Creative Writing Faculty

Students work closely with outstanding writers to strengthen their craft, develop their literary aesthetics, and enrich their understanding of existing traditions.


author photoGeoff Bouvier has published two books of prose poetry, including the APR/Honickman Prize-winning Living Room, and has a third volume forthcoming in 2023 which is a book-length serial epic prose poem about the history of humanity. He served as the Holloway Lecturer in Poetry at the University of California-Berkeley and he has written long-form magazine journalism, publishing over 50 cover stories. His prose poems have appeared in numerous journals including American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, and New American Writing. He currently teaches literature and creative writing to graduates and undergraduates at Virginia Commonwealth University and in the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.




Gretchen Comba author photoGretchen Comba is the author of the story collection The Stillness of the Picture (Kore Press, 2016). Her fiction has appeared in the Alaska Quarterly Review, The Greensboro Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, New Orleans Review, The North American Review, River City, The South Carolina Review, and Yemassee.  She is a recipient of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Short Fiction and the Yemassee Award for Exceptional Contribution to the Magazine; in addition, she was selected as a finalist for the Danahy Fiction Prize (Tampa Review), and her work has earned Special Mention in the Pushcart Prize anthology. Gretchen’s scholarship on William Maxwell has appeared in MidAmerica: The Yearbook of the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature, Oxford Bibliographies in American Literature, and Resources for American Literary Study. She received her MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


Greg DonovanGregory Donovan is the author of the poetry collections Torn from the Sun (Red Hen Press, 2015), which was given a starred review by Library Journal and named to its 2015 list of “Exciting New Works for National Poetry Month and Beyond” as well as being selected as a finalist for the Julie Suk Award from Jacar Press, and Calling His Children Home, winner of the Devins Award from the University of Missouri Press.  He also co-edited Prismatics: Larry Levis & Contemporary American Poetry (Diode Editions, 2020), a collection of extended interviews conducted with thirteen nationally prominent poets for the documentary film A Late Style of Fire.  In addition to poetry, essays, translations, and fiction published in The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, New England Review, diode, Crazyhorse, Gulf Coast, Copper Nickel, TriQuarterly, and many other journals, his poems have been collected in a number of anthologies, including The Devins Award Poetry Anthology and Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets of Virginia.  He has won the Robert Penn Warren prize sponsored by New England Writers and judged by Rosanna Warren, as well as grants and fellowships from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Ucross Foundation, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. With the writer/director Michele Poulos, he is a producer of A Late Style of Fire, the feature-length documentary film on the life and work of the poet Larry Levis with original soundtrack composed by Iron & Wine which premiered in 2016 at the Mill Valley Film Festival in California as well as being selected for seven more film festivals and featured in special screenings at poetry festivals and universities across the country. Donovan has often served as a visiting writer and guest faculty member for summer conferences such as the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Chautauqua Writers’ Center, the Chesapeake Writers Conference, the Vermont College of Fine Arts Postgraduate Writers’ Conference, the University of Tampa MFA Program, and the Other Words Conference of the Florida Literary Arts Coalition. He also has been a faculty member with VCU study abroad programs in Scotland and most recently in Peru. Donovan is the director of the Levis Reading Prize as well as the Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto Short Fiction Prize, and he is Senior Editor of Blackbird: an online journal of literature and the arts.  For additional information, his author website is:

Kathy GraberKathleen Graber is is the author of three collections of poetry. The Eternal City (Princeton University Press, 2010) was a finalist for the National Book Award, The National Book Critics Circle Award, and the winner of the Library of Virginia Literary Award for Poetry. The River Twice (Princeton, University Press, 2020) was the winner of the UNT Rilke Prize. She is the recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.





author photoSonja Livingston's latest book, The Virgin of Prince Street: Expeditions into Devotion undertakes a series of sojourns through place and time to contemplate shifting religious and cultural concepts of devotion. She’s the author of the award-winning nonfiction books, Queen of the Fall and Ghostbread (winner of the AWP Prize and a Bronze Prize by Foreword), as well as Ladies Night at the Dreamland (named a best nonfiction book of 2016 by Kirkus).  Recent essays appear The Kenyon Review, Salon, Sojourners and Lithub. Her work is widely anthologized in texts on writing and craft, including in Best of Brevity, Contemporary Creative Nonfiction, Waveform: Twenty-First Century Essays by WomenPoverty & Privilege: A Reader, and many others. Sonja’s nonfiction has received fellowships from the New York State Foundation for the Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Deming Fund, as well as awards from Arts & LettersThe Iowa Review, and Ruminate Magazine. Sonja taught in the MFA Program at the University of Memphis before coming to VCU and has also taught for Writing Workshops Abroad in Edinburgh, San Miguel de Allende, and Cork.  She serves as Writer-in-Residence at the Gap Creek Writers Studio and faculty at Vermont College of Fine Art’s Postgraduate Writers’ Conference.

