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!


Corbin Louis releases music and poetry

Corbin LouisThis summer, IAS alum Corbin Louis (B.A. Culture, Literature & the Arts 2014; MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics 2017)  has been active in the poetry and music communities in Seattle, finding ways to share his work with a variety of audiences. Louis, a Seattle artist with deep roots in slam poetry and DIY music, says of his practice, "as a UW Bothell alum, my goal is to write with a reason. For me that means ...

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Denise Calvetti Michaels publishes The Things Downriver

Book cover of the things downriver showing two children in vintage clothingMFA alum Denise Calvetti Michaels' newest book, The Things Downriver (Cave Moon Press, 2020), is comprised of lyric passages focused on interludes of summer on the farm in Salinas, California, home of her paternal grandparents, Agostina & Ercole Bianco.   

“During this period of childhood, my brother and I explored the boundaries of the farm and steeped ourselves within diverse cultural exchanges among neighbors, family and friends,” said Michaels.

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Nicole McCarthy’s book to be published by Heavy Feather Review

Nicole-McCarthyAlum Nicole McCarthy’s first book is set to be published in 2022 by Heavy Feather Review. The book is an expansion of McCarthy’s MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics thesis, “Manor of Memory,” which she completed in 2017. “It wouldn't have been the book it is now without my thesis advisor, Renee Gladman, a visiting writer in our MFA program who graciously agreed to work with me,” said McCarthy.

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Coastal Poets Film Festival: Navigating creative practice within a pandemic

By Corbin Louis (’17)

Coastal Poets posterOne year into the throes of a pandemic and I missed live poetry readings. Severely. There was a sense of estrangement from Seattle’s caring literary community. Plus, I felt that undying hunger to express and connect with others through the power of metaphor. These were some of the reasons why I curated the Coastal Poets Film Festival. This event was livestreamed on YouTube with pre-recorded video poems by five genre-bending writers, including Allison Morton, Simon Wolf, Brent Cox, Shelby Handler and myself. The film festival ...

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MFA Alumni Speak at annual "Life After the MFA" Event

MFALogo-fullColorWeb-(2).jpgOn Wednesday May 26th, Woogee Bae (2019), Travis Sharp (2015), and Natalie Singer (2016) joined current MFA students and alumni on Zoom to speak about their paths to and through the MFA. They spoke about how they came to graduate study in creative writing and poetics, how their time in the program shifted the course of their writing and careers, how ...

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IAS selects 2021 Hall of Alumni Excellence inductees

Woogee BaeEach year IAS honors the extraordinary achievements and contributions of its alumni through the Hall of Alumni Excellence. Our 2021 inductees include MFA alum Woogee Bae. 

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Travis Sharp publishes Yes, I am a corpse flower

Travis SharpTravis Sharp is a poet, editor, book artist, teacher, and PhD candidate in English at the University at Buffalo (SUNY). This spring, a revision of his MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics thesis, Yes, I am a corpse flower, will be published by KFB, a small press affiliated with the poetry bookstore Knife Fork Book in Toronto. Sharp will read from Yes, I am a corpse flower at his upcoming book launch on March 31 with special guest ...

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Stephanie Segura thrives as writing fellow and youth educator

Segura StephanieMFA alum Stephanie Segura was awarded a 2020-21 Hugo Fellowship, which supports emerging writers by providing space and resources to complete a proposed project. Segura is utilizing the fellowship to work on her multi-media poetry manuscript, Open Door Behind You, a genealogy of generational trauma, memory, and dysfunctionality. Segura’s manuscript examines what it means to inherit trauma and the ways in which it affects memory and the histories we pass down.

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Frances Lee and Stephanie Segura awarded Hugo Fellowships

Lee and Segura headshotsIAS alumni Frances Lee (Master of Arts in Cultural Studies) and Stephanie Segura (MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics) were recently awarded Hugo Fellowships for 2020-21. The Hugo Fellowship supports emerging writers, providing space and resources to four to six fellows in the Seattle area to complete a proposed project ...

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Breka Blakeslee publishes Probably It Will Not Be Okay

Book cover of probably it will not be okayIAS alum Breka Blakeslee (MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics, '15) has published their debut novel, Probably It Will Not Be Okay, which began its life as the author's MFA thesis. From the publisher's page: "Probably It Will Not Be Okay takes place at the end of the anthropocene. People and animals, what's left of them, share the ruins of a human city ...

