Program in Poetry and Poetics

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Nate Marshall reads for the 2019 Ron Offen Poetry series.

The Program in Poetry and Poetics brings together a diverse community of literary scholars, poets, and translators working on poetry and poetics across a spectrum of regions, historical periods, and theoretical approaches at the University of Chicago.  Our faculty includes experts on classical Chinese poetry, the French avant-garde, the modern reception of archaic Greek poetry, and contemporary British and American writing, to name but a few areas of scholarly interest.  Through our ongoing programs and initiatives, we seek to expand the critical understanding of poetics as a field that encompasses not only the study of poetry, but various aspects of literary theory, media studies, and historicist models of inquiry as well.  Because many of the faculty members and graduate students presently engaged in the study of poetry and poetics at Chicago are publishing poets, we also foster work that crosses the border between critical thought and creative practice.

We invite you to join us at any of the events that we host during the academic year.  Our poetry reading series, Poem Present , brings distinguished contemporary poets such as Simone White, Brandon Shimoda, Susan Stewart, Nathaniel Mackey, and Robert Hass to read from their work at the university.  Our scholarly lecture series, History and Forms of Lyric , has invited visitors such as Andrea Brady, Adriana Jacobs, Liesl Olson, Marjorie Perloff and Michael Wood to deliver papers on scholarly subjects relating to poetry as well.  (Many of these readings and lectures may now be viewed on our online media archive).  The university also hosts the Poetry and Poetics Workshop , a working colloquium for graduate students, scholars, and poets studying poetry both at the university and beyond.  Additionally, the Poetics Program has long-standing ties to our graduate student-run literary journal, The Chicago Review , one of the nation’s premier literary journals. 

For more information about the Program in Poetry and Poetics and our upcoming events, please join our mailing list . 

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Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in Prose and Poetry | Northwestern SPS - Northwestern School of Professional Studies

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Program Overview

Mfa in prose and poetry.

Northwestern’s part-time Master of Fine Arts in Prose and Poetry program provides students the opportunity to grow as artists within the specializations of fiction, nonfiction, popular fiction, poetry, and publishing and professional development. A dual-genre specialization is also offered. The small-group workshop format allows for individual attention from published, award-winning faculty . Students also have the opportunity to learn the ropes in teaching writing, publishing, and editing. Flexible scheduling – with courses offered evenings and weekends on Northwestern’s Chicago and Evanston campuses as well as online and in hybrid format – gives students the opportunity to balance their professional, personal and writing lives. While earning their degrees, students connect with other writers at readings and other events in an artistic community that extends beyond the University into Chicagoʼs vibrant literary scene.

About the MFA in Prose and Poetry

Prose and poetry program goals, curriculum for mfa in prose and poetry, mfa in prose and poetry courses, prose and poetry faculty, mfa in prose and poetry admission, tuition and financial aid for prose and poetry, registration information for prose and poetry, careers in prose and poetry.

Juan Martinez

I feel like there's a distinctive Chicago quality to the program, a kind of Midwestern stealth sheen of genuine kindness that nourishes some wild, subversive, tremendously exciting work. It's a unique combination, and one singularly fertile for creativity.”

Students form lasting bonds with each other and with their professors. The years students have spent in the SPS creative writing program, some have told me, are the most creatively rewarding ones they've experienced.”

Christine Sneed

Teaching in Northwestern's part-time writing program has been a career highlight for me. The program is enriched by its students who come from various backgrounds and careers. The diversity of passions, insights and life experiences helps to create a truly unique and rewarding learning experience.”

  • To help students determine the strengths and weaknesses of their writing, and learn how to evaluate criticism of their work
  • To teach students how to take their writing apart, re-think and revise it
  • To show students how to experiment with different styles and forms
  • To guide students in creating a publishable manuscript or portion of one
  • To teach students how to read literature as a writer and a critic
  • To train students to teach creative writing, informed by current pedagogy and classroom experience
  • To give students the opportunity to edit an international literary magazine with their peers
  • To provide students with the tools to create strong applications for jobs in teaching, publishing, and editing

The 15-course curriculum includes workshops in a concentration, electives, and two thesis courses to complete the MFA program experience. Required courses vary by specialization .

Electives are chosen from the graduate course offerings in the Master of Arts in Literature program, creative writing special topics courses (MCW 490) and the seminars and internships (practica) in teaching and publishing. Since good writers also need to be good readers, students must take electives in literary studies. Recent electives include courses on reading poetry; the narrator in fiction, nonfiction and poetry; and writing humor. Independent studies round out the program and provide an opportunity to strengthen writing portfolios.

The final project of the MFA program is a creative thesis, an original work of high literary merit (judged on the basis of art as well as craft). The creative thesis is structured and revised under the supervision of a faculty member (or faculty mentor) and a second reader. The project may be one long piece or a series of shorter pieces. It may include or be an expansion of work written during the student's course of study as long as it represents a culminating effort to shape stories, prose pieces, a long piece, or a group of poems into a coherent, self-sufficient work. This large-scale project supplements the smaller-scale study of craft with the invaluable experience of creating a larger work. And for students who plan to pursue book-length publication after graduation, the master's creative thesis may be the first version of a work in progress.

Explore MFA in Prose and Poetry Courses . You can narrow your course search by day, location or instructor.

Learn from a faculty of esteemed writers in small-group workshops where instructors facilitate discussions that help students examine and address strengths and weaknesses in their writing as well as open up possibilities for re-thinking and revising. Get to know the instructors on our Prose and Poetry  Faculty page.

Candidates for admission to the MFA program must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution or its foreign equivalent and possess a strong academic record, preferably in English, writing or related fields. In evaluating MFA applicants, the admissions committee will look for evidence of the ability to create a more sustained final project, for interest in an interdisciplinary program and for interest in learning how to teach. For a complete list of requirements, see the Admission page for SPS graduate programs.

Tuition for the MFA in Prose and Poetry program at Northwestern is comparable to similar US programs. Financial aid opportunities exist for students at Northwestern. Complete details can be found on the Prose and Poetry Tuition and Financial Aid pages.

Already accepted into the MFA in Prose and Poetry program? Get ahead and register for your classes as soon as possible to ensure maximum efficiency in your progress. 


Northwestern University’s MFA in Prose and Poetry is an arts degree. Students pursue the degrees in order to become better writers, able to create prose and poetry that draw on a full range of the craft. On a more practical level, MFA students become better writers, which prepares them for a variety of careers. For details visit the Prose and Poetry Career Options page.

Find out more about Northwestern's MFA in Prose and Poetry

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MFA Programs Database

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Our MFA database includes essential information about low- and full-residency graduate creative writing programs in the United States and other English-speaking countries to help you decide where to apply.

