Paul Diehl

Profile Updated: June 30, 2008
Residing In: Iowa City, IA
Spouse/Partner: Dedra, Medical Research Librarian, Univ. of Iowa
Occupation: Class Sponsor, DHS Class of 1968 :-)
Children: Ethan, born 1972; B.A. Stanford University; now of Austin; Senior Systems Analyst, University of Texas; More…and Painter (,

Wilson (aka Wil), born 1975; B.A. Swarthmore College, M.F.A. University of Iowa; now of Seattle; Poet, Film Maker, Teacher, Essayist and Listings Editor for "Seattle Metropolitan Magazine" (;
Engaged to Jared Strote
Yes! Attending Reunion

My two years with you weren't just my first job; they were the beginning of a wonderful life and career I never knew possible. With you I discovered my obsession with language and my love of teaching. Together we worked toward finding our better selves, and I can never tell you how grateful I am to all of you, to your families, and to Dimmitt itself. I take such pride in you that I always list DHS at the head of my personal/professional histories. I have carried you with me always, and here's where. The University of Texas at Austin (1968-1973), where I taught writing, literature, philosophy and finished my M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English, Linguistics, and Poetics. Grinnell College, in Iowa (1973-1975), where I taught Poetry and Creative Writing. The University of Iowa, in Iowa City (1975-1982), where I became a professor and taught courses in poetry, poetics, creative nonfiction, stylistics, and the teaching of writing. The United States Air Force Academy (1982-1983), as part of the Department of Defense Distinguished Visiting Professor Program. The University of Iowa (1983-2004), where I established and directed the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Nonfiction until my medical retirement in 2004. I've given lectures at scores of schools, colleges, universities, institutes, and at almost all I would speak of some aspect of my time with you and how that time has shaped my life.... Of a town with two 'M's and two 'T"s and its own bumper sticker, dammitt; a school where music was bigger than football (and I love football); a school where the Home Ec facility was bigger and better appointed than most grand houses I've seen; a school where the state champion basketball coach was one of the best mathematicians I've ever known; a school where the Homecoming windmill burned brighter than Texas sun; a place where young adults supported each other far better than most. Along the way I discovered that writing is really thinking, feeling in slow motion. Now I think in slow motion as a certified expert witness in matters of language for the Federal Circuit and as a national consultant for NPOs, mostly in education. I feel in slow motion, mostly with memoir and poetry. That's how Elaine found me on Google, a link to one of my poems on an Iowa City bus.

I've never been tempted by class reunions, but then the classes have never been yours. I'm so grateful to have been invited back by my once students and friends, by my now friends with grown-up lives and families of their own. Please bring lots of photos, lots, but more importantly, please bring yourselves.

See you soon,
(Mr. Diehl has left the building)

School Story:


Lunchroom cinnamon rolls on Tuesdays (or was it Wednesdays?).

Third favorite teaching memory: your faces after hearing you had to read a book of your/my choosing every six weeks. Second favorite: your faces after hearing you'd be doubling that second semester. ("No, Huckabay, no more 'Swiss Family Robinson.'") Favorite: our one-on-one conversations about those books.

The Texas Ranger at my door needing to talk to me about some missing highway signs.

Loving the wind.

Favorite overheard book non-recommendation: "Forget 'Old Man and the Sea.' Yeah, it's thin, but it reads like four inches."

Making sure you'd never forget what a gazebo is.

Bus rides with the band, over and over....

Looking up at the platform of my first Homecoming windmill spinning down on me.


The UFO event I accidently created August 1967, and which 20 years later turned up in a Time-Life book of unexplained phenomena!

How I guessed the exact number of caramels in the 20-gallon water bottle at the grocery store.

Mongolian Fire Pot.

How I got the job.

Paul's Latest Interactions

Paul Diehl has a birthday today.
Jul 14, 2019 at 3:33 AM
Paul Diehl has a birthday today.
Jul 14, 2018 at 3:33 AM
Paul Diehl has a birthday today.
Jul 14, 2017 at 3:33 AM
Paul Diehl has a birthday today.
Jul 14, 2016 at 3:33 AM
Paul Diehl has a birthday today.
Jul 14, 2015 at 3:33 AM
Posted: Mar 06, 2014 at 11:00 PM
Wil 2007.
Posted: Mar 06, 2014 at 11:00 PM
Wil and Jared, Spring 2008
Posted: Mar 06, 2014 at 11:00 PM
Dedra and Ethan, Summer 2007.
Posted: Mar 06, 2014 at 11:00 PM
Ethan's latest painting, 2008. Oil on linen. Four by four feet. Wall-mounted on spinning device so painting can be rotated and viewed at different angles.