About NEOMFA Faculty

While traditional MFA programs offer a limited number of faculty members for students to work with, the NEOMFA provides the creative writing faculty of four large universities for students to draw upon both in individual courses and in a mentoring capacity for the thesis. Our professors are working writers who publish widely, and represent a dazzling range of sensibilities. We’re home to both traditional and experimental writers who look forward to working with students at every point in between.

Christopher BarzakChristopher Barzak

Assistant Professor, Fiction, NEOMFA Campus Coordinator, Youngstown State University

Phone: 330.941.1653 | Email: cmbarzak@ysu.edu | Website: christopherbarzak.com

Christopher Barzak is the author of the Crawford Fantasy Award winning novel, One for Sorrow, which is currently being made into the feature film “Jamie Marks is Dead” (to be released in 2014). His second book, The Love We Share Without Knowing, was a finalist for the Nebula and Tiptree Awards. His short fiction has appeared in a variety of venues, including Asimov’s Science Fiction, Realms of Fantasy, Strange Horizons, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, and The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy. His most recent books are Birds and Birthdays (Aqueduct Press), a collection of surrealist fantasy stories, and Before and Afterlives (Lethe Press), a collection of supernatural fantasies. He grew up in rural Ohio, has lived in a southern California beach town, the capital of Michigan, and has taught English in suburban and rural communities outside of Tokyo, Japan, where he lived for two years.

Mary BiddingerMary Biddinger

Professor, Poetry, University of Akron

Phone: 330.972.6960 | Email: marybid@uakron.edu | Website: http://www.marybiddinger.com/

Mary Biddinger is the author of the poetry collections Prairie Fever (Steel Toe Books, 2007), Saint Monica (Black Lawrence Press, 2011), O Holy Insurgency (Black Lawrence Press, 2013), A Sunny Place with Adequate Water (Black Lawrence Press, 2014), and Small Enterprise (Black Lawrence Press, forthcoming 2015). She is also co-editor of The Monkey and the Wrench: Essays into Contemporary Poetics (U Akron Press, 2011). Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Barrelhouse, Bat City Review, Crazyhorse, Crab Orchard Review, Forklift, Ohio, Guernica, Gulf Coast, Pleiades, Quarterly West, Redivider, and Sou’wester, among others. She teaches literature and poetry writing at The University of Akron, where she edits Barn Owl Review, the Akron Series in Poetry, and the Akron Series in Contemporary Poetics.

Phil Brady Philip Brady

Distinguished Professor, Poetry, Non-Fiction, Youngstown State University

Phone: 330.941.1952 | Email: psbrady@ysu.edu

Philip Brady’s most recent book is To Banquet with the Ethiopians: A Memoir of Life Before the Alphabet (Broadstone 2015). By Heart: Reflections of a Rust Belt Bard (University of Tennessee Press) won a Foreword Magazine Gold Medal in 2008, and Fathom, a collection of poems, appeared from WordTech Press in 2007.

His memoir, To Prove My Blood: A Tale of Emigrations & the Afterlife, appeared from Ashland Poetry Press in 2003, and Weal (Ashland Poetry Press, 2000) was the 1999 winner of the Snyder Prize from Ashland Poetry Press. Maxin Kumin chose his first book, Forged Correspondences (New Myths, 1996), for Ploughshares Editors’ Shelf. Brady co-edited, with James F. Carens, Critical Essays on Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Twayne Publishers, 1998). He edited Poems & Their Making (Etruscan, 2015).

He has won an Ohioana Poetry Award, The Governor’s Award and six individual Artists Awards from the Ohio Arts Council, Thayer and Newhouse Fellowships from New York State, and residencies at Yaddo, the Headlands Center for the Arts, the Ragdale Foundation, the Hambidge Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Ireland, Fundacion Valparaiso in Spain, Hawthornden Castle in Scotland, and the Soros Centre for the Arts in the Czech Republic. Brady has taught at the National University of Zaire, University College Cork, and on Semester at Sea.

Currently, he directs the YSU Poetry Center and Etruscan Press. He also serves on the low-residency MFA faculty of Wilkes University.