Adelphi University

Poetry: Jan-Henry Gray, Maya Marshall Prose: Katherine Hill, Igor Webb

Albertus Magnus College

Poetry: Charles Rafferty, Paul Robichaud Fiction: Sarah Harris Wallman Nonfiction: Eric Schoeck

American University

Poetry: Kyle Dargan, David Keplinger Fiction: Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Stephanie Grant, Patricia Park Nonfiction: Rachel Louise Snyder

Antioch University

Poetry: Victoria Chang Prose: Lisa Locascio

Arcadia University

Poetry: Genevieve Betts, Michelle Reale Fiction: Stephanie Feldman, Joshua Isard, Tracey Levine, Eric Smith Literature: Matthew Heitzman, Christopher Varlack, Elizabeth Vogel, Jo Ann Weiner

Poetry: Genevieve Betts, Michelle Reale Fiction: Stephanie Feldman, Joshua Isard, Tracey Levine, Eric Smith

Arizona State University

Poetry: Sally Ball, Natalie Diaz, Eunsong Kim, Alberto Álvaro Ríos, Safiya Sinclair Fiction: Matt Bell, Jenny Irish, Tara Ison, Mitchell Jackson, T. M. McNally Creative Nonfiction: Sarah Viren

Ashland University

Poetry: Aria Aber, Dexter Booth, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Adam Gellings, Tess Taylor, Vanessa Angélica Villareal

Fiction: Kirstin Chen, Brian Conn, Edan Lepucki, Sarah Monette, Nayomi Munaweera, Vi Khi Nao, Naomi J. Williams, Kyle Winkler

Nonfiction: Cass Donish, Kate Hopper, Lauren Markham, Thomas Mira y Lopez, Lisa Nikolidakis, Terese Mailhot, Kelly Sundberg

Augsburg University

Poetry: Jim Cihlar, Michael Kleber-Diggs Fiction: Stephan Eirik Clark, Lindsay Starck Nonfiction: Anika Fajardo, Kathryn Savage Playwriting: Alice Eve Cohen, Carson Kreitzer, TyLie Shider Screenwriting: Stephan Eirik Clark, Andy Froemke

Ball State University

Poetry: Katy Didden, Mark Neely Fiction: Cathy Day, Sean Lovelace Nonfiction: Jill Christman, Silas Hansen Screenwriting: Rani Deighe Crowe, Matt Mullins

Bard College

Mirene Arsanios, CA Conrad, Hoa Nguyen, Christopher Perez, Cedar Sigo, Julian Talamantez Brolaski, Roberto Tejada, Monica de la Torre, Simone White

Bath Spa University

Poetry: Lucy English, Carrie Etter, Tim Liardet, John Strachan, Samantha Walton, Gerard Woodward Fiction: Gavin James Bower, Celia Brayfield, Alexia Casale, Lucy English, Nathan Filer, Aminatta Forna, Maggie Gee, Samantha Harvey, Philip Hensher, Steve Hollyman, Emma Hooper, Claire Kendal, Kate Pullinger, C.J. Skuse, Gerard Woodward Nonfiction: Celia Brayfield, Richard Kerridge, Stephen Moss Scriptwriting: Robin Mukherjee

Poetry: Lucy English, Carrie Etter, Tim Liardet, Gerard Woodward Fiction: Gavin James Bower, Celia Brayfield, Nathan Filer, Aminatta Forna, Maggie Gee, Samantha Harvey, Philip Hensher, Claire Kendal, Kate Pullinger, Gerard Woodward Nonfiction: Richard Kerridge, Stephen Moss

Bay Path University

Mel Allen, Leanna James Blackwell, Jennifer Baker, Sari Botton, Melanie Brooks, María Luisa Arroyo Cruzado, Áine Greaney, Shahnaz Habib, Jessica Handler, Ann Hood, Susan Ito, Karol Jackowski, Yi Shun Lai, Anna Mantzaris, Meredith O’Brien, Lisa Romeo, Kate Whouley

Bennington Writing Seminars at Bennington College

Current Faculty: Poetry: April Bernard, Michael Dumanis, Randall Mann, Craig Morgan Teicher, Mark Wunderlich Fiction: Monica Ferrell, David Gates, Manuel Gonzales, Amy Hempel, Jill McCorkle, Elizabeth McCracken, Deirdre McNamer, Stuart Nadler, Katy Simpson Smith, Taymour Soomro Nonfiction: Eula Biss, Jenny Boully, Hugh Ryan, Clifford Thompson, Peter Trachtenberg

Binghamton University

Poetry: Tina Chang, Joseph Weil Fiction: Thomas Glave, Leslie L. Heywood, Liz Rosenberg, Jaimee Wriston-Colbert, Alexi Zentner Nonfiction: Leslie L. Heywood

Bluegrass Writers Studio at Eastern Kentucky University

Poetry: Julie Hensley, Young Smith Fiction: Julie Hensley, Nancy Jensen, Robert D. Johnson Nonfiction: Nancy Jensen, Robert D. Johnson, Evan J. Massey

Boise State University

Poetry: Martin Corless-Smith, Sara Nicholson, Taryn Schwilling Fiction: Mitch Wieland (Director), Anna Caritj Creative Nonfiction: Clyde Moneyhun

Boston University

Poetry: Andrea Cohen, Karl Kirchwey, Robert Pinsky Fiction: Leslie Epstein, Jennifer Haigh, Ha Jin

Boston University—MFA in Literary Translation

Odile Cazenave, Margaret Litvin, Petrus Liu, Christopher Maurer, Roberta Micaleff, Robert Pinsky (advising), Stephen Scully, Sassan Tabatabai, J. Keith Vincent, William Waters, Anna Zielinska-Elliott

Bowling Green State University

Poetry: Abigail Cloud, Sharona Muir, F. Dan Rzicznek, Larissa Szporluk, Jessica Zinz-Cheresnick Fiction: Joe Celizic, Lawrence Coates, Reema Rajbanshi, Michael Schulz

Brigham Young University

Poetry: Kimberly Johnson, Lance Larsen, Michael Lavers, John Talbot Fiction: Chris Crowe, Ann Dee Ellis, Spencer Hyde, Stephen Tuttle Nonfiction: Joey Franklin, Patrick Madden

Brooklyn College

Poetry: Julie Agoos, Ben Lerner Fiction: Joshua Henkin, Madeleine Thien Playwriting: Dennis A. Allen II, Elana Greenfield

Brown University

Poetry: Sawako Nakayasu, Matthew Shenoda, Eleni Sikelianos, Cole Swensen Fiction: Colin Channer, Laird Hunt, Karan Mahajan, Jacinda Townsend Cross Disciplinary & Digital Language Arts: John Cayley, Thalia Field, Sawako Nakayasu

Literary Arts

Graduate students in Brown's Literary Arts MFA program may choose to focus in one of three tracks – Fiction, Poetry, or Digital/Cross Disciplinary Writing.

The two-year program is structured to allow graduate student writers maximum possible time for creative and intellectual exploration. Students attend two courses each semester: the writing workshop and an elective in the first three semesters (with an additional half-course in pedagogy in semesters two and three); and in the final semester an independent study for completing the thesis as well as an elective.

Elective courses may be selected from among the full offerings of the Brown University curriculum. In years past, students have taken courses in literature, history, philosophy, theater and performance studies, modern culture and media, religious studies, and foreign languages. Studio fine arts courses and translation workshops are often appropriate choices – as are workshops offered on special topics or in other genres. 

The thesis may be a substantial work of fiction or poetry, or a substantial digital or cross-disciplinary project. It is intended to represent the student’s achievement during the two years in residency at Brown.

Application deadline

Applications  may be submitted from 30 September to 11:59 pm ET on 15 December 2023. If seeking a fee waiver , the deadline is 1 December.

Learn More About the Program

Graduate program handbook, learn about applying, financial information.

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Genre: poetry

Aria Aber was born and raised in Germany and is currently based in Los Angeles, California. Her debut book Hard Damage won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry and was published in September 2019. Her poems are forthcoming or have appeared in The New Yorker, New Republic, The Yale Review, Poem-A-Day, Narrative, POETRY, and elsewhere. A graduate of the NYU MFA in Creative Writing, she holds awards and fellowships from Kundiman, the Wisconsin Institute of Creative Writing, and the Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. She is the recipient of a 2020 Whiting Award in Poetry.


