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Alumni

Alumni

Graduates of the MFA for Poets and Writers publish their work at an extraordinary rate. They have received many of American Letters’ top honors, including the Pulitzer Prize; William Carlos Williams Prize; Puschart Prize; and NEA, Guggenheim, and Stegner fellowships. MFA program alumni have gone on to top-tier PhD programs, and have built dynamic careers in education, publishing, journalism, non-profits, and arts administration.

Alumni: We love hearing from you! Use the Alumni Updates form to send us your bio, or email mfapoetsandwriters@hfa.umass.edu with your news.

Last updated: May 24, 2021

Stevie Belchak (MFA '20) is a poet and namer who currently calls California home. During her time at UMass, she explored the confines of the human body and interrogated chronic illness through the line. While in the program, her work was nominated as a finalist for both the 2018 Center for Book Arts Poetry Chapbook Contest and the 2019 Boaat Chapbook Prize. Stevie's writing can be found across the web and at www.steviebelchak.com 

Jack Chelgren (MFA '20)  is a poet and essayist from Seattle. His writing has recently appeared in Tripwire, ’Pider, and The Seventh Wave. Jack’s MFA thesis, The Spite House, is a novel in verse about an angry millennial named Rick who works odd jobs, joins a commune, and studies the art of being a class traitor. From 2019 to 2020, Jack served as the assistant editor of jubilat. In fall 2020, he’ll enter the PhD program in English at the University of Chicago. 

Ell Davis (MFA '20)  is a writer and artist from Columbus, Ohio. 
 
Amy Diehl (MFA '20)  is a writer and human in Western Massachusetts and the mother of two young children. Diehl likes pen names, odd numbers, asymmetry, tension, her husband, and fog. 

Mark Mangelsdorf (MFA '20) is from Colorado. 
 
Aly Nichols (MFA '20) has spent seven years at UMass after going straight into her MFA from undergrad, viewing it as the time she needed to be ready to enter the real world. Through the program, she discovered her poetical voice while also learning how to make her own voice heard inside of her writing and out. Having grown up in Massachusetts, she now seeks to move out to California to pair her love of writing with her other love -- video games. Taking her two kittens, Ashe and Rae, with her, she feels she's finally ready for an adventure beyond academia. 
 
Jay Pabarue (MFA '20)  is a poet and teacher from Philly. He has run the jubilat/Jones reading series, facilitated workshops in the Pioneer Valley, received a fellowship from the Millay Colony, and gotten little grants from reactionary, oppressive, neoliberal universities ugghhhh. If you're trying to find another way, he wants to join you. Jay's poems have appeared in Diagram, The Vassar Review, and Gargoyle
 
Kritika Pandey (MFA '20) is a Pushcart-nominated writer from Jharkhand, India. She was awarded the 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for her story "The Great Indian Tee and Snakes." She is a recipient of a 2020 grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation. Her works have thrice been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and have appeared in The Common, The Bombay Literary Magazine, Raleigh Review, UCity Review, The Bombay Review, and eFiction India. She is the winner of the 2020 James W. Foley Memorial Prize, 2018 Harvey Swados Fiction Prize, the 2018 Cara Parravani Memorial Award in Fiction, and a 2014 Charles Wallace India Trust Scholarship for Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh. She is a 2014 Young India Fellow and an Electronics Engineer. 
 
Jay Ritchie (MFA '20) is the author of the poetry collection Cheer Up, Jay Ritchie (Coach House Books, 2017). While completing his MFA in Poetry at UMass Amherst, he won the Daniel and Merrily Glosband MFA Fellowship in Poetry, the Skolfield/Goeckel Award for Poetry, and the Deborah Slosberg Memorial Award for Fiction. His work has appeared in EVENT, Powder Keg, The Puritan, Spork, Peach Mag, glitterMOB, carte blanche, and been performed on CBC Radio, at the Newmarket National 10-minute Play Festival, and as part of a digital installation at the Phi Centre in Montreal. He is a PhD student in English at McGill University and a recipient of a SSHRC CGS Doctoral Scholarship.

Rebecca Valley (MFA '20) is a poet, essayist, and animal enthusiast from rural Vermont. She has published work in Black Warrior Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Rattle, Birdcoat Quarterly, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, The Bird Eaters, was published by dancing girl press in 2017. She was the 2019 winner of the Academy of American Poets Prize at UMass Amherst, and the inaugural recipient of the Young Writer's Project Fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center in Spring 2019. She is the editor-in-chief of Drizzle Review, a book review site with a focus on marginalized authors, and curates surreal and theatrical writing prompts on Instagram @Living_Room_Theatre

Juliana Ward (MFA '20) is a poet living in Northampton MA. Her chapbook Venus in November is out now from b l u s h. 


Joe Crescente (MFA '19) is currently serving as the Media Literacy Fellow at the American Center in Moscow, Russia, where he conducts trainings, seminars, online courses, and webinars on media literacy to students, journalists, PR specialists, and others. He is currently querying his first novel, "Karaoke at the Train Station," and has begun his second.

