Alumni

Chris Abani

Chris Abani

Chris Abani's prose includes Song For Night (Akashic, 2007), The Virgin of Flames (Penguin, 2007), Becoming Abigail (Akashic, 2006), GraceLand (FSG, 2004), and Masters of the Board (Delta, 1985). His poetry collections are Sanctificum (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), There Are No Names for Red (Red Hen Press, 2010), Feed Me The Sun - Collected Long Poems (Peepal Tree Press, 2010) Hands Washing Water (Copper Canyon, 2006), Dog Woman (Red Hen, 2004), Daphne's Lot (Red Hen, 2003), and Kalakuta Republic (Saqi, 2001). He holds a BA in English (Nigeria), an MA in Gender and Culture (Birkbeck College, University of London), an MA in English and a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing (University of Southern California). He is currently a Regents Board of Trustees Endowed Professor of English at Northwestern University in Evanston.  He has been the recipient of the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the Prince Claus Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the PEN Hemingway Book Prize & a Guggenheim Award.


Andrew Allport

Andrew Allport

Andrew Allport is the author of the book the body | of space | in the shape of the human (New Issues Press, 2012) and the chapbook The Ice Ship & Other Vessels (Proem Press, 2008). He holds a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California, and his poems and essays appear widely.


Josh Bernstein

Josh Bernstein

A Chicago native, Josh Bernstein studied Near Eastern History at Brown University and went to Jordan on a Fulbright Scholarship, after which he lived in the Middle East for several years. His stories and essays are forthcoming in or have appeared in The Kenyon ReviewHarpur PalateCrab Orchard ReviewWestern American LiteratureAnamesaThe ConradianPackingtown Review, and other journals. The winner of the John Gunyon Prize and several awards in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, he’s also an avid runner and Bears fan. His website is writingwar.com.


Jackson Bliss

Jackson Bliss

Originally from Chicago, Jackson Bliss earned his MFA from the University of Notre Dame where he was awarded the Fiction Fellowship + the 2007 Sparks Prize for his debut novel, BLANK. A former Americorps volunteer + Buenos Aires expat, Jackson is a a two-time ACE/Nikaido fellow + PhD candidate at USC in English and Creative Writing, working on his dissertation with TC Boyle, Viet Nguyen and Aimee Bender. Jackson has work published or forthcoming in the Kenyon Review, Antioch Review, Fiction, Quarterly West, ZYZZYVA, Fiction International, Quarter After Eight, Notre Dame Review, African American Review, Connecticut Review, Stand (UK), South Loop Review + 3:am Magazine, among others. You can check out his writing blog at: bluemosaicme.blogspot.com


Amaranth Borsuk

Amaranth Borsuk

A poet and scholar, Amaranth Borsuk’s work focuses on textual materiality—from the surface of the page to the surface of language. She is the author of a book of poems, Handiwork, selected by Paul Hoover for the 2011 Slope Editions Poetry Prize (forthcoming, January 2012), a chapbook, Tonal Saw (The Song Cave, 2010), and, with Brad Bouse, the hybrid digital/print artist’s book Between Page and Screen (forthcoming, Siglio Press). She is the 2011 recipient of the Gulf Coast Poetry Prize for “A New Vessel,” selected by Ilya Kaminsky, and her poems, essays, and reviews have appeared widely in print and online.

Amaranth holds a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California, where she co-founded the Gold Line Press chapbook series and The Loudest Voice reading series. She is currently a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at MIT where, in addition to teaching creative writing and digital poetry, she is at work on a monograph about technological mediation in the work of modernist and contemporary poets.


Jillian Burcar

Jillian Burcar

Jillian Burcar is a writer of fiction.