Amelia Ada is a trans poet and essayist. She holds an MFA in poetry from Vanderbilt University, and she graduated with honors from both the undergraduate journalism and creative writing programs at Northwestern University. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals, including  ZYZZYVA,   Denver Quarterly, Boston Review, Southwest Review , and  West Branch.  Her first book manuscript was a finalist for the 2020 National Poetry Series Open Competition. She lives in Los Angeles and co-hosts the podcast  You Shouldn’t Let Poets Lie To You .


Akhim Alexis

Genre: fiction

Akhim Alexis is a writer from Trinidad and Tobago. He received his BA and MA from The University of the West Indies. He is the winner of the Brooklyn Caribbean Lit Fest Elizabeth Nunez Award for Writers in the Caribbean. He was also a finalist for the Barry Hannah Prize in Fiction, the Grist Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors Contest and the Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize for poetry. His writing has appeared in The Massachusetts Review , Electric Literature , The Rumpus , and elsewhere.

Taneum Bambrick

Taneum Bambrick is the author of Intimacies, Received ( Copper Canyon Press 2022), and Vantage ( American Poetry Review /Honickman First Book Award 2019). A 2020 Stegner fellow, their work can be found in the New Yorker , The Nation , American Poetry Review, PEN,  and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, Sewanee Writers Conference, and a scholarship from Bread Loaf Writers Conference.

Remy Barnes

Remy Barnes’s fiction has appeared in The Iowa Review, Mississippi Review, The Southampton Review, Southern Humanities Review and elsewhere. He received his MFA from Cornell University where he taught courses on fiction, poetry and film. He is at work on a novel.


Mayookh Barua

Genre: nonfiction

Mayookh Barua is a writer belonging to the Ahom community in Northeast India. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in nonfiction in the Creative Writing and Literature Department at USC and holds an MFA in Fiction from North Carolina State University. His work explores sexuality, art, mythology, education and family through a queer South-Asian voice. A 2023 Roots.Wounds.Words Non-Fiction fellow, MOZAIK Philanthropy’s 2023 Future Art Writers Award winner, and a Dorianne Laux Poetry Prize 2023 Finalist, his works appear in The Audacity by Roxane Gay, The Gay & Lesbian Review , Litro Magazine , Espace Art Actuel , The Third Eye , Mezosfera Magazine and elsewhere.

Damien Belliveau

Damien Belliveau is a fiction fellow at the University of Southern California. As a creative writer, he has two dissertation projects: one creative, the other critical. The creative project is an autobiographical coming-of-age story inspired by his time serving as a medic in the U.S. Army during the mid-90s. The critical project examines book-to-film adaptations where he explores the editorial strategies employed to translate literature to cinema. Damien’s been a reality television editor for nearly two decades; his credits range from “The Real World” to “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” to “Bill Nye Saves the World.” He’s directed episodes of reality TV, but in the non-scripted space, he prefers the power of the edit bay. A PEN Emerging Voices Fellow, his work has appeared in  The Los Angeles Review of Books ,  Epiphany Magazine ,  The Spectacle , and more.


Ben Bush is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, a 2017-2018 Fulbright Fellow to Bulgaria, and a Dornsife Fellow at the University of Southern California creative writing PhD program. His fiction has appeared in  The Iowa Review, The Literary Review, Yeti, The Fanzine , and  Vol. 1 Brooklyn . His non-fiction and interviews have appeared in  Bookforum, The Believer, Poets & Writers, San Francisco Chronicle, Salon, Bitch , and the  Los Angeles Review of Books . He has received fellowships and scholarships from the Truman Capote Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, Wesleyan Writers Conference, Kimmel Harding Nelson, Sozopol Fiction Seminars, and Key West Literary Seminars. He is a former managing editor of the Organist podcast from McSweeney’s and KCRW and has taught creative writing in Morocco, Bulgaria, and at the University of Iowa.

Bryan Byrdlong

Bryan Byrdlong is a Black poet from Chicago, Illinois. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from the Helen Zell Writers Program. He has been published in Guernica Magazine , The Kenyon Review , and Poetry Magazine , among others. Bryan received a 2021 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He is currently a PhD student in Creative Writing at USC in Los Angeles.


Amanda Choo Quan

Amanda Choo Quan is a Trinidadian/Jamaican writer. Though she writes in all genres, her concentration at USC is in nonfiction. Previously, she attended the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica, where she was a valedictorian nominee, and CalArts, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow. She’s former UN staff as well as a journalist who has published in Harper’s , Teen Vogue , NYLON , and Caribbean Beat . Most recently, she was a correspondent for NY, London, Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks. Her interests are eclectic: race, culture, aesthetics, humour, and the psychologies of the above. She’s always rooting for everybody Black. She tweets at @amandachooquan.

Ariel Chu is a PhD student in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Southern California. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University, where she was awarded the Shirley Jackson Prize in Fiction. Ariel’s work has been published by The Rumpus , Black Warrior Review , and The Common , among others. Her writing has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net Award, and Best Short Fictions Anthology, and she has received support from Kundiman, the Steinbeck Fellowship, the Luce Scholars Program, and the P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans.

Ariel is currently writing a collection of short stories about queer suburban hauntings. She also serves as the fiction editor of Nat. Brut and translates contemporary queer Taiwanese fiction into English. Her research interests include queer Taiwanese and Taiwanese American literature, hybrid Asian American writing, and experimental fiction.


James Ciano

James Ciano holds an MFA from New York University. His poetry  appears in  Prairie Schooner ,  The Literary Review ,  Poetry Northwest ,  Bennington Review ,  Greensboro Review , and  Alaska Quarterly Review , among others. His reviews and writings on poetry have appeared in  The Adroit Journal ,  Poetry Northwest , and  Los Angeles Review of Books . Originally from New York, he lives in Los Angeles, California where he is currently a Provost Fellow and PhD candidate in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California.


Marcus Clayton

Marcus Clayton is a multigenre Afrolatino writer from South Gate, CA, with an M.F.A. in Poetry from CSU Long Beach. Currently, he pursues a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California, focusing his creative work on genre-bent nonfiction, and his critical work on the intersections between Latinx literature, Black literature, Decolonization, and Punk Rock. He has a poetry chapbook,  Nurture the Open Wounds , through Glass Poetry Press, and will be releasing a full-length book of mixed-genre prose titled  ¡PÓNK! with Nightboat Books. A few other publications include the Los Angeles Review of Books , Joyland Magazine , Indiana Review , Apogee Journal , Passages North , Black Punk Now! , and  The Oxford Handbook of Punk Rock. In his free time, he also screams and plays guitar for local LA punk band, tudors.


Antonia Crane

Genre: nonfictoin

Antonia Crane is a queer sex worker, activist, and filmmaker. She’s the author of the memoir, Spent (Rare Bird Lit/Barnacle Books). She was awarded the Outstanding Community Service & Activism Award from Antioch University Alumni Association in 2018. PRISM International magazine named Antonia the grand prize winner of their 2019 creative nonfiction contest. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, Quartz:  Atlantic Media,, Buzzfeed, N+1 , Playboy, Los Angeleno, Cosmopolitan,, The Huffington Post, DAME, The Los Angeles Review, Bustle , and lots of other places. Most recently, her work has appeared in the anthologies: Whorephobia: Strippers on Art, Work and Life , edited by Lizzie Borden, and Voices of a People’s History of the United States in the 21 st Century: Documents of Hope and Resistance, edited by Anthony Arnove & Haley Pessin. She lives in Los Angeles.


