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The MFA Program in Creative Writing at Boise State University supports two award-winning literary magazines and a 29-year-old poetry press renowned for the quality of its list. Graduate students have the opportunity to take hands-on, practical classes in Writing, Editing, and Design for Professional Advancement (which includes work with The Idaho Review) and Small Press Publishing (which involves work with Ahsahta Press).

The program also publishes Free Poetry featuring essays and poetry from today’s leading poets.


Editor Mitch Wieland founded The Idaho Review in 1998 with the intent of creating a national, high-quality literary annual. Since that time, The Idaho Review has consistently won praise and awards. Stories published in the magazine have been reprinted in The Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, New Stories from the South, and Best of the West. Contributors to the review have included Richard Bausch, Ann Beattie, Rick Bass, Joy Williams, Madison Smartt Bell, Pam Houston, Stuart Dybek, and Edith Pearlman. MFA students may participate in the magazine’s production through a graduate assistantship and coursework. See The Idaho Review website for more information.


Boise State University’s Ahsahta Press was launched in 1974 by three Boise State English professors as a press that would resurrect and republish the poetry of Western American writers that had gone out of print. Soon, however, the press began publishing the work of contemporary Western writers as well, including poets such as Sandra Alcosser, David Baker, Linda Bierds, Gretel Ehrlich, and Leo Romero. Wyn Cooper’s poem “Fun,” which became a number-one hit song for Sheryl Crow, appears in his Ahsahta Press book The Country of Here Below. In 2000, after Ahsahta Press came under the aegis of the MFA Program, director Janet Holmes expanded Ahsahta’s reach beyond the West; in 2002, the press inaugurated the Sawtooth Poetry Prize, which awards $1500 to the a manuscript selected by a nationally known judge. See the Ahsahta Press website at for more information.

News and Announcements

  • The MFA program is pleased to welcome Denis Johnson, winner of the National Book Award, as our Visiting Distinguished Professor this semester. He is teaching the MFA workshop in fiction and also doing a reading that's open to the public on November 6th at 7:30pm in the Simplot Ballroom.
  • MFA program director Mitch Wieland's short story "Snow Angels" appeared in the summer issue of The Missouri Review. The story, set in Tokyo, is an excerpt from Strange You Never Knew, his novel in progress.
  • In April, Professor Martin Corless-Smith published his sixth book, a new novel titled This Fatal Looking Glass from SpiltLevel Texts.