Faculty Photo
Randolph M.F.A. Faculty
Kaveh Akbar Poetry
Eloisa Amezcua Poetry
Rigoberto González Nonfiction/Poetry/Fiction
Marwa Helal Poetry/Nonfiction
Mira Jacob Fiction/Nonfiction
Ilya Kaminsky Poetry
Aviya Kushner Nonfiction/Fiction
Paige Lewis Poetry
Wayétu Moore Fiction/Nonfiction
Diana Khoi Nguyen Poetry
Julia Phillips Fiction/Nonfiction
Maurice Carlos Ruffin Fiction/Nonfiction
Anjali Sachdeva Fiction/Nonfiction
Erika L. Sánchez Fiction/Poetry
Layli Long Soldier Poetry
Phillip B. Williams Poetry
Kao Kalia Yang Nonfiction/Fiction
Gary Dop M.F.A. Director
Select Recent/Upcoming Guest Artists
Gregory Pardlo
Hanif Abdurraqib
David Mura
Erika Meitner
Tiana Clark
Nicole Dennis-Benn
Tyree Daye
Alexander Chee
Nafissa Thompson-Spires
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 and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, 2018. His second full-length book of poetry is forthcoming with Graywolf Press.

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

“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.” -- Steph Burt

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 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. program at Purdue University.

        Kaveh Akbar: www.kavehakbar.com



photo of Eloisa Amezcua
photo by Chris Cheney

Eloisa Amezcua

POETRY FACULTY (SPRING 2020)

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 Rigoberto Gonzalez
photo by Marion Ettlinger

Rigoberto González

Nonfiction/POETRY/FICTION Faculty

Rigoberto González is the author of five books of poetry, most recently The Book of Ruin (Four Way Books, 2019) and Unpeopled Eden, which won the Lambda Literary Award and the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets. His ten books of prose include two bilingual children's books, three young adult novels in the Mariposa Club series, the novel Crossing Vines, the story collection Men Without Bliss, and three books of nonfiction, including Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa, which received the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.

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
The recipient of Guggenheim, NEA, and USA Rolón fellowships, a NYFA grant in poetry, the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, The Poetry Center Book Award, and the Barnes & Noble Writer for Writers Award, Rigoberto is also a contributing editor for Poets & Writers Magazine and writes a monthly column for NBC-Latino online.
Currently, Rigoberto is professor of English at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey. As of 2016, he serves as critic-at-large with the L.A. Times and sits on the Board of Trustees of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP).

        Rigoberto González: www.rigobertogonzález.com
                twitter.com/MariposaBoy

 



photo of Marwa Helal
photo by Sean D. Henry-Smith

Marwa Helal

Poetry/NONFICTION Faculty (Fall 2019)

Marwa Helal is the author of Invasive Species (Nightboat Books, 2019) and winner of BOMB Magazine’s Biennial Poetry Contest. She is also the author of the chapbook I AM MADE TO LEAVE I AM MADE TO RETURN (No, Dear/Small Anchor Press, 2017) and has been awarded fellowships from Poets House, Brooklyn Poets, and Cave Canem.

Concerning Invasive Species (Nightboat Books):

“These poems are travelin’ papers—inventive, hard fought, sweat swollen passports into an America that bristles with hope through the same mouth that curses it's home-grown. This is the arrival of a poet whose work huddles you in like a small and human shelter, squares you by the shoulder, looks you in the eye until you find yourself saying it with her—i’ve grown tired of keeping a safe distance.” – Tyehimba Jess
“‘I have been missing home my entire life,’ she writes. In the same way, Helal’s first and often stellar book belongs to many categories, and to none. It contains prose and verse; polemic and introspection; remixed pop lyrics and pellucid memoir; straightforward narration and constellated word games. The volume shows her powers — and her amply justified anger — in most of those forms.”—Stephanie Burt, The New York Times 
Marwa’s work appears in Apogee; Hyperallergic; Boston Review; Poets&Writers; Winter Tangerine and elsewhere.
Helal has presented her work at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Studio Museum in Harlem and Brooklyn Museum. Born in Al Mansurah, Egypt, she currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA in creative nonfiction from The New School and her BA in journalism and international studies from Ohio Wesleyan University.

       Marwa Helal: http://marshelal.com/

 



photo of Mira Jacob
photo by In Kim

Mira Jacob

Fiction/Nonfiction Faculty

Mira is the author of the acclaimed 2019 graphic memoir Good Talk: a Memoir in Conversations (One World/Random House) and the 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.

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 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.

        Mira Jacob: www.mirajacob.com
                instagram.com/goodtalkthanks



photo of Ilya Kaminsky
photo by Cybele Knowles

Ilya Kaminsky

Poetry Faculty

A finalist for the 2020 National Book Award and the 2020 T.S. Eliot Prize, Ilya Kaminsky 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. Dancing In Odessa was also named Best Poetry Book of the Year by ForeWord Magazine.

Deaf Republic (Graywolf Press), Kaminsky's much-anticipated second book is new in 2019.

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. She is also the author of the poetry chapbook "Eve and All the Wrong Men" (Dancing Girl Press).

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: 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 M.F.A. from Florida State University. In addition to teaching for the Randolph College MFA, they currently teach creative writing at Purdue University.