Emilie Menzel (MFA '19) is a poet, writer, and finder. She is the recipient of the Cara Parravani Memorial Award in Fiction (selected by Leigh Newman), the Deborah Slosberg Memorial Award in Poetry (selected by Diana Khoi Nguyen), and her manuscript The Girl Who Became a Rabbit was a finalist for Tupelo Press's Berkshire Prize. Recent focuses for her creative work include an exploration of the language of fables and fairy tales, grief and haunting, and metamorphoses of the body. Emilie is the curator for the gently haunted digital library of art and reading resources The Gretel and a managing editor for the arts and literary non-profit The Seventh Wave. She builds local arts resources, events, and community for North Carolina with the Orange County Arts Commission. Additionally, Emilie is currently studying for a masters in librarianship at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill where her research explores how creative practices can be used to build literacy and community. She holds a BA with honors in English from Wellesley College and an MFA in Poetry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Since graduating from the MFA, Ben Parson (MFA '19) has been teaching literature and creative writing at Eagle Hill School in Hardwick, MA. He currently lives in Greenfield with his partner and their dog—finding time to write in-between bouts of grading. 


Callum Angus (MFA '17) is a trans writer and editor currently based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Nat. Brut, West Branch, LA Review of Books, Catapult, The Common, Seventh Wave Magazine and elsewhere. He has received support from Lambda Literary and Signal Fire Foundation for the Arts, and he holds an MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He edits the journal smoke and mold, and his first book of stories, A Natural History of Transition, was published by Metonymy Press in April 2021.

Lindsey Webb's (MFA '17) poetry and other writings have appeared in Denver Quarterly, Chicago Review, jubilat, Vestiges, and Tammy, among others. A chapbook, House, is forthcoming from Ghost Proposal in 2020. She recently received a fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center. She lives in Salt Lake City, where she's a PhD student in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Utah.


Andrew Cothren’s (MFA '16) work has appeared in Redivider, fields magazine, The Atlas Review, and Yalobusha Review. He received his MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Currently, he lives and bartends in New York City, where he is at work on a novel.

Lauren Ireland (MFA '16) is the author of three books: FEELINGS (Trembling Pillow Press), The Arrow (Coconut Books), and Dear Lil Wayne (Magic Helicopter Press) as well as two chapbooks. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Steven Tagle (MFA '16) is a writer, photographer, and philhellene. He is the recipient of an Asian American Writers' Workshop Margins Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship to Greece, and a Soros Fellowship for New Americans. He has been published in them, LARB, New Delta Review, Spork, The Rumpus, LiFO, and Nea Hestia. He has received residencies from the Hawthornden International Retreat for Writers, the International Writers and Translators' Center of Rhodes, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. He works for the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece.


Alexander Scalfano (MFA '15) is originally from northern Alabama and graduated from UMass Amherst’s MFA in Poetry program. He is currently the English Department Chair at Dublin School in the mountains of southern New Hampshire where he is also the founding editor of the school’s literary magazine, Layman’s Way. Some of his poems appear in Atticus Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, New South, smoking glue gun, and Jellyfish.

Caroline Belle Stewart’s (MFA '15) stories can be found in Fairy Tale Review, Black Warrior Review, Quarterly West, Hobart, No Tokens, Big Big Wednesday, Mistress, and elsewhere. She is the author of the chapbook Husbandly Things (Factory Hollow Press) and co-author of a deck of narrative divinatory birding flashcards called "Mast Year: A Mystical Field Guide" (Mount Analogue Press). She teaches at Bard Microcollege Holyoke and Great Books Summer Program at Amherst College. A recipient of fellowships from Monson Arts, I-Park, and the MacDowell Colony, she lives in Northampton, MA. 


Stella Corso (MFA '14) is currently a PhD student in Creative Writing at the University of Denver and an Editorial Assistant for poetry and performance at the Denver Quarterly. Her first book of poems, Tantrum, won the 2016 Black Box Prize for Poetry from Rescue Press, and her chapbook, Wind & the Augur, is forthcoming from Sixth Finch early this year.

JoAnna Novak (MFA '14) is the author of I Must Have You and two books of poetry: Noirmania and Abeyance, North America. Her short story collection, Meaningful Work, won the 2020 Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Contest and will be published by FC2. Her essay “My $1000 Anxiety Attack” was anthologized in About Us: Essays from the Disability Series of The New York Times. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Paris Review, The New York Times, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, Fence, Guernica, AGNI, BOMB, and other publications. She is a co-founder of the literary journal and chapbook publisher, Tammy, and teaches in the MFA program at Mount Saint Mary's University in Los Angeles. 


