Creative Writing Fall 2016 Newsletter

Dear Students, Faculty, Alums, and Friends:

It has been a wonderful twenty years as chair - shepherding 2 positive, outside evaluation visits, the adding of 2 MFA concentrations in Creative Non-Fiction and Literary Translation, landing a $250,000 fund for fellowships for graduate students, and overseeing the hire of outstanding faculty, though some have moved on:  Stacy Doris, Chanan Tigay, Camille Dungy, ZZ Packer, Andrew Joron, Carolina de Robertis, Peter Orner, Nona Caspers, Robert Glück, and Paul Hoover—all during this period.  We have also established the Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives as a Research Sponsored Organization with a sounder base of operations and seen to it that many of our students received the inspiration, guidance, and training in craft that have earned them books, fellowships, magazine publications, and careers in teaching, publishing, editing, running arts organizations and bringing the pleasure of comprehensible writing to many business enterprises.

I want to thank everyone for your help and support over the years and welcome Carolina de Robertis, who begins this fall, as does our new dean, Dr. Andrew Harris, whom we look forward to getting to know.

We have a tenure-track fiction search approved for this year and will be glad to add  to our talented  roster of lecturers and tenured/tenure-track faculty.

If you want to help the department at this juncture, I think the best way would be to support the magazines, which are under-funded. If you could give $500 (10 people), it would very much assist in the continued publication of Fourteen Hills. If you could give $200 (10 people), Transfer would thrive, and the same for New American Writing (10 people at $200).  Of course more is appreciated or any amount that assists these worthy journals.

I also want to thank the faculty who were hired before I was chair who serve our students so well: Michelle Carter, Roy Conboy, Toni Mirosevich, and Dan Langton, who, after a glorious career, retires this winter. I will return to the faculty as professor in spring of 2017: our two acting chairs for this year will be Peter Orner, who will serve in fall before a Fulbright to Namibia, and Paul Hoover, who will serve in Spring. Next spring we will elect someone to begin a 3-year term. 

Thank you all again and special thanks to Katherine Kwid and to my faithful sidekick, Barbara Eaton, without whom this place would be far less efficient and well-run.


Maxine Chernoff, Chair of Creative Writing


Paul Hoover had poetry published in Conjunction 65: Sleight of Hand and Fence 21 (Winter 2016), and forthcoming in Poetry and Plume Poetry. Readings included Casa del Refugio in Mexico in protest of the imprisonment of Saudi poet Ashraf Fayadh. The Complete Poems of San Juan de la Cruz (co-translated with Maria Baranda) is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions in 2017.

Michelle Carter’s new play, Rose In America, commissioned by AlterTheater, had successful premieres in San Francisco and San Rafael. She served as the librettist for Iron Shoes, a musical theater piece being developed through a Berkeley Rep Ground Floor residency with the Kitka women’s vocal ensemble. Carter is also serving as the dramaturg for Sarah Shourd’s The Box, a play based on interviews with men enduring long-term solitary confinement around the U.S.

Maxine Chernoff has been published in Hambone, Conjunctions, Blood Orange Review, Laurel Review, Landowich, Cosmonaut Avenue, Negative Capability, Columbia Poetry Review, Truck, Litscape, Intimacy, Volt, Airbrush, Undine, Blab, Brooklyn Rail, and Inscape. Maxine will be a visiting artist and scholar at the American Academy in Rome in October.

Chanan Tigay’s nonfiction book, The Lost Book of Moses (Harper Collins 2016) was published to rave reviews, including the Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Publisher’s Weekly.

Heather Gibbons was a finalist for the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize from Waywiser Press and is currently a finalist for the Four Way Books Intro Prize. Her poetry has appeared in The Laurel Review, Red Light Lit, Sprung Formal, Sixth Finch, and in Remembering the Days That Breathed Pink (Quaci Press, 2016).

Nona Casper’s manuscript Alley Stories was awarded the Mary McCarthy Prize in Fiction and will be published by Sarabande Press.

Newest faculty member, Carolina De Robertis’s novel The Gods of Tango has just been released in paperback, is forthcoming in a German translation and has been acquired for a French translation. She appeared on a panel entitled “The Latino Experience as U.S. Literature” during the Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley, and recently accepted the Stonewall Book Award from the American Library Association. Currently working on the post-production of a documentary film, Afro Uruguay: Forward Together, in collaboration with her wife Pamela Harris, which will show as a work-in-progress at the Museum of the African Diaspora September 15, 2016.

