Faculty Photo

M.F.A. Faculty

Kaveh Akbar Poetry
Eloisa Amezcua Poetry
Clare Beams Fiction/Nonfiction
Rigoberto González Nonfiction/Poetry/Fiction
Mira Jacob Fiction/Nonfiction
Ilya Kaminsky Poetry
Aviya Kushner Nonfiction/Fiction
Paige Lewis Poetry
Sabrina Orah Mark Fiction/Nonfiction/Poetry
Angel Nafis Poetry
Diana Khoi Nguyen Poetry
Julia Phillips Fiction/Nonfiction
Maurice Carlos Ruffin Fiction/Nonfiction
Anjali Sachdeva Fiction/Nonfiction
Erika L. Sánchez Fiction/Nonfiction/Poetry
Chet'la Sebree  Poetry/Nonfiction
Layli Long Soldier Poetry
R. A. Villanueva Poetry
Phillip B. Williams Poetry
Gary Dop M.F.A. Director

Select Recent/Upcoming Guest Artists
Natalie Diaz, Gregory Pardlo, Alexander Chee, Hanif Abdurraqib, Marie-Helene Bertino, Tiana Clark, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Tyree Daye, Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Eduardo C. Corral, Don Mee Choi, Danielle Evans, T Kira Madden, NourbeSe Philip, Anthony Cody, and more...
photo of Kaveh Akbar
photo by B. A. Van Sise

Kaveh Akbar

Poetry Faculty

Kaveh is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship, and the Poetry Society of America's Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. Kaveh Akbar’s book of poems, Calling a Wolf a Wolf (2017), was published by Alice James Books and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. His second book of poetry is  Pilgrim Bell (Graywolf Press, 2021)

Concerning Pilgrim Bell:

“Working at and along the outer edges of language, Pilgrim Bell calls us to attention and to attend to that which poetry and prayer share, while simultaneously demanding that we tend to the political, the social, the erotic—all that is quotidian and human. . . . Kaveh Akbar, ‘God’s incarnate spit in the mud,’ takes us down to the ground, to the prosaic, the dismissed and overlooked, the better to talk to the great Silence, bearer of many names including that of God.” -- M. NourbeSe Philip

(Concerning Calling a Wolf a Wolf  and Portrait of an Alcoholic (Sibli

“Truly brilliant.” -- John Green
“Akbar has what every poet needs: the power to make, from emotions others have felt, memorable language nobody has assembled before.” -- Stephanie Burt
"Kaveh Akbar has written one of the best books I've ever read." -- Patricia Smith

Kaveh Akbar's poems appear in The New Yorker, Poetry, Tin House, Ploughshares, Georgia Review, Harvard Review, American Poetry Review, PBS NewsHour, Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere.

Kaveh is the poetry editor for The Nation, and he founded Divedapper, a home for dialogues with the most vital voices in contemporary poetry.

Kaveh was born in Tehran, Iran. In addition to the Randolph College M.F.A. program, he teaches in the M.F.A. programs at Warren Wilson and Purdue University.

        Kaveh Akbar: www.kavehakbar.com

photo of Eloisa Amezcua
photo by Chris Cheney

Eloisa Amezcua


Amezcua's debut collection, From the Inside Quietly, was selected by Ada Limón as the inaugural winner of the Shelterbelt Poetry Prize (Shelterbelt Press, 2018). Eloisa is the author of three chapbooks: On Not Screaming (Horse Less Press, 2016), Symptoms of Teething, winner of the 2016 Vella Chapbook Award (Paper Nautilus Press, 2017), & Mexicamericana (Porkbelly Press, 2017). Her second collection of poems, Fighting Is Like a Wife, is forthcoming from Coffee House Press.

Concerning From the Inside Quietly (Shelterbelt Press):

“With a voice that’s barbed at times but also full of empathy and grace, this is a powerful debut that will continue to rattle and quake in the mind.” -- Ada Limón
“Amezcua is a poet who means to see what can’t be said. This is a beautiful debut.” -- Jericho Brown

Eloisa is from Arizona. She earned a BA in English from the University of San Diego, where she was the recipient of the Lindsey J. Cropper Award for Creative Writing in Poetry selected by Ilya Kaminsky. She holds an MFA program from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

Eloisa has received fellowships & scholarships from the MacDowell Colony, the Fine Arts Work Center, Vermont Studio Center, and the Bread Loaf Translators' Conference. She is the founder of Costura Creative, a Latinx owned & operated talent agency representing contemporary poets & writers.

