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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of English Language and Literature

Creative Writing Faculty

"I was able to explore several approaches to writing and teaching and discover what worked best for me."
- Rachel Luria, alumna

Samuel Amadon is the author of three books of poetry: Listener (forthcoming from Solid Objects in 2018); Like a Sea, winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize; and The Hartford Book, winner of The Believer Poetry Book Award. His poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, PoetryAmerican Poetry Review, A Public Space, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. He is coeditor of Oversound and frequently writes poetry reviews for Boston Review and Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry and Opinion.

MFA Director
David Bajo is the author of three novels: The 351 Books of Irma ArcuriPanopticon, and Mercy 6. His work has been translated into 11 languages. He has published stories in Five ChaptersThe Cimarron ReviewZyzzyvaThe SunThe Chattahoochee Review and other literary journals.

James Barilla is the author of two creative nonfiction books: West With the Rise: Fly Fishing Across America (University of Virginia Press) and My Backyard Jungle: The Adventures of an Urban Wildlife Lover Who Turned His Yard into Habitat and Learned to Live with It (Yale University Press). He has published essays, scholarly articles and stories about the human relationship with the natural world in ISLE, Places, Ecological Restoration, and elsewhere.

Elise Blackwell is the author of four novels: Hunger, The Unnatural History of Cypress Parish, Grub, and An Unfinished Score. Her work has been translated into several languages, and her books have been chosen for numerous best of the year lists, including the Los Angeles Times, Sydney Morning Herald, and Kirkus. Her short stories and cultural criticism have appeared in Witness, Topic, Seed, Quick Fiction, and elsewhere.

Writer in Residence and MFA Coordinator
Liz Countryman’s first book, A Forest Almost, was selected by Graham Foust as the winner of the 2016 Subito Press Poetry Prize and will be published by Subito Press at the University of Colorado in 2017. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in PoetryAmerican Poetry ReviewAGNIThe Kenyon ReviewThe VoltaBoston ReviewThe Offing, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of scholarships and fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the MacDowell Colony and is coeditor of the poetry journal Oversound.

Fred Dings' poetry has appeared in The New Republic, The New Yorker, Poetry, Paris Review, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. He has published two books of poetry, Eulogy for a Private Man and After the Solstice, two chapbooks, and various articles and reviews. He currently has work appearing or forthcoming in The Winter's Tale: Evans Shakespeare Series, The Packinghouse Review, Spillway, and The Wallace Stevens Journal. He is a regular poetry reviewer for World Literature Today.

Nikky Finney was born in South Carolina, within listening distance of the sea. A child of activists, she came of age during the civil rights and Black Arts Movements. At Talladega College, nurtured by Hale Woodruff's Amistad murals, Finney began to understand the powerful synergy between art and history. Finney has authored four books of poetry: Head Off & Split (2011); The World Is Round (2003); Rice (1995); and On Wings Made of Gauze (1985). The John H. Bennett, Jr. Chair in Southern Letters and Literature at the University of South Carolina, Finney also authored Heartwood (1997), edited The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (2007), and co-founded the Affrilachian Poets. Finney's fourth book of poetry, Head Off & Split was awarded the 2011 National Book Award for poetry.

One of the nation's foremost scholars of children's literature, Dianne Johnson is also, under her pen name Dinah Johnson, the author of five picture books for children: All Around Town, Sunday Week, Quinnie Blue, Sitting Pretty, and Hair Dance.

Ed Madden is the author of three books of poetry: Signals, winner of the 2007 SC Poetry Book Prize; Prodigal: Variations; and Nest. His poems have been published in the Los Angeles ReviewPoetry Ireland, and other journals, as well as The Book of Irish American Poetry (Notre Dame) and Best New Poets 2007.

Tara Powell is the author of the chapbook Physical Science (Finishing Line Press, 2010). Her poems have appeared in Asheville Poetry Review, Blue Unicorn, Pembroke Magazine, South Dakota Review, Southern Poetry Review, storySouth, Weber Studies, and other journals.