Alumni Stories

MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics alumni employ their creative practices in a variety of ways.  Learn what some of our graduates are up to!


Ellen Donnelly exhibits Call Me Rabbit in Los Angeles

MFA alum Ellen Donnelly (’16) will exhibit Call Me Rabbit, an immersive video installation, at Actual Size in Los Angeles, CA from December 15 to January 19. The New York-based artist’s first solo exhibition uses imagery, audio, and rhetoric from wellness culture, online marketing, and social media to create an anxious but intriguing landscape to consider our place as individuals and the way we define ourselves as such.

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Travis Sharp publishes new artist’s book: one plus one is two ones

MFA alum Travis Sharp just published his artist’s book! one plus one is two ones (Recreational Resources, 2018) is a mass-produced handmade book about fake math and infinity, hand-written (in part an homage to Hanne Darboven's hand-written alternative mathematics conceptual art projects) & scanned & reproduced in an unlimited edition via CreateSpace. The work also includes many of Sharp’s drawings of hashtags and a procedural erasure of his Twitter feed via Fibonacci, patron saint of Twitter infinity.

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Natalie Singer named to 35 over 35 list of debut authors

MFA alum Natalie Singer (’16) is thrilled to be recognized among 35 authors over age 35 who published their first book this year. 35 over 35 is an alternative to the publishing industry’s fixation on youth, acknowledging that few authors find early success. Singer’s memoir California Calling: A Self-Interrogation was published last March by Hawthorne Books. Says Singer ...

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Nicole McCarthy selected as 2018 GAP Award recipient by Artist Trust

Photo of Nicole McCarthyIAS Alum Nicole McCarthy has received GAP Award funding from Artist Trust to begin her second hybrid book focusing on marriage, divorce, and shame. She will spend a week on a writing retreat to generate new material and the project will culminate with a public divorce performance in spring 2019. An MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics alum ...

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MFA alum Amanda Hurtado publishes and exhibits

photo of Amanda HurtadoAmanda Hurtado (’17) has been busy this summer!  She published two poems in the summer issue of Witness magazine and is beginning her second year as a Ph.D. student...

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After the MFA: Sun, moon, wind, ocean - Talena Lachelle Queen and the poetry of art in community

By Natalie Singer (’16)

As a student who preceded me in the UW Bothell MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics, Talena Lachelle Queen was someone I heard about often during my time in the program but didn’t have the chance to meet until after we both had graduated. I was excited to interview Talena because to me, she represents the real-world successful example of how one can realize a practice and career in art-making and community leadership and advocacy. While writing poetry, teaching, and mothering, a juggle I also seek to balance, Talena has figured out how to activate the conversation around art, its purpose and potential, in her community.

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Alumni Shout Out!

Graphic of IAS crowJessica Hagy (’18) will spend the month of October in Reykjavik, Iceland as part of the SÍM Residency program. Each year, the SÍM Residency brings 150 national and international visual artists together to collaborate and network.


Cristina Cortez awarded Mineral School artist residency

Photo of Cristina CortezRecent alum Cristina Cortez (’18) has been awarded a Mineral School artist residency. Mineral School nurtures literary, performing, and visual artists to generate new work and present that work to the public. Cortez is part of the fourth cohort of residents, who will spend two weeks this summer living and working at the Mineral School, a transformed 1947 school building located in a small lake town at the foot of Mt. Rainier.

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Image of IAS crowTravis Sharp (’15) is a finalist for the Nightboat Poetry Prize. Sharp submitted his poetry book, which was revised from his graduate thesis “Love Poems to the Poet's Body.”

After the MFA: The Trace Remains - Alumni in Conversation

Graphic of MFA logoBy Andrew Carson (’16)

I recently had the opportunity to meet up over lunch with Lynarra Featherly and Sarah Baker, fellow alumni of the University of Washington Bothell MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics program. What resulted was a ranging conversation during which we discussed our MFA experiences, our lives now, and a few pertinent asides.

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Natalie Singer releases memoir: California Calling: A Self-Interrogation

Photo of Natalie Singer-VelushThis week alum Natalie Singer (’16) releases her memoir, California Calling: A Self-Interrogation. Singer will discuss her memoir at Elliott Bay Books on March 5, joined in conversation by Sonora Jha, Hugo House Prose Writer-in-Residence and author of Foreign. On March 13 Singer will appear at Lit Fix, Seattle’s bar-friendliest reading and music series, hosted at Chop Suey.

Corbin Louis selected for 2018 Jack Straw Writers Program

IAS wordcloud crow

Corbin Louis ('17) was selected for the 2018 Jack Straw Writers Program. The Jack Straw Writers Program was created in 1997 to introduce local writers to the medium of recorded audio, to develop their presentation skills for both live and recorded readings, to encourage the creation of new literary work, and to provide new venues for the writers and their work. 

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Travis Sharp curates, produces and presents

Photo of Travis SharpTravis Sharp (’15) is a Ph.D. student in the Poetics Program at the University at Buffalo (SUNY) where he teaches writing and rhetoric. Amidst the demands of graduate life, Sharp finds space to collaborate, curate, produce, and present.  For example, he was recently funded to curate a series of ephemeral texts via, and this June, he will teach a workshop on ...

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Talena Lachelle Queen becomes first African American Poet Laureate of Paterson, NJ

Photo of Talena Lachelle QueenFor the first time, since the city was founded by Alexander Hamilton 225 years ago, Paterson, NJ has named Talena Lachelle Queen as their first “African American Poet Laureate.”  A ceremony honoring Queen will take place on February 3 at the historic Paterson Public Library. Queen (’14) is a poet and graduate of UW Bothell’s inaugural MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics program ...

