Frederick Speers

Professional content strategist & part-time poet warrior

 

Professional content strategist. Poet warrior. Husband and dog dad.

Born and raised in Blacksburg, Virginia I've studied, lived, and worked around the world, including Washington D.C., Boston, Amsterdam, New York City, and the Bay Area. I currently live, work, and hike in Denver, Colorado with my husband Chase, a data scientist, and our two dogs.

At heart, I'm a knowledge worker: I'm interested most of all in how we learn, share, and grow as individuals and as communities. My professional content experience spans 20 years, including academic, commercial, technical, and creative fields. I've worked for world-class publishers, including Oxford University Press and Pearson Education. And I’ve designed content strategies for financial and high-tech corporations, including BOK Financial, Wells Fargo, Charles Schawb, and Tata Communications. 

At Autodesk, I'm proud to lead a content team that's revolutionizing the way that students learn online. Our mission? To inspire and empower the next generation to design and make a better world.

In my free time, when I'm not hiking outdoors with my family and friends, I can be found inside reading and writing poetry. My first book of poems, So Far Afield (Nomadic Press 2017) was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in Gay Poetry, and I've also recently started reviewing books of poetry for the New York Journal of Books (watch this space.)

I guess I’ve always loved words and how they shape our world. Like Walt Whitman, I believe we “contain multitudes.” And we can all do better by each other. In fact, our future depends on it. 

If any of what I’ve said here speaks to you, then I hope to hear from you soon.

 
 
 
 
 

Content strategy

 

Professional content strategist

Collaborative. Analytical. Creative.

Content design. Content strategy. Content management. Content marketing. Suddenly, everything under the sun is content.  Over the last 18 years, content has developed into a cottage industry. And every company with a website is now also a publisher. 

Because my experience in publishing runs deep, I'm able to draw upon time-tested business practices as I design content blueprints for website redesigns and integrated campaigns. 

Currently, I'm the content strategy lead for the Education team at Autodesk. I've also lead content strategies for clients at Extractable, a data-driven digital experience agency in San Francisco, where my clients included Charles Schwab, Wells Fargo, and BOK Financial. Over the past 20 years, both global corporations, like Tata Communications, and world-class publishers — including Oxford University Press, McGraw-Hill, and Pearson Education — have relied on me to acquire, create, develop, edit, position, manage, and sell compelling content across industries and disciplines.

While the consumer landscape may be changing for corporations and publishers alike, I believe the equation for engagement has remained the same: Who is my audience, what are their needs, and how can I help? If we can answer these three foundational questions early on — thoroughly and honestly — then, whatever the project, we'll be off to a good start.

 

A little curious?

Me too. I'm always interested in making new contacts and learning about new opportunities. 

My professional experience

 

Content Experience Across Industries

My expertise is in B2B digital content marketing and learning experience design, across a range of disciplines and industries. Because of my deep background in educational publishing and instructional design, I have a unique approach to content strategy. 

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B2B High Tech

When your product isn't visible to consumers, it can be hard to visualize its true value. I've created content marketing plans and assets, as well as large-scale digital experiences for a number of global companies, from telecommunications to CAD software.

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Financial Services

The financial industry is tricky because it's so heavily regulated. Clients and colleagues have complained because it's so restrictive, it's impossible to get our point across. But I see it more like poetry: It's the rules, not the freedom, that make for creative expression.

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Education Services

What's more powerful: Teaching someone what to do or teaching them why it's important? I've pondered this question throughout my earlier career in educational publishing, and I've now transferred that knowledge to the global enterprises I've consulted and worked for.  

What others say about working with me 

 

Testimonials FROM MY PROFESSIONAL LIFE


It has been a pure joy working with Fred. He is an experienced and talented content strategist with special powers in the areas of editing and content organization and management. It has been a pleasure watching Fred further stretch his content knowledge and skills into the depths of the digital arena. In fact, Fred recently led an internal initiative to adopt new digital tools for content development and migration that greatly increased efficiency, accuracy and client satisfaction.