Leora Fridman (MFA '13) is a writer whose work is concerned with issues of identity, assimilation, care, ability, and embodiment. Within and across these frames, she writes on books, art, and human stories. She's author of My Fault, selected by Eileen Myles for the Cleveland State University Press First Book Prize, in addition to other books of prose, poetry and translation. Her work appears or is forthcoming in the Millions, the New York Times, the Rumpus, Tricycle Magazine, Open Space, Denver Quarterly, jubilat, and jacket2, among others. Forthcoming books include Static Palace, a collection of essays about chronic illness and apocalypse, Fasci/nation, a book of nonfiction focused on embodied relationships to whiteness and historical oppression, and Vessel, collected poems on shattering and consecration. Leora holds degrees with honors from the University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA Program for Poets and Writers and Brown University.  She has taught online and in person in universities, homes and community organizations, and collaborates widely with artists, writers and organizations. She is a recipient of support, grants and residencies from organizations including Fulbright, Creative Capital / Andy Warhol Foundation, Caldera, the National Endowment for the Arts, Alley Cat Books, Real Time & Space, Vermont Studio Center, the Center for Cultural Innovation, and the Dorot Foundation. She’s currently a 2019-2020 Fulbright research fellow to Mexico, and in 2020-2021 will be a Visiting Assistant Professor in nonfiction at Saint Lawrence University.

Emily Hunt's (MFA '13) works include the poetry collection Dark Green (The Song Cave), named a “standout debut” by Publishers Weekly and a "Must-Read Poetry Debut" by Lit Hub; Cousins (Cold Cube Press), a book of photographs; Company (The Song Cave), a poetry chapbook; and This Always Happens (Brave Men Press), a book of drawings and text. Her poems have been published in the PEN Poetry Series, Hyperallergic, Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Now series, The Iowa Review, Tupelo Quarterly, TYPO, The Volta, and Diagram, and elsewhere. Her honors include the 2012 Iowa Review Poetry Prize (selected by Timothy Donnelly), and the Deborah Slosberg Memorial Award in Poetry.


Angela Buck’s (MFA '12) stories have appeared in Fairy Tale Review, Black Scat Review, The Champagne Room, Unbroken, Juked, Western Humanities Review, Mid-American Review, Gobshite Quarterly, and Modern Grimmoire: Contemporary Fairy Tales, Fables and Folklore. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Massachusetts and a PhD in English from the University of Denver. Her first book, Horses Dream of Money, was a finalist for the AWP Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction, and will be published in Spring 2021 by FC2.

Caroline Cabrera (MFA '12) is the author of the lyric essay collection, (lack begins as a tiny rumble) from Tinderbox Editions, as well as three poetry collections and two chapbooks, including most recently The Coma of the Comet from Burnside Review and Saint X, winner of the Hudson Prize from Black Lawrence Press. She is the Education Coordinator & Lead Instructor at O, Miami. She is founder and editor of Bloom Books and, along with fellow UMass MFA Alumni Anne Holmes & Gale Thompson, co-host of the arts & advice podcast Now that We’re Friends.

Anne Cecelia Holmes (MFA '12) is the author of The Jitters (horse less press 2015) and three chapbooks, including Dead Year (Sixth Finch 2016). Her poems have appeared in Bone Bouquet, Gulf Coast, jubilat, Conduit, Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere. The recipient of a fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, she edits Jellyfish Magazine and co-hosts the O, Miami arts advice podcast Now That We’re Friends. Anne lives in Washington, D.C., where she works at the Library of Congress. 

Andrea Lawlor (MFA '12) teaches writing at Mount Holyoke College, edits fiction for Fence magazine, has been awarded fellowships by Lambda Literary and Radar Labs, and is a 2020 Whiting Award recipient. Their writing has appeared in various literary journals including Ploughshares, Mutha, the Millions, jubilat, the Brooklyn Rail, Faggot Dinosaur, and Encyclopedia, Vol. II. Their publications include a chapbook, Position Papers (Factory Hollow Press, 2016), and a novel, Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl, a 2018 finalist for the Lambda Literary and CLMP Firecracker Awards. Paul, originally published by Rescue Press in 2017, is out now from Vintage/Knopf in the US and Picador UK in the UK & Ireland. 

Mark Leidner (MFA '12) has previously taught creative writing at the University of Iowa, University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and Portland State University. He currently lives in Atlanta and teaches at Emory University and Georgia State University. Returning the Sword to the Stone, Leidner’s second full-length poetry book, has been announced for publication in 2021 by Fonograf Editions. Empathy, Inc. has an 85% score on Rottentomatoes.com and has earned rave reviews in Variety and The Verge. It is available to stream on iTunes, Amazon, and Shudder. “21 Extremely Bad Breakups,” a story published in Under the Sea, was adapted for the stage and directed by Amy Rummenie of the Walking Shadow Theatre Company in Minneapolis in 2018. 

Gale Marie Thompson (MFA '12) is the author of Helen or My Hunger (YesYes Books, 2020) and Soldier On (Tupelo Press, 2015), and two chapbooks, including Expeditions to the Polar Seas (Sixth Finch, 2013). After receiving an MFA from UMass Amherst, she earned a Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing from the University of Georgia. Her work appears in Crazyhorse, American Poetry Review, BOAAT, Gulf Coast, Tin House Online, Guernica, and Bennington Review, among others. She has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and has given workshops and craft talks for the Emily Dickinson Museum, O, Miami Foundation, Midwest Writing Center, and others. Gale is the founding editor of Jellyfish Poetry and has worked on the editorial teams of jubilat, Crazyhorse, Fairy Tale Review, Georgia Review, and Slope Editions. With two other UMass alum, Caroline Cabrera and Anne Cecelia Holmes, she co-hosts the arts advice podcast Now That We’re Friends, an O, Miami production. She lives in the mountains of North Georgia, where she is assistant professor and director of the creative writing program at Young Harris College. 


