Core Faculty

Alicia Ostriker

Alicia Ostriker has published twelve volumes of poetry, most recently The Old Woman, the Tulip and the Dog (Pitt Poetry Series, 2014), The Book of Life: Selected Jewish Poems, 1979-2011 (University of Pittsburgh, 2012) and The Book of Seventy (University of Pittsburgh, 2009, for which she received the 2009 Jewish National Book Award), The Volcano Sequence (University of Pittsburgh, 2002) and No Heaven (University of Pittsburgh, 2005). Her poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, American Poetry Review, The Atlantic, Paris Review, Yale Review, Ontario Review, The Nation, and many other journals and anthologies. Twice a National Book Award finalist, she has also received awards from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, the Poetry Society of America, the San Francisco Poetry Center, and the Paterson Poetry Center. As a critic, she is the author of Stealing the Language: The Emergence of Women’s Poetry in America (Women’s Press, 1987) and other books on poetry and on the bible. Her newest prose work is For the Love of God: the Bible as an Open Book (Rutgers University, 2009). In 2015, Ostriker was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Aracelis Girmay

Aracelis Girmay is the author of two poetry collections, Teeth (Curbstone Press, 2007), for which she was awarded the GLCA New Writers award, and Kingdom Animalia (2011), for which she won the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her collage-based book, Changing, Changing, was published by George Braziller in 2005. In 2011, she was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Girmay has received fellowships from Cave Canem, The Jerome Foundation, the Watson Foundation, and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. She was the 2008-2009 visiting writer in Queens College’s MFA program and for years has facilitated arts/activism workshops with young people in the Bronx. In 2015, she received the prestigious Whiting Writers’ Award.  Originally from Santa Ana, California, she splits her time between New York and Amherst, Massachusetts and is core faculty in Drew University’s low-residency MFA Program.

Ellen Doré Watson

Ellen Doré Watson’s most recent volume of poems is Dogged Hearts (Tupelo Press, 2010). Her other books include This Sharpening, also from Tupelo, and two from Alice James: We Live in Bodies and Ladder Music, winner of the New England/New York award. Broken Railings was awarded the Green Lake Chapbook Award from Owl Creek Press. Individual poems have appeared widely in literary journals, including The American Poetry Review, Tin House, and The New Yorker.  Among her honors are a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists Grant, a Rona Jaffe Writers Award, fellowships to Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, the Zoland Poetry Fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center, and a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship.  She has translated a dozen books from the Brazilian Portuguese, including The Alphabet in the Park: Selected Poems of Adélia Prado (Wesleyan University Press) and Ex Voto: Poems of Adelia Prado (Tupelo Press, 2013). Watson has also co-translated contemporary Arabic language poetry with Saadi Simawe.  Recently appointed an Elector of the Poets’ Corner at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Watson lives in western Massachusetts, where she directs the Poetry Center at Smith College and serves as poetry and translation editor of The Massachusetts Review.

Ira Sadoff

Ira Sadoff is the author of eight collections of poetry, most recently True Faith (BOA Editions, 2012), and Barter (University of Illinois, 2003) and Grazing (University of Illinois, 1998). His Ira Sadoff Reader compiled selected poems, published essays and short stories. His work is widely anthologized, including in the 2002 and 2008 Scribner Collections of The Best American Poetry, Harper American Literature, St. Martin’s Introduction to Literature, The Bedford Introduction to Literature, The Body Electric, The Paris Review Anthology, and The Bread Loaf Anthology of Poetry. He is also the author of one novel, Uncoupling (Houghton Mifflin, 1982), and a critical book on contemporary poetry, aesthetics and politics, History Matters: Contemporary Poetry on the Margins of Culture (Iowa, 2009). Recipient of grants and prizes from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, and The Poetry Society of America, he currently holds the Jeremiah Roberts Chair in English at Colby College, he has also taught in the MFA programs at the Iowa Writers Workshop, the University of Virginia, Warren Wilson College, and at the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference.

Jane Mead

Jane Mead is the author of Money Money Money/Water Water Water (Alice James, 2014), The Usable Field (Alice James, 2008), House of Poured-Out Waters (Illinois, 2001) and The Lord and the General Din of the World (Sarabande, 1996). Her poems appear regularly in literary journals such as American Poetry Review, Poetry, The Virginia Quarterly, The Washington Post, and the New York Times, and have been included in many anthologies, including The Body Electric (Norton, 2001), The Breadloaf Anthology of New American Poets (University of New England Press, 1985) and Poet’s Choice (Ecco, 1998). She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Completion Grant from the Lannan Foundation, and a Whiting Writer’s Award. She has taught at Colby College in Maine, Washington University in St. Louis, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and was for many years Poet-in-Residence at Wake Forest University. She farms in Northern California.

