection for arts and public policy for Temple University’s Institute for Survey Research; and the Project Manager for Eva Gholson’s Sybil Dance Company. Turtle has worked as a peacebuilder and a conflict mediator for organizations like the Urban League, SMYAL and Public Allies. In addition to teaching at Goucher, Turtle has taught at the University of Baltimore, Oberlin College, the University of Illinois, the Ohio State University, Temple University, Baltimore City Community College, Baltimore City Public Schools, and many other institutions. To mark the 20th year of Turtle’s teaching in colleges and universities, Turtle wrote and designed a 100% free e-book entitled Literary Standards, which is available at Turtle’s Pushcart Prize-wining poems, fiction, and essays appear in journals like the James White Review, Press Board Press, Fence Magazine, Capitol Black Arts Bulletin, the Washington Review, and Ploughshares. From the ages of 5-35, Turtle was a commercial entertainer with an array of professional performances in musical theatre, magic, puppetry, contemporary acting, postmodern dance, and clowning for stages, nightclubs, music videos, and children’s television. Turtle was also a choreographer with showings at the Dance Place, the DCAC, the Maryland Arts Place, and TAPS in OH. From 1990 to 2010, Turtle worked as a journalist covering performing arts and urban affairs for the Baltimore Alternative, the Baltimore City Paper, the Philadelphia City Paper, Dance Magazine, Radar Magazine, Unspoken Magazine, Columbus Alive, and many other publications. Turtle is a bookmaker, a graphic designer, and an editor who was a longtime member of the Editorial Freelancers Association. Turtle’s original book art creations (featuring Turtle’s “book-as-box” signature) were exhibited at the Load of Fun Art Gallery in 2005 and DCAC in 2004. Eight editions of Turtle’s couture book art were published by Widows Nails Press, a project founded in 1978 by the late Marcel Christian Labeija (1945-2004) who was affiliated with the Nuyorican Poets Café. The recipient of an MFA in interdisciplinary arts from the Ohio State University and an MA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, Turtle won an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council and four college teaching awards. For more information visit