Spring Festival

On this page: 2023 Spring Festival | Festival Schedule | Candidate Bios | Guest Artists | Previous Spring Festival Candidates

The annual Spring Festival for the MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics program features readings and performances by graduating MFA candidates and a guest writer or artist. MFA candidates showcase selections from their MFA thesis projects.

2023 MFA Spring Festival

Saturday, June 3, 2023   |   1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
University of Washington Bothell   |   Discovery Hall 061

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is requested.
Register to Attend

Festival Schedule

Greetings and Opening Remarks

Featured Readings by MFA Candidates

  • Alexandria SimmonsFantasy and Folklore: The Education of Half-Orc Scarlette Urrug
  • Alysa Levi-D’AnconaMist Manifesto
  • Amy EldridgeThe Panther
  • Bujinlkham Erdenebaatar, Veiled Street
  • Connor James, The Carolyne Project: A Speculative Experiment of Narrative Structure
  • Marwah M. Shebl, The Last of Our Days
  • Matt Livezey Whitehurst, Anti-Parietal Epithalamus
  • Raelynne Woo, Beyond the Curtain

with Guest Artist, Robert Farid Karimi

With 25+ years of expertise as trans-disciplinary performer, producer, poet, educator, and social engagement artist, Robert Farid Karimi brings nourishment, playfulness, and interactive storytelling to spaces worldwide – from General Mills to Off Broadway to Nuyorican Poets Café to HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, Hawaii International Film Festival, The Smithsonian, and South by Southwest. With his Iranian-Guatemalan heritage as a point of departure, Karimi plays a diverse group of characters in his solo and collaborative shows, from the mystical Disco Jesus to pop star Freddie Mercury to the idealist cook Mero Cocinero, who has cooked for luminaries MF Doom, Yuri Kochiyama and families and change makers worldwide.

Karimi is an Assistant Professor of Performance Practices and Co-director of the Public Practice + Generative Play StudioLab at Arizona State University. robertfaridkarimi.com

MFA Candidate Bios

Alexandria Simmons is a writer of prose, essays, and poetry. She won an award in the short story division of Writer’s Digest’s 75th writing competition, as well as an honorable mention in the poetry division. She has been published by FreeXpresSion, Pudding Magazine, Stone Pacific Zine, Scars Publications CC&D: Children, Churches & Daddies, Clamor Literary Journal, and the United States Army. She received her MFA from the University of Washington Bothell and independently facilitates monthly community events where locally curated artists gather to publicly share their written works. In 2023 she discovered a passion for academic conferences and has traveled the US presenting her research and creative works. Her recent writing interests include mental illness, clashing perspectives, realism, femininity and culture.

Alysa Levi-D’Ancona was born in Trieste, Italy, grew up in Chicagoland, and lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband and two polydactyl cats. She teaches high school English by day and writes at every other waking moment. Liminality, surrealism, burlesque, absurdism, and speculative fiction are the pepper of her pages; stories, coffee, cooking, hikes, and blankets are the salt of her earth. Levi-D’Ancona’s writing has recently appeared in TulipTree Press, Querencia Press, Occulum Journal, Stone Pacific, The RavensPerch, UWB Crow, Clamor Journal, Alice Says Go Fuck Yourself, Cream Scene Carnival Magazine, and Caustic Frolic. Her chapbook, An Absurd Palate (Querencia Press 2023), is in stores June 28th and is available for preorder June 7th.

Amy Eldridge is a student in the Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing & Poetics at the University of Washington Bothell. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Writing degree from The University of Tampa, where she specialized in fiction writing. During her two years of study at UWB, she has acted as co-curator of the Gamut literary series, which features quarterly readings from current students, alumni, and faculty.

Bujinlkham Erdenebaatar was born in Dundgobi, Mongolia, and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the National University of Mongolia. She is always proud of her ancestry as a descendant of nomads, and she strives to imbue her art with nomadic philosophical beliefs about the interconnectedness of all things in the universe. She wants to hide the light even behind the pain through her words, and she sincerely believes that each of her writings will bring healing to someone.

Connor James is a writer whose work explores different narrative structures and forms, collaborative storytelling through interactive play, and is often in conversation with the English history of speculative fiction. As part of the UW Bothell MFA program, he has explored his relationship with his family and authors, served as a peer facilitator for Dr. Ching-In Chen’s Labor Stories Creative Writing Class, and developed writing workshops for the King County Library System. His prose and poetry have been published in ARTIFEX and Clamor. 