Michael Reid Busk

Michael Reid Busk

Michael Busk was born Catholic and Pentecostal in northern Indiana during the tail end of the first Reagan Administration. The seventh of eight high-octane siblings, he attended Notre Dame, where he wrote much and drank little, but at least had the comfort of returning home every night to Knute Rockne’s old house, which was later occupied by Flannery O’Connor’s fiancé. Although the forward pass was perfected in his backyard, he still believes a solid running game is the key to a successful offense. After graduating, he completed a master’s at the University of Nebraska, where he survived homicidal neighbors and Willa Cather winters, and had a long chat with Gillian Welch at a pizza bar. A few summers ago he played on a barnstorming baseball team that toured rural Nebraska in an un-airconditioned 1977 Toyota Dolphin camper, a period during which he subsisted off of hot dogs, Snickers bars, and High Life. He’s a PhD candidate in the University of Southern California’s Literature and Creative Writing Program, but usually he can be found in South Bend, where he lives with his wonderful wife. He can also be found in the pages of journals such as Gettysburg Review, Fiction International, Florida Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and other magazines. His fictional interests include: wine snobs, savant children, cartoons, fertility cults, the undead, Young Republicans, football, phrenology, Bono, crucifixion, 50s housewives, rock and roll, Brian Boitano, the Resurrection of the Dead, and the end of the world.


Elizabeth Cantwell

Elizabeth Cantwell

Elizabeth Cantwell's poems have recently appeared in such publications as PANK, The Los Angeles Review, La Petite Zine, Indiana Review, and Matter. She has acted as the managing editor of Gold Line Press, and currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband Chris and their small, lazy dog. A former high school teacher, she is now a Provost's Fellow at the University of Southern California, where she is earning her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing. Her first book, Nights I Let The Tiger Get You, was a finalist for the Hudson Prize and is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press.


Jeff Chisum

Jeff Chisum

Jeffrey Chisum is a fiction writer.  His stories have appeared in L.A. Weekly, The Mississippi Review, and in the anthology, Literary Nevada.  His literary scholarship has focused on the American West, with a special emphasis on the Great Basin--especially Nevada. 


Ava Chin

Ava Chin

Prior to earning a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from the University of Southern California, and an M.A. from Johns Hopkins, Ava Chin was a working writer and performer. As a poet and a fiction writer, she has been a featured reader on NPR and WBAI, and performed on stages at Woodstock ‘94, the Whitney Museum, the Knitting Factory, and the Nuyorican Poet’s Café. Her lyrics appeared on Soul Coughing’s 1998 release “El Oso” (Warner Bros.) Her last staff position at a magazine was as the managing editor of VIBE. She was awarded a Van Lier Fellowship for her fiction in 1996-97 from the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. Before joining CUNY - College of Staten Island in 2006, she taught memoir writing at UCLA and USC.


Jennifer Clark

Jennifer Clark

Jennifer Clark is a fabulist. Through art she tells stories that have moral leanings. She peeks under rocks and lets her imagination get away from her. She gets carried away. She photographs and paints. She writes essays and fables and poems. Maybe a documentary film. She hikes. A lot. She hugs trees and worships the water. She imbibes on occasion. Then she hugs more trees.


Stephan Eirik Clark

Stephan Eirik Clark

Stephan Eirik Clark is the author of Sweetness #9 (Little, Brown & Company Aug. 2014), and the short story collection Vladimir’s Mustache (Russian Life Books 2012), a finalist for the 2013 Minnesota Book Award. Clark’s short stories have been published in numerous magazines, including Ninth Letter, Cincinnati Review, Witness, and LA Weekly; twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize; short-listed for the Fish Publishing Historical Fiction Prize; and given special mention in Drunken Boat’s inaugural Pan Literary Awards contest, among other honors. His novella, The Castrato of St. Petersburg, was named a finalist in the Ruth Anne Wiley Novella Contest, judged by Josip Novakovich, and later published by Salt Hill. Clark’s essays have appeared in Swink, Ninth Letter, Salt Hill and elsewhere, and been recognized as notable works in Best of the Web 2009 and Best American Essays 2009 and 2010.