        Eloisa Amezcua: www.eloisaamezcua.com

photo of Clare Beams
photo by Kristi Jan Hoover

Clare Beams


Clare Beams’s novel The Illness Lesson was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a best book of 2020 by Esquire and Bustle, and a best book of February by Time, O Magazine, and Entertainment Weekly; and to the longlist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Her new novel, The Garden, will be published by Doubleday in 2023. 

Clare's story collection, We Show What We Have Learned, was published by Lookout Books in 2016. It won the Bard Fiction Prize, was longlisted for the Story Prize, and was a Kirkus Best Debut of 2016, as well as a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, and the Shirley Jackson Award.

Concerning The Illness Lesson (Doubleday, 2020):

“Beams’s first novel is a meticulously crafted suspense tale seething with feminist fury."  -- O, The Oprah Magazine
“Astoundingly original, this impressive debut belongs on the shelf with your Margaret Atwood and Octavia Butler collections."  -- The New York Times Book Review (Editors Choice) 
“Unusual and transporting…This is Alcott meets Shirley Jackson, with a splash of Margaret Atwood."  -- The Washington Post

Clare has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. She has taught creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University and St. Vincent College.

        Clare Beams: www.clarebeams.com

photo of Rigoberto Gonzalez
photo by Marion Ettlinger

Rigoberto González

Nonfiction/POETRY/FICTION Faculty

Rigoberto has been awarded the PEN/Voelcker Award, the Lannan Literary Award for Poetry, the Lenore Marshall Prize, the Lambda Literary Award, and the Shelley Memorial Award, the Poetry Center Book Award, and the Barnes & Noble Writer for Writers Award, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and United States Artists.

Concerning The Book of Ruin (Four Way Books):

“In a vital body of work that now encompasses multiple genres, Rigoberto González has been practicing the seer’s art of illuminating the social through the personal, the present and the future through the past, and the work of wonder through the work of grieving. The Book of Ruin is his darkest reckoning so far with the violent histories that embitter our current moment and whose damage is propelling us into a scorched hereafter . . .” --Rick Barot

Concerning Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa (University of Wisconsin Press):

“This moving memoir of a young Chicano boy’s maturing into a self-accepting gay adult is a beautifully executed portrait of the experience of being gay, Chicano and poor in the United States. . . . González writes in a poetic yet straightforward style that heightens the power of his story.” -- Publishers Weekly

Rigoberto is a distinguished professor at Rutgers-Newark, and he serves as critic-at-large with the L.A. Times and as a contributing editor for Poets & Writers Magazine.

        Rigoberto González: www.rigobertogonzález.com


photo of Mira Jacob
photo by In Kim

Mira Jacob

Fiction/Nonfiction Faculty

Mira is the author of the graphic memoir Good Talk: a Memoir in Conversations (One World/Random House), which was named one of the ten best books of the year by the New York Public Library, Chicago Tribune, and Publisher's Weekly, and one of the best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review, Time, and Esquire. Mira's novel The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing (Random House), also widely recognized as a best book of the year, was a Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers pick, shortlisted for India's Tata First Literature Award, longlisted for the Brooklyn Eagles Prize, and honored by the Asian Pacific American Library Association.

Concerning Good Talk:

“Mira Jacob just made me toss everything I thought was possible in a book-as-art-object into the garbage. Her new book changes everything.” --Kiese Laymon
“A beautiful and eye-opening account of what it means to mother a brown boy and what it means to live in this country post–9/11, as a person of color, as a woman, as an artist . . . In Jacob’s brilliant hands, we are gifted with a narrative that is sometimes hysterical, always honest, and ultimately healing.” --Jacqueline Woodson

Concerning The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing:

“Beautifully wrought, frequently funny, gently heartbreaking...Moving forward and back in time, Jacob balances comedy and romance with indelible sorrow, and she is remarkably adept at tonal shifts. When her plot springs surprises, she lets them happen just as they do in life: blindsidingly right in the middle of things” -- The Boston Globe

Mira received her M.F.A. from the New School and has written for television and publications such as The New York Times, Vogue, Virginia Quarterly Review, Guernica, Telegraph, Buzzfeed, and Bookanista. Mira is the founder of Pete’s Reading Series in New York City. In addition to Randolph College, Mira teaches at the New School. 

        Mira Jacob: www.mirajacob.com

photo of Ilya Kaminsky
photo by Cybele Knowles

Ilya Kaminsky

POETRY FACULTY (not teaching in 2021)

A finalist for the 2020 National Book Award and the 2020 T. S. Eliot Prize for Deaf Republic (Graywolf Press), Ilya was born in Odessa, in the former Soviet Union and arrived to the United States in 1993, when his family was granted asylum by the American government. Ilya is the author of Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press), which won the Whiting Writer's Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Metcalf Award, the Dorset Prize, a Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship, and the Ruth Lilly Fellowship.  

Concerning Deaf Republic:

“Re-envisioning disability as power and silence as singing, Kaminsky has created a searing allegory precisely tuned to our times, a stark appeal to our collective conscience.” --NPR.org

Concerning Dancing in Odessa:

"This is an intricate, muscular, startlingly powerful collections, one that amazes by image and statement, by its shaped whole, and by the sheer scope of its poetic observation. Kaminsky is truly a descendant of Odysseus, after whom his birth city was named, and his poems reflect both Odyssean wanderings and the liberation of mind that opens the way to craft. Inventiveness of language, the investigative passion, praises, lamentation, and a proper sense of the ridiculous are omnipresent. Kaminsky poems are wholly local yet unprovincial, intimate yet free of ego. This book is a breathtaking debut ." --Jane Hirshfield

Ilya co-edited, with Susan Harris, the Ecco Anthology of International Poetry (2010), and edited and co-translated Polina Barskova’s This Lamentable City (2010). Ilya, in addition to teaching in the Randolph MFA program, is the Bourne Chair in Poetry at Georgia Institute of Technology.

Ilya Kaminsky: www.ilyakaminsky.com

photo of Aviya Kushner
photo by Danielle Aquiline

Aviya Kushner

Nonfiction/Fiction Faculty

Aviya is the recipient of Brown University’s Howard Foundation Fellowship, and she was a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award and a Sami Rohr Prize. Publisher’s Weekly named her nonfiction book The Grammar of God one of the top ten Religion Stories of 2015. Her first full length collection of poems Wolf Lamb Bomb will be published in 2021 by Orison Books.

Concerning The Grammar of God (Spiegel & Grau/Random House):

“A remarkable and passionately original book of meditation, exegesis, and memoir. In Kushner’s redemptive vision, the Bible in its many translations is a Noah’s ark, and her book, too, does a work of saving. When I put it down, I wept.” -- Rosanna Warren
“Aviya Kushner has written a passionate, illuminating essay about meaning itself. The Grammar of God is also a unique personal narrative, a family story with the Bible and its languages as central characters.” -- Robert Pinsky

Aviya’s essays and stories appear in Gettysburg Review, Harvard Review, Partisan Review, Poets & Writers, A Public Space, TriQuarterly, The Wall Street Journal, The Wilson Quarterly, Zoetrope: All-Story, and elsewhere.

Aviya was the travel columnist for the International Jerusalem Post. She is the language columnist for The Forward and a member of The Third Coast Translators Collective.

Aviya grew up in a Hebrew-speaking home in New York, and she has a longstanding fascination with language, culture, and belief. In addition to teaching in the Randolph College M.F.A. program, Kushner teaches in the M.F.A. program at Columbia College, Chicago.

       Aviya Kushner: www.aviyakushner.com

photo of Paige Lewis
photo by Kaveh Akbar

Paige Lewis

Poetry  Faculty

Paige Lewis is the recipient of the Editor’s Award in Poetry from The Florida Review as well as a Gregory Djanikian Scholarship from The Adroit Journal. Paige’s debut book of poems, Space Struck, is new from Sarabande Books in 2019.

