Our mentors in the Low-Residency 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.

 

Program Lead

 

Jenna Goldsmith
Poetry
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Jenna Goldsmith is the interim program lead for the MFA in creative writing. Her writing has been featured in Utterance, Rabbit Catastrophe Review, What Rough Beast, New Delta Review, The Waggle, disClosure: A Journal of Social Theory, and ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment. She is a Story Catcher Festival Mari Sandoz Emerging Writer and was the inaugural winner of the Kentucky Writers Fellowship from the Baltic Writing Residency. Her poetry chapbook, Genesis near the river was published in 2019 with blush books, and she is ¼ of Portland-based artist collective Danger Punch, which published The Landscape in 2019 (Publication Studio Hudson). Her poetry chapbook, Suppose the room just got brighter, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in 2021. Her website is jennalgoldsmith.com.

 

Faculty

 

T. Geronimo Johnson
Fiction
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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


Christopher Boucher
Fiction
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Christopher Boucher is the author of the novels "How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive" (Melville House, 2011) and "Golden Delicious" (Melville House, 2016). Chris received his MFA in Fiction from Syracuse University in 2002, and he currently teaches in the English Department at Boston College; he’s also the managing editor of "Post Road Magazine." Chris’s academic interests include postmodern and contemporary fiction, hybrid texts and digital humanities. Chris lives in Watertown, Massachusetts with his wife and two children. In his free time, he plays the five-string banjo.

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.


Beth Alvarado
Creative Nonfiction and Fiction
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Beth's third book "Anxious Attachments" (Autumn House Press, 2019) has been long-listed for a Pen America Literary Award for the Art of the Essay and is a 2020 Oregon Book Award Winner. Taken together as a larger narrative, these essays are about the power of love to revise who we are, what we believe, and what our story is. Her 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.


Ru Freeman
Fiction and Poetry

Three things drive my teaching: keeping sight of each others humanity; how we interact with each other because of the personal landscapes — historical, cultural, physical, emotional, spiritual, and economic — that have shaped us; and how we might work toward a collective good. These same concerns inform my writing, and I choose my vehicle (fiction, essays, poetry, political journalism), based on the form that would best serve the emotional truth I wish to convey.

I grew up in Sri Lanka, a country where girls and women are honored both for their grace and for not taking any bull; where opinions are stated clearly and in the open, most specially when we disagree, but where the argument is kept separate from the relationship; and where friendship is assumed before it has to be proved. These things tend to differentiate me from my American peers. Serendip was the name, in Arabic, for my country in 361 AD, whose essence was captured in the invention of the word serendipity in the 18th century. As such, I’ve learned to stay wide open to the beauty that chance happenings afford us, and thrive in environments where people love without boundaries, give freely of their wealth and of themselves, enjoy the pleasure of food and drink and dance, and find humor in pretty much everything. Even the darkest things. Particularly those.


Jennifer Tseng
Poetry and Fiction

Jennifer Tseng was born in Indiana and raised in California by a first generation Chinese engineer and a third generation German American microbiologist. Her first book The Man With My Face (AAWW 2005) won the 2005 Asian American Writers' Workshop's National Poetry Manuscript Competition and a 2006 PEN American Center Open Book Award. Her second book Red Flower, White Flower (Marick Press 2013), winner of the Marick Press Poetry Prize, features Chinese translations by Mengying Han and Aaron Crippen, and her novel Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness (Europa Editions 2015) was a finalist for the PEN Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and for the New England Book Award. MAYUMI is available in English and Italian and is forthcoming in Danish. She received a Mass Cultural Council’s Artist Fellowship in 2020.

Tseng earned an MA in Asian American Studies at UCLA, an MA in Fiction at University of Houston, and she was twice a Fiction Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She has taught Asian American Studies and Creative Writing at UCLA and Hampshire College respectively and was the 2015 Jack Kerouac Writer-in-Residence at University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

 

Distinguished Visiting Writers

 

Mia Susan Amir, Geraldine Brooks, CA Conrad, Karen Finneyfrock, Rebecca Morgan Frank, Raquel Gutiérrez, Kristiana Kahakauwila, Colleen Kinder, Deborah A. Miranda, Elizabeth A.I. Powell, James Prosek, Justin Taylor