Clark has taught writing at UC Davis, USC, and Kharkov National University, the second-oldest university in Ukraine. He holds an M.A. in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing from the University of California, Davis and a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. A former print and radio journalist and one-time member of USC Film School’s filmic writing division, he currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota and teaches at Augsburg College.

 


Jennifer Kwon Dobbs

Jennifer Kwon Dobbs

Poet, librettist, teacher, and critic, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs was born in Won Ju Si, South Korea. Paper Pavilion (White Pine Press 2007) is her debut poetry collection. Previously, her poems have appeared widely in anthologies, film, and journals and on radio. She lives in Minneapolis.


Emily Fridlund

Emily Fridlund

Emily Fridlund’s fiction has appeared in Boston Review, New Orleans Review, Sou’wester, Painted Bride Quarterly, The Portland Review, Philadelphia Stories, and The Chariton Review, among others. She has published poetry and short shorts in Beloit Poetry Journal, Smokelong Quarterly, and Quick Fiction. Emily grew up in the Twin Cities and received her MFA in fiction from Washington University in Saint Louis. She is currently an Endowed Fellow at the University of Southern California, where she is pursuing her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing. She lives with her husband outside Philadelphia.


Bridget Hoida

Bridget Hoida

Bridget Hoida lives and writes in an imaginary subdivision off the coast of Southern California. In a past life she was a librarian, a DJ, a high school teacher and a barista. In this life she experiments with poetry and fiction and has taught writing at UC Irvine, the University of Southern California and Saddleback College.

Bridget is the recipient of an Anna Bing Arnold Fellowship  and the Edward Moses prize for fiction. She was a finalist in the Joseph Henry Jackson/San Francisco Intersection for the Arts Award for a first novel and the William Faulkner Pirate’s Alley first novel contest.  Her short stories have appeared in the  Berkeley Fiction Review, Mary, and Faultline Journal, among others, and she was a finalist in the Iowa Review Fiction Prize and the Glimmer Train New Writer’s Short Story Contest. Her poetry  has been recognized as an Academy of American Poets Prize finalist and she was a Future Professoriate Scholar at USC.

She has a BA from UC Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. So L.A. is her first novel.


Bryan Hurt

Bryan Hurt

Bryan Hurt's stories have recently appeared in Tin House, TriQuarterly, and the New England Review. He tumbles at bryanhurt.tumblr.com and tweets at @bryan_hurt. He lives in Santa Monica.


Laura Johnson

Laura Johnson

Laura Johnson writes poems.


Siel Ju

Siel Ju

Siel Ju got her Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. She currently teaches composition, art history, literature, and creative writing courses at Otis College of Art and Design and Santa Monica College.

Formerly a blogger for Los Angeles Times, KPPC, MNN, and BlogHer, and more recently the recipient of a Curricular Innovation Grant from Otis, Siel is at work on a new “blended” course that combines the best of traditional in-class and online instruction.


Genevieve Kaplan

Genevieve Kaplan

Genevieve Kaplan grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and earned an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She's currently living in the Los Angeles area and pursuing her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California. Her book In the ice house, won the 2009 A Room of Her Own Foundation's To the Lighthouse poetry prize and was published by Red Hen Press in Fall 2011.

Vieve is also an editor and publisher -- she and her husband have been running the Toad Press international chapbook series since 2003, publishing contemporary translations. And, with her peers at USC, Vieve started Gold Line Press, which specializes in perfect-bound chapbooks of poetry and prose.


Katherine Karlin

Katherine Karlin

Katherine Karlin's short story collection, Send Me Work, published by Northwestern University Press in fall 2011, was named a Kansas Notable Book of 2012. It received the Balcones Fiction Prize and was a finalist for the John Gardner Fiction Book Award. Karlin's stories have appeared in One Story, North American Review, ZYZZYVA, Alaska Quarterly Review, L.A. Weekly, and elsewhere. Her work has been selected for the Pushcart Prize and New Stories from the South. Her short story "Muscle Memory" was read as part of the "Stories on Stage" series at the Denver Performing Arts Center, and her essay "Corn" appears in One Word from Sarabande Press.