Their poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Georgia Review, Best New Poets 2017, and elsewhere.

Concerning Space Struck (Sarabande Books):

"I think a lot of people have been awaiting Paige Lewis’s full-length debut, Space Struck, and we are getting very close to a countdown at Mission Control. I love their imagination so much, the way they gather bits of this planet and its occurrences and make from it something utterly particular to their own enchanting perception. This book made me laugh the kind of laugh that means something new has tickled my thoughts." --Heather Christle
"The brilliant, glow-in-the-dark poems are bursting with magic, risk, and oodles of wonder." --Tiana Clark

Paige received their MFA and PhD from Florida State University. In addition to teaching for the Randolph College MFA, they currently teach creative writing at Purdue University.

Paige curates the video series Ours Poetica, which "captures the intimate experience of holding a poem in your hand" as it's read to you. The Ours Poetic YouTube channel distributes poetry to tens of thousands of readers and listeners each week.

Paige Lewis: www.paigelewispoetry.com

photo of Sabrina Orah Mark
photo by Sarah Baugh

Sabrina Orah Mark


Sabrina Orah Mark was named the Georgia Author of the Year for her short story collection Wild Milk (Dorthy, 2018).  Her forthcoming book of essays Happily: Essays on Motherhood & Fairy Tales (Random House) is based on her acclaimed column in the Paris Review.

Her debut collection of poetry, The Babies won the Saturnalia Book Prize and was followed up with the collection Tsim Tsim.

Concerning Wild Milk (Dorothy):

“Totally spellbinding and mesmerizing.” --Boston Globe
Mark’s collection is perplexingly captivating; she applies a poet’s playful sensibilities to the fiction form and creates something astonishing and new..” --Publisher's Weekly

Concerning The Babies (Saturnalia, 2004):

"Rarely do we encounter poems that are so precisely framed, though on their surface seemingly whimsical and erratic. These poems are gorgeous, intelligent, and disturbing.” --Claudia Rankine

Sabrina earned an MFA from the University of Iowa and a PhD from the University of Georgia. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Award, and a fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center.   

        Sabrina Orah Mark: www.sabrinaorahmark.com

photo of Angel Nafis
photo by Niqui Carter

Angel Nafis


Angel, an NEA fellow, a Cave Canem fellow, and a Ruth Lilly fellow is the author of BlackGirl Mansion (Red Beard Press/ New School Poetics), which Elle named one of the 9 books to add to the Modern Brown Girl Literary Canon. An internationally touring performer, Angel represented New York City at the Women of the World Poetry Slam and the National Poetry Slam.

Concerning BlackGirl Mansion:

"Angel Nafis’ poems swallow blood and witness truth at its deepest roots... you do not doubt the wisdom of her spirit and her craft in BlackGirl Mansion. The poems you will find here climb mountains! They share the glory and pains of survival against and within the narrative of family and womanhood. They fight for the love they are and know...hers is an original and astonishing voice." -- Rachel Eliza Griffiths
"There is nothing here to skip, forget, or misremember." -- Ashley C. Ford

Angel's poems can be found in Poetry, Muzzle, Buzzfeed Reader, and The Rumpus. She is half of the Odes For You Tour and The Other Black Girl Collective, an internationally touring Black Feminist poetry duo. Angel is the founder and curator of the Greenlight Bookstore Poetry Salon.

Angel Nafis: www.angelnafis.com

photo of Diana Khoi Nguyen
photo by Jess X Snow

Diana Khoi Nguyen

Poetry Faculty

Diana  Khoi Nguyen’s book of poems Ghost Of (Omnidawn) won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award and the L.A. Times Book Prize. Diana also won the 92Y's Discovery/Boston Review 2017 Poetry Contest and the Omnidawn Open Book Contest.

Concerning her collection Ghost Of:

"Lyric fills in the holes in the stories. These poems sing to and for the ghosts of identity, history and culture; they sing like a ghost who looks from the window or waits by the door. Ghost Of is unforgettable." --Terrance Hayes
“Exceptionally spare . . . A soaring tribute, a mesmerizing visual feat, and an all-around astonishing debut.” -- Booklist 
"Nguyen’s voice is both wraithlike and astonishingly frontal; this is one of the most gifted first books I’ve read." -- Lucie Brock-Broido

Diana is a multimedia artist. Her work appears in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, PEN America, and The Iowa Review, among others. She has received awards, scholarships, and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, Key West Literary Seminars, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, and Bucknell University.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Diana received her MFA from Columba University and her PhD from the University of Denver. She now lives in Pittsburgh and teaches at the University of Pittsburgh.

       Diana Khoi Nguyen: www.dianakhoinguyen.com

photo of Julia Phillips
photo by Nina Subin

Julia Phillips


A finalist for the National Book Award, Julia Phillips is the author of the bestselling novel Disappearing Earth, which is being published in fifteen countries and was a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, a finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award, and one of the The New York Times Ten Best Books of the 2019.

Concerning her collection Disappearing Earth:

"A couple of days ago, I felt like I needed to read a book that would submerge me somewhere beautiful, severe, isolated, unknown to me. Then this novel, Disappearing Earth, set in far eastern Russia, in the world’s second largest city that’s inaccessible by land, came like magic." --Jia Tolentino
“A superb debut...A nearly flawless novel.” -- The New York Times
"Mesmerizing….The story reads as a page-turner without relying on any cheap narrative tricks to propel it forward, and the strength of Phillips’s writing—her careful attention to character and tone—will grip you right up until the final heart-stopping pages." -- Vanity Fair

Julia studied at Barnard College and Columbia University. She was a Fulbright Fellow and, Julia has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The Paris Review. She lives in Brooklyn.

      Julia Phillips: www.juliaphillipswrites.com/

photo of Maurice Ruffin
photo by Clare Welsh

Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Fiction/Nonfiction Faculty

Maurice's novel We Cast a Shadow was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the PEN/Open Book Award, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Maurice is also the winner of the Faulkner-Wisdom Competition and the Iowa Review Fiction Award. A New York Times Editor's Pick, We Cast a Shadow and named one of the best books of the year by NPR, Publisher's Weekly, and The Washington Post. In 2021, Penguin/Random House will publish his collection of stories The Ones Who Don't Say They Love You.

Concerning his collection We Cast a Shadow:

"An incisive and necessary work of brilliant satire." --Roxane Gay
“Stunning and audacious . . . at once a pitch-black comedy, a chilling horror story and an endlessly perceptive novel about the possible future of race in America. . . . Ruffin proves to be a master . . . a fast-paced and intricately plotted book . . . The real draw of the novel is Ruffin’s gift at creating unforgettable characters. . . . He writes with a straight face, never in love with his own cleverness—there are echoes of Ralph Ellison’s intelligent, unshowy prose. . . . There’s no doubt that We Cast a Shadow, with its sobering look at race in America, can be difficult to read, but it’s more than worth it. . . . It’s a razor-sharp debut from an urgent new voice of fiction..” -- NPR

Maurice Carlos Ruffin's work appears in The New York Times, VQR, AGNI, Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere.

A native New Orleanian, Maurice regularly publishes short stories and essays and is a founding member of the Peauxdunque Writers' Alliance. Maurice received his MFA from the University of New Orleans, and he teaches at LSU.

      Maurice Carlos Ruffin:loweramericanson.com

photo of Anjali Sachdeva
photo by Becky Thurner Braddock

Anjali Sachdeva

Fiction/Nonfiction Faculty

Anjali received the Chautaqua Prize for her collection of stories,  All the Names They Used for God (Spiegel & Grau). It also won Book of the Year from the Writing Women's podcast and was selected as one of the best books of the year by NPR, Book Riot, and Refindery 29.

