Core Faculty

Afaa Michael Weaver

Afaa Michael Weaver (previously Michael S. Weaver) was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, where he attended public schools. He earned his BA at Regents College-University of the State of New York (now Excelsior College) and completed graduate work in creative writing at Brown University, where his focus was playwriting and theater. Weaver’s early poