MFA Program for Poets & Writers

MFA Program for Poets & Writers

"The MFA Program for Poets & Writers" at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is a graduate creative writing program.


The "MFA Program for Poets & Writers" was founded in the 1960s by poet Joseph Langland and is part of the English Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


The program sponsors regular readings by creative writers and poets through its [ Visiting Writers Series] . Recent visitors to the MFA Program for Poets & Writers include Russell Edson, George Saunders, Tomaz Salamun, Eleni Sikelianos, Thomas Sayers Ellis, William H. Gass and David Ohle. MFA students in the graduate creative writing program have the opportunity to participate in both the "Mohawk Trail Writers in the Schools program" and the "Literary Arts and Outreach Internship Program".


* [ The Annual Juniper Literary Festival] . Recent festival particants include Charles Simic, Zoe Heller, James Wood, Simon Armitage, John Ashbery and Mark Ford. The festival is co-sponsored by "The Valley Advocate and the Council of Literary Magazines & Presses," with cooperation from Bard College's Ashbery Resource Center, a project of The Flow Chart Foundation, and the Academy of American Poets. It is also supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Humanities and Fine Arts, Vice Provost for Research, Department of English, Arts Council, and Alumni Association.
* [ The Juniper Summer Writing Institute] and [ The Institute for Young Writers] . Recent summer institute participants include Grace Paley, Dean Young, Matthew Zapruder, Padgett Powell, Mark Doty, James Tate, Dara Wier, Amy Hempel, Christine Schutt, Kelly Link, Brian Evenson, Kate Bernheimer, Srikanth Reddy and Matthea Harvey.


*The program has recently benefitted from several grants awarded by the "Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts".

Current faculty and staff

* Noy Holland's first book, "The Spectacle of the Body" (Knopf), was nominated for the National Book Award. She is also the author of the book, "What Begins With Bird" (FC2). Her short stories have appeared in "Story Quarterly", "Glimmer Train", "Conjunctions", "Noon", B"lack Warrior Review", "Open City" and "The Quarterly". Noy Holland is the recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In addition to being an Associate Professor in the The MFA Program for Poets & Writers, she is the director of the Writers in the Schools Project and co-directs The University of Massachusetts' Juniper Initiative for Literary Arts and Action. She is married to fellow writer Sam Michel, who also teaches in The MFA Program for Poets & Writers. Padgett Powell on Noy Holland: "If you could breed a writer out of Faulkner by John Hawkes, and put it in a female frame, you might have Noy Holland."

* Sabina Murray is the author of "Slow Burn" (Ballantine, 1990), "A Carnivore's Inquiry" (Grove/Atlantic, 2004) and "The Caprices" (Houghton Mifflin, 2002), which won the 2003 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction). She has held several important fellowships, including the Michener Fellowship at The University of Texas and the Bunting Fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute of Harvard University. Her stories have appeared in The New England Review, Ontario Review, and Ploughshares. Sabina Murray is the author of the screenplay "The Beautiful Country", which stars Nick Nolte. Terrence Malick commissioned "The Beautiful Country" project. She is married to the poet John Hennessey.

* James Tate's books of poetry include Return to the "City of White Donkeys" (Harper Collins, 2004); "Memoir of the Hawk" (Ecco Press, 2001); "Shroud of the Gnome" (1997); "Worshipful Company of Fletchers" (1994); "Selected Poems" (1991); "Distance from Loved Ones" (1990); "Reckoner" (1986); "Constant Defender" (1983); R"iven Doggeries" (1979); "Viper Jazz" (1976); "Absences" (1972);" Hints to Pilgrims" (1971); "The Oblivion Ha-Ha" (1970); and his first book, "The Lost Pilot" (1967), which was selected by Dudley Fitts for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. He is also the author of prose works: Lucky Darryl (1977), Hottentot Ossuary (1974), Dreams of a Robot Dancing Bee (2001) and The Route as Briefed (1999). He has received the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Poetry, the Wallace Stevens Award, a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. James Tate edited The Best American Poetry 1997 and is a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets.

* Dara Wier is the author of several books of poetry, including "Reverse Rapture" (2005), "Blue for the Plough" (1992), "Hat on a Pond" (2002)," Voyages in English" (2001), "Our Master Plan" (1998), "The Book of Knowledge", (1988), "All You Have in Common " (1984), "The 8-Step Grapevine" (1980) and "Blood, Hook & Eye" (1977). Her tenth book of poetry, "Remnants of Hannah", is forthcoming (2006). She is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has received the Jerome Shestack Prize, the Pushcart Prize and was a Phi Beta Kappa award finalist. Her work has been anthologized in "The Best American Poetry and The Pushcart Prize Anthology". Dara Wier is the director of The MFA Program for Poets & Writers and co-directs The University of Massachusetts' Juniper Initiative for Literary Arts and Action. John Vernon on Dara Wier: "A Sappho of decomposition, Dara Wier will not provide the solace for which you may have been looking but within my American reading she is one of the most original female poets since Sylvia Plath." John Ashbery on Dara Wier: “It may not be for the faint of heart—most intense experiences aren’t—but those who stay with it will find themselves face to face with a world whose eerily sharp focus suggests recent satellite photographs of Mars. And they will never be the same again.”"

* Chris Bachelder is the author of "Bear v. Shark: The Novel and U.S.!" (Bloomsbury Press). He is a a contributor to "McSweeney's Quarterly Concern" and "The Believer". His e-book, "Lessons in Large-Market Freelance Virtual Tour Photography", was published by Future Profits Now, the business and technology publication line of McSweeney's Books. Michael Chabon on Chris Bachelder: "Like the wonderful Bear vs. Shark, U.S.! is a mad contraption of a novel, an encyclopedia of all our rich American armamentarium of bullshit, cant, ad copy and hyperbole (including the blurbs on book jackets). But this one carries secret reserves of heartbreak and ruefulness that propel it farther and deeper into the reader's imagination. We need novelists like Chris Bachelder who can, with a microfine sense of humor and a tragic sense of history, almost make it all make sense. We're lucky to have him." Chris Bachelder will join the creative writing faculty at The University of Massachusetts in Fall of 2006.

* Peter Gizzi is the author of" Some Values of Landscape and Weather", "Artificial Heart", and "Periplum" and other poems 1987-92. He has published several limited-edition chapbooks, folios, and artist books. His work has been translated into several languages. Peter Gizzi's honors include the Lavan Younger Poet Award from the Academy of American Poets (1994) and fellowships from the Howard Foundation, The Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, and The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He has held residencies at The MacDowell Colony, The Foundation of French Literature at Royaumont, Un Bureau Sur L'Atlantique, and the Centre International de Poesie Marseille (cipM). His editing projects have included "", "The Exact Change Yearbook", and "The House That Jack Built: The Collected Lectures of Jack Spicer".

* Anthony Giardina is the author of "Men With Debts", "A Boy's Pretensions" and "The Country of Marriage". His plays have been produced at, among other places, the Manhattan Theater Club in New York, the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven and the Arena Stage in Washington D.C. He is a regular contributor to "Harper's", "Esquire", "GQ" and "The New York Times Magazine". Giardina's latest novel, "White Guys," was recently published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He is currently on [ tour] . He has been interviewed and reviewed by, among others, [ Beatrice] , [ Robert Birnbaum] , and [ The New York Times] .

* Sam Michel

* Brad Leithauser is a visiting writer and professor from Mount Holyoke College. He is the author of numerous books of fiction, poetry and essays. He is also a frequent contributor to "The New York Times" and "The New York Review of Books" and is a former "Time" magazine writer. He is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the MacArthur Fellowship and the Guggenheim Fellowship.

Faculty awards

The faculty at this graduate creative writing program have received many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the Pushcart Prize, and the Lavan Younger Poet Award from the Academy of American Poets. MFA [ faculty] have also received many fellowships from organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts and The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.


* Kamila Shamsie
* Michael Earl Craig
* Christian Hawkey
* Susan Straight
* Dorothy Barresi
* Carrie St. George Comer
* Valerie Martin
* Pat Schneider
* William Tremblay
* Lee Upton
* Ellen Dore Watson
* Joe Pernice
* Timothy A. Westmoreland
* Matthew Zapruder
* Michael Teig
* Natasha Trethewey
* Kevin Goodan
* Carol Ann Davis
* Marianne Boruch
* Douglas Whynott
* Noah Eli Gordon
* Noah Blaustein
* Xu Xi
* Gillian Conoley
* Nicholas Montemarano
* Melissa S. Ford
* Sara Veglahn
* Grace Bauer
* Carson Cistulli
* Lesle Lewis
* David Roderick
* Susan Steinberg (author)
* Rick Alley
* David Milofsky
* Steven Lee Beeber
* Ethan Paquin
* Amy Hoffman
* Diane Wald
* Judith Slater
* Jessica Jopp
* Mike Dockins
* Robert Casper
* Carol Potter
* Christopher Howell
* Nancy Reisman
* Dennis Finnell
* Frances Driscoll
* Kelly Everding
* David Wright (writer)
* Gerald Shapiro
* Mary Fister
* Susannah Lee
* Sejal Shah
* Mike Perrow
* Michelle Fogus
* Chris Gompert
* James Grinwis
* Tom Kealey
* Sueyeun Juliette Lee
* Karen Skolfield
* Benjamin Balthaser
* Sascha Akhtar
* Kathryn Burak
* Dan Chelotti
* Molly Dorozenski
* Debra Carney
* Aaron Hellem
* David Graham
* Erin Murphy (poet)
* Christopher Janke
* Kami Westhoff
* Ben Bennani
* Mary Koncel
* Leslie Dauer
* Laurie Kutchins
* Eric Lorberer
* Peg Peoples
* John Richard Reed
* Mark Wisniewski
* Brian Henry
* Eric Baus
* Kelly Le Fave
* David Berman (singer)
* Dorothea Lasky
* Andrew Michael Roberts

Periodical publications

* jubilat
* [ The Massachusetts Review]
* [ Crate]

UMass MFA Program-related projects

"'Literary Magazines, Journals and websites run by current and former students
* [ Glitter Pony Magazine]
* [ Audio Blog]
* [ Verse]
* [ Kulture Vulture]
* [ Mustachioed]
* [ Slope]
* [ Slope Editions]
* [ Conduit]
* [ Wave Poetry]
* [ Brain Case Press]
* [ The Chuckwagon]
* [ The Creative Writing Handbook by MFA alum Tom Kealey] .
* [ Corollary Press]

External links

* [ The MFA Program for Poets & Writers Official website]

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