Our mentors in the MFA in Creative Writing write, teach and publish across genre; engage in interdisciplinary projects; take care of the communities of which they are a part; and, most of all, approach the twenty-first century writing life with invention, pragmatism and creativity. With like-minded faculty to aid them, students at OSU-Cascades are encouraged to cultivate the spontaneity, innovation, courage and commitment the writing life demands.
MFA Program Director
Emily is passionate about the rediscovery of Mississippi poet besmilr brigham, the sexual politics of meat, the limits of Achilles’ honesty and the problem of Chaucer’s spring, unposted love letters, cannibal chickens and a ship too late to save the drowning witch. Emily's experience teaching music to Quaker children encourages her to think of writing workshops as laboratories: spaces for exploration, writing together, sharing what we’ve written and thinking metacognitively about what happens in these writing moments. Her website is ifshedrawsadoor.com.
Emily's teaching and research interests include poetry, transgenre work, ecofeminism, contemporary North American poetics, the Eco-Gothic & the fairytale, dreamwork, the literature of body image & eating disorders, creative writing pedagogy, and writing across disciplines.
T. Geronimo Johnson
T. Geronimo Johnson’s debut novel "Hold it ‘Til it Hurts" was a 2013 PEN/Faulkner finalist. "Welcome to Braggsville," a dark, socially provocative comedic novel about four liberal college kids who attempt to stage a lynching during a Civil War reenactment, was released in the US and UK in early 2015 by William Morrow. "Welcome to Braggsville" was on the 2015 National Book Awards Longlist for Fiction and won the Gaines Book Award for 2015. His short fiction and poetry have appeared in Best New American Voices, the LA Review, and Illuminations, among others. He has taught writing and held fellowships—including a Stegner Fellowship and an Iowa Arts Fellowship—at ASU, Iowa, Berkeley, Stanford and WMU. Geronimo’s academic interests include new media, creative writing pedagog, and the film essay.
He believe that, as a writer, it is his duty to tell a compelling story of human interest, one that diverges from the strained optimism animating the artificial inosculation of literacy (read: knowledge of self) and liberty (read: transcendence). Of course that often means avoiding half the words in the previous sentence: writers must be both in the world and of it. T. Geronimo received his MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and his M.A. in Language, Literacy, and Culture from UC Berkeley. He is a Niroga-certified yoga instructor and trained rally driver. His website is geronimo1.com.
T. Geronimo's teaching and research specialties include new media art, trans-media narrative, curriculum design, creative writing depagogy, urban education, transformative life skills, social justice and the arts, arts intervention, digital and community publishing, digital composition, rendering the dramatic as didactic, writing as a collaborative practice, representing vs. recreating oppressions, writing for hostile audiences, and difficulty vs. accountability.
Arielle writes poetry, creative nonfiction, scholarship and literary criticism, with a focus on innovative and hybridized poetics, contemporary literature by younger writers, gender politics and cultural and countercultural studies—and often the places where those interests intersect. Her theory of the Gurlesque, a third wave feminist avant-garde aesthetic that subverts notions of femininity and sexual agency, is being employed by critics and scholars both in America and abroad. Her website is ariellegreenberg.net.
Arielle's teaching and research specialties include poetry, creative nonfiction, transgenre work, performace art, avant-garde writing, 20th century American poetry, contemporary American poetry, the Gurlesque, gender, feminism, women's writing, writing on motherhood, literature of sexuality, intersections between literature and other art forms, writing the domestic, writing from risk, writing toward fear, translation, book arts, film studies, and critical theory.
As a feminist artist committed to living a life of compositional improvisation on and off the page, TC’s dialogic pedagogy depends on attention, curiosity, challenge, and collaboration. S/he is excited by radical honesty and compassion, form and rupture, contact and change. Even though s/he calls the desert home, s/he’s originally from the south and loves his momma and sister more than anything. Thanks to given and chosen family, TC keeps showing up and paying attention. Gloria Anzaldúa said: "Voyager, there are no bridges, one builds them as one walks." John Cage said: "It’s lighter than you think." Learn more at tctolbert.com.
TC's teaching and research specialties include trans and genderqueer poetry & poetics; gender variance and its relationship to familiy systems, violence, architecture, intimacy, visibility, safety, and public space; form and its relationship to body, arrative, and legibility; installation and performance; DIY publishing; feminist rhetoric & public discourse; compositional improvisation; nonlinear narrative; and conceptual poetry & art.
As a writing teacher, Chris emphasizes the intrinsic value of a regular writing practice; he sees it as a mode of inquiry – a way of listening in the world. He looks forward to working with writers at OSU to cultivate an artistic practice that is rigorous, sustainable, ever-evolving and always surprising.
Creative Nonfiction and Fiction
Beth’s second book, "Anthropologies: A Family Memoir" (University of Iowa Press, 2011), is a vivid archive of memories that layers scenes, oral histories, portraits, and dreams in a dynamic cross-cultural mosaic. Her short story collection, "Not a Matter of Love" (New Rivers Press, 2006), won the Many Voices Project Prize for work that is “aesthetically challenging and has a social consciousness.” Her essays and stories have been published in many fine journals including The Sun, The Southern Review, and Ploughshares. Read more at bethalvarado.com.