Jack Christian (MFA '11) is the author of the poetry collections Family System, which won the 2012 Colorado Prize, and Domestic Yoga, published by Groundhog Poetry Press in 2016. His writing has appeared in periodicals such as jubilat, Web Conjunctions, Mississippi Review, Denver Quarterly, Slate, and The New York Times Magazine. He teaches creative writing and and composition at University of North Texas in Denton, Texas.

Kyle Flak (MFA '11) enjoys strolling quietly near turtle ponds. He is also a great admirer of jams, jellies, and preserves. His recent books of weird poetry / strange performance monologues include: Sweatpants Paradise and I Am Sorry For Everything in the Whole Entire Universe, both from Gold Wake Press. He has done some "studying" and "teaching" at Northern Michigan University, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Texas State University. You can follow him on Twitter (@kpflak) or YouTube.

Robin McLean (MFA '11) was a lawyer and then a potter for 15 years in the woods of Alaska before receiving her MFA at UMass Amherst. Her first short story collection Reptile House won the BOA Fiction Prize and was named a best book of 2015 in Paris Review. Her stories have appeared widely, in such places as The Cincinnati Review, Carve, The Common, Copper Nickel, and others. Her debut novel Pity The Beast is forthcoming from And Other Stories in 2021 and her second collection of stories are due out from AOS in 2022-23. She now directs writing at the Ike’s Canyon Ranch, an extreme-remote writers’ outpost in the high plains desert of central Nevada, where we’d love to host other UMass writers. She also teaches writing at The Loft in Minneapolis and at Hugo House in Seattle. www.ikescanyon.com

Hilary Plum (MFA '11) is the author of the novel Strawberry Fields (2018), winner of the Fence Modern Prize in Prose; the work of nonfiction Watchfires (2016), winner of the 2018 GLCA New Writers Award; and the novel They Dragged Them Through the Streets (2013). She teaches at Cleveland State University and in the NEOMFA program and is associate director of the CSU Poetry Center. With Zach Savich she edits the Open Prose Series at Rescue Press. Recent poetry, prose, and criticism have appeared in Granta, Fence, Denver Quarterly, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere.

Henk Rossouw's (MFA '11) book-length poem Xamissa, published by Fordham University Press in 2018, won the Poets Out Loud Editor's Prize. Best American Experimental Writing 2018 featured an excerpt. The African Poetry Book Fund and Akashic Books included his chapbook The Water Archives in the 2018 boxed set New-Generation African Poets. Poems have appeared in The Paris Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Boston Review, among other publications. He earned an MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a PhD from the University of Houston. A tenure-track assistant professor, he teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He is from Cape Town.


Gabe Durham (MFA '10) is the founding editor of Boss Fight Books, a press for nonfiction critical books about video games. He has written two books for the series and edited 20+ others, including entries by Alyse Knorr, Michael Kimball, Jarett Kobek, Nathan Rabin, and Matt Bell. He is also the author of the novel FUN CAMP, and has published prose and poetry in 50+ venues including Puerto del Sol, Diagram, Barrelhouse, and The Mid-American Review. He lives in Los Angeles.

Matty Weingast (MFA '10) is co-editor of Awake at the Bedside and former editor of the Insight Journal at Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. With almost two decades of meditation experience, Matty completed much of the work on The First Free Women: Poems of the Early Buddhist Nuns while staying at Aloka Vihara Forest Monastery in Northern California.

Mike Young (MFA '10) is the author of two poetry collections: 2014's Sprezzatura and 2010’s We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough, which was selected by readers of The Believer as one of the Top 20 Poetry Books of 2010. He is also the author of the 2010 story collection Look! Look! Feathers, which Publishers Weekly called “relevant, wise, and immensely enjoyable.” His work has appeared in American Short Fiction, VICE, jubilat, BOMB, Washington Square Review, Columbia Poetry Review, and many others. In 2019, he organized a 30 state poetry/music tour called The Blue Turn where he collected woes in a pie tin. Since 2007, he's run a small press called Magic Helicopter, which puts out chapbooks and full length books and interactive art. He’s been a guest writer and featured performer at Treefort, Brown, Cal Poly, Emory, the Center for Fiction in NYC, and elsewhere. These days, he makes music with Clementine Was Right and pays rent in Nashville, TN. Find him online at www.theblueturn.com.


Michael Carolan (MFA '09) was born Kansas City, Missouri. Writing and reporting named notable in the Best American Essays series; writing prizes include The Atlantic Monthly and the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Credits for fiction, journalism, essay, photography and interviews include The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, National Public Radio, Kansas City Star, Nashville Review, Springfield Republican and The Massachusetts Review. Editor of The Mass Deportation of Poles to Siberia, a published book of wartime memoirs (2009). Professor of Practice, Clark University. 