Marwah M. Shebl is a rising artist and writer. Her work center’s around the weird and fantastical, with special interests in mythology and folklore. In most recent years her work has grown into explorations of identity and self healing with that she gives great thanks to those that have helped her along the way such as her family, cohorts, and the MFA faculty and Staff.

Matt Livezey Whitehurst was born in South Korea, then grew up in Belgium, and has been studying interdisciplinary arts and metaphysics in Washington for six years. He has art and writing published with Clamor 2022-2023. He was an editorial intern at Essay Press, and editor/designer for Clamor. When he’s not working or dabbling with film, music, or writing, he’s reading, gaming, and noodling on the banjo. 

Raelynne Woo is a writer and emerging editor from the greater Seattle area. She will be graduating with her MFA in creative writing and poetics from the University of Washington Bothell in June 2023. Her writing interests include poetry, short stories, articles/blogs, and children’s stories. The topics she likes to write about surround identity, diversity, and lessons of compassion and kindness for young kids. She is especially interested in reading, researching, and editing children’s books. Her professional experience includes tutoring college students in writing, peer facilitating university writing classes, community event coordination, content writing for clients, and editing children’s board books. Her work has been published in the University of Washington journals, namely Tahoma West and The CROW. In her free time, she likes to engage in creative outlets which include dancing, baking, crocheting, and visiting her local library and reading another stack of picture books in the “children’s section.”

Guest Artists

Every year, our graduating cohort nominates a guest artist to serve as a benedictory reader at Spring Festival. These guests are nominated from among those visitors they have interacted with during their time in the program.

Previous Spring Festival MFA Candidates

Congratulations to our previous graduating cohorts!


Featured Guest Artist: Selah Saterstrom

  • Amy Hirayama, Japanese Blood in the Heart of the Gothic: An Anthology of Gothic Stories from the Japanese Diaspora.
  • Meta LeCompte, Life Could Be What It Is Right Now.
  • Emily J. Mundy, What Blooms in the Dark.
  • Tricia Goetschius Fuentes, Sabotage of the Sunflowers.
  • Carson Thomas, Suspension.
  • Madison Nikfard, It’s Still You: An Intimate Glimpse into Girlhood and Growth.
  • Sky O’Brien, Beginners.
  • Maria Delgado Stevens, He Died in the House, A Performance.
  • Harrison Lee, PLEASE.


Featured Guest Artist: Diana Khoi Nguyen

  • Yuan Zhuang, Feather Coat.
  • Scott Bentley, Bwai \ Remapping.
  • Gregory Buck, … S& W8.
  • Annika G. Rundberg Bunney, Long Exposure.
  • Alec Gabin, The Son.
  • Troy Landrum Jr., Dreaming of the Great Migration.
  • Chris Ryan Lauer, La Fin du Monde.
  • Sanika Nalgirkar, Memories- A Grief Journal.
  • Joseph Niduaza, Chimera.
  • Rose K. O’Connor, Dutch Boats.
  • Julie Voss, A Woman’s Mutation.
  • Cliff Watson, 6-foot pine.
  • Simon Wolf, Charging.


Featured Guest Artist: Don Mee Choi

  • Eric Acosta, Virgo.
  • Marina Burandt, A Tiny Miniature World Where the Proportions Are Slightly Off.
  • Nicolas Hauser, Ask the Doctor, He Might Know!.
  • Sabina Livadariu, Behind the Curtain.
  • Abigail Mandlin, Muses.
  • Ashley Noelle, Asymptomatic.
  • Matt Porter, A Soft-Boiled Potato.
  • Stephanie Segura, Open Door Behind You.
  • Nicholas Sweeney, Bed of Leaves.


Featured Guest Artist: Dao Strom

  • Woogee Bae, Mung.
  • Aya Bram BonnLuders, North of Nothing.
  • Peter Buller, Pterratactile.
  • Amy Jones, AOTA: all of the above.
  • Reed Lowell, The Summer Years.
  • dana middleton, the corridor closes at both ends.
  • Virginia Soileau, Versus Jane Doe.