Francis N Phillips will present a panel, “The Writers Among Us and How They Survive,” at the annual Grantmakers in the Arts Conference in October. She will also be presenting a paper on a panel about “Community Arts and Civic Engagement” at the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) conference in Washington D.C. this November.

Forthcoming October 2016, from Augury Books, Arisa White's third collection You're The Most Beautiful Thing That Happened received a glowing reviews and Black Pearl: eight poems and a poetic drama, (Nomadic Press, 2016) was recommended by Small Press Distribution as a summer read.

Ben Black has short stories published in Cream City Review and The Southampton Review.

Matthew Clark Davison was published on

Toni Mirosevich has new fiction and nonfiction stories in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Hunger Mountain, Pleiades, and are more forthcoming in the Bellevue Literary Review.

Andrew Joron gave a talk reon chaos theory and poetics at the Buffalo Poetics Conference, and participated in a panel on futurism at the Cultural Center in San Francisco. A selection of Joron’s work was included in The Sulfer Anthology published by Wesleyan University Press, and a collection of his poetry, entitled The Absolute Letter, is forthcoming from Flood Editions. Joron will be doing a reading and interview on the Poetry Foundation podcast, PoetryNow, later this year.

Peter Orner served as the Blattner Visiting Professor of English at Northwestern University Spring 2016. He has two books forthcoming this fall: a book of essays called Am I Alone Here? from Catapult, NY, and an oral history set in Haiti called Lavil: Life, Love, and Death in Port-au-Prince from McSweeney’s/Verso Press UK, which was edited with a great deal of essential help from SFSU graduate students.

Former Faculty

Sarah Anne Cox had her third book of poetry, Super Undone Blue, published by Dusie Press.


Rae Armantrout’s latest collection is Partly, New and Selected Poems, 2001-2015 (Wesleyan, 2016).

Stephanie Han’s debut book of short stories Swimming in Hong Kong is forthcoming from Willow Springs/Eastern WA Univ Press, November 2016. Excerpts won prizes Nimrod International Literary Journal), the South China Morning Post Fiction Award, to name just a few. Han became the very first PhD graduate (2014) in English literature from City University of Hong Kong.

Dayna Ingram’s latest novel is All Good Children (Lethe Press, 2016).

Philip Barron  has an essay forthcoming in Philosophy and Literature and is a contributing poetry review editor for Sophia and Philosophia. He has reviews in New Orleans Review, and The Quarterly Conversation. His readings include in a t the 2015 Congreso de Lengua, Literatura y Traduccion in Seville, Spain.

Dylan Brie Ducey has work in Foliate Oak, The 3288 Review and forthcoming in GargoyleCheap Pop, Pithead Chapel and Jellyfish Review. She was a finalist for the 2016 Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Fellowship.

SB Stokes (MFA 2013) founder, producer, and art director for the fifth annual Beast Crawl, Oakland’s Free Annual Literary Festival and curated two readings for Skinless: New & Raw Writing in Oakland and Los Angeles.

Sarah Heady’s poetry collection Comfort was a finalist in the 2016 Omnidawn Open and the 2016 Colorado Prize for Poetry. She is librettist for Unfinished: An Opera About Change, for which she and her collaborator received a grant from Arts Mid-Hudson, a program of the New York State Council on the Arts; it had two workshop performances, including one at The National Opera Center in New York City.

Kim Addonizio’s autobiographical collection, Bukowski in a Sundress (Penguin Books, 2016) was released to excellent reviews, including The Village Voice, The Boston Globe.

Published in GlimmerTrain96,  Siamak Vossoughi and Sommer Schafer.

Ingrid Keir’s poetry collection, The Choreography of Nests is forthcoming from Feather Press, September 2016.

Ploi Pirapokin  taught at the Berkeley Writing Salon and will be teaching at the Emerging Writer’s Institute at Brown University. She received a fellowship to attend the Anderson Center in Red Wing, MN. Ploi has work in The Bellingham Review, Entropy Magazine, TAYO Literary Magazine, Anthroapoid: The Collective Folklore Issue, and Apogee Journal and forthcoming in Fiction International: Taboo Issue and on

Kelly Loy Gilbert’s book, Conviction, was a finalist for the Morris Award and the Magnolia Award.

Gerardo Pacheco Matus will be attending Breadloaf.

Shruti Swamy short story “A Simple Composition” (Agni 81, Spring 2015) has won and will be published in O. Henry Prize Stories for 2016, forthcoming in September.