Ashley Dailey

Ashley Dailey (she/her) is a writer and multimedia artist from Sargent, Georgia. She mostly writes about family and the cultural legacies of the American South. Her work has received support from the Academy of American Poets and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and is published or forthcoming in Sonora Review ,  Tupelo Quarterly ,  Waxwing , Breakwater Review , New Delta Review , Plume Poetry , The Florida Review , and elsewhere. She was a 2021 Best of the Net nominee and a finalist for the 2021 Peseroff Poetry Prize. Her work has also been featured on Ada Limón’s podcast The Slowdown . She received her MFA from the University of Tennessee, where she served as the Poetry Editor for Grist , volume 14, and hosted the interdisciplinary reading series Chiasmus. She is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.


Michael Deagler

Michael Deagler is the author of the novel Early Sobrieties (Astra House, 2024). His short fiction has appeared Harper’s , McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern , and Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading . Originally from Bucks County, PA, he received his BA from Temple University and an MFA from Rutgers University-Camden.


Joseph De La Torre

Joseph is a fiction writer from Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Darren Donate

Darren Donate is a Mexican American writer. He previously received an MFA in poetry at the University of New Mexico where he taught courses in creative writing and technical communication. He is interested in the intersections of race and labor. You can find his work in Berkeley Poetry Review, the minnesota review, ANMLY  and others.

Cyrus Dunham

Cyrus Dunham is the author of  A Year Without a Name  (2020), a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards. His writing on grassroots anti-prison organizing and trans politics has appeared in  The New Yorker , Granta , and The Intercept , among other publications and anthologies. He is a co-founder and editor of Deluge Books.

Kyle Edwards

Kyle Edwards grew up on the Lake Manitoba First Nation in Manitoba. A graduate of Ryerson University, he has worked as a journalist for Native News Online , ProPublica and Maclean’s , and has been a Nieman Visiting Fellow at Harvard University and a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. He is a Provost Fellow at the University of Southern California, where he is pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing and Literature. His debut novel is forthcoming from Pantheon in spring 2025.

Jonathan Escoffery

Jonathan Escoffery is a Jamaican American writer from Miami. He is the recipient of the 2020 Plimpton Prize for Fiction, a 2020 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) fellowship, and the 2020 National Magazine Award for Fiction from the American Society of Magazine Editors. His writing has appeared, or is forthcoming, in The Paris Review, American Short Fiction, Electric Literature, Prairie Schooner, Passages North, ZYZZYVA, AGNI, Pleiades, The Best American Magazine Writing 2020, Creative Nonfiction , and elsewhere. He has received fellowships and support from Aspen Words, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, Kimbilio Fiction, the Anderson Center, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and elsewhere. Jonathan earned his MFA in Fiction from the University of Minnesota, and attends the University of Southern California’s Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature Program as a Provost Fellow.


Lessa Fenderson

Leesa Fenderson’s work has appeared in Callaloo Journal , Uptown Magazine , Moko Magazine , and she was a Finalist in Paper Darts’ Short Fiction contest. Leesa completed her MFA at Columbia University. She is an attorney, a teacher, and a Jamaican immigrant who hails from New York. She currently writes in Los Angeles where she is a PhD fellow in USC’s Writing and Literature Program.


Seth Fischer

Seth Fischer is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor. His work has twice been listed as notable in  The Best American Essays , and his publications have appeared in Guernica, Zocalo Public Square, Slate, Buzzfeed, and elsewhere. He’s been an editor at The Rumpus, Gold Line Press, Air/Light, and The Nervous Breakdown, and he’s been awarded fellowships and residencies by, among others, Ucross, Disquiet, the Jean Piaget Archives, Lambda Literary, Jentel, and Ragdale. Prior to starting the PhD program in Creative Writing and Literature at USC, he taught at UCLA-Extension Writer’s Program and Antioch University Los Angeles, where he also received his MFA.


Emily Geminder

Emily Geminder is the author of  Dead Girls and Other Stories , winner of the Dzanc Books Short Story Collection Prize. Her work has appeared in  AGNI, American Short Fiction, Conjunctions, Kenyon Review, New England Review, Prairie Schooner, Tin House,  and elsewhere. She is currently a Stegner Fellow in fiction at Stanford University.


Carrie Guss

Carrie Guss is a Canadian writer and artist. She has worked with clients including Dzanc Books, The Baltimore Review , CBC shortDOCS, the Florida Writers Festival, Persea Books, Quarter After Eight , Lucky Peach , and AOL News, and held editorial positions at Subtropics and Ricochet Editions. Her fiction has been shortlisted for the MASH Stories Prize, longlisted for the CBC Short Story Prize, and has appeared most recently in Nat. Brut , NANO Fiction , and The Collagist . She has been awarded two Writers’ Reserve Grants by the Ontario Arts Council, and was honored on the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund Top Prospects List. She holds a BA in Politics from Pomona College, an MFA in Fiction from the University of Florida, and is currently a doctoral candidate in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Southern California.

Alexandria Hall

Alexandria Hall is the author of Field Music (Ecco, 2020), a National Poetry Series winner. She holds an MFA from NYU and is currently a PhD candidate in Creative Writing and Literature at USC. She is a founding editor of Tele- and co-host of You Shouldn’t Let Poets Lie to You . Her poetry and prose have appeared in The Yale Review , Bennington Review , LARB Quarterly Journal , No Tokens , and other publications.


David Haydon

David Haydon (they/them) is essayist and poet originally from Springfield, KY. They are a student in the Creative Writing and Literature PhD program at the University of Southern California and completed an MFA in Creative Writing at Western Kentucky University. Their writing has appeared in Taunt magazine and is anthologized in Once a City Said: An Anthology of Louisville Poets (Sarabande). They are the nonfiction editor for Gold Line Press.

Stephanie Horvath

Stephanie Horvath’s poems have appeared in Gulf Coast , Poetry Northwest , Bennington Review , and Denver Quarterly , among other journals. She completed her MFA at Indiana University, where she was awarded the Yusef Komunyakaa Fellowship in poetry. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California.

Lucas Iberico Lozada

Lucas Iberico Lozada is a PhD candidate (ABD) in nonfiction writing. He is working on a book about the many tombs of Christopher Columbus. His reporting—from Brazil, Peru, and across the US—and essays have appeared in magazines and newspapers including the  Virginia Quarterly Review, the New York Times , The Nation , and Dissent. 

Victor Imko

Victor Imko is an essayist from Charleston, SC. They studied queer theory and literature as a Mellon Fellow at Northwestern University. They’ve taught classes in composition and creative writing at the University of Florida and Trident Technical College. Today they live in LA, writing as a Dornsife Fellow at the University of Southern California.

Mitchell Jacobs

Mitchell Jacobs is a poet and fiction writer from Minnesota. He earned an MFA from Purdue University, where he served as managing editor of Sycamore Review . Currently, he is a PhD candidate in literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California, where he serves on the editorial board of Ricochet Editions. His work has appeared in journals such as the Cincinnati Review , Massachusetts Review , Ploughshares , and Southern Review , as well as the Best New Poets anthology and The Slowdown podcast through American Public Media.


Jane Kalu’s work has been featured or is forthcoming in American Short Fiction , Boston Review , The Hopkins Review , Isele Magazine , Munyori Journal , and elsewhere. She’s a graduate of the MFA program at the University of New Mexico, where she was the recipient of the Joseph Badal Prize and the Hillerman/McGarrity Prize. Other awards include residencies and fellowships from StoryKnife and American short fiction. She is at work on a novel and a collection of short stories.


Rebecca Kantor

Rebecca Kantor is a writer from Plano, Texas. She taught English in Madrid, Spain, for two years, then received her MFA in fiction from Vanderbilt University. Her fiction often deals with themes of girlhood and hauntings. She is currently at work on a novel.