Anjali Khosla’s (MFA '09) first poetry chapbook, Ghostbot, was named a finalist in the 2020 Eric Hoffer Awards. Anjali is currently an Assistant Professor in the Journalism + Design Program at The New School. Her reporting and other nonfiction work has appeared in publications such as The Guardian, Gossamer, Hemispheres, Air Mail, the New York Daily News, and Fast Company. She recently completed a residency at Arteles Creative Center in Haukijärvi, Finland. 


Andrew Robin (MFA '07) is the author of Something Has To Happen Next, which was awarded the Iowa Poetry Prize, and Good Beast, a finalist for the Oregon Book Award in poetry. He is the recipient of a Poetry Society of America National Chapbook Fellowship and a distinguished teaching award from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He lives with his wife Sarah in Oregon, where he works as a cardiac nurse.

Jung Yun (MFA '07) is the author of Shelter (Picador, 2016), which was long-listed for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and a finalist for the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award. Her second book, O Beautiful, is forthcoming from St. Martin's (fall 2021). Her fiction and essays have appeared in Tin House, The Massachusetts Review, The Indiana Review, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. Currently, Jung is an assistant professor of English at the George Washington University.


Christopher Harris (MFA '06) has published four novels, as well as stories in such literary journals as Washington Square, LIT, News from the Republic of Letters, and Slush Pile. He also hosts podcasts and a YouTube channel, via Harris Football. On Twitter, you can follow him @HarrisFootball.

Arisa White (MFA '06) is a Cave Canem fellow and an assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at Colby College. Who's Your Daddy is her poetic memoir debut from Augury Books. Her poetry has been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, NAACP Image Award, California Book Award, and Wheatley Book Award. The chapbook “Fish Walking” & Other Bedtime Stories for My Wife won the inaugural Per Diem Poetry Prize. She's the co-author of Biddy Mason Speaks Up, the second book in the Fighting for Justice series for young readers, which won the Nautilus Book Award Gold Medal for Middle-Grade Nonfiction and the Maine Literary Book Award for Young People’s Literature. She has received residencies, fellowships, or scholarships from The Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep, Juniper Summer Writing Institute, Headlands Center for the Arts, Port Townsend Writers’ Conference, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Hedgebrook, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Prague Summer Program, Fine Arts Work Center, and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. As the creator of the Beautiful Things Project, Arisa curates poetic collaborations that center narratives of queer people of color. She serves on the board of directors for Foglifter and Nomadic Press.


Michael Robins (MFA '04) is the author of four poetry collections, including In Memory of Brilliance & Value (2015) and People You May Know (2020), both from Saturnalia Books. He lives in the Portage Park neighborhood of Chicago. More at www.michaelrobins.org

Leni Zumas’s (MFA '04) national bestselling novel Red Clocks won the 2019 Oregon Book Award and was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction and Dartmouth’s Neukom Prize for Speculative Fiction. She is also the author of Farewell Navigator: Stories and the novel The Listeners. Leni's fiction and essays have appeared in Granta, The Times Literary Supplement, Guernica, BOMB, The Cut, Tin House, and elsewhere. She directs the creative writing program at Portland State University.


After receiving his MFA from UMass, Paul Fattaruso (MFA '03) received a PhD in creative writing from the University in Denver in 2007 and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2011. He is a Partner at the litigation boutique Roche Cyrulnik Freedman in New York City. 


Susie Meserve (MFA '01) is a poet and essayist whose debut poetry collection, Little Prayers, won the Blue Light Book Award and was published in 2018 by Blue Light Press. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Elle, Salon.com, The Washington Post, and many literary journals, and in the anthology Show Me All Your Scars. She is also the author of the poetry chapbook Faith (Finishing Line Press, 2008). Susie is on the faculty at Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband and two sons.


Melissa Caruso (MFA '00) is the author of several fantasy novels, including the Swords & Fire trilogy (The Tethered Mage, The Defiant Heir, and The Unbound Empire) from Orbit Books. Her new trilogy, Rooks & Ruin, is forthcoming from Orbit Books starting in June 2020 with The Obsidian Tower. Melissa's debut, The Tethered Mage, was shortlisted for the Gemmell Morningstar Award in 2017.

Nicholas Montemarano (MFA '00) is the author of four books of fiction, most recently a novel, The Senator's Children (Tin House Books, 2017). His short stories have appeared in many publications including Esquire, Zoetrope, Tin House, The Southern Review, AGNI, The Gettysburg Review, and The Antioch Review. He has won a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. He is the Alumni Professor of Creative Writing and Belles Lettres at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA.