Fred is a diligent worker who consistently delivers on time and far beyond what is expected. Clients love working with Fred—so much so that they often take time to write emails about what a tremendous asset he is. As a manager, you can’t ask for much more than that but you’ll probably still get it with Fred. If you get the chance to work with Fred, don’t pass it up!
— Dana Larson, VP Content Strategy at Opus Agency

SEE MY WORK

As he shifted from the world of educational publishing to content marketing in the digital world, Fred quickly found many parallels. He transitioned smoothly and applied the logical constructs from his prior experience in a way that brought order and intellectual rigor to our content marketing initiatives. And because he is a storyteller at heart, he very naturally understands how to be a good marketer.

Fred is forthright in his communication, and dedicated to producing thoughtful and high quality work. And I thoroughly enjoyed his boundless curiosity and quick wit. I’d welcome the chance to work with Fred again!
— Lisa Smith, Associate Director of Digital Marketing at Tata Communications
Fred combines the best traits one could ask for: creativity and vision, a deep understanding of content and how to adapt it to suit multiple platforms and markets, strategic thinking, the ability to balance the big picture with the implementation details, a finger on the pulse of where businesses need to go and how they need to change to be more effective, intellectual curiosity, a passion for learning and teaching, versatility, humor, and above all, tenacity and integrity. He’s also a joy to collaborate with.
— Mikola De Roo, VP Advocacy Communications & Marketing at Housing Works

READ ABOUT MY APPROACH

As a sales person working with him, I was continually impressed that he not only partnered with authors to create great books, but he also knew how to produce a resource that the sales team could easily and powerfully present to professors. I always sought Fred out at sales meetings—I knew he’d have the most grounded and thoughtful perspectives on his discipline and the industry.
— Jenny Lupica, Partner Relations Consultant


My poetry

 

My first book of poems

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Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in the category of gay poetry in 2018

 

So Far Afield (Nomadic Press 2017) is a poetic study into the queer nature of love among men—a gay love that’s been called contra naturam—by tracing their wild desires, spiritual connections, and unspoken encounters, from seaside to cemetery. My first collection of poems incorporates classical lyric forms with a contemporary elliptical style to create new narratives about our old world—a world that keeps on falling in love, even as it’s falling apart. Now available for purchase, through Small Press Distributors, Amazon, or directly through the Nomadic Press website.

 

Praise for So Far Afield


So Far Afield is a rarity: a new work of art that is truly, ardently, memorably, about love. Frederick Speers’ well-told narratives of a gay man in this time and this place rotate like planets around that central, generative reality, love itself. This serious, lyrical, splendidly imagined book is entirely contemporary and at the same time a descendant (and in one poem, an inspired translator) of Catullus.
— Robert Pinsky, former U.S. Poet Laureate (1997–2000), is the founder of The Favorite Poem Project, and the author of numerous books, including the award-winning translation The Inferno of Dante. His most recent book of poems, At the Foundling Hospital (2016), was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry
So Far Afield is a love song to queer love, to love itself, to loss, to language in its swishing of senses: ‘. . . yet so positive / (Who doesn’t love a lost cause?)’ His intricate self-interrupting syntax twines aubade to elegy, wit to lushness. His rotting lemons stand for all ‘lovely being, being undone.’ Within the gorgeous wordplay there’s a stark determination ‘to make things clear, starting with ourselves.’ His book is a gift of hard-won knowledge. A ravishing debut.
— Rosanna Warren, author of four collections of poetry, including Ghost in a Red Hat (2011) and Fables of the Self (2008), recipient of awards from the Academy of Arts and Letters and winner of the Lamont Poetry Prize, and teacher at the University of Chicago