Matt Kessler

Matt Kessler grew up in Mobile, Alabama and has since called many places home, including Chicago, Oxford and the Hudson Valley. His writing has appeared in  The Guardian, The Atlantic, MTV News, Dazed and Confused, Pitchfork, Candy, Vice  &  The Rumpus . His radio work has been broadcast on  Mississippi Public Broadcasting  &  Illinois Public Media . He holds an MFA in Fiction from the University of Mississippi, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Literature & Creative Writing at the University of Southern California.


Victoria Kornick

Victoria Kornick is a writer from Virginia. Her creative nonfiction and poetry appear in  American Chordata ,  Copper Nickel ,  The Greensboro Review ,  No Tokens Journal , and  The Yale Review , among other publications. She holds an MFA from New York University, where she was a Rona Jaffe and Goldwater Hospital fellow. She has received support from the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Oak Spring Garden Foundation, the Community of Writers, and the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts. Victoria lives in Los Angeles, where she is a PhD candidate at the University of Southern California.


Cameron Lange

Cameron Lange is a British-Iranian writer from London. His work has appeared in Roads & Kingdoms, Zócalo Public Square, and Lodestars Anthology . He holds an MSc in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

Brian Lin is a doctoral candidate in Creative Writing and Literature. He has attended the Tin House Summer Workshop, the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, and the VONA Summer Workshop. He was a resident at Ragdale and The Cabins and a fellow at the Community of Writers Workshop and the Writing by Writers Workshop. His stories and essays can be found in  Electric Literature ,  The Rumpus ,  The Margins ,  Lambda Literary ,   Hyphen Magazine , and the  Los Angeles Review of Books . Brian is working on a novel and other books of prose.


Erin Marie Lynch is the author of Removal Acts (Graywolf Press, 2023). Her writing appears in POETRY, New England Review, DIAGRAM, Narrative , Best New Poets , and other publications. She has received awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, MacDowell, Indigenous Nations Poets, and the Wurlitzer Foundation. She lives in Los Angeles.


Stephanie Mullings

Stephanie Mullings is a fiction writer from Chicago and a graduate of Boston University’s MFA program. She is a 2021 First Pages Prize winner and a finalist of the 2021 Arkansas International Emerging Writer’s Prize and CRAFT’s 2022 Short Fiction Prize. A PEN/O. Henry Prize nominee, her stories have appeared in Boulevard , Catapult , the Los Angeles Review , Ninth Letter , The Rumpus , Swamp Pink , Wigleaf , and elsewhere.

Charlie Napolitano

Charlie Napolitano was raised in Florida and received their MFA from the University of Central Florida. Their short story “Cobra” won the 2016 AWP Intro Journal Awards. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Rumpus, Quarterly West ,  The Florida Review , and elsewhere. Currently, they are a Ph.D. student in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Southern California.

Rose Nguyễn

Rose Nguyễn is a writer from Honolulu, HI. She holds a BA from Princeton University and an MA in Literature from UC Berkeley. Her criticism has appeared in The Drift , and her essay in the Indiana Review, which won their 2021 Creative Nonfiction Prize, is a notable essay in Best American Essays 2023 . She is currently based in Los Angeles.

JoAnna Novak

JoAnna Novak’s debut memoir  Contradiction Days: An Artist on the Verge of Motherhood  was published in July. Her fourth book of poetry,  Domestirexia , will be published by Soft Skull in 2024. She is the author of the novel  I Must Have You  and  Meaningful Work: Stories. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Paris Review , and other publications.


Katharine Ogle

Katharine Ogle is a Provost Fellow at the University of Southern California, where she is pursuing a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing. She holds a BA with distinction from the University of Virginia and an MFA in poetry from the University of Washington. She has worked as an Associate Editor of  Poetry Northwest , as a writer-in-residence for Seattle Arts & Lectures, and as a lecturer for the University of Washington’s creative writing programs at Friday Harbor Laboratories and at the UW Rome Center. Her work has been published in Pleiades, Five Points, Poetry Northwest, by The Broad Museum in Los Angeles, and at a public bus stop in Seattle, among other places.

Michelle Orsi

Michelle Orsi is a writer from Spokane, Washington. She currently lives in Los Angeles, where she is pursuing her PhD in Creative Writing & Literature at the University of Southern California. She received her MFA in Poetry from the University of Houston, where she was an Inprint Jesse H. and Mary Gibbs Jones Fellow and worked as Poetry Editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts. She was recently awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to teach in Argentina in 2020.

Catherine Pond

Catherine Pond is the author of Fieldglass (Southern Illinois University Press 2021), winner of the Crab Orchard First Book Prize and a finalist for the National Poetry Series. Her poems have appeared in Best New Poets, Best American Nonrequired Reading, AGNI, Salmagundi, The Adroit Journal, Narrative , and other publications. Pond is a PhD candidate (ABD) in Literature & Creative Writing at the University of Southern California.

Crystal Powell

Before devoting her time to writing, Crystal Powell was the VP of Production & Development for Electric City Entertainment and Silverwood Films, where she developed, co-produced, and associate-produced several features, including Matt Ross’s Captain Fantastic starring Viggo Mortensen and Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond The Pines , starring Bradley Cooper, Ryan Gosling, and Eva Mendes. Crystal was also a production executive on Tim Burton’s Big Eyes. She went on to study creative writing as a Lillian Vernon MFA Fellow at New York University. After graduating, she was a Center for Fiction NYC Emerging Writers Fellow, a Jack Jones Literary Arts Fellow, and a fiction finalist for both the Disquiet Prize and a New York Foundation For The Arts Fellowship. She’s working on her first novel while pursuing a PhD in creative writing and literature at the University of Southern California.

Jianan Qian

Jianan Qian writes in both Chinese and English. In her native language Chinese, she has published a story collection, a novel, an essay collection, and a letter collection. In English, she is a staff writer at The Millions and her works have appeared in The New York Times , Granta , Guernica Magazine , Gulf Coast , and elsewhere. She received her MFA in fiction from The Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Currently, she is a Ph.D. student in English Literature and Creative Writing at The University of Southern California.

Thomas Renjilian

Thomas Renjilian is a fiction writer and poet originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania. He received his BA from Vassar College and MFA from Oregon State University. His stories and poems appear in  The Missouri Review, Gulf Coast, Kenyon Review, Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM,  and other publications. He is the editor-in-chief of Gold Line Press and a fiction editor for  Joyland Magazine . He previously served as managing editor of Ricochet Editions. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is a PhD candidate in Literature & Creative Writing at the University of Southern California.


Laura Roque

Laura Roque is the daughter of Cuban exiles and was raised in Hialeah, Florida. In 2018, she won Kenyon Review’s Short Fiction Contest and Glimmer Train’s Fiction Open Contest. She is currently a Wallis Annenberg fellow at the University of Southern California and a PhD candidate in their creative writing program. Her novel-in-progress, Aguanta, Diana, has received support from the American Association of University Women and was awarded a dissertation fellowship for the 2023-2024 academic year, as a project important to advances in equity for women and girls.


Austen Leah Rose

Austen Leah Rose’s debut book of poems Once, This Forest Belonged to a Storm was the 2022 winner of the Juniper Prize and published by the University of Massachusetts Press. Her poetry has appeared in Zyzzyva, AGNI, The Southern Review, Narrative, The Adroit Journal,  and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from Hedgebrook, Bread Loaf, and Djerassi. In 2018, she was awarded the Walter Sullivan Award from The Sewanee Review. She holds an MFA from Columbia University.


