Skip to Main Content

Faculty

Upcoming Visiting Distinguished Professors:

Spring 2018 Visiting Professor: Bhanu Kapil

Bhanu Kapil is the author of five books, including Ban en Banlieue, Schizophrene, humanimal [a project for future children], Incubation: a Space for Monsters, and The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers. She specializes in cross-genre narrative and poetics and has taught at Naropa University and in Goddard College’s low-residency MFA. She holds an MA from SUNY Brockport and a BA from Loughborough University, UK.

Spring 2018 Special Guest Faculty: Heather Marion

Heather Marion is a screenwriter for the television series “Better Call Saul.” She is also an actor and producer, and earned her MFA in screenwriting from the University of California, Los Angeles. She was selected as one of 10 writers chosen to participate in the inaugural Episodic Story Lab at the Sundance Institute in 2014. Prior to her work on “Better Call Saul,” she was a crew member on “United States of Tara,” “The Goldbergs” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” She will co-teach a screenwriting class with fiction professor Brady Udall for MFA students in spring 2018.

Spring 2019 Visiting Professor: Rick Bass

Rick Bass is the author of five novels, four collections of short stories, and numerous works of nonfiction. His fiction has received O. Henry Awards, multiple Pushcart Prizes, and he has been the recipient of fellowships from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, among others. Several of his stories have been anthologized in the Best American Short Stories series, and his books have frequently been named New York Times as well as Los Angeles Times Notable Books of the YearBass was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up in Houston. He started writing short stories on his lunch breaks while working as a petroleum geologist in Jackson, Mississippi. Bass is an environmental activist and serves on the board of the Yaak Valley Forest Council and Round River Conservation Studies. He lives in Montana with his family, and continues to work to protect the Yaak Valley from the development of roads and logging.

 


MFA Faculty

Program Director

Mitch Wieland
Mitch Wieland is the author of the books Willy Slater’s Lane and God’s Dogs. Willy Slater’s Lane received starred reviews in Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist, and was optioned for a film. God’s Dogs was named the Idaho Book of the Year, and was featured in the annual Best of the West prize anthology. Wieland’s short stories have appeared in The Southern Review, The Kenyon Review, The Yale Review, TriQuarterly, The Sewanee Review, Shenandoah, StoryQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, and numerous other publications. He founded the award-winning Idaho Review in 1998, and continues to serve as its editor. Wieland is the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Christopher Isherwood Fellowship, a Boise State University Arts and Humanities Fellowship, and two Literature Fellowships from the Idaho Commission on the Arts. He holds an MFA from The University of Alabama, and served as fiction editor of Black Warrior Review.

Program Coordinator

Elizabeth Gutting
Elizabeth Gutting grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. She received her BA from Kenyon College and her MFA from George Mason University. Before joining the MFA program at Boise State, she lived in Washington, DC, where she served as the program director of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Millions, among others. She was a Fulbright Fellow in South Korea and received a fiction fellowship from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities in 2016.

Fiction and Poetry Faculty

Corless-SmithMartin Corless-Smith
Martin Corless-Smith was born and raised in Worcestershire, England. He has studied painting and poetry, with degrees from the University of Reading (UK), Southern Methodist University, the Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa and a PhD from University of Utah. His sixth collection of poetry, Bitter Green (Fence Books) and his first novel, This Fatal Looking Glass (SplitLevel Texts) both came out in 2015. He was the 2011 recipient of a Boise State Foundations Scholar Award in Research.

HolmesJanet Holmes
Poet and editor of Ahsahta Press since 2000, Holmes is author of The ms of my kin, F2F, Humanophone, The Green Tuxedo (winner of the Ernest Sandeen award at University of Notre Dame Press, Foreword Book of the Year Award, and the Minnesota Book Award), and The Physicist at the Mall, which Joy Harjo selected for the Anhinga Prize. Her poems have twice been chosen to appear in editions of The Best American Poetry. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships and prizes, including the Pablo Neruda Prize from Nimrod Magazine, selected by W.S. Merwin. She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and a BA from Duke University.

Emily Ruskovich
Emily Ruskovich grew up in the Idaho Panhandle on Hoodoo Mountain. Her fiction has appeared in Zoetrope, One Story, and The Virginia Quarterly Review. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and was a winner of the 2015 O. Henry Award. Her debut novel, Idaho, was released in 2017 and received much acclaim, and was noted by The New York Times as one of the most anticipated books of the year. Ruskovich lives in Idaho City.

Brady UdallUdall-300x223
A recipient of many awards and fellowships, Udall received his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His widely anthologized stories and non-fiction have been published in journals and magazines such as Story, Esquire, GQ and The Paris Review. He is the author of a short story collection, Letting Loose the Hounds, and two novels, The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint, which was an international bestseller and translated into more than twenty languages, and The Lonely Polygamist, which was a New York Times bestseller.

Webster PhotoKerri Webster
Kerri Webster is the author of two books of poetry: Grand & Arsenal (winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize, selected by Jane Mead and published in 2012) and We Do Not Eat Our Hearts Alone (winner of the University of Georgia’s Contemporary Poetry Series, selected by Elizabeth Robinson and published in 2005). She has authored two chapbooks: Psalm Project (Albion Books, 2009), and Rowing Through Fog, selected by Carl Phillips as a winner of the Poetry Society’s Chapbook Fellowship (2003). The recipient of a $50,000 Whiting Award, her poems have appeared in numerous journals including Poetry, Kenyon Review, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, At Length, Better, Guernica, American Poet, Antioch Review, Gettysburg Review, Indiana Review, and Gulf Coast.

Thesis Faculty

Joy Williams
Joy Williams is the author of four novels, five story collections, and one essay collection. Her novel, The Quick and the Dead, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and State of Grace received a nomination for the National Book Award. Ill Nature, a collection of essays, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her most recent book is Ninety-Nine Stories of God. The acclaimed short stories of Ms. Williams have appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, Harper’s, The Paris Review, Granta, Tin House, The Missouri Review, The Idaho Review, and numerous other publications. Her stories have been widely anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and The Pushcart Prize. Ms. Williams has received many honors for her fiction, including the Harold and Mildred Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Rea Award for the Short Story. In 2016, she was awarded the PEN/Malamud Short Story Award.

Adjunct Faculty

Nicole CullenNicole Cullen
Nicole Cullen was raised in Salmon, Idaho, and earned an MFA in Writing from the University of Texas-Austin. She has received creative writing fellowships from the Michener Center for Writers, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and Stanford University, where she was a Stegner Fellow. Her stories have appeared in Ploughshares, the Dublin Review, the Idaho Review, and The Best American Short Stories 2014. She’s currently at work on a novel-in-stories set in Idaho and Montana.

Cynthia HandCynthia Hand
Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for teens, including the UNEARTHLY trilogy, the contemporary novel THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE, and the new historical comedy, MY LADY JANE. Before turning to writing for young adults, she studied literary fiction and earned both an M.F.A. and a Ph.D. in fiction writing. She and her family divide their time between Idaho and California, where she teaches creative writing and literature at Pepperdine University.

Previous Visiting Professors

Spring 2017 – Joy Williams
Joy Williams is the author of four novels, five story collections, and one essay collection. Her novel, The Quick and the Dead, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and State of Grace received a nomination for the National Book Award. Ill Nature, a collection of essays, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her most recent book is Ninety-Nine Stories of God. The acclaimed short stories of Ms. Williams have appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, Harper’s, The Paris Review, Granta, Tin House, The Missouri Review, The Idaho Review, and numerous other publications. Her stories have been widely anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and The Pushcart Prize. Ms. Williams has received many honors for her fiction, including the Harold and Mildred Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Rea Award for the Short Story. In 2016, she was awarded the PEN/Malamud Short Story Award.

JorisSpring 2016 – Pierre Joris
Pierre Joris has published some 50 books of poems, essays & translations, most recently An American Suite (inpatient press 2016) Barzakh: Poems 2000-2012 (Black Widow Press 2014), Breathturn into Timestead: The Collected Later Poetry of Paul Celan (FSG 2014) & A Voice Full of Cities: The Collected Essays of Robert Kelly (coedited with Peter Cockelbergh, Contra Mundum Press 2014). Previous books include Meditations on the Stations of Mansur al-Hallaj (poems) from Chax Press and The University of California Book of North African Literature (volume 4 in the Poems for the Millennium series), coedited with Habib Tengour and Exile is My Trade: A Habib Tengour Reader edited, introduced and translated by Joris (Black Widow Press). Cartographies of the In-between: The Poetry & Poetics of Pierre Joris, edited by Peter Cockelbergh came out in 2012. He lives in Sorrentinostan, a.k.a. Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, with his wife, multimedia performance artist and writer Nicole Peyrafitte & is author-in-residence at BSU for the spring ’16 semester.

Denis JohnsonFall 2015 – Denis Johnson
Denis Johnson was born in Munich, West Germany, and was raised in Tokyo, Manila and Washington D.C. His books include Jesus’ Son, Tree of Smoke, Train Dreams, Nobody Move, The Laughing Monsters, The Name of the World, Already Dead: A California Gothic, Angels, Fiskadoro, The Stars at Noon, and Resuscitation of a Hanged Man. Johnson received many awards for his work, including a Lannan Fellowship in Fiction, a Whiting Writer’s Award, the Aga Khan Prize for Fiction from the Paris Review for Train Dreams, and most recently, the National Book Award for Fiction. He taught at the Iowa Writers Workshop and the James Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas in Austin, among other universities.

News & Announcements

  • Fiction professor Emily Ruskovich was featured in Treasure, the magazine supplement to The Idaho Statesman, in August 2017. The feature includes a video of Ruskovich at home in Idaho City, where she speaks about living in rural Idaho and her childhood on Hoo Doo Mountain.
  • Second year poet Michael McKee Green is the 2017 winner of the prestigious Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize from the Wick Center at Kent State University. His book of poems, Fugue Figure, will be published by the Kent State University Press in the fall of 2018.
  • MFA graduate Erin Rose Belair won third place in Narrative Magazine's 2017 Winter Story Contest. You can read her winning story, "A Place Like This," here.
  • MFA graduate Meghan Kenny's debut novel, The Driest Season, will be published by W.W. Norton in February 2018. The book is based on a short story by Kenny of the same title which won the 2005 Iowa Review Award.
  • Collin Johnson has accepted a spot as a PhD candidate in English (Creative Writing/Poetry) at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. In addition to a GA stipend, he was awarded The President's Doctoral Tuition Fellowship which includes full funding for the first three years of the program.
  • MFA in Creative Writing student Ashley Barr has accepted a Chancellor's International Scholarship from The University of Sussex for an MA in Sexual Dissidence. The MA is co-convened through the School of English and the School of Global studies there, and focuses on queer theory and sexuality studies. When the program was founded 25 years ago, it was the first in the UK and one of the first of its kind in the world.