Mike Geither Mike Geither

Associate Professor, Playwriting, Cleveland State University

Phone: 216.687.3955  | Email: m.geither@csuohio.edu

Mike Geither’s plays and solo performances have been staged in San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, New York and London.  He is a three-time Ohio Arts Council fellow and has served as a resident artist at Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito and as Playwright-in-Residence at Cleveland Public Theatre. Recent works include The Obtaining Gigantick Dimensions (Zuppa Theatre, Halifax, 2013), The Tinderbox (Tailspinner Children’s Theatre, Cleveland, 2013), And Treat the Distant Peoples With Kindness (University of Ottawa, 2012), Shah Mat (Ottawa Dance Directive, 2011), and Circe/Landfall (Canada Dance Festival, 2010).

David GiffelsDavid Giffels

Assistant Professor, Non-Fiction, NEOMFA Campus Coordinator, The University of Akron

Phone: 330.972.6604 | Email: dg36@uakron.edu  |  Website: www.davidgiffels.com

David Giffels’ most recent book, The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches From the Rust Belt (Scribner, 2014) was selected as a New York Times Book Review “Editors’ Choice” and shortlisted for the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association “Great Lakes Great Reads” Award. He is also author of All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House (William Morrow/HarperCollins, 2008), winner of the Ohioana Book Award. Giffels is coauthor of Are We Not Men? We Are Devo! (SAF Publishing, 2004) and Wheels of Fortune: The Story of Rubber in Akron (University of Akron Press, 1998). His essays have been anthologized in in Moms and Dads: From the ‘Lives’ Columns of The New York Times (New York Times Publishing, 2014), Rust Belt Chic: The Cleveland Anthology (RBC Press, 2012), The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia (Indiana University Press, 2006) and The Appalachians: America’s First and Last Frontier (Random House, 2004).

He has written for the New York Times Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Parade, ESPN’s Grantland, Esquire.com, Redbook and many other publications. He also was a writer for the MTV series Beavis and Butt-Head.

His recent awards include the Cleveland Arts Prize for literature, an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Grant, and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists Award for Excellence.

Robert MiltnerRobert Miltner

Associate Professor, Fiction, Poetry, Kent State University

Phone: 330.244.3386 | Email: rmiltner@kent.edu  

Robert Miltner is the author of a book of prose poems, Hotel Utopia, a flash fiction collection And Your Bird Can Sing (Bottom Dog Press), a dozen poetry chapbooks, and Two Trains Too Many, a CD with Oblivion Project guitarist Erin Vaugh. Miltner’s poems, stories, and nonfiction have appeared in Los Angeles Review, Pleiades, Diagram, Octopus,New York Quarterly, AWP Chronicle, Ordering the Storm: Making a Manuscript of Poetry (Cleveland State University Press), Field Guide to Prose Poetry (Rose Metal Press), and Christmas Stories from Ohio (Kent State University Press). His awards include the New Rivers Press Poetry Prize, Red Berry Editions chapbook award, Wick chapbook award, and an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Grant.

Varley O'ConnorVarley O’Connor

Associate Professor, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Kent State University

Phone: 330.672.2676 | Email: voconnor@kent.edu  |  Website: www.varleyoconnor.com

Varley O’Connor is the author of four novels, Like China (William Morrow), A Company of Three (Algonquin), The Cure (Bellevue Literary Press), and The Master’s Muse, published by Scribner in May 2012. Her shorter prose has appeared in AWP Writer’s Chronicle, The Sun, Faultline, Driftwood, and The McGuffin.

PagelCaryl Pagel

Assistant Professor, Poetry, Cleveland State University

Phone: 216.687.2177 | Email: c.pagel@csuohio.edu

Caryl Pagel is the author of two books of poetry, Experiments I Should Like Tried At My Own Death (Factory Hollow Press, 2012), and Twice Told (H_NG M_N Books, 2014). She has taught creative writing and literature courses at The University of Iowa, the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Carthage College, and Columbia College Chicago. Her essays have appeared in AGNI, Devil’s Lake, Jacket2, The Mississippi Review, and Thermos; Caryl is the co-founder and editor of Rescue Press and a poetry editor at jubilat.