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Creative works of Susan Brown reach local and international audiences

Image of Mythical MagicalSusan Brown (’14) has been busy!  Her artist book Mythical Magical Physickal Madness was included in the Heroic Works exhibition at University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries last summer. In October, a second copy was exhibited at Seattle's Antiquarian Book Fair, which showcases thousands of rare and antiquarian books and ephemera. Brown is also ...

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After the MFA: Catching up with Colin McArthur

Photo of Colin McArthurShortly after he received his MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics, I ran into Colin (’15) at a reading at Folio, a private library in downtown Seattle. I remembered hearing him read pieces of his thesis—a beautifully written and ambitious start to a novel— at the MFA Salons.

Around the same time Colin was reading at those salons, Seattle City of Literature was in the news for two reasons.

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MFA Careers and Writing Futures event features journeys of local writers

Photo of MFA writersOn May 17, four MFA-trained writers met with students and alumni of the MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics program to discuss their career paths. Hosted at  McMenamins Anderson School, conversation centered on the diverse ways writers grow and sustain their creative practices.  Special guests included: MFA alumni Scott Brown (’15), Talena Lachelle Queen (’14) and Natalie Singer-Velush (’16), and local artist Sierra Nelson. ...

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After the MFA: Good things come in small portions

Photo of MFA alumni and friendBy Natalie Singer-Velush

The time spent as a student in an MFA program, especially the early months, can be overwhelming. There are never enough hours to read, to spend with new ideas, to fulfill the requirements of the program, and also follow our own newly developing inquiries and impulses. The time, conversely, is often also highly charged artistically: These new ideas, however demanding and sleep-depriving, activate a desire to engage deeply with language and art and the process of making and investigating these.

One group of IAS’s MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics students responded to that charge by launching a micropress, a project that has evolved as its instigators have, and which has provided space for the incubation and expression of art and ideas within the realm of the program and, now, beyond.

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Natalie Singer-Velush Receives Honorable Mention from AWP’s Intro Journals Project

Photo of Natalie Singer-VelushNatalie Singer-Velush ('16) was named among the 2016 Winners of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Intro Journals Project, with an Honorable Mention for Creative Non-Fiction for her submission “There is But One Choice: Confession or Some Form of Extinction.” The Intro Journals Project is a literary competition for the discovery and publication of the best new works by students enrolled in AWP member programs, as nominated by the programs. Winning selections are published in participating journals, including Tampa Review, Colorado Review,  and Iron Horse Literary Review, among others.  The essay contains an excerpt from her memoir, California Calling, for which she is seeking a publisher.

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Kelle Grace Gaddis publishes "My Myths" and thrives as a writer

Photo of My Myths bookKelle Grace Gaddis (’14) is thriving as a writer.  Her first book My Myths, a poetry collection, was published by Yellow Chair Press in October 2016.  Gaddis was also published by ...

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Margaret Chiavetta publishes her first book and discusses why kids need more fictional characters with special needs

Image of The Alchemist's Theorem bookMargaret Chiavetta (’14) has published her first book, The Alchemist’s Theorem: Sir Duffy’s Promise, which is the first book in a planned five-part series. The series features a middle grade hero who registers on the autism spectrum.  Recently conducted an interview with Chiavetta to find out why kids need more fictional characters with special needs. In the interview Chiavetta says:

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Natalie Singer-Velush selected as finalist for Autumn House Press nonfiction prize

Photo of Natalie Singer-VelushNatalie Singer-Velush (’16) has been chosen as a finalist for Autumn House Press’s nonfiction prize.  Selected from more than 1,000 manuscript entries, her memoir, California Calling, traces Singer-Velulsh’s relocation from Canada to California at age sixteen and explores moments of being silenced before finding her voice. Her manuscript was largely written as she was completing her MFA program and seeking small press publishers.  Singer-Velush was enticed by ...

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Local writers share at "MFA Careers and Writing Futures"

Photo of MFA writersA panel of local writers met with MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics students and alumni to share their career trajectories and advice for the road.  They discussed how their MFA degrees have enhanced their writing, ways they’ve sustained their practices creatively and financially, and what professional opportunities they see for emerging writers.  Panelists included MFA alumni Margaret Chiavetta (’14) and Travis Sharp (’15), and Priscilla Long, and Sarah Mangold.

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New Novel by Alum Margaret Chiavetta Receiving Rave Reviews

Photo of Margaret ChiavettaMargaret Chiavetta (’14) continues to receive glowing reviews on her new kids fantasy novel, The Alchemist's Theorem: Sir Duffy’s Promise...

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MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics Alumni are Publishing Widely

Photo of small portions book coverMFA in Creative Writing and Poetics alumni are publishing widely!  Issue 5 of Small Po[r]tions, a twice yearly journal of short[er] work and multi/intermedia art, has hit the web.  Co-editors include ...



Susan Brown’s Work Included in London Places and Spaces Exhibition

Image from Under the MoonSusan Brown (’14) spent time taking photographs in London while doing field research for her master’s thesis. Responding to a call for posters by the Association of Illustrators based in London, she envisioned “Under the Moon!” which was chosen to be included in the “London Places and Spaces” exhibition at the London Transport Museum, running from May through September 2015.  

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Kelle Grace Gaddis is on a publishing streak

Photo of Kelle Grace GaddisKelle Grace Gaddis, a 2014 graduate of our MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics program, has launched Brightly Press.  This small press will debut at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference in April 2015, featuring some of the coutry's top poets. Gaddis' own work has recently been published in a number of venues. 

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