Zaid Shlah’s latest book is ClockWork poems & essays (Frontenac House, 2015).

Zek J. Evets has had two volumes of poetry published: Distorted Orange Hidden County (Wingspan Press, 2009) and Sad Bastard Poetry (Dog Ear Publishing, 2016).


Linda Norton’s (MFA candidate) second book, WITE-OUT, is forthcoming from Pressed Wafer in 2017, and was excerpted in Fourteen Hills and will be forthcoming Hanging Loose Magazine and the Berkeley Poetry Review. The Berkeley Poetry Review will also be featuring a portfolio of Norton’s collages along with the writing. She gave a presentation about the WPA and FSA and moderated a panel with Fred Moten, Manolo Callahan, and Stefano Harney at the Oakland Book Festival last May. Norton participated in a reading at the SoundEye Festival in Cork, Ireland in July.

Adefisayo Adeyeye (MFA Candidate) has poems on,,

Sofia M. Lopez (MFA Candidate) was published in Issue 7 of Rivet. She also won the Leo Litwak Award for her story in Transfer 111.

Lara Coley (MFA Candidate) has poems in New American Writing 34, Banana Pitch Online Journal, and sPARKLE & bLINK  and was a Disquiet International Literary Prize semi-finalist, and second-runner-up in the Turnbuckle Chapbook Contest for Split Lip Magazine.

Melia Gabriel (MFA Candidate) has a play in the Columbia College Literary Review.

Emily Pinkerton’s (MFA Candidate) chapbook, Natural Disasters, published by Hermeneutic Chaos Press, and she has poems in PithAnthropoid, and Fog Machine.

Jeff Kaliss (MFA Candidate) has articles in Songlines Magazine, San Francisco Classical Voice, and Guitar Player. His play Martina, Martina! was performed during the Fringe Goes Long event at the 7 Mile House.

John Mancini the first place winner of the San Francisco Browning Society’s 2016 Dramatic Monologue Contest, will be published by Natural Bridge.

Nicole Jost (MFA Candidate) won the James Milton Highsmith Playwriting Award and the Browning Society’s Myna Brunton Hughes Award. She also has a play being produced by Gadfly Theatre Productions, and ReproRights! is producing another play of hers as part of their Women and the Body Politic benefit performance for NARAL at the Thick House in San Francisco.

Nancy Au (MFA Candidate) has fiction in Smokelong Quarterly, Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Necessary Fiction, Fiction Southeast.

Sara Brody (MFA Candidate) had her work published in Androit Journal, Narrative Magazine, Cheap Pop, and the Columbia Journal.

Esther Patterson (MFA Fiction) served as copyeditor for Natasha Dennerstein’s new collection of poetry, Triptych Caliform, scheduled for release in October from Norfolk Press

Congratulations to these outstanding students and alumni. For more student (and alumni) publications, visit  our website, Please email us if your book or play isn’t listed, and we’ll be sure to include it in the newsletter, and the website.


We fondly remember Professor Emeritus George Price, appointed 1969, emeritus since 1983, who left us this past year.

We fondly remember our alumni who have left us this last year, whose memory we’ll cherish for years to com.

Elizabeth Madden-Zibman, M.A.

Samuel Ewing, B.A.


All Creative Writing professors, assistant, associate and full professors, are advisors; the list is posted online at our website and at the department office, HUM 573.

Department News

Prospective applicants to our graduate programs, you will receive admission decisions mid to late March.

Students, past and present, faculty past and present: your Creative Writing Department wants to hear from you! Please email us your news –

Add your voice to the Creative Writing Department by attending events and contributing to the department magazines and contests. Be sure to follow us on facebook, twitter and tumblr (from our website, click on the “f,” “t,” or bird icons; all accounts are public, so you don’t have to have an account with any of the three social media sites to follow us!) Watch our bulletin boards outside the department office (HUM 573) and by HUM 128 for news of  local events, publications, and contests. Check out the Poetry Center schedule online.

BIG THANK YOU’S to all of you who have been so generous in your giving; without your help, the department would have to do out without the many things that make our lives easier. We are dependent as ever upon your generosity, for scholarships for our deserving students, membership fees and journal subscriptions, the occasional honorary stipend for guest speakers and support of our magazines, as well as our annual Spring playwriting incubator project, GreenHouse.

Your tax deductible contribution to The Creative Writing Department Fund, literary journals and scholarship accounts (a full list of our account names below) may be made online.

All best wishes for a happy and productive Fall 2016 and Spring 2017!