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MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics students and alumni interview recently-published authors

Agard and PreusSince 2018, the MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics has collaborated with Essay Press on the annual publication of a work or works of innovative prose. The first two books in the series were published this summer, and MFA students and alumni have come together to interview the authors to gain deeper insights into their work and poetics. Stephanie Segura (2020), N. L. Sweeney (2020) and Scott Bentley (2021) interviewed Katherine Agyemaa Agard about their book of colour, an experimental essay about color, hybridity, and art-making that provides a memoir of Agyemaa Agard’s coming to North America and encountering binaries of black and white within global anti-blackness. Cliff Watson (2021), Annika Bunney (2021), and Sabina Livadariu (2020) spoke with Kaia Preus about ...

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MFA launches Hearing Voices video series

MFA logoHearing Voices is a curated collection of video works produced by students and alumni of the MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics at UW Bothell.  It is a forum for sharing projects, and a space to listen to and hear from the wide range of creative voices that emerge from our artistic community. Current works include ...

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Cristina Cortez publishes Tawantinsuyu: Poems of the Time of the Inca

Cristina CortezMFA alum Cristina Cortez (’18) has published a new book, Tawantinsuyu: Poems of the Time of the Inca, a bilingual English/Spanish edition. A representation of the Andean past, each poem is a celebration of the cultural achievements of the indigenous people and is written from the perspective of the structures that were built during the Inca period. “Tawantinsuyu would not ...

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Writers of UW Bothell come together

MFA logoTwo graduate students and one alum from the MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics program have created a quarterly reading event that aims to connect current and past students. The Gamut Literary Series is led by alum Woogee Bae and current second-year students Ashley Noelle and Matt Porter. The event normally takes place at Open Books: A Poetry Emporium, which serves as a community bookstore and literary hub. 

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Essay Press/UW Bothell MFA Book Contest Announces Winners

EP-MFA logoEssay Press and the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Poetics are excited to announce the 2019 winners of their collaborative book contest: Poem That Never Ends by Silvina López Medin and Groundswell by Yanara Friedland!! Essay Press will publish both books in the coming year, and the authors will be invited to read for the MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics Convergence Zone reading series. IAS faculty member Ching-In Chen collaborated with Jill Magi in judging this contest. Learn more about the contest winners, their books and the finalists at the Essay Press website...

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Natalie Singer reflects on 75th anniversary of Auschwitz liberation

Photo of Auschwitz memorialAn essay by MFA alum Natalie Singer (’16) was published in Crosscut on the 75 anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In her article, “75 years after Auschwitz, a Seattle Jew wonders: Are we traveling backward?,” Singer reflects on the rise of anti-Semitism in America and her experiences as a Jewish woman in Canada and the U.S. Writes Singer ...

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Snail Trail: MFA graduates launch eco-poetics press and journal

Snail trail bookRecent graduates of the MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics at University of Washington Bothell have launched a unique publication project, a small press and a hand-bound journal of ecopoetics entitled Snail Trail. Nurtured in the spaces of the MFA program, the journal had multiple inspirations. Eric Sneathen’s Snail Poems (Krupskaya, 2016). AFTER LIFE (what remains), an exhibition/experience exploring Asian Pacific American and Indigenous artists’ exploring precarity and persistence under environmental and military devastation (June/July 2018, Alice Gallery, Seattle). Through dialogue with one another and faculty members Woogee Bae, Aya Bram BonnLuders, and Amy Jones developed Snail Trail: an ecopoetics journal as a way to think about poetry and social change.

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Alumni Shout Out!

Graphic of IAS crowWoogee Bae (’19) has joined Seattle Arts & Lectures as a Donor Relations Associate.


IAS faculty, staff, students, and alumni host and participate in &Now Festival of Innovative Writing

Photo of student quiltOn September 19-22 over 400 participants convened for the &Now Festival of Innovative Writing, hosted this fall by the MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics in conjunction with the program's annual fall Convergence on Poetics. 

A number of MFA alumni also shared their work, including Nicole McCarthy (’17), Corbin Louis ('17), Tracy Jane Gregory ('16), Brent Michael Cox ('17), Amanda Hurtado ('17), Travis Sharp ('15), Peter Buller ('19), Woogee Bae ('19), Katelyn Oppegard ('18), Sarah Baker ('15), Amy Jones ('19), Allison Morton ('17)...

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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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