Featured Guest Artist: Suzanne Morrison

  • Jacq Marie Babb, WEYOUI.
  • Michael Warren Bagby, Weighing Words.
  • Cristina Cortez, Unbound.
  • Jessica Hagy, Watermarks.
  • Dylan Hogan, The Streets Around Here Tell You Exactly Where You Are.
  • Mitchell Kopitch, Din’s Grimoire: Of Games, Gender, Memories, and Self Acceptance.
  • Amanda Lybeck, Black Lake.
  • Tomm McCarthy, Selections from Dakopeta.
  • Subha Nair, To the Moon I Go and Other Stories.
  • Katelyn Oppegard, Near Before and After.


Featured Guest Artist: Renee Gladman

  • Corbin Louis, No Way Out But Through.
  • Yohandra Cabello, The Anatomical Grip.
  • Brent Cox, The River Twice.
  • Terrell Fox, This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.
  • Liezel Moraleja Hackett, Matindi.
  • Amanda Hurtado, POST.
  • Nicole McCarthy, The Blueprints of Memory. 
  • Denise Calvetti Michaels, The Things Downriver.
  • Allison Morton, The Missing Hour.
  • Joshua Osborn, Mother, Memory, Monotony.
  • September Thorlin, A Nursery Rhyme from Another Summer.
  • Cora Walker, Hindsight 2050.


Featured Guest Artist: Nathaniel Mackey

  • Ben Burland, The Tuck.
  • Andrew Carson, Self Taut.
  • Ellen Donnelly, Bag of Flesh.
  • Tracy Jane Gregory, Helene.
  • Andy Hoffman, Black Medicine.
  • Anthony Johnson, Beastiarium.
  • Greg S. Prichard, Stand-To.
  • Dave Sanders, County.
  • Carol Anderson Shaw, On My Mind.
  • David Shrauger, Images of a Broken World.
  • Natalie Singer-Velush, California Calling.
  • Jack Wyss, Divine Immolation.
  • Kaitlin Young, We/Me.


Featured Guest Artist: Julie Carr

  • Sarah Baker, Water’s Work.
  • Breka Blakeslee, Probably It Will Not Be Okay.
  • Scott Brown, Private Browsing.
  • Laura Burgher, The Researcher’s Book of Her/mes.
  • Samuel Iniguez, HisJazzRaptoMe: Hip Hop Vignettes & Quarter Waters.
  • Denise Coville, Chairs.
  • Lynarra Featherly, The Feminology of Spirit.
  • Colin MacArthur, The Boatman of Hades.
  • Megan McGinnis, Newness and Nowness.
  • Penny Quinteros, Toeing the Line: A Short Story Collection.
  • Travis Sharp, Love Poems to the Poet’s Body.
  • Todd Simmons, Still We Rise.
  • Christine Smith, The Spirit Cabinet.


Featured Guest Artist: CAConrad

  • Ellen Bauer, Ordinary Saints and Monsters.
  • Marcus Bingham, Restless.
  • John Boucher, The Chirurgeon.
  • Susan Marie Brown, Love & Courage: Historic Fiction.
  • Chelsea Carter, Read Without Listening.
  • Margaret Chiavetta, Untitled Collection of Essays.
  • Sandy D’Entremont, The Beauty of Molokai’i.
  • Kelle Grace Gaddis, Polishing A Gem On The Surface Of The Sea.
  • Aimee Harrison, Autoorthography: identity poetics with poetry.
  • Andrew Huskamp, Tales from Here and There.
  • Lauren Light, Dieter.
  • Jay Loomis, Blade Against the Heart.
  • Rev.Tiare L. Mathison, A~Mash~Up: A Poetics of Defiance in the Age of the Internet of Everything.
  • Michael Paschall, phrases of the moon.
  • Billy Phillips, Fractured Poetics.
  • Talena Lachelle Queen, Fourteen.
  • J.D. Satlin, A Poetics of Miscommunication.
  • Diana Savora, Quivering Tongues.


Featured Guest Artist: Bhanu Kapil

Addidtional Featurings:

Roundtable on “Hybrid Forms, Organisms, Biologies,” with Bhanu Kapil, Jennifer Calkins and Sarah Dowling and Reading & Conversation Workshop with Robert Glück 


Margaret Chiavetta, John Boucher, Sandy D’Entremont, Kat Seidemann, Susan Brown, Kelle Gaddis, Marcus Bingham, Lauren Light, Michael Paschall, Chelsea Carter, Talena Kettrell, Jay Loomis, Tiare Mathison, Ellen Bauer, Andrew Huskamp, Billy Phillips, J.D. Satlin, Aimee Harrison, Diana Savora.