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Kaveh Akbar Poetry
Kaitlyn Greenidge Fiction/Nonfiction
Mira Jacob Fiction/Nonfiction
Aviya Kushner Nonfiction/Fiction
Erika L. Sánchez Fiction/Poetry
Layli Long Soldier poetry
Phillip B. Williams poetry
Gary Dop M.F.A. Director
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 from the Poetry Foundation, 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.

Concerning Calling a Wolf a Wolf (Alice James Books):

"You can open this stunning debut, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, anywhere and find the critical tenderness that permeates Kaveh Akbar’s work. The work here means to go out on limbs, be it to fling blossoms, chew fireflies, or to push old nests into the river once the rearing is done. There is an engagement here with faith that extends beyond religion. The poet engages the Wolf in much the same way as creator, whom he tells us 'loves the hungry more than the full.' Akbar’s poems are as reverent and irreverent in the face of addiction as they are in the search for self. The poems have as much audacity as humility, a rare mix of openness in a time of flinching anxiety.” -- francine j. harris

Concerning Portrait of an Alcoholic (Sibling Rivalry Press):

"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 founded and edits 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 currently teaches in the M.F.A. program at Purdue University.

        Kaveh Akbar:

photo of Kaitlyn Greenidge
photo by Syreeta McFadden

Kaitlyn Greenidge

Fiction/Nonfiction Faculty

Kaitlyn is a Whiting Award winner, a finalist for the New York Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, and a recipient of fellowships from the NEA, Breadloaf Writers’ conference, Johnson State College, and the Lower Manhattan Community Council’s Workspace Program. Her book We Love You, Charlie Freeman (Algonquin) was named as one of the Times Critics’ Top Books of 2016.

Concerning her novel We Love You, Charlie Freeman:

"Terrifically auspicious...Ms. Greenidge has charted an ambitious course for a book that begins so mock-innocently. And she lets the suspicion and outrage mount as the Freemans’ true situation unfolds. This author is also a historian, and she makes the '1929' on Toneybee plaque tell another, equally gripping story that strongly parallels the Freemans’ 1990 experience.” -- Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“…witty and provocative… Greenidge deftly handles a host of complex themes and characters, exploring not just how (literally) institutionalized racism is, but the difficulty of an effective response to it. … Greenidge doesn’t march to a pat answer; the power of the book is in her understanding of how clarity wriggles out of reach. For all the seriousness of its themes, though, Charlie Freeman is also caustically funny.” -- USA Today

Kaitlyn Greenidge’s writing appears in The New York Times, Elle, Virginia Quarterly Review,, The Believer, American Short Fiction, Guernica, The Feminist Wire, and elsewhere.

Kaitlyn grew up in Boston and received her M.F.A. from Hunter College. She currently lives in Brooklyn, and in addition to teaching in the Randolph College M.F.A. program, she has taught in the M.F.A. programs at Hunter College and Bennington College.

photo of Mira Jacob
photo by In Kim

Mira Jacob

Fiction/Nonfiction Faculty

Mira is the author of the acclaimed novel, The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing (Random House), which 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. It was named one of the best books of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews, Boston Globe, Goodreads, Bustle, and The Millions. Next year, Random House will publish Mira's graphic memoir Good Talk: Conversations I’m still Confused About.

Concerning The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing:

“Even as it deals with weighty, dark subjects like loss and grief, and the struggles of an immigrant family, Jacob's novel is light and optimistic, unpretentious and refreshingly witty.” -- Associated Press
“The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing is a rich, engrossing debut told with lightness and care, as smart about grief as it is about the humor required to transcend it.” -- The Kansas City Star
“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 has written for television and venues 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. She earned an M.F.A. from The New School, and she currently teaches fiction at NYU and the The New School. In 2017-18, she’s a visiting professor in the M.F.A. program at Syracuse University.

        Mira Jacob:

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.

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 also serves as a translation mentor in the National Yiddish Book Center and a contributing editor for A Public Space.

Aviya grew up in a Hebrew-speaking home in New York, and she has a longstanding fascination with language, culture, and belief. She graduated from the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction M.F.A. program. 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:

photo Layli Long Soldier
photo by Robyn Lindemann

Erika L. Sánchez

Fiction/Poetry Faculty

Erika’s debut young adult novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, is a New York Times Bestseller and a 2017 National Book Awards finalist. Erika L. Sánchez’s debut poetry collection, Lessons on Expulsion, was published by Graywolf Press in July 2017. Erika is a 2017-2019 Princeton Arts Fellow. In 2015, Erika was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from The Poetry Foundation. She 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 for Young Readers):

"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 Copper Nickel, Guernica, Paris Review,, Rolling Stone, Al Jazeera, Salon, Cosmopolitan, Jezebel, and elsewhere.

Erika graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago, then went onto Madrid, Spain on a Fulbright Scholarship. After her scholarship, Erika moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico where she received an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Mexico.

        Erika L. Sánchez:

photo Layli Long Soldier
photo courtesy of Layli Long Soldier

Layli Long Soldier

Poetry  Faculty

Layli’s book of poems WHEREAS is a 2017 National Book Award Finalist and National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize 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, New York Times, American Indian Journal of Culture and Research, PEN America, The Denver Quarterly 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 teaches at Diné College.

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, and the Ruth Lilly Fellowship. He 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 book of poems, Thief in the Interior (2016) was published by Alice James Books.

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, Illinois and earned his M.F.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, where he was a Chancellor's Graduate fellow. In addition to the Randolph College M.F.A. program, Phillip currently teaches at Bennington College.

        Phillip B. Williams:

photo of Gary Dop
photo by Parker Michels-Boyce

Gary Dop

M.F.A. Director

Gary is the recipient of the Great Plains Emerging Writer Prize and a Pushcart Special Mention, and his work has been featured on public radio’s All Things Considered. Gary’s first book of poems, Father, Child, Water, (2015) was a bestselling collection with Red Hen Press, and his follow-up collection, Earth Never Settles, will also be published with Red Hen Press (2020).

Concerning Father, Child, Water (Red Hen Press):

“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." -- Eduardo C. Corral, 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.” -- Rachel Morgan, North American Review

Gary Dop’s poetry and prose appear in Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, New Letters, Washington Post, New Ohio Review, Poetry Northwest, AGNI, Sugar House Review, Rattle, and elsewhere.

Gary received his M.F.A. from the University of Nebraska. In addition to directing the M.F.A. program, Dop is an Associate Professor of English at Randolph College, where he teaches poetry, scriptwriting, and creative nonfiction.

Dop dabbles in stage and film work as a writer, actor, and director, and he helps manage Rain Taxi's Twin Cities Book Festival.

        Gary Dop:

M.F.A. Advisory Board

Steph 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

M.F.A. Committee

Gary Dop 

M.F.A. Director

Christopher Gaumer 

M.F.A. Assistant Director

Laura-Gray Street 

Director of Undergraduate Creative Writing

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.