Karlin has written over 60 theater reviews and arts features for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Los Angeles Daily News. Earlier, she worked in oil refineries in Pennsylvania and Texas, a New Orleans shipyard, and a New York printshop. She received her MFA from the University of Pittsburgh and a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. Karlin currently lives in Manhattan, Kansas, with her dog, Rusty, and her husband, Chris. She teaches creative writing and literature at Kansas State University.


Alexis Landau

Alexis Landau

A graduate of Vassar College, Alexis went onto work in the London publishing world after which she received her MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. She has also received her PhD in English Literature and Creative Writing at The University of Southern California. Her area of interest is the early to mid twentieth century, specifically Jewish identity and assimilation during the interwar years. Twice, Alexis was awarded honorable mention in the Edward W. Moses Graduate Creative Writing Competition, and her short stories have appeared in journals such as LA City Zine and Amor Fati. She was awarded the General Education Graduate Assistant Award for teaching, and she has taught in the Thematic Option Program. She is currently revising her second novel, The Empire of the Senses, and lives with her husband and daughter in Santa Monica.


Bonnie Nadzam

Bonnie Nadzam

Bonnie Nadzam holds a BA in English Literature and Environmental Studies from Carleton College, and an MA and a PhD from the University of Southern California. Her novel Lamb (Other Press) was the winner of the 2011 Center for Fiction's Flaherty Dunnan First Novel Prize.


Jessica Piazza

Jessica Piazza

Jessica Piazza is the author of two poetry collections: Interrobang (Red Hen Press, 2013) and the chapbook This is not a sky (Black Lawrence Press, 2014). Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, she earned her PhD in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California. She began her poetry career as an undergraduate intern at The Favorite Poem Project in Boston, and continued on to co-found the Speakeasy Poetry Series in New York City, Bat City Review at the University of Texas at Austin and Gold Line Press at USC. She is a contributing editor at The Offending Adam and has blogged for The Best American Poetry and Barrelhouse. Among other places, her poems have appeared in The National Poetry ReviewAgni, Indiana Review, 32 Poems, The Missouri Review, Mid-American Review, Rattle, Forklift Ohio, and the anthologies 150 Contemporary Sonnets (U. of Evansville Press) and Hot Sonnets (Entasis Press). You can find out more about her and read her work at www.jessicapiazza.com.


Joshua Pryor

Joshua Pryor

Professor Josh Pryor earned his PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California and is currently a member of the English faculty at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California. His deep fascination with the natural world and cutting edge science is evident in much of his work, including the nationally recognized novel Monkey in the Middle. Though primarily a fiction writer, it is the complex nature of reality and humankind’s role in the universe that holds for him the greatest intrigue. In his spare time, Josh extensively researches alternative theories in cryptozoology, history, evolution, and technology. Currently, Josh is researching a book of historical fiction chronicling the life and work of famed occultist, Aleister Crowley, of whom he is a direct descendant. His most recent book is Fade to Black (Red Hen Press).


Eric Rawson

Eric Rawson

Eric Rawson is the author of The Hummingbird Hour.  When he is not writing poems, he follows the Dodgers with a disturbing intensity and produces jazz recordings. 


Saba Razvi

Saba Razvi

Saba Syed Razvi's poetry has appeared in The Offending Adam, Diner, Karamu, Anthology, The Homestead Review, 10x3 plus, 13th Warrior Review, The Arbor Vitae Review, Arsenic Lobster, and in the anthology Voices of Resistance: Muslim Women on War, Faith and Sexuality (Seal Press 2006). She has been the recipient of a James A. Michener Fellowship, a Fania Kruger Fellowship, and a Virginia C. Middleton Fellowship on the basis of merit of her poetry. She recently completed a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at USC, where in addition to writing her doctoral dissertation on interfaces between science and contemporary poetry, she studied Sufi poetry in translation and worked on her fourth poetry manuscript.