Paige Lewis: www.paigelewispoetry.com




photo of Wayetu Moore
photo by Yoni Levy

Wayétu Moore

Fiction/Nonfiction Faculty

Wayétu is the author of She Would Be King (Graywolf, 2018), which was a Publisher's Weekly Most-Anticipated Book of 2018 and a BEA Editors' Buzz Pick 2018. Her writing can be found in The Paris Review, Guernica Magazine, The Rumpus, The Atlantic Magazine and other publications. She has been featured in The Economist, NPR and NBC, among others, for her advocacy work for diversity in children’s literature. Her memoir, Dragons, Giant, Women is forthcoming with Graywolf Press.

Concerning her novel She Would Be King:

“Epic, beautiful, and magical, this astonishing first novel boldly announces the arrival of a remarkable novelist and storyteller.” -- Edwidge Danticat
“Moore uses an accomplished, penetrating style—with clever swerves into fantasy—to build effective critiques of tribal misogyny, colonial abuse, and racism..” -- Publishers Weekly
She Would Be King is both epic and intensely intimate, a gripping story that moves through years and crosses borders to remind us what it means to be African, and American, and truly free.” -- Maaza Mengiste, author of Beneath the Lion's Gaze

In addition to her writing, Wayétu runs One Moore Book, a non-profit publishing company that encourages reading among children of countries with low literacy rates and underrepresented cultures by publishing culturally relevant books that speak to their truth.

Wayétu is a graduate of Howard University and the University of Southern California. In addition to teaching in Randolph's MFA program, Wayétu teaches creative writing at Syracuse University and Africana Studies in the City University of New York's John Jay College.

        Wayétu Moore: www.wayetu.com
              instagram.com/wayetu



photo of Diana Khoi Nguyen
photo by Jess X Snow

Diana Khoi Nguyen

Poetry Faculty

Diana Khoi Nguyen’s book of poems Ghost Of was a 2018 National Book Award Finalist and the winner of the 2019 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. She is also the winner of 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 Khoi Nguyen’s 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 now lives in Tennessee, where she serves as writer-in-residency at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Diana received her MFA from Columbia University.

       Diana Khoi Nguyen: www.dianakhoinguyen.com
              twittercom/fitproblems



photo of Julia Phillips
photo by Nina Subin

Julia Phillips

Fiction/Nonfiction Faculty (Spring 2020)

A finalist for the 2020 National Book Award, Julia Phillips is the debut author of the bestselling novel Disappearing Earth, which is being published in fifteen countries and is also a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize.

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, Columbia University. A Fulbright Fellow, Julia has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The Paris Review. She lives in Brooklyn.

      Julia Phillips: www.juliaphillipswrites.com/
              twittercom/jkbphillips



photo of Maurice Ruffin
photo by Clare Welsh

Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Fiction/Nonfiction Faculty

Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s novel We Cast a Shadow was one of the most anticipated books of 2019. Maurice is the recipient of the Iowa Review Award and the winner of the William Faulkner-William Wisdom competition. We Cast a Shadow has been praised by The New York Times, NPR, Publisher's Weekly, and Vulture.

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 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
              twitter.com/mauriceruffin



photo of Anjali Sachdeva
photo by Becky Thurner Braddock

Anjali Sachdeva

Fiction/Nonfiction Faculty

Anjali Sachdeva’s first collection of stories, All the Names They Used for God (Spiegel & Grau), was named One of NPR's Best Books of the Year and won the 2019 Chautauqua Prize. Anjali's writing has appeared in The Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, Yale Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Literary Review, and Best American Nonrequired Reading.

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 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 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, ESPN.com, 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. She most recently taught at Princeton University as a Princeton Arts Fellow.

        Erika L. Sánchez: https://erikalsanchez.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, 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 has taught at Diné College and the University of Iowa.



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 teaches at Bennington College.

        Phillip B. Williams: www.phillipbwilliams.com



photo of Kao Kalia Yang
photo by Shee Yang

Kao Kalia Yang

Nonfiction/Fiction Faculty (spring 2020)

Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong-American writer. She is the author of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir (Coffee House Press, 2008), winner of a 2009 Minnesota Book Award and a finalist for the PEN USA Award and the Asian Literary Award.

Her second book, The Song Poet (Metropolitan Books, 2016), also won a Minnesota Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Chautauqua Prize, a PEN USA Award in Nonfiction and the Dayton’s Literary Peace Prize.

In the fall of 2019, Yang debuted her first children’s book, A Map Into the World (Carolrhoda Books) and a ground-breaking collection titled What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Native Women and Women of Color (University of Minnesota Press).

Concerning The Song Poet (Metropolitan Books):

“Remarkable . . . Yang is an exceptional storyteller, one whose work reminds us that big, timeless truths reveal themselves when we pay attention to small, specific details.” --Minneapolis Star Tribune
 “A stellar memoir . . . Yang powerfully demonstrates that much of what society doesn’t hold valuable―gifts and talents that don’t translate into monetary or educational success―still carry immense value, if only we choose to see it.” --Library Journal

Kalia was born in Ban Vinai Refugee Camp in 1980. She and her family came to Minnesota as refugees in the summer of 1987. Yang received her MFA from Columbia University. She has taught at Columbia University and Carleton College, among other places.

        Kao Kalia Yang: www.kaokaliayang.com/



photo of Gary Dop
photo by Jill Nance Waugh

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.

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, Southern Review, 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's teaching has been recongized with the Gillie A. Larew Distinguished Teaching Award.

Dop dabbles in stage and film work as a writer, actor, and director.

        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

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.