Concerning her collection All the Names They Used for God:

All the Names They Used for God fuses science, myth, and imagination into a dark and gorgeous series of questions about our current predicaments. Sachdeva is a fascinating storyteller, willing to push her inventiveness as far as it will go, and I cannot wait to see what she writes next.” -- Anthony Doerr
"...One page into it [Sachdeva’s story "Pleiades"] I thought, Man, this is a great writer. This is something different. This shows great command, wonderful pacing. The story -- about septuplet sisters conceived via genetic manipulation -- could have been told in a thousand terrible ways, but she's managing to make it sing...I went home feeling electric about the possibility of the written word." -- Dave Eggers
"What an outstanding short story collection. I knew nothing about this book going in and was thrilled by each story. There is so much range here, and there is a nice fabulist edge to nearly all the stories. The writer wields so much confidence and control in her prose and my goodness, what imagination, what passion there is in this work. From one story to the next I felt like the writer knows everything about everything. One of the best collections I’ve ever read. Every single story is a stand out." -- Roxane Gay

Anjali's writing, which has been awarded an NEA fellowship, has appeared in The American Scholar, Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, Yale Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Literary Review, and Best American Nonrequired Reading.

Anjali worked for six years at the Creative Nonfiction Foundation, where she was Director of Educational Programs. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and currently teaches writing at the University of Pittsburgh.

Anjali Sachdeva: www.anjalisachdeva.com

photo Erika L. Sanchez
photo by Adriana Díaz

Erika L. Sánchez

Fiction/Poetry Faculty

Erika’s debut young adult novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, was a National Book Award finalist and is a multi-year New York Times Bestseller. Her debut poetry collection, Lessons on Expulsion, was published by Graywolf Press (2017). Her next book is the collection of essays Crying in the Bathroom (Viking, 2022)   

Erika has received a Princeton Arts fellowship, an NEA fellowship, and a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship. Erika has been profiled by NBC News and has appeared on National Public Radio on many occasions.

Concerning I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter (Knopf Books):

"A timely and must-have account of survival in a culturally contentious world."—School Library Journal, starred review
"Ultimately, it’s Julia herself who’s the key to the novel...She’ll resonate with many readers, and they’ll be glad to see her make it through a tough time."—The Bulletin, starred review

Concerning Lessons on Expulsion:

“Lush and formidable.” -- The New York Times Book Review
“[A] fierce, assertive debut.” -- The Washington Post
"In lusty verse that startles and caresses, the author―whose parents traveled from Mexico to raise her in Illinois―vivifies the complexities of the immigrant experience.”―O, the Oprah Magazine

Erika’s writing appears in The New Yorker, Copper Nickel, Guernica, Paris Review, ESPN, Rolling Stone, Al Jazeera, Salon, Cosmopolitan, Jezebel, and elsewhere.

Erika graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago and was a fulbright fellow in Madrid . Erika received her MFA from the University of New Mexico. She most recently taught at Princeton University and is now the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Chair at Depaul University.

        Erika L. Sánchez: https://erikalsanchez.com/

photo Chet'la Sebree
photo by Shannon Woodloe

Chet'la Sebree

POETRY/NONFICTION Faculty (Fall 2021)

Chet'la Sebree is the author of Field Study (FSG Originals, June 2021), winner of the 2020 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. She is also the author of Mistress, selected by Cathy Park Hong as the winner of the 2018 New Issues Poetry Prize and nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work-Poetry (2020). 

Most recently, her poem “And the Record Repeats” appeared in Dr. Ibram X. Kendi & Dr. Keisha N. Blain’s Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019. 

Concerning Field Study:

"Layered, complex, and infinitely compelling, Chet’la Sebree’s Field Study is a daring exploration of the self and our interactions with others—a meditation on desire, race, loss and survival."—Natasha Trethewey
"Woven from the rough threads of race, legacy, and love, Field Study is a groundbreaking book that vibrates with truth and lyrical beauty. A profound poetic talent, Chet'la Sebree has created a brilliant book that both haunts and heals." -- Ada Limón

For her work, Chet’la has received fellowships from the Delaware Division of the Arts, Hedgebrook, the Hermitage Artist Retreat, MacDowell, the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies, the Stadler Center for Poetry, the Vermont Studio Center, and Yaddo. In 2018, she was named the co-recipient of Yaddo’s National Endowment for the Arts Residency for Collaborative Teams for her collaboration with poet and essayist Shayla Lawson. Chet’la’s poetry and prose have appeared in publications including Kenyon Review, Pleiades, Guernica, and Poetry International. She is an assistant professor of English and the Director for the Stadler Center for Poetry & Literary Arts at Bucknell University.