Susan Steinberg (MFA '00) is the author of four books of fiction, Machine (Graywolf), Spectacle (Graywolf), Hydroplane (FC2), and The End of Free Love (FC2).  Her work has appeared McSweeney's, Conjunctions, The Gettysburg Review, Zyzzyva, BOMB online, The Believer online, American Short Fiction, Boulevard, The Massachusetts Review, Quarterly West, Denver Quarterly, and other literary journals. She was awarded a 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, a National Magazine Award, and a United States Artist Fellowship. She has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Civitella Ranieri Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the James Merrill House, the Millay Colony, Vermont Studio Center, the Wurlitzer Foundation, Jentel, Blue Mountain Center and Ledig House.  She earned a BFA in Painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art and an MFA in English from The University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is Professor of English at the University of San Francisco, and she was the Bedell Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Creative Nonfiction Program at the University of Iowa.

Andrew Varnon (MFA '00) lives in Greenfield, MA, with his wife Lynette (MFA '02) and their two kids. Over the years, he has received awards ranging from the 92nd St. Y/The Nation "Discovery" award to the Greenfield Poet's Seat Poetry contest. He worked for 12 years as an adjunct instructor where he developed the "Beer, Baseball and the Bible" class, before walking away from higher education and is now attempting to transition into public school teaching. He is currently working occasionally as a substitute teacher and coaching the boys tennis team at Greenfield High School.


Alexandria Peary (MFA '99), PhD, serves as Poet Laureate of New Hampshire. She is a professor in the English Department at Salem State University and the author of six books. Her 2019 TEDx talk, "How Mindfulness Can Transform the Way You Write," is available on YouTube.

Matthew Zapruder (MFA '99) is the author of five collections of poetry, including Come On All You Ghosts, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and Father’s Day (Copper Canyon, 2019), as well as Why Poetry, a book of prose. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a William Carlos Williams Award, a May Sarton Award from the Academy of American Arts and Sciences, and a Lannan Foundation Residency Fellowship in Marfa, TX. In 2000, with Brian Henry, he co-founded Verse Press, and is now editor at large at Wave Books, where he edits contemporary poetry, prose, and translations. He was the founding Director of the Bagley Wright Lecture Series. From 2016-17 he held the annually rotating position of Editor of the Poetry Column for the New York Times Magazine. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he is an Associate Professor at Saint Mary’s College of California.


Daniel Hales (MFA '98) the author of ¿Cómo Hacer Preguntas? or, How To Make Questions: 69 Instructional Poems (Frayed Edge Press), the hybrid novel, Run Story (Shape&NaturePress), and three poetry chapbooks. He currently teaches 6th and 8th grade English at The Bement School.

Leo Hwang (MFA '98) received his Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts in Geosciences with a focus on the diverse community economies of artists and artisans in Franklin County, an M.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and his B.A. in English and Fine Arts from the University of the South. His work has appeared in The Handbook of Diverse Economies, Human Being & Literature, The SAGE International Encyclopedia of Travel and Tourism, Route Nine, Rethinking Marxism, Solidarity Economy I: Building Alternatives for People and Planet, Meat for Tea, The Massachusetts Review, Glimmer Train Stories, Rivendell, Can We Have Our Ball Back?, Fiction, Three Candles, Gulf Coast, The Vermont Literary Review, and The Dickinson Review. He was the recipient of the Rosselli/de Filippis Scholarship at the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference and has been awarded scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He has taught at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Mount Holyoke College; Greenfield Community College; and Westfield State University. Mr. Hwang is currently the Dean of Humanities, Engineering, Math, and Science at Greenfield Community College. He also plays guitar in two bands, The Warblers and Vimana, and bass in The Original Cowards and The Big Why. 

Jane Rosenberg LaForge (MFA '98) lives in New York City with her husband, daughter, and two cats. Her novel, The Hawkman: A Fairy Tale of the Great War (Amberjack Publishing) was a finalist in two categories in the 2019 Eric Hoffer awards. Her chapbook of poems, The Navigation of Loss, was one of three winners in the Red Ochre Press' annual chapbook contest in 2012. She reads poetry and edits copy for Counterclock, an online literary magazine; and reviews books for American Book Review. You can find her on Facebook or on Twitter @JaneRLaForge. Her web site is jane-rosenberg-laforge.com

Karen Skolfield’s (MFA '98) book Battle Dress (W. W. Norton) won the 2020 Massachusetts Book Award in poetry and the Barnard Women Poets Prize. Her book Frost in the Low Areas (Zone 3 Press) won the 2014 PEN New England Award in poetry, and she is the winner of the 2016 Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize in poetry from The Missouri Review. Skolfield is a U.S. Army veteran and teaches writing to engineers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst; she’s the poet laureate for Northampton, MA for 2019-2022. www.karenskolfield.com


Brian Henry (MFA '97) is the author of eleven books of poetry, most recently Static & Snow (Black Ocean, 2015). Three of his books have appeared in separate UK editions, and his work has been translated into eight languages. He co-edited the international magazine Verse from 1995 to 2017 and established the Tomaž Šalamun Prize in 2015. His translation of Aleš Šteger’s The Book of Things appeared from BOA Editions in 2010 and won the Best Translated Book Award. He also has translated Tomaž Šalamun’s Woods and Chalices (Harcourt, 2008), Aleš Debeljak’s Smugglers (BOA, 2015), and Aleš Šteger’s Above the Sky Beneath the Earth (White Pine, 2019) and Berlin (Counterpath, 2015). His poetry and translations have received numerous honors, including two NEA fellowships, a Howard Foundation grant, the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, the Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize, the Cecil B. Hemley Memorial Award, the George Bogin Memorial Award, and a Slovenian Academy of Arts and Sciences grant.


