About Masha

WRITING

I wrote my first lyrical poem (lovingly jotted down by my mother, Milica) at the age of 3. I cooked my first meal made from scratch at the age of 7: julienne fries. I could taste them in my head and wanted them made just right. My mother helped by doing something really huge: she let me do it all by myself.

I won my first literary contest at the age of 11 and my short story about a nightingale and an old oak tree (written in Serbo-Croatian) was published in Vračarski glasnik (Vracar Herald), the official magazine of the Vračar Municipality in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, where I was born. By the age of 15, I had won several youth poetry contests and told countless stories, some of which were true. These days I live with my Yugoslavian-Turkish-American family in Salt Lake City, UT, where I continue to write literary fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, tell stories, and look for any excuse to spend time in the Wild.

My literary fiction/magical realism novel in progress, The Taste of Names, was selected as the winner of the 2017 San Francisco Writing Contest in the Adult Fiction Category, a finalist for the 2017 Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest, a finalist for the 2017 International Literary Awards Reynolds Price Award in Fiction, a Shortlist Winner Nominee of the Adelaide Literary Award for Best Short Story for 2017, a Semi-finalist for the 2017 Francine Ringold Awards for New Writers (Nimrod International Journal), and a Semi-finalist in the 2019 American Short(er) Fiction Contest, among other things. My other work won 2nd place in the Fiction category and 2nd place in the Prose Poetry category of the 2017 Creative Writing Contest of the League of Utah Writers. I was recognized as a Finalist in the Adult Fiction category of 2018 San Francisco Writing Contest, Semi-finalist in the 2019 American Short(er) Fiction Contest, Finalist for the 2020 International Literary Awards: Penelope Niven Creative Nonfiction Award, and Finalist (shortlist) in the Fractured Literary 2020 Flash Fiction Contest.

My creative and scholarly work has appeared in anthologies, books, and literally and academic journals, including:

STORYTELLING

As a weaver and keeper of visual, oral, and written stories, I believe that we are all being called, right now, to awaken to a greater sense of what Soul is. The world around us is imbued with spirit; it is alive and listening, and we are invited to be alive in it and listen with our whole bodies. Our most important stories, the ones we feel an urge to tell, the ones that repeatedly ask to be told, are living entities connecting us to our deepest and truest selves and aiding us on our sense-making quest in this life. Telling such a story is like birthing yourself into the awareness of who you are supposed to be in the world—your soul purpose. For me, stories are maps for being in the world, for understanding our sacred entanglement, and our deep interconnectedness with everything and everyone that surrounds us. Through my storytelling, I try to address the following questions:

  • What stories are needed the most right now?
  • How can we improve the quality of our (full-bodied) listening?
  • How can humans collectively engender an entirely different, more immediately interconnected relationship to the living, “more-than-human” world?
  • How can our ancestral and mythical stories, songs, rituals, dreams, rememberings, and connections enrich, complicate, and deepen our entanglement with the world and all of its beings?

Listen to my stories:

FOOD & COOKING

I am an intuitive chef who tunes into creating food from a place of intuitive awareness, loving kindness, nourishment, and self-love. In my approach to cooking, I lovingly blend the sensory and embodied aspects of human experience, creating seasoning for the soul.

For more info about my cooking visit: poetryfoods.com

BIO

Dr. Masha Shukovich is a writer, poet, storyteller, folklorist, teacher, and intuitive chef with ancestry and indigenous roots in the Balkans; the Mediterranean; and West, Central, and North Asia (Siberia). She is the mother of Maya and Leela, a demigirl (she/they), a neurodivergent person, and an immigrant from a country that no longer exists. 

Masha speaks five languages and has a super power called Synesthesia: her brain interprets words as moving images, numbers as colors, and tastes as shapes, colors and sounds. She can taste a recipe simply by reading it.

Masha holds an MA and a PhD in Communication and Gender Studies from Texas A&M University and is currently completing her MFA in Creative Writing at Goddard College.

Her literary fiction/magical realism novel-in-progress The Taste of Names is on the longlist for the 2021 First Pages Prize, which supports emerging, unagented writers worldwide with an annual prize for the first 5 pages of a longer work of fiction or creative non-fiction. This year’s judge is Lan Samantha Chang, the Elizabeth M. Stanley Professor in the Arts at the University of Iowa and the Director of leading American MFA program, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Excerpts and stand alone pieces fromThe Taste of Names were also selected as:

  • Winner of the 2017 San Francisco Writing Contest in the Adult Fiction Category
  • Finalist for the 2017 Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest
  • Finalist for the 2017 International Literary Awards Reynolds Price Award in Fiction
  • Shortlist Winner Nominee of the Adelaide Literary Award for Best Short Story for 2017
  • Semi-finalist for the 2017 Francine Ringold Awards for New Writers, Nimrod International Journal

Masha’s other work won 2nd place in the Fiction category and 2nd place in the Prose Poetry category of the 2017 Creative Writing Contest of the League of Utah Writers and she was recognized as a Finalist in the Adult Fiction category of 2018 San Francisco Writing Contest, Semi-finalist in the 2019 American Short(er) Fiction Contest, Finalist for the 2020 International Literary Awards: Penelope Niven Creative Nonfiction Award, and Finalist (shortlist) in the Fractured Literary 2020 Flash Fiction Contest.

Her creative and scholarly work has appeared in anthologies, books, and literally and academic journals, including:

Masha’s writing and teaching both focus on the magical elements in our everyday lives; awakening from the delusions created by the limiting stories we choose to tell ourselves; revising our internal storytelling; communing with the Sacred and the Wild; living our most authentic, embodied lives; and following our bliss.

SELECT PUBLICATIONS

Blog

First pages, imposter syndrome, and learning all you can

My imposter syndrome is a living, breathing, starving beast with a nearly impenetrable hide. It doesn’t matter how many accolades it receives, how many writing awards I feed it, how much praise comes its way. It remains ravenous. My wound of not belonging, of being “the thing out of place,” an error in an otherwise error-free reality, goes way deeper than my 17 years in the US.