Richard Reid

Richard Reid

Richard Reid is a conceptual artist and writer currently living in Brooklyn, New York, where he is developing a number of works that combine public space, poetics, handwriting, photography, paint, and the body. to be hung from the ceiling by strings of varying length is his latest book.


Nicky Schildkraut

Nicky Schildkraut

Nicky Schildkraut’s poems have appeared in Salmagundi, The New England Review, The Mississippi Review, The Sante Fe Review Online, the 2007 Korean-English anthology I Didn’t Know Who I Was, and most recently has poems featured in Asian American Poets and Writers. Her critical dissertation investigates representations of Japanese colonization, the Korean civil war, and revolution in contemporary avant-garde poetry by Korean American artists. She served as the President for the Circle For Asian American Literary Studies, an organization of scholars, professors, and graduate students interested in Asian American and South/Southeast Asian literature.


Amy Newlove Schroeder

Amy Newlove Schroeder

Amy Newlove Schroeder's first book, The Sleep Hotel, received the Field Prize and was published by Oberlin in 2010. Her poems and prose have appeared in American Poetry Review, Colorado Review, Boston Review, Ploughshares, and Pleiades. She currently lives and teaches in Los Angeles.


Ryan Shoemaker

Ryan Shoemaker

A Pushcart-nominated writer, Ryan Shoemaker is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Southern California. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in the The MacGuffinWeber: The Contemporary WestSanta Monica Review, and Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, where he won the 2008 Best in Fiction Award, as well as two New Voices awards. Ryan lives in Burbank, California with his wife, Jennifer, and two children, Kieran and Haven.


Josie Sigler Sibara

Josie Sigler Sibara

Josie Sigler Sibara was born in Downriver Detroit and grew up in the Midwest. Her chapbook, Calamity, was published by Proem Press. Her book of poems, living must bury, winner of the 2010 Motherwell Prize, was published by Fence Books. Her book of short stories, The Galaxie and Other Rides, winner of the Tartt First Fiction Award, was published by Livingston Press. Josie recently completed a PEN Northwest Mergery David Boyden Wilderness Residency on southern Oregon's Rogue River. She currently lives at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, where she is working on a novel and a new book of poems.


Brandon Som

Brandon Som

Brandon Som holds degrees from Arizona State University and the University of Pittsburgh and has recently earned his Ph.D. in the Creative Writing and Literature program at the University of Southern California. Recent work has been published in Best New Poets 2007, McSweeney's Poets Picking Poets, Barrow Street, Black Warrior Review, and elsewhere.His book Babel's Moon was recently published by Tupelo Press.


Anupa Srinivasan

Anupa Srinivasan

Anupa Srinivasan is a writer of fiction.


Cody Todd

Cody Todd

Cody is the author of Graffiti Signatures (Main Street Rag, 2013) and of the chapbook To Frankenstein, My Father (Proem Press, 2008). His poems have appeared in the Gettysburg Review, Salt Hill, The Literary Review and elsewhere. He is the co-founder and Managing Editor of the online poetry journal, The Offending Adam.


Luisa Villani

Luisa Villani

Luisa Rossina Villani was born on a vineyard in Tujunga, California in 1964. She holds degrees in English from California State University Northridge, a Masters in Fine Art in Poetry and a Masters in Women’s Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. She has taught English in Russia and the Ukraine, and in 1997 was the coordinator for Project Chiapas, a nonprofit organization which conducted a field study of indigenous politics at the Na-Bolom Cultural Museum in San Cristobal, Mexico. Her poetry chapbook, On the Eve of Everything, was published by WECS Press in 1998 as winner of their annual competition. Her poems have appeared in The New England Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Hiram Poetry Review, and other journals, and she has been a finalist for the Pablo Neruda Prize.



  • Janalynn Bliss, Creative Writing Graduate Coordinator
  • University of Southern California
  • Department of English
  • 3501 Trousdale Parkway, THH 431
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0354