The capacity of men to love—and to love each other—intimately, with tender affection and abandon, is a constant theme in the poems of Frederick Speers’ gregariously fragile and yawp-ish first collection, So Far Afield. As such, Walt Whitman is a presiding spirit / companion, but so, too, is James Schuyler in the poems’ keenly observant, descriptive spokenness; so, too, is Gerard Manley Hopkins in the deliberate muscularity of their rhythms. These are poems meant to be read slowly aloud, every syllable savored—dancing, talking, whispering, fighting. ‘May the death that lives within you die,’ one notes. Palpably unguarded, old in the soul, and almost maniacally sublime, this is a book of radical open-heartedness. I love these poems for their artfulness, but also for how alive the life in them is. This isn’t just a dynamite first book, it’s a book of dynamite, one to return to.
— Matt Hart, author of nine books of poetry, including most recently Radiant Action (2016) and Radiant Companion (2016), co-founder and editor-in-chief of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking & Light Industrial Safety, Associate Professor in Creative Writing and the Chair of Liberal Arts at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, and plays guitar and shouts in the bands TRAVEL and THE LOUDEST SOUNDER
What a joy to read a debut volume that is both brimming with the vigor of life and able to make a space for us to see—and mourn—the loss of it. From ‘each finger curl of fruit’ to the place where ‘forever ends in a pair of arms,’ Speers’ poems are a beautiful exploration of how we lose and find ourselves in the movements of the mind, the creation of the self and the experiences of countless varieties of love. In language at once intimate and abstract, revelatory and raunchy, these poems suggest sinews and syntax of the human heart.
— Kirun Kapur, author of Visiting Indira Gandhi's Palmist (2015), winner of the 2013 Antivenom Poetry Award by Elixir Press
In Frederick Speers’ So Far Afield, men drink their own hearts, fold the corners of evenings, and find themselves and each other, cleaved together and apart. An anthem to love, to the rushing feeling of being alive, and to geography both real and imagined, this collection is a record of Speers’ inimitable vision of the world. From the crooked closeness of smiles about to give out, to a lonely ghost dressed in rags of hope, Speers examines a wild range of human strengths and frailties. He also creates his own language; its interruptions, contradictions and refrains mimic the meter of actual conversation and life, giving even greater depth to his lyricism.  In observations at once utterly original and so true they feel familiar, Speers demonstrates the wisdom of his own line: ‘again and again, we can be found.’ A haunting and beautiful book.
— Rachel DeWoskin, author of Second Circus (forthcoming, 2018), Blind (2014), Big Girl Small (2011), Repeat After Me (2009), and Foreign Babes in Beijing (2005). She is on the fiction faculty at the University of Chicago.

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Literary awards

So Far Afield was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in the category of gay poetry in 2018.

30th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalists

I was proud to be the recipient of the first annual John Fitzpatrick Henry David Thoreau Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, which is given to poets who “focus on nature in all its many facets.” 

 

ReadingS & Panels  

Tannery Series (Boston Area)

Dactyl Foundation (NYC)

Nomadic Press (Oakland)

Mass Poetry Festival (2018)

New Hampshire Poetry Festival ( 2018)

 

poems published

 "White River" in  Salamander Magazine ,     Issue 39

"White River" in Salamander Magazine, Issue 39

 "Leaves in the Air" and "Leaves on the Pond" in  The Straddler ,   Winter 2013

"Leaves in the Air" and "Leaves on the Pond" in The Straddler, Winter 2013

 " from  Torch Songs" in  Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking, and Light Industrial Safety ,   Issue #29-30

"from Torch Songs" in Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking, and Light Industrial Safety, Issue #29-30

 "Tidal Flats" in  AGNI   (   online  )

"Tidal Flats" in AGNI (online)

 "Victory Gardens" and "Eden Park Hotel" in  Diode Poetry Journal ,   Vol. 9 #2

"Victory Gardens" and "Eden Park Hotel" in Diode Poetry Journal, Vol. 9 #2

 "Spider Lily" in  Ofi Press Magazine ,   Issue 43

"Spider Lily" in Ofi Press Magazine, Issue 43

 "Over the Heartlands" and "Opening Up to You, On the Other Hand" in Visible Binary (  Issue 3  )

"Over the Heartlands" and "Opening Up to You, On the Other Hand" in Visible Binary (Issue 3)

 "Two Men Observing the Moon" and "North American Starling" in  Syzygy ,   Volume 1, Issue 1

"Two Men Observing the Moon" and "North American Starling" in Syzygy, Volume 1, Issue 1

 "Deerskull," "Interlude Blues," and "Star Jasmine" are not your usual love poems. Featuring loss, death, and decay, they explore the darker side of love. In his interview with Kirun Kapur, Speers talks about how his work originates, about his relationship with love poetry, and about how his work fits or doesn't into the long tradition of poems about love. (28:00)   Listen

"Deerskull," "Interlude Blues," and "Star Jasmine" are not your usual love poems. Featuring loss, death, and decay, they explore the darker side of love. In his interview with Kirun Kapur, Speers talks about how his work originates, about his relationship with love poetry, and about how his work fits or doesn't into the long tradition of poems about love. (28:00) Listen

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