Faculty

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, 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

Associate 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), and A Sunny Place with Adequate Water (Black Lawrence Press, forthcoming 2014). 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 Phil Brady

Professor, Poetry, Non-Fiction, Youngstown State University

Phone: 330-941-1952 | Email: psbrady@cc.ysu.edu

Phil Brady teaches poetry, creative nonfiction, and literature as well as directing the Poetry Center at Youngstown State University. Brady’s most recent book, By Heart: Reflections of a Rust-Belt Bard (University of Tennessee Press, 2008), was named Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year in Essays. His latest book of poems is Fathom (Word Press, 2007). His memoir, To Prove My Blood: A Tale of Emigrations and the Afterlife appeared from Ashland Poetry Press in 2003, and Weal was the 1999 Winner of the Snyder Prize from Ashland University Press. His first book, Forged Correspondences (New Myths), was chosen for Ploughshares Editors’ Shelf by Maxine Kumin. He also co-edited, with James F. Carens, Critical Essays on Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Twayne Publishers). Brady received the Ohioana Award in Poetry in 2008. He has won five Ohio Arts Council Individual Artists Awards, Thayer and Newhouse Fellowships from New York State, and residencies at Yaddo, the Headlands Center for the Arts, the Ragdale Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Hambidge Center, 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 in Ireland, and on the faculty of Semester at Sea. At YSU he directs the YSU Poetry Center and Etruscan Press and plays in the New-Celtic band, Brady’s Leap. He directed the NEOMFA from 2004-2006.

Mike Geither Mike Geither

Program Director, Associate Professor, Playwriting, Cleveland State University

Phone: 216-687-3971  | 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).

Frank GiampietroFrank Giampietro

Interim Director of the CSU Poetry Center and Visiting Assistant Professor Cleveland State University

Phone: 216-687-2177| Email: f.giampietro@csuohio.edu

Giampietro is the author of Begin Anywhere (Alice James Books, 2008) and co-author of Spandrel (Small Craft Advisory Press 2011) with Denise Bookwalter and Book O’ Tondos (The Painters Left, 2010) with Megan Marlatt. Awards for Giampietro’s poetry include a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship from Sewanee Writers’ Conference, a Kingsbury Fellowship from Florida State University, a fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and a Florida Book Award. He is the creator of the web poetry projects La Fovea and Poems by Heart. His poems, nonfiction, and short-short fiction have appeared in journals including 32 PoemsBarrow StreetBlack WarriorCopper NickelFENCENinth Letter, and Ploughshares. After earning his PhD in English from Florida State University in 2008, Giampietro served as a resident scholar at The Southern Review. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio and Farmington, Maine.

David GiffelsDavid Giffels

Assistant Professor, Non-Fiction, The University of Akron

Phone: 330-972-6604 | Email: dg36@uakron.edu  |  Website: www.davidgiffels.com

David Giffels is an assistant professor of English at University of Akron, where he teaches creative nonfiction in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Program. His most recent book is All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House (William Morrow/HarperCollins, 2008). The book, a memoir about coming of age as a young father trying to reclaim a ramshackle mansion, has received widespread acclaim, from the New York Times, which described it as “sweet and funny” to the Los Angeles Times, which called it “a truly wonderful book” to Oprah’s O at Home magazine, where it topped the “Fantastic Summer Reads” list.

Giffels is coauthor of Are We Not Men? We Are Devo! (SAF Publishing, 2003), and Wheels of Fortune: The Story of Rubber in Akron (University of Akron Press, 1998). He worked in newspaper journalism for 18 years, most of that time as a columnist and feature writer at the Akron Beacon Journal. His essays appear in Rust Belt Chic: The Cleveland Anthology (RBC Publishing, 2012); The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia (Indiana University Press, 2006); The Appalachians: America’s First and Last Frontier (Random House, 2004); and West Point Market Cookbook (University of Akron Press, 2008). He has written for the New York Times Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Grantland, Redbook and many other publications. He also was a writer for the MTV series Beavis and Butt-Head. Recent honors include the Cleveland Arts Prize for literature, the Ohioana Book Award and the Associated Press’ “Best News Writer” award. Giffels’ next book, ”The Hard Way on Purpose,” a collection of linked essays about coming of age in the Rust Belt, will be published by Scribner in March 2014.

William GreenwayWilliam Greenway

Professor, Poetry, Youngstown State University

Phone: 330-941-3418 | Email: whgreenway@ysu.edu

William Greenway’s tenth collection, The Accidental Garden, is forthcoming from Word Press. His ninth collection, Everywhere at Once (2009), winner of the Ohioana Poetry Book of the Year Award, is from the University of Akron Press Poetry Series (2003). He has published in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Georgia Review, Southern Review, Poetry Northwest, Shenandoah, and Prairie Schooner.  Selected Poems (FutureCycle Press) is forthcoming.

Robert MiltnerRobert Miltner

Associate Professor, Poetry, Kent State University

Phone: 330-244-3386 | Email: rmiltner@kent.edu  

Robert Miltner is the author of And Your Bird Can Sing (Bottom Dog Press), a collection of short fiction. His collection of prose poems, Hotel Utopia, was selected by National Book Award finalist Tim Seibles as winner of the New Rivers Press Many Voices Project book prize and named as a finalist for the Ohioana Book Award in Poetry. He is the author of a dozen chapbooks and limited editions, including Against the Simple (Wick chapbook award) and Eurydice Rising (Red Berry Editions chapbook award). Miltner’s poems, stories and essays have appeared in Pleiades, Sentence, Prose Poem, Diagram, LIT, Bellingham Review, Octopus, Ordering the Storm: Making a Manuscript of Poetry (Cleveland State University Press), Field Guide to Prose Poetry (Rose Metal Press), and Speakpeace: American Voices Respond to Vietnamese Children’s Paintings and Christmas Stories from Ohio (both from Kent State University Press).

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.

Craig PaulenichCraig Paulenich

Professor, Poetry, Kent State University

Phone: 330-672-1775 | Email: cpauleni@kent.edu

Craig Paulenich is an Associate 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.

Robert PopeRobert Pope

Professor, Fiction, University of Akron

Phone: 330-972-7470 | Email: rpope@uakron.edu

Robert Pope received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley; M.A. from California State University, San Diego; and M.F.A. from The University of Iowa. He has published many stories and essays in periodicals—including Georgia Review, Missouri Review, Kenyon Review, and Pushcart Prize—as well as a novel, Jack’s Universe, a collection of stories, Private Acts, and a fiction chapbook, Imagine a Moment. He has received the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, Individual Artist grants from the Ohio Arts Council, and teaches fiction writing and literature at The University of Akron.

Imad RahmanImad Rahman

Associate Professor, Fiction, 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, 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 fiction has won the David Dornstein Memorial Creative Writing Contest and the Cervená Barva Press Fiction Chapbook Prize. His literary interviews have appeared in Glimmer Train and his craft essays have been featured in Glimmer Train Writers Ask. He is an Associate Professor of English at The University of Akron where he serves as his department’s NEOMFA Campus Coordinator.

Catherine WingCatherine Wing

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.