The best piece of advice she ever heard came from Toni Morrison, who was then working on "Beloved": “Never look away from the story.” Beth has an MFA in Fiction from the University of Arizona, an M.A. in Literature from Stanford University, and she studied creative nonfiction on a fellowship in Prague, Czech Republic.
At the University of Arizona in Tucson, she taught for the Honors College and the English Department. In 2011, she founded a Writers’ Salon in Tucson for nontraditional students; she has also taught Blended Genre classes for the University of Arizona Poetry Center and book-arts courses to Hispanic and Native American high school students.
mia susan amir
Nonfiction and Poetry
mia susan amir is a community-embedded writer, interdisciplinary performer, and educator. Born in Israel/Occupied Palestine, she has lived most of her life in Vancouver, BC, Unceded Coast Salish Territories. mia is the current creative director of The Story We Be, a Vancouver-based community writing institute which offers intergenerational intensives in the craft of creative writing, and performance, across genre. mia teaches creative nonfiction, and creative-political praxis through The Story We Be, and at Langara College, Vancouver.
In her creative work, mia uses the archives of memory (inclusive of bio and ancestral), documented history, place, and the imagination, to explore the ways in which the impacts of large sociopolitical events are transferred intergenerationally, and manifest in the small spaces of the home and the body; the haunting that emerges politically, spiritually, and culturally when our stories go untold; what she calls Dybbuk Consciousness.
mia received her MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College, Oakland, California, traditional Ohlone Territories, and is currently a student of somatics and trauma. She has performed her work across Canada and the United States, and is currently touring "Transmissions: Bodies/Echoes/Ash: An Audience-Engaged Grief Ritual." mia’s work has been published as part of Lemon Hound’s New Vancouver Poets Folio and on Digging Through the Fat.
Australian-born journalist and author Geraldine Brooks was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 2006 for her novel "March." Though she originally planned on composing a great Australian novel, instead she has produced a large body of international bestsellers whose characters and themes transcend geographic boundaries. In her keynotes, Brooks shares her insights into “The Writing Life” and explains that in order to write about—or simply understand—one’s native country or culture, one must approach it like a foreigner in order to reap all of its richness. Learn more at geraldinebrooks.com
Poetry and Fiction
Rising through the tradition of spoken word and poetry slam, Karen’s poetry seeks out the place where the accessibility of performance poetry meets the succinct self-awareness of the page. Her work is primarily concerned with narrative, as well as the personal as political. Karen’s fiction pairs lyrical voice and story. She earned a B.A. from James Madison University. Her website is karenfinneyfrock.com.
Fiction and Nonfiction
As a writer and teacher, Kristiana is driven by inquiry. She writes in order to better understand the world and her place in it, and she encourages her students to inhabit their curiosities, fears, bold endeavors, and hesitancies in order to create complex, honest prose that blazes on the page. In her free time, she runs, surfs, attempts to play the `ukulele, and plans her next trip to her heart’s home, Hawai`i. You can learn more at kristianakahakauwila.com.
Kristinana's teaching and research specialties include short story, Pacific/Oceanic studies, editing & publishing, new journalism, creative nonfiction, novel, global indigenous issues, food & wine writing, research in writing, historical fiction, decolonizing pedagogy, Hawaiiana, and translation studies.
Colleen earned her MFA from the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa. She has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, the Constance Saltonstall Foundation, Jentel, Yaddo and the Fulbright. She teaches essay writing and travel writing at Yale, and leads workshops at the Gotham Writers' Workshop in Manhattan. Her website is colleenkinder.com.
Deborah A. Miranda
Nonfiction and Poetry
A Native American writer and poet, Deborah writes poetry, creative nonfiction, and hybrid texts informed by her mixed-blood ancestry and knowledge of the natural world. Deborah A. Miranda’s primary teaching and research topics include American Literature that is off the canonical map - in other words, contemporary American Lit by authors from the margins of US culture. This literature typically approaches America culture from directions previously unconsidered, as we see the world through the eyes of Native Americans, Chicanos and Chicanas, African Americans, Japanese Americans, Chinese Americans, Appalachians, Southern Americans, and more. Contexts such as environmental issues, economic limitations, linguistic barriers/advantages, and historical trauma are all explored in voices typically not heard in mainstream literature.
Artist, writer, naturalist, and Yale graduate James Prosek made his authorial debut at nineteen years of age with "Trout: an Illustrated History" (Alfred A. Knopf, 1996), which featured seventy of his watercolor paintings of the trout of North America. His latest book "Ocean Fishes," Rizzoli, 2012 is a collection of paintings of 35 Atlantic fishes, all of which were painted life size based on individual specimens he traveled to see. In autumn of 2012 Prosek was awarded the Gold Medal for Distinction in Natural History Art from the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. He has upcoming shows at the Addison Gallery of American Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He is currently working on a book, as well as an article for National Geographic, about how we name and order the natural world. For more information, visit troutsite.com.