Judith Vollmer

Judith Vollmer‘s fifth book of poetry, The Water Books, was published by Autumn House Press in 2012. Her previous collection, Reactor (University of Wisconsin Press 2004), was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and featured in the Los Angeles Times Book Review. Her other books include: The Door Open to the Fire, awarded The Cleveland State Poetry Prize in 1997 and finalist honors for the Paterson Prize; Black Butterfly (limited edition), awarded the Center for Book Arts chapbook prize in 1997; and Level Green, awarded the Brittingham Prize (Wisconsin 1990.) Vollmer has received poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and residencies from the American Academy in Rome, Yaddo, the Centrum Foundation, and others. Her essay on Baudelaire, “The Stroll and Preparation for Departure” is included in the Cambridge Companion to Baudelaire (Cambridge University Press, 2006). Vollmer teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg – where she directed the undergraduate creative writing program for 15 years, and received the Chancellor’s distinguished Teaching Award of the University of Pittsburgh – and in the Drew MFA in Poetry and Poetry in Translation program.

Michael Waters
photo credit: Michael Paul Thomas

Michael Waters’ ten books of poetry include Gospel Night (2011); Darling Vulgarity (2006), finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Parthenopi: New and Selected Poems (2001), finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize from BOA Editions, Bountiful (1992), The Burden Lifters (1989), and Anniversary of the Air (1985) from Carnegie Mellon University Press. In 2011, Shoestring Press (UK) published Selected Poems. His co-edited volumes include Contemporary American Poetry (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) and Perfect in Their Art: Poems on Boxing from Homer to Ali (Southern Illinois University Press, 2003). The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fulbright Foundation, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, he has published poems in numerous journals and anthologies, including Poetry, The Paris Review, The Yale Review, The American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Georgia Review, Rolling Stone, and The Pushcart Anthology, and has chaired the Poetry Panel for the National Book Award. Waters is a Professor of English at Monmouth University.

Mihaela Moscaliuc

Mihaela Moscaliuc is the author of Immigrant Model (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015), The Hiss of the Viper (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2014) and Father Dirt (Alice James Books, 2010), which won the Kinereth Gensler Award. Moscaliuc is also the co-translator of Carmelia Leonte’s Death Searches for You a Second Time (Red Dragonfly Press, 2003). Her poems, translations, reviews, and articles appear in The Georgia Review, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly, Arts & Letters, Mississippi Review, Connecticut Review, Absinthe, Poetry International, Pleiades, and Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal. She received a Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award in 2011 and a Fulbright fellowship in 2015. Moscaliuc was born and raised in Romania, and has taught at Salisbury University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Monmouth University, as well as the Drew University MFA in Poetry and Poetry in Translation program.

Sean Nevin

Sean Nevin directs the MFA Program in Poetry and Poetry in Translation at Drew University. He is the author of Oblivio Gate (Southern Illinois University Press) and A House That Falls (Slapering Hol Press). His honors include a Literature Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Prize for Poetry, the Alsop Review Poetry Prize, the Katherine C. Turner Academy of American Poets University Prize, and two fellowships from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. His poetry has appeared in numerous journals including The Gettysburg Review, North American Review, and JAMA, and anthologies including Family Matters: Poems of Our Families (Bottom Dog Press), Beyond Forgetting: Prose and Poetry about Alzheimer’s (Kent State University Press) and the anthology from the Academy of American Poets, New Voices: University and College Prizes 1998-2008. His poetry and interviews have recently been featured on NPR’s nationally syndicated shows ‘The Story with Dick Gordon’ and ‘Speaking of Faith’ with Krista Tippett.

Visiting Faculty

Afaa Michael Weaver

Afaa Michael Weaver is the author of fourteen poetry collections, including City of Eternal Spring, The Plum Flower Dance: Poems 1985 to 2005 and The Government of Nature. He is alumnae professor of English at Simmons College in Boston. Weaver is the recipient of an NEA fellowship, a Pew fellowship, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, three Pushcart Prizes, and a Fulbright scholar appointment, among other honors.