        Chet'la Sebree: www.chetlasebree.com/

photo Layli Long Soldier
photo courtesy of Layli Long Soldier

Layli Long Soldier

Poetry  Faculty

Layli’s book of poems WHEREAS won the 2018 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, The National Book Critics Circle Award, and was a 2017 National Book Award Finalist. Layli is the recipient of a Whiting Award, a Lannan Literary Award, a National Artist Fellowship from the Native Arts and Culture Foundation, and her work has been featured on NPR’s On Being, and PBS NewsHour.

Concerning her collection WHEREAS (Graywolf Press):

“Writers who live between two languages face an extra challenge in their role as lexicographers of metaphor….Layli Long Soldier manages this double-ness with the precision of a master glassblower….You do not slip into this book on silken bolts of easy beauty, but scratch yourself raw on language disassembled into glittering shards.” -- Los Angeles Times
“The Whereas Statements lay bare the realities and contrasts of Long Soldier’s life and her role as an Oglala Lakota poet, mother, and daughter. There are moments of beautiful intimacy, connection, and forgiveness; there is also an awareness of separation, and acknowledgement of the difficulty (sometimes, impossibility) of repair.” -- The Atlantic

Layli Long Soldier’s poems and critical work appear in Poetry, American Poetry Review, American Reader, Kenyon Review, The New York Times, American Indian Journal of Culture and Research, PEN America, and Brooklyn Rail, among others.

Layli is a contributing editor at Drunken Boat and the poetry editor for Kore Press, a literary press that publishes poetry, fiction and nonfiction by women. Layli is a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation.

She holds a B.F.A. in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an M.F.A. with Honors from Bard College. In addition to Randolph College's M.F.A. program, Layli has taught at Diné College and the University of Iowa.

photo Erika L. Sanchez
photo by Jennifer Villanueva

R. A. Villanueva

Poetry Faculty

R. A. Villanueva's poetry collection Reliquaria (University of Nebraska Press, 2014) won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize.

His honors include commendations from Forward Prizes, a Ninth Letter Literary Award, and fellowships from Kundiman, Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, and The Asian American Literary Review.

Concerning Reliquaria:

"The texture of R. A. Villanueva’s words stay in the mouth, shards of what is sacred, still is sacred: linguistic memento mori, if you will, that preserve and keep alive. Take your time with this glorious collection. Breathe in: ‘black eggs,’ ‘pomade,’ ‘concertina wire,’ ‘wreathed in gauze,’ and ‘Nakalimutan mo na ako. You have already forgotten me.’ I dare say you will not forget these remains that Villanueva has saved for us." -- Kimiko Hahn 
"In precise yet lush language, these poems move so easily between the sacred and the quotidian, between past and present, and from lyric longing to physical satisfaction that it is startling to realize how much ground each poem covers, and how natural these transitions, at heart, truly are. . . . Reading his poems, I am delighted by the clarity and sinuousness of [Villanueva's] writing, by the force of his belief that the materiality of the world shares something with the beauty of words" -- Paisley Rekdal

Villanueva's writing appears in Poetry, the American Poetry Review, Guernica, Prac Crit, AGNI, Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. He is a founding editor of Tongue: A Journal of Writing & Art.

        R. A. Villanueva: @caesura

photo of Lauren Wilkinson
photo by Niqui Carter

Lauren Wilkinson


Lauren is the author of American Spy (Random House, 2019), which was one of the New York Times' "100 Notable Books of 2019" and a finalist for an NAACP literary award for debut fiction, an Edgar Award for first novel, and the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize. American Spy was a Barnes & Noble Book of the Month, a PBS book club pick, and was included on Barack Obama’s 2019 Recommended Reading List.

Concerning her novel American Spy:

American Spy updates the espionage thriller with blazing originality..”  --Entertainment Weekly
“There has never been anything like it.” --Marlon James
"So much fun...Like the best of John le Carré, it’s extremely tough to put down.”  --NPR   

Lauren's fiction and nonfiction has appeared in venues including the New York Times, Granta, The Believer, and New York Magazine.