Carol Ann Davis (MFA '96) is a poet, essayist, and author of the poetry collections Psalm (2007) and Atlas Hour (2011), and The Nail in the Tree: Essays on Art, Violence, and Childhood (2020), from Tupelo Press. The daughter of one of the NASA engineers who returned the Apollo 13 crew from the moon, she grew up on the east coast of Florida the youngest of seven children, then studied poetry at Vassar College and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, and a finalist for the National Magazine Awards in Essays and Criticism. A former longtime editor of the literary journal Crazyhorse, she is Professor of English at Fairfield University, where she is founding director of Poetry in Communities, an initiative that brings writing workshops to communities hit by sudden or systemic violence, and Director of the Fairfield University Low-Residency MFA.  She lives in Newtown, CT, with her husband and two sons.

Jerry Wemple (MFA '96) is a Professor of English at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of three full-length poetry collections and two chapbooks. His poetry and creative nonfiction appear in numerous journals and anthologies. Among his awards at a Fellowship in Literature from the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Word Journal Chapbook Prize, and the Jack and Helen Evans Endowed Faculty Fellowship. He was a poet-in-residence at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station and received a fellowship for the Vermont Studio Center. He is also twice recipient of the Dean's Salute to Excellence for his teaching and creative activities.  


Greg Bachar (MFA '95) earned his MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His writing has appeared in Conduit, Rain Taxi, Indiana Review, Redactions, Litro, Sentence, Arroyo Literary Review, Southeast Review, Pontoon: An Anthology Of Washington State Poets, and Maintenant: A Journal Of Contemporary Dada Writing & Art. He is the author of the books Three-Sided Coin, Sensual Eye, Curiosisosity, Beans, The Amusement Park Of The Mind, The Writing Machine, The Book Of Was. He plays bass as the leader of The Jack Waste Orchestra and was an Executive Producer of the 2015 documentary Elstree 1976.

Elan Barnehama’s (MFA '95) second novel, Escape Route (Running Wild 2021) is set in the summer of '69, a year littered with hope and upheaval around the globe. His first novel, Finding Bluefield (2012), chronicles the lives of Nicky and Barbara as they seek love and family during a time when relationships like theirs were mostly hidden and often dangerous. Elan's work has appeared in Drunk Monkeys, Rough Cut Press, Boston Accent, Jewish Fiction, Running Wild Press Short Story Anthology, HuffPost, the New York Journal of Books, public radio, and elsewhere. At different times Elan has taught writing online and in-person, was the fiction editor at Forth Magazine LA, worked with at-risk youth, was a ghostwriter for a university president, coached high school varsity baseball, had a gig as a radio news guy, and did a mediocre job as a short-order cook. He's a New Yorker by geography. A Mets fan by default.

Joy Ladin (MFA '95) holds the Gottesman Chair in English at Yeshiva University, and, in 2007, became the first (and still only) openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution. A poet, memoirist, and essayist, she long worked at the intersection of gender identity, religious tradition, and literature.  Her memoir, Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders, was a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award, and prompted conversations about trans and Jewish identities around country. Her most recent book, The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective, a Lambda Literary Award and Triangle Award finalist, is the first book-length work of trans theology from a Jewish perspective. Recognized as a founding exponent of trans poetics, she has published nine books of poetry, including two Lambda Literary Award finalists and, most recently, The Future is Trying to Tell Us Something: New and Selected Poems. Her work has been recognized with a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Fulbright Scholarship, and an American Council of Learned Societies Research Fellowship, among other honors. She serves on the Board of Keshet, an organization devoted to full inclusion of LGTBQ Jews in the Jewish world. Episodes of her online conversation series, “Containing Multitudes,” are available at JewishLive.org/multitudes; links to her writing are available at joyladin.wordpress.com


Andrea Holland (MFA '91) lives in Norwich UK with her sons. Publications include Broadcasting (Gatehouse Press) which won the Norfolk Commission for Poetry and Borrowed (Smith/Doorstop), as well as individual poems in journals and anthologies in the UK and USA, including The World Speaking Back: poems for Denise Riley. She has published articles on poetry, creative writing pedagogy and collaborative practice, including for The Portable Poetry Workshop (Palgrave/Macmillan). She teaches Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and sits on the Board of the European Association of Creative Writing Programs and also on the National Association of Writers in Education Higher Ed. committee. She co-organised the UEA/EACWP Future & Form international online creative writing conference 21-22 May, 2021 with keynote speakers Carolyn Forché and Bernardine Evaristo. 

Eric Lorberer (MFA '91) is the executive director of Rain Taxi, a nonprofit literary organization based in Minneapolis, MN.  See what they're up to at raintaxi.org.