Craig PaulenichCraig Paulenich

Professor, Poetry, NEOMFA Campus Coordinator, Kent State University

Phone: 330.672.1775 | Email: cpauleni@kent.edu

Craig Paulenich is a Professor of English at Kent State University. He is the author of three books of poetry, Drift of the Hunt (Nobodaddies Press, 2006), Blood Will Tell (BlazeVOX [books], 2009), and St. Vitus Dance (Cervena Barva Press, 2012), and editor, (with Kent Johnson) of Beneath A Single Moon: Buddhism and Contemporary American Poetry (Shambhala Press, 1991), a landmark anthology of poems and essays from forty-five American Buddhist poets. He has been three times nominated for a Pushcart Prize, by Nobodaddies (1994),Seems (2002), and the Kelsey Review (2009). His poems have appeared in The Georgia Review, the South Carolina ReviewKansas Quarterly, the Southern Poetry Review, and many others. Professor Paulenich holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Ph.D. in English from Bowling Green State University.

Imad RahmanImad Rahman

Associate Professor, Fiction, NEOMFA Campus Coordinator, Cleveland State University

Phone: 216.687.3990 | Email: m.i.rahman@csuohio.edu

Imad Rahman teaches creative writing at Cleveland State University. His first book, I Dream Of Microwaves, a collection of connected stories, was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 2004, and has since been translated into French. He was named a “Breakout Author” by Interview magazine and Writers Digest, and his book was a 2004 Best Books selection by The Journal News. His stories have appeared in One Story, Chelsea, Gulf Coast, The Sonora Review and Willow Springs, among others. His short story, “Eating, Ohio,” received a Special Mention in the 2005 Pushcart Prize anthology. He was the 2001-02 James C. McCreight Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He directs the annual Imagination Writers Workshop & Conference at CSU.

Steve ReeseSteven Reese

Professor, Poetry, Youngstown State University

Phone: 330.941.1650 | Email: screese@ysu.edu

Steven Reese teaches literature and poetry writing at Youngstown State.  His poems and translations have appeared widely in journals such as Poetry Northwest, West Branch, and Asheville Poetry Review.  He is the author of two collections of poems: Enough Light to Steer By (CSU Press) and American Dervish (Salmon Press, Ireland), and a selection of his poems translated into Spanish has been published in Cuba, entitled Andando bajo el rumbo de la luz (Arte y Literatura Press).  As translator he has published two collections of poems: Synergos: Selected Poems of Roberto Manzano (Etruscan Press) and Womanlands, selected poems of Diana María Ivizate González (Verbum Press, Spain).

Eric WassermanEric Wasserman

Associate Professor, Fiction, NEOMFA Campus Coordinator, The University of Akron

Phone: 330.972.6256 | Email: ew22@uakron.edu  |   Website: www.ericwasserman.com

Eric Wasserman is the author of a collection of short stories, The Temporary Life, and a novel, Celluloid Strangers. His stories have recently been featured in Confrontation, Great Lakes Review, Journal of Experimental Fiction, and Soundings East. His literary interviews have appeared repeatedly in Glimmer Train. He is an Associate Professor of English at The University of Akron where he teaches literature, fiction writing, and film studies and oversees advancing his department’s minor in Popular Literature and Film.

Catherine WingCatherine Wing

Program Director, Assistant Professor, Poetry, Kent State University

Phone: 330.672.1743 | Email: cwing1@kent.edu

Catherine Wing’s first book of poems, Enter Invisible, was published by Sarabande Books and was nominated for a 2005 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her poems have been published in such journals as Poetry, The Nation, and The New Republic, featured on The Writer’s Almanac, and included in Best American Erotic Poems and Best American Poetry 2010. She has won fellowships and residencies fromYaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her second collection, Gin & Bleach (Sarabande 2012), was selected for the Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky Literature. She lives in Ohio, where she teaches poetry at Kent State University and serves as the General Editor for the Wick Poetry Center’s Ohio Chapbook Series.