Lindsey Skillen

Lindsey Skillen is currently pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing (Fiction) & Literature at the University of Southern California, where she has taught in the honors writing program, directed the Association of English Graduate Students, and served on the editorial board of Ricochet Editions .  Her most recent publications can be found in -tele and  Cosmonauts Avenue,  where she was long-listed for a prize judged by Ottessa Moshfegh. She was the recipient of the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation Scholarship for the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley workshop, and the Vaclav Havel Scholarship for the Prague Summer Program for writers, and had also received support from Tin House Summer and Winter workshops and the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop. She received an MFA in Fiction from New York University, where she was a Goldwater Fellow, Managing Editor of  Washington Square Review , and a Provost Visiting Graduate Student Fellow at the NYU Global Research Institutes in London and Prague. She’s read at the LA Times Book Festival, the NYU Emerging Writers reading series at KGB Bar in NYC, and The Wooly and Broken Shelves in Gainesville, FL. As an undergraduate at the University of Florida her work was featured in  Prairie,  The Fine Print ,  and  Tea Literary Magazine ,  where it was awarded the Palmetto Prize for Fiction. Her story “A Sunny Place for Shady People” was selected for publication in  plain china ,  a national anthology of the best undergraduate writing. She was hand-selected by Joyce Carol Oates for participation in her Master Class and spent a summer reading for The Book Group Literary Agency. She has volunteered her time with Still Waters in a Storm, Women Who Submit, and as a mentor with WriteGirl.

Sophia Stid

Sophia Stid is a poet from California. She is the author of the chapbooks But For I Am a Woman , winner of the 2022 Host Publications Chapbook Prize, and Whistler’s Mother , published by Bull City Press in 2021. A graduate of the MFA program at Vanderbilt University, Sophia has also received fellowships and support from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Collegeville Institute, and Georgetown University’s Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice. She is the winner of the 2021 Barthelme Prize from Gulf Coast ; recent poems and essays can be found in Best New Poets , Poetry Daily, and the Kenyon Review .


Essy Stone is a PhD student in poetry at the University of Southern California. She holds an MFA from the University of Miami, and recently completed a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. Her work has been published in the New Yorker , 32 Poems , and Prairie Schooner . Her first book, What It Done to Us , was awarded the Idaho Prize in Poetry and was published by Lost Horse Press in 2017.

Leah Tieger

A recipient of support from the Vermont Studio Center and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Leah Tieger is a doctoral candidate in the University of Southern California’s Literature and Creative Writing program. As a 2023 Wrigley Institute fellow, her ecopoetic practice led to a qualitative study of communities surrounding the Santa Susana Field Lab. Recent related work appears in Poetry Northwest, Waxwing, Blackbird, and Tupelo Quarterly . Her manuscript, Disaster Tourist, is a 2023 National Poetry Series finalist.


Clancy Tripp

Clancy Tripp is a queer Midwestern writer, graphic artist, and humorist. Her work has appeared in Black Warrior Review , Catapult , december magazine , Electric Literature , The Florida Review , The Greensboro Review , Indiana Review , Ninth Letter , Slice , The Rumpus , McSweeney’s Internet Tendency , Reductress , and elsewhere. She won the 2020 Iowa Review Award in Nonfiction (selected by Leslie Jamison), the 2021 Witness Literary Award in Nonfiction (selected by Cinelle Barnes), and the 2023 Spring Flash Fiction contest at F(r)iction. She has an MFA from the Ohio State University and an MA from Columbia University.


Katrin Tschirgi

Katrin Tschirgi is a PhD candidate in Literature and Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in journals such as The Literary Review, Washington Square Review,  Quarterly West, and The Normal School. She is from Boise, Idaho.


Vanessa Villarreal

Vanessa Angélica Villarreal was born in the Rio Grande Valley to formerly undocumented Mexican immigrants. She is the author of the poetry collection Beast Meridian (Noemi Press, Akrilica Series 2017), recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award, a Kate Tufts Discovery Award nomination,  and winner of the John A. Robertson Award for Best First Book of Poetry from the Texas Institute of Letters. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine’s The Cut, Harper’s Bazaar, Oxford American, Paris Review, Poetry Magazine, and elsewhere. She is a recipient of a 2021 National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, and a doctoral candidate in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she is working on a poetry and an essay collection while raising her son in Los Angeles.


Jorrell Watkins

Jorrell Watkins is from Richmond, VA. He received fellowships from the Smithsonian Institution, Fulbright Japan, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. His chapbook, If Only the Sharks Would Bite , won the inaugural Desert Pavilion Chapbook Series in Poetry and his debut full-length collection, PlayHouse: poems, is forthcoming in 2024 with Northwestern University Press.


Thalia Williamson

Thalia Williamson is an essayist, fiction writer, and poet. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Joyland Magazine , The Audacity , Longreads , BRINK , The Masters Review , and the Los Angeles Review of Books .

She was a finalist for the 2023 BRINK Literary Journal Award for Hybrid Writing and a semifinalist for the 2022 Sewanee Review Fiction Contest. Her work has received support from the Tin House Scholarship for Trans Writers, the Marius DeBrabant Fund, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Sewanee Tennessee Williams Scholarship.

She was born in London and now lives in Los Angeles, where she is completing a PhD in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Southern California. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from UC Riverside and a BA in Philosophy from King’s College London.


Joliange Wright

Joliange Wright’s short stories have appeared in Lunch Ticket , Midwestern Gothic , and  Consequence Magazine . She has an MFA from The Bennington Writing Seminars, where she was editor of The End of the World , June 2017. She is currently a PhD candidate in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California, where she holds a Wallis Annenberg Fellowship. She volunteers for 826LA and InsideOut Writers.

Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature

3501 Trousdale Parkway

Taper Hall of Humanities 431

Los Angeles, CA  90089-0354

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phd poetry programs

PhD Program in English Language and Literature

The department enrolls an average of ten PhD students each year. Our small size allows us to offer a generous financial support package. We also offer a large and diverse graduate faculty with competence in a wide range of literary, theoretical and cultural fields. Each student chooses a special committee that works closely along side the student to design a course of study within the very broad framework established by the department. The program is extremely flexible in regard to course selection, the design of examinations and the election of minor subjects of concentration outside the department. English PhD students pursuing interdisciplinary research may include on their special committees faculty members from related fields such as comparative literature, medieval studies, Romance studies, German studies, history, classics, women’s studies, linguistics, theatre and performing arts, government, philosophy, and film and video studies.

The PhD candidate is normally expected to complete six or seven one-semester courses for credit in the first year of residence and a total of six or seven more in the second and third years. The program of any doctoral candidate’s formal and informal study, whatever his or her particular interests, should be comprehensive enough to ensure familiarity with:

  • The authors and works that have been the most influential in determining the course of English, American, and related literatures
  • The theory and criticism of literature, and the relations between literature and other disciplines
  • Concerns and tools of literary and cultural history such as textual criticism, study of genre, source, and influence as well as wider issues of cultural production and historical and social contexts that bear on literature

Areas in which students may have major or minor concentrations include African-American literature, American literature to 1865, American literature after 1865, American studies (a joint program with the field of history), colonial and postcolonial literatures, cultural studies, dramatic literature, English poetry, the English Renaissance to 1660, lesbian, bisexual and gay literary studies, literary criticism and theory, the nineteenth century, Old and Middle English, prose fiction, the Restoration and the eighteenth century, the twentieth century, and women's literature.

By the time a doctoral candidate enters the fourth semester of graduate study, the special committee must decide whether he or she is qualified to proceed toward the PhD. Students are required to pass their Advancement to Candidacy Examination before their fourth year of study, prior to the dissertation.