B.J. Ward

BJ Ward 2015BJ Ward is the author of four books of poetry. His most recent, Jackleg Opera: Collected Poems 1990-2013 (IO Poetry Series/North Atlantic Books), received the 2014 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. His poems have been featured on National Public Radio’s “The Writer’s Almanac” and the website Poetry Daily, as well as in publications such as Poetry, American Poetry Review, TriQuarterly, Green Mountains Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, The Sun, The Literary Review, and The Normal School, among others. His essays have appeared in The New York TimesInside Jersey, The Worcester Review, and Teaching Artist Journal. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and two Distinguished Artist Fellowships from the NJ State Council on the Arts.

Gary Short

Gary Short is from Virginia City, Nevada. He is the author of three poetry collections: Theory of Twilight (Ahsahta Press, 1994); Flying Over Sonny Liston (University of Nevada Press, 1996), which won the Western States Book Award; and 10 Moons and 13 Horses (University of Nevada Press, 1996). He has been a Stegner fellow at Stanford, a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and has had residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. He has been poetry editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review, Shankpainter, and Great Basin Magazine. His recent prizes include a Pushcart Prize and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He now teaches fall semesters at the University of Mississippi and has a home in Panajachel, Guatemala.

Mahogany L. Browne

The Cave Canem Fellow is the author of several books including Swag & Dear Twitter: Love Letters Hashed Out On-line, recommended by Small Press Distribution & listed as’s Best Poetry Books of 2010. She has released five LPs including the live album Sheroshima. And is a co-founder of the Off Broadway poetry production, Jam On It.   Mahogany is currently host and curator of the Friday Night Slam at the internationally famous Nuyorican Poets Café in NYC.

Her journalism work has been published in magazines UptownKINGXXLThe Source, Canada’s The Word and UK’s MOBO. Her poetry has been published in literary journals Pluck, Literary Bohemian, Bestiary Brown Girl Love and Up The Staircase. She is an Urban Word NYC mentor, as seen on HBO’s Brave New Voices and facilitates performance poetry and writing workshops throughout the country.

Ross Gay

Ross Gay is the author of three books: Against Which, Bringing the Shovel Down, and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude.  He is also the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook “Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens,” in addition to being co-author, with Richard Wehrenberg, Jr., of the chapbook, “River.”  He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin’, in addition to being an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press.  Gay is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. He teaches at Indiana University and in Drew University’s Low-Residency MFA program in Poetry and Poetry in Translation.  He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Sarah Vap

Sarah Vap grew up in Missoula, Montana. She attended Brown University where she studied English and American Literature. She received her MFA from Arizona State University, and is completing her PhD at the University of Southern California.

Vap is the author of five collections of poetry. Her first book, Dummy Fire, was selected by Forrest Gander to receive the Saturnalia Poetry Prize. Her second, American Spikenard, was selected by Ira Sadoff to receive the Iowa Poetry Prize. Faulkner’s Rosary and Arco Iris were released by Saturnalia Books in 2010 and 2012—and Arco Iris was named a Library Journal Best Book of 2012. End of the Sentimental Journey was released in 2013 from Noemi Books, initiating their Infidel Poetics Series. She is a recipient of a 2013 NEA Literature Fellowship for Poetry, and her book Viability was selected for the National Poetry Series by Mary Jo Bang, and is forthcoming from Penguin in 2015.

Shara McCallum

Shara McCallum was born in Jamaica to Afro-Jamaican and Venezuelan parents and moved to the U.S. at the age of nine. She earned a B.A. from the University of Miami, an M.F.A. from the University of Maryland, and a Ph.D. in Poetry and African American and Caribbean Literature from Binghamton University in New York. Her books of poetry include Song of Thieves (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003) and The Water Between Us (1999), winner of the 1998 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. Her poems have won a college prize from The Academy of American Poets, been nominated for several Pushcart Prizes, and appeared in several journals, including The Antioch Review,Chelsea, The Iowa Review, and Verse. McCallum’s poems have been anthologized in The New American Poets: A Bread Loaf Anthology (ed. Michael Collier, 2000) and Beyond the Frontier: African American Poetry for the Twenty-First Century. She is the recipient of a Tennessee Individual Artist Grant in Literature and a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. McCallum lives in Pennsylvania and teaches and directs the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University. She is also on the faculty of the Stonecoast Low Residency MFA program.

Yessina Montillia

Yesenia Montilla is a New York City poet with Afro-Caribbean roots. Her poetry has appeared in the chapbook For the Crowns of Your Head, as well as the literary journals 5AM, Adanna, The Wide Shore and others. She received her MFA from Drew University in Poetry and Poetry in Translation She is a Canto Mundo Fellow and her first collection The Pink Box was published by Willow Books in Fall 2015.