Headshot of Clint McCownClint McCown's latest works include Music for Hard Times: New and Selected Stories, and the craft book, Mr. Potato Head vs. Freud: Lessons on the Craft of Writing Fiction.  He is the author of the novels Haints, The Weatherman, War Memorials, and The Member-Guest, as well as the collections of poetry Dead Languages, Wind Over Water, Sidetracks, Total Balance Farm and The Dictionary of Unspellable Noises: New & Selected Poems, 1975-2018 (forthcoming).  Several of his plays have been produced, and he has worked as a screenwriter for Warner Bros. and as a creative consultant for HBO television.  As a broadcast journalist he received an Associated Press Award for Documentary Excellence for his investigations of organized crime.  He has also toured as a principal actor with the National Shakespeare Company.  He is the only writer to have twice won the American Fiction Prize;  he has also received the Society of Midland Authors Award, the S. Mariella Gable Prize, the Germaine Breé Book Award, the Midwest Book Award, a Distinction in Literature citation from the Wisconsin Library Association, and a Discover Great Writers designation from Barnes & Noble.  His stories, essays, and poems have appeared widely.  He has been a contributing editor to a dozen national literary magazines and was the founding editor of the Beloit Fiction Journal, which he published for twenty years. 

Jessica Hendry NelsonJessica Hendry Nelson is the author of the memoir If Only You People Could Follow Directions (2014), which was selected as a best debut book by the Indies Introduce New Voices program, the Indies Next List by the American Booksellers' Association, named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Review, received starred reviews in Kirkus and Publisher's Weekly, and reviewed nationally in print and on NPR—including twice in (O) Oprah Magazine. It was also a finalist for the Vermont Book Award. She is also co-author of the forthcoming textbook and anthology Advanced Creative Nonfiction along with the writer Sean Prentiss (Bloomsbury, 2020). Her work has appeared in The Threepenny Review, Prairie Schooner, Tin House, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, The Carolina Quarterly, Columbia Journal, Painted Bride Quarterly, Crab Orchard Review, PANK, Drunken Boat and elsewhere. 



SJ SinduSJ Sindu is a Tamil diaspora author of two literary novels, two hybrid chapbooks, and two forthcoming graphic novels. Sindu’s first novel, Marriage of a Thousand Lies won the Publishing Triangle Edmund White Award and the second novel, Blue-Skinned Gods, was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Sindu’s newest work, a hybrid chapbook titled Dominant Genes, was published by Black Lawrence Press in February 2022. Sindu holds a PhD in English and Creative Writing from Florida State University and teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University and Vermont College of Fine Arts. More at or @sjsindu on Twitter/Instagram.




Headshot of David WojahnDavid Wojahn was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1953, and educated at the University of Minnesota and the University of Arizona. His first collection, Icehouse Lights, was chosen by Richard Hugo as a winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets prize, and published in 1982. The collection was also the winner of the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Book Award. His second collection, Glassworks, was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 1987, and was awarded the Society of Midland Authors’ Award for best volume of poetry to be published during that year. Pittsburgh is also the publisher of four of his subsequent books, Mystery Train (1990), Late Empire (1994), The Falling Hour (1997) and Spirit Cabinet (2002). Interrogation Palace: New and Selected Poems 1982–2004, published by Pittsburgh in 2006, was a named  finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of the O. B. Hardison Award from the Folger Shakespeare Library. He is also the author of a collection of essays on contemporary poetry, Strange Good Fortune (University of Arkansas Press, 2001), editor (with Jack Myers) of A Profile of 20th Century American Poetry (Southern Illinois University Press, 1991), and editor of two posthumous collections of Lynda Hull’s poetry, The Only World (HarperCollins, 1995) and Collected Poems (Graywolf, 2006). A new volume of his essays on poetry, From the Valley of Making, will appear in 2015 from the University of Michigan Press. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Virginia, Illinois and Indiana Councils for the Arts, and in 1987–88 was the Amy Lowell Traveling Poetry Scholar. He has taught at a number of institutions, among them Indiana University, the University of Chicago, the University of Houston, the University of Alabama, and the University of New Orleans. He is presently Professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University, and is also a member of the program faculty of the MFA in Writing Program of Vermont College of the Fine Arts. His newest collection, World Tree, was published by Pittsburgh in the 2011, and was awarded the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets, the Library of Virginia Book Award in Poetry, and the Poets’ Prize.