PhD Program specifics can be viewed here: PhD Timeline PhD Procedural Guide

Special Committee

Every graduate student selects a special committee of faculty advisors who work intensively with the student in selecting courses and preparing and revising the dissertation. The committee is comprised of at least three Cornell faculty members: a chair, and typically two minor members usually from the English department, but very often representing an interdisciplinary field. The university system of special committees allows students to design their own courses of study within a broad framework established by the department, and it encourages a close working relationship between professors and students, promoting freedom and flexibility in the pursuit of the graduate degree. The special committee for each student guides and supervises all academic work and assesses progress in a series of meetings with the students.

At Cornell, teaching is considered an integral part of training in academia. The field requires a carefully supervised teaching experience of at least one year for every doctoral candidate as part of the program requirements. The Department of English, in conjunction with the  John S. Knight Institute for Writing  in the Disciplines, offers excellent training for beginning teachers and varied and interesting teaching in the university-wide First-Year Writing Program. The courses are writing-intensive and may fall under such general rubrics as “Portraits of the Self,” “American Literature and Culture,” “Shakespeare,” and “Cultural Studies,” among others. A graduate student may also serve as a teaching assistant for an undergraduate lecture course taught by a member of the Department of English faculty.

Language Requirements

Each student and special committee will decide what work in foreign language is most appropriate for a student’s graduate program and scholarly interests. Some students’ doctoral programs require extensive knowledge of a single foreign language and literature; others require reading ability in two or more foreign languages. A student may be asked to demonstrate competence in foreign languages by presenting the undergraduate record, taking additional courses in foreign languages and literature, or translating and discussing documents related to the student’s work. Students are also normally expected to provide evidence of having studied the English language through courses in Old English, the history of the English language, grammatical analysis or the application of linguistic study to metrics or to literary criticism. Several departments at Cornell offer pertinent courses in such subjects as descriptive linguistics, psycholinguistics and the philosophy of language.

All PhD degree candidates are guaranteed five years of funding (including a stipend , a full tuition fellowship and student health insurance):

  • A first-year non-teaching fellowship
  • Two years of teaching assistantships
  • A fourth-year non-teaching fellowship for the dissertation writing year
  • A fifth-year teaching assistantship
  • Summer support for four years, including a first-year summer teaching assistantship, linked to a teachers’ training program at the Knight Institute. Summer residency in Ithaca is required.

Students have also successfully competed for Buttrick-Crippen Fellowship, Society for the Humanities Fellowships, American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), Shin Yong-Jin Graduate Fellowships, Provost’s Diversity Fellowships, fellowships in recognition of excellence in teaching, and grants from the Graduate School to help with the cost of travel to scholarly conferences and research collections.

Admission & Application Procedures

The application for Fall 2024 admission will open on September 15, 2023 and close at 11:59pm EST on December 1, 2023.

Our application process reflects the field’s commitment to considering the whole person and their potential to contribute to our scholarly community.  Applicants will be evaluated on the basis of academic preparation (e.g., performance in relevant courses, completion of substantive, independent research project). An applicant’s critical and creative potential will be considered: applicants should demonstrate interest in extensive research and writing and include a writing sample that reveals a capacity to argue persuasively, demonstrate the ability to synthesize a broad range of materials, as well as offer fresh insights into a problem or text. The committee will also consider whether an applicant demonstrates a commitment to inclusion, equity, and diversity and offers a substantive explanation for why study at Cornell is especially compelling (e.g., a discussion of faculty research and foci). Admissions committees will consider the entire application carefully, including statements and critical writing, as well as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a resume/cv (if provided). Please view the requirements and procedures listed below, if you are interested in being considered for our PhD in English Language and Literature program.

Eligibility: Applicants must currently have, or expect to have, at least a BA or BS (or the equivalent) in any field before matriculation. International students, please verify degree equivalency here . Applicants are not required to meet a specified GPA minimum.

To Apply: All applications and supplemental materials must be submitted online through the Graduate School application system . While completing your application, you may save and edit your data. Once you click submit, your application will be closed for changes. Please proofread your materials carefully. Once you pay and click submit, you will not be able to make any changes or revisions.

Deadline: December 1st, 11:59pm EST.  This deadline is firm. No applications, additional materials, or revisions will be accepted after the deadline.

PhD Program Application Requirements Checklist

  • Academic Statement of Purpose Please describe (within 1000 words) in detail the substantive research questions you are interested in pursuing during your graduate studies and why they are significant. Additionally, make sure to include information about any training or research experience that you believe has prepared you for our program. You should also identify specific faculty members whose research interests align with your own specific questions.  Note that the identification of faculty is important; you would be well advised to read selected faculty’s recent scholarship so that you can explain why you wish to study with them. Do not rely on the courses they teach.  Please refrain from contacting individual faculty prior to receiving an offer of admission.
  • Personal Statement Please describe (within 1000 words) how your personal background and experiences influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree and the research you wish to conduct.  Explain, for example the meaning and purpose of the PhD in the context of your personal history and future aspirations.  Please note that we will pay additional attention to candidates who identify substantial reasons to obtain a PhD beyond the pursuit of an academic position. Additionally, provide insight into your potential to contribute to a community of inclusion, belonging, and respect where scholars representing diverse backgrounds, perspectives, abilities, and experiences can learn (productively and positively) together.
  • Critical Writing Sample Your academic writing sample must be between 3,000 and 7,500 words (12-30 pages), typed and double-spaced. We accept excerpts from longer works, or a combination of shorter works.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation We require 3 letters of recommendation.  At the time of application, you will be allowed to enter up to 4 recommenders in the system.  Your application will be considered “Complete” when we have received at least 3 letters of recommendation.   Letters of recommendation are due December 1 . Please select three people who best know you and your work. Submitting additional letters will not enhance your application. In the recommendation section of the application, you must include the email address of each recommender. After you save the information (and before you pay/submit), the application system will automatically generate a recommendation request email to your recommender with instructions for submitting the letter electronically. If your letters are stored with a credential service such as Interfolio, please use their Online Application Delivery feature and input the email address assigned to your stored document, rather than that of your recommender’s. The electronic files will be attached to your application when they are received and will not require the letter of recommendation cover page.
  • Transcripts Scan transcripts from each institution you have attended, or are currently attending, and upload into the academic information section of the application. Be sure to remove your social security number from all documents prior to scanning. Please do not send paper copies of your transcripts. If you are subsequently admitted and accept, the Graduate School will require an official paper transcript from your degree-awarding institution prior to matriculation.
  • English Language Proficiency Requirement All applicants must provide proof of English language proficiency. For more information, please view the  Graduate School’s English Language Requirement .
  • GRE General Test and GRE Subject Test are NO LONGER REQUIRED, effective starting with the 2019 application In March 2019, the faculty of English voted overwhelmingly to eliminate all GRE requirements (both general and subject test) for application to the PhD program in English. GRE scores are not good predictors of success or failure in a PhD program in English, and the uncertain predictive value of the GRE exam is far outweighed by the toll it takes on student diversity. For many applicants the cost of preparing for and taking the exam is prohibitively expensive, and the exam is not globally accessible. Requiring the exam narrows our applicant pool at precisely the moment we should be creating bigger pipelines into higher education. We need the strength of a diverse community in order to pursue the English Department’s larger mission: to direct the force of language toward large and small acts of learning, alliance, imagination, and justice.

General Information for All Applicants

Application Fee: Visit the Graduate School for information regarding application fees, payment options, and fee waivers .

Document Identification: Please do not put your social security number on any documents.

Status Inquiries:  Once you submit your application, you will receive a confirmation email. You will also be able to check the completion status of your application in your account. If vital sections of your application are missing, we will notify you via email after the Dec. 1 deadline and allow you ample time to provide the missing materials. Please do not inquire about the status of your application.

Credential/Application Assessments:  The Admission Review Committee members are unable to review application materials or applicant credentials prior to official application submission. Once the committee has reviewed applications and made admissions decisions, they will not discuss the results or make any recommendations for improving the strength of an applicant’s credentials. Applicants looking for feedback are advised to consult with their undergraduate advisor or someone else who knows them and their work.

Review Process:  Application review begins after the submission deadline. Notification of admissions decisions will be made by email by the end of February.

Connecting with Faculty and/or Students: Unfortunately, due to the volume of inquiries we receive, faculty and current students are not available to correspond with potential applicants prior to an offer of admission. Applicants who are offered admission will have the opportunity to meet faculty and students to have their questions answered prior to accepting. Staff and faculty are also not able to pre-assess potential applicant’s work outside of the formal application process. Please email [email protected] instead, if you have questions.

Visiting: The department does not offer pre-admission visits or interviews. Admitted applicants will be invited to visit the department, attend graduate seminars and meet with faculty and students before making the decision to enroll.

Transfer Credits:  Students matriculating with an MA degree may, at the discretion of the Director of Graduate Studies, receive credit for up to two courses once they begin our program.

For Further Information

Contact [email protected]

a place for poetry

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January 2024

Enhance your skills and deepen your work through these focused writing workshops. While the Poets House space is still closed for construction, workshops will take place remotely on Zoom. The link will be sent, along with any documents to be previewed, in advance of the workshop date.

3-Hour Workshops: $105 ($90 for members)

4-Week Workshop: $200 ($180 for members)

6-Week Workshops: $360 ($320 for members)

All are welcome, space is limited. A number of need-based scholarships are available. Please email [email protected] with any questions.

In-person workshops are held at Poets House, 10 River Terrace in lower Manhattan (corner of Murray Street and River Terrace in Battery Park City). Please check-in at the Welcome desk in the Atrium, where you will be directed to your workshop. Be kind, arrive on time.

All are welcome, space is limited. Please email [email protected] with any questions.

In-Person 4-Week Workshop: Estha Weiner: There Are People Out There

Feb 3 – Feb 23: Estha Weiner leads us as we read our work aloud. We’ll listen, discuss, and offer helpful responses. How do you serve your audience?

Remote 6-Week Workshop: Susan Comninos: The Mythic “I”

Jan 9-Feb 13: In this six-week reading, writing, and discussion course—explore the creation of speakers who are virtuous, special—and not quite real.

Hybrid 6-Week Workshop: Keisha-Gaye Anderson: You Heard Write!

Jan 25-Feb 29: Keisha-Gaye Anderson teaches techniques for better listening and creating clearer channels for your intelligence to really shine through.

6-Week Workshop: Neil Shepard: The Whole Poem

Jan 24 – Mar 6: Neil Shepard takes us from first draft to final poem, with strategies for unlocking the full potential of content and form.

Remote 3-Hour Workshop: Marcelo Hernandez Castillo: The Archive Between the Line

Jan 20: Under Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, participants will use their own work as the source material to create surprising and surreal new work.

Remote 3-Hour Workshop: Kelly Weber: Songlike as a Snake

In this generative session, we will examine and discuss contemporary poetic series and sequences such as the sonnet crown and the serial poem.

February 2024

4-week workshop: christopher rey pérez: heart tattoos.

Christopher Rey Pérez starts with the tat-tat of pen on paper, looking at marks, figures, designs, words, and using the body as a record.

Six-Week Workshops

Open to all levels, six-week courses are offered on a wide variety of topics. Register early—first come, first serve.

Check back later for more Six-Week Workshop offerings!

Remote 6-Week Workshop: David M. Perkins: The Art of it All

Nov 26 – Jan 7: David M. Perkins leads a 6-week craft-based, hands-on workshop: bring your own poems—and bring a scalpel to dissect what works in a poem.

Free Online Video Workshops

While the Poets House space is still closed for construction, please check out these past workshops, and check back later for more free online workshop offerings!

10*10*10: Free Video Workshops with Dave Johnson

Join Dave Johnson at 10am to write a new poem in only 10 minutes. We’ll present a new video every weekday for 10 days. For teens to adults. Free!

10*10*10*2: Daily Free Video Workshops with Dave Johnson: Second Series

Starting Monday, April 20. 10AM, Dave Johnson is back for 2 more weeks of free video workshops. Write 10 new poems in 10 days, weekdays at 10AM!

Advanced Workshops

Advanced Workshops offer advanced writers of poetry an opportunity to work intensively with some of the most respected poets of our time. An application of three poems is required, sent through Submittable ; space is limited.

Check back later for Advanced Workshop offerings!

Refund Policy

  • Requests for refunds must be received in writing. To request a refund, email [email protected] .
  • Poets House retains a $60 processing fee on any Six-Week Workshop or Advanced Workshop refund, or a $20 processing fee on any One-Day of 3-Hour Workshop refund.
  • Refunds will not be issued after the following deadlines, regardless of participation. For Six-Week Workshops: tuition (less processing fee) is refundable until the second class meeting. For Advanced, One-day, or 3-Hour Workshops: refund requests must be made at least 24 hours prior to the first meeting.
  • Tuition will not be pro-rated for missed classes.
  • Six registrants are required in order for a class to run. If a course fails to meet the minimum registration, it will be cancelled and full tuition will be refunded to all registrants.


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    The university also hosts the Poetry and Poetics Workshop, a working colloquium for graduate students, scholars, and poets studying poetry both at the university and beyond. Additionally, the Poetics Program has long-standing ties to our graduate student-run literary journal, The Chicago Review, one of the nation's premier literary journals.

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    25 Adelphi University MFA Program Garden City and New York, NY Core Faculty Includes: Poetry: Jan-Henry Gray, Maya Marshall Prose: Katherine Hill, Igor Webb Genre: Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Cross-Genre Residency: Low Incoming Class Size: 6-12 Deadline: 1/15/24 Albertus Magnus College MFA Program New Haven, CT Core Faculty Includes:

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    The Poetry concentration at Columbia is one of the strongest and most rigorous in the country. The program's focus is, always, on students' creative work, but we also emphasize an in-depth study of poetry and poetics unlike any other curriculum offered elsewhere. In a given semester, poetry students participate in a hands-on, intense, and ...

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    Graduate students in Brown's Literary Arts MFA program may choose to focus in one of three tracks - Fiction, Poetry, or Digital/Cross Disciplinary Writing. The two-year program is structured to allow graduate student writers maximum possible time for creative and intellectual exploration. Students attend two courses each semester: the writing ...

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    Literary Arts. The Literary Arts graduate program offers tracks in fiction, poetry and digital/cross-disciplinary. Students take eight courses, half in writing and half in elective studies, over a two-year period to ensure maximum time for writing. In general, students take workshops with two and sometimes three different faculty writers in ...

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    USC Dornsife PhD in Creative Writing & Literature. Genre: poetry. Amelia Ada is a trans poet and essayist. She holds an MFA in poetry from Vanderbilt University, and she graduated with honors from both the undergraduate journalism and creative writing programs at Northwestern University.

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  19. City of Moscow

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  21. Poetry a place for poetry

    Enhance your skills and deepen your work through these focused writing workshops. While the Poets House space is still closed for construction, workshops will take place remotely on Zoom. The link will be sent, along with any documents to be previewed, in advance of the workshop date. Tuition: 3-Hour Workshops: $105 ($90 for members)

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