Wilkinson earned her MFA in fiction and literary translation from Columbia University and has taught writing at Columbia and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Lauren splits her time between New York and Los Angeles where she works as a writer for television

        Lauren Wilkinson: www.lauren-wilkinson

photo of Phillip B. Williams
photo by Beowulf Sheehan

Phillip B. Williams

Poetry Faculty

Phillip is the recipient of the Whiting Award, a Lambda Literary Award, the Kate Tufts Discovery Award,  the Ruth Lilly Fellowship, and a Harvard Radcliffe Fellowship. Phillip has also been a finalist for an NAACP Image Award, INDIES Book of the Year, Publishing Triangle’s Thom Gunn Award, and the Eric Hoffer Book Award. His first book of poems, Thief in the Interior (2016) was published by Alice James Books, and his newest collection is Mutiny (Penguin, 2021).  

Concerning Thief in the Interior (Alice James Books):

“To experience [Phillip B. Williams’] poetry is to encounter a lucid, unmitigated humanity, a voice for whom language is inadequate, yet necessarily grasped, shaped, and consumed. His devout and excruciating attention to the line and its indispensable music fuses his implacable understanding of words with their own shadows.” --Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Boston Review
“Not just more of the artfully skill-less, conceptual talk of a poem, this is what you’ve been waiting for: some poetry. Not just skill as possession, as a commodity, but skill to accomplish the expressive event, a deeply felt poetic argument. For example, Williams’ line is no arbitrary unit of type, but an effective musically syntactic accomplishment of line. Poetry!” --Ed Roberson

Phillip B. Williams’ poems appear in Poetry, Kenyon Review, Boston Review, The Southern Review, The Paris-American, Blackbird, Missouri Review, and elsewhere.

Phillip is also the author of the chapbooks Bruised Gospels (Arts in Bloom Inc.) and Burn (YesYes Books), and he served as a creative writing fellow in Poetry at Emory University. Phillip is a Cave Canem graduate and the poetry editor of the online journal Vinyl Poetry.

Williams was born in Chicago and earned his M.F.A. from Washington University in St. Louis.

        Phillip B. Williams: www.phillipbwilliams.com

photo of Gary Dop
photo by Jill Nance Waugh

Gary Dop

M.F.A. Director

Gary is the receipient the Great Plains Emerging Writer Prize, a Puschart Special Mention, and the Gillie A. Larew Distinguished Teaching Award. Gary's most recent new media play is Deemocracy: An American Absurdity (Rain Taxi, 2020) and his collection of poetry is Father, Child, Water, (2015), a bestselling collection with Red Hen Press.

Concerning Father, Child, Water:

“The poems in Father, Child, Water by Gary Dop are funny, wicked, and poignant. Dop’s poetic gaze is wide-ranging and piercing. The poems about his father engage with the violence embedded in American masculinity and the character-driven poems are empathic and quirky. A highly enjoyable and memorable book." -- Poetry Magazine
“Dop’s first collection, Father, Child, Water establishes him as a poet, like Billy Collins, whose work seems to effortlessly share the space of authentic humor and seriousness.” --  Noth American Review

Gary Dop’s poetry, stories, and essays appear in the Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Southern Review, New Letters, Washington Post, AGNI, and elsewhere.

Gary received his M.F.A. from the University of Nebraska. His essays, plays, and scripts have have been performed on radio, screen, and stage venues throughout the country.

        Gary Dop: www.garydop.com

M.F.A. Advisory Board

Stephanie Burt 

Harvard University Professor, Poet, & Critic

Eduardo C. Corral 

Yale Younger Poet & N. C. State M.F.A. Faculty

Erika Meitner 

Virginia Tech M.F.A. Director & Poet

Gregory Pardlo 

Pulitzer Prize Winner & Rutgers M.F.A. Faculty

Julie Schumacher 

Thurber Prize Winner & U. of Minnesota M.F.A. Faculty

Jeff Shotts 

Executive Editor at Graywolf Press

Administrative Faculty

Gary Dop 

M.F.A. Director

Christopher Gaumer 

M.F.A. Assistant Director

Laura-Gray Street 

Revolute Editor

The Randolph College M.F.A. Advisory Board comprises some of the best writers and editors in the world, not only encouraging us to succeed but also keeping us accountable to our mission.