Grace Bauer's (MFA '87) most recent collection is Unholy Heart: New and Selected Poems. She has published five previous collections: MEAN/TIME, The Women At the Well, Nowhere All At Once, Retreats & Recognitions, and Beholding Eye, as well as several chapbooks, and also co-edited the anthologies Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse and Umpteen Ways of Looking at a Possum: Critical and Creative Responses to Everette Maddox. She taught for 25 years in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Nebraska and is currently Aaron Douglas Emerita Professor of English and Creative Writing.


Dennis Finnell (MFA '80) has taught at the University of Tennessee, Mount Holyoke College, and Wesleyan University, and has briefly held over thirty jobs, at last count. His 2014 book, Ruins Assembling, was nominated for the 2016 Poets' Prize. He's received fellowships from the Arthur Vogelstein Foundation, twice from the Ragdale Foundation, with residencies at MacDowell and Ragdale. Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, he now lives in western Massachusetts.

David Graham’s (MFA '80) most recent of seven poetry collections is The Honey of Earth (Terrapin Books, 2019). He co-edited (with Kate Sontag) the essay anthology After Confession, and (with Tom Montag) Local News, poems on small town America. He is a former Poet in Residence at The Frost Place. Now retired from teaching at Ripon College, where he hosted the Visiting Writers Series for 28 years, he writes a column, Poetic License, for the online journal Verse-Virtual. He lives in Glens Falls NY.


Co-winner of Reed Magazine's Edwin Markham Prize (2019), Jeanne Julian (MFA '79) has published in such journals as Prairie Wolf Press Review, Poetry Quarterly, Lascaux Prize 2016 Anthology, pacificREVIEW, The RavensPerch, Snapdragon, Poemeleon, Iris Literary Journal, and Kakalak. Her poems have won awards from The Comstock Review, Naugatuck River Review, and the North Carolina Poetry Society. Jeanne regularly reviews poetry books for The Main Street Rag. Now retired from a 27-year career in higher education administration, she lives in Maine. www.jeannejulian.com


Diane Wald (MFA '78) has published more than 250 poems in literary magazines since 1966. She the recipient of a two-year fellowship in poetry from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and has been awarded the Grolier Poetry Prize, The Denny Award, The Open Voice Award, and the Anne Halley Award. She also received a state grant from the Artists Foundation (Massachusetts Council on the Arts). She has published four print chapbooks (Target of Roses from Grande Ronde Press, My Hat That Was Dreaming from White Fields Press, Double Mirror from Runaway Spoon Press, and Faustinetta, Gegenschein, Trapunto from Cervena Barva Press) and won the Green Lake Chapbook Award from Owl Creek Press. An electronic chapbook (Improvisations on Titles of Works by Jean Dubuffet) appears on the Mudlark website. Her book Lucid Suitcase was published by Red Hen Press in 1999 and her second book, The Yellow Hotel, was published by Verse Press in the fall of 2002. Wonderbender, her third collection, was published by 1913 Press in 2011. A new collection, The Warhol Pillows, was published in 2021 by Finishing Line Press. Her novel Gillyflower was published in April 2019 by She Writes Press, and won first place in the novella category from the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, first place in the novella category from American Book Fest, and a bronze medal from Reader’s Favorite. A novel, My Famous Brain, is forthcoming in October 2021.


Dr. Irma McClaurin (MFA '76), Black Feminist Speaker, is a woman of many talents who believes profoundly that you must “change minds, change hearts, change behavior to achieve transformation.” She is an activist bio-cultural anthropologist who studies the social construction of inequality. McClaurin is the founder and senior consultant of Irma McClaurin Solutions (IMS), a business that is focused on leadership and organizational development; diversity and change strategies; authentic community engagement practices; and research and evaluations. McClaurin seeks to find immediate and sustainable solutions to emerging and urgent issues, and offers support informed by past experiences as a president of Shaw University and Chief Diversity Officer at Teach For America. Dubbed an “academic entrepreneur,” she has held numerous executive positions that include grant making and fundraising.  She has a background in policy and was a senior faculty at the Federal Executive Institute (FEI) teaching leadership education to senior federal executives. Dr. McClaurin recently founded the “Irma McClaurin Black Feminist Archive” in 2016; it is a collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s W.E.B. Du Bois Library Department of Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) and the W.E.B. Du Bois Center. She now presents nationally on the Archive and has appeared on ABC7 “Here and Now” to talk about this legacy project.  In 2019, the  @CiteBlackWomen launched its inaugural podcast with an interview with McClaurin on the Black Feminist Archive.  And Ms. Magazine published an interview about the Archive in 2018. 


Christopher Howell’s (MFA '73) twelfth collection of poems, The Grief of a Happy Life, was published in 2019 by the University of Washington Press. His work may be found in over forty anthologies, and, recently, in the pages of Gettysburg Review, Poetry International, Field, Mirimar, New Letters, Salt, and Image. He teaches in the Master of Fine Arts program at Eastern Washington University, and the low residency program at Eastern Oregon University, and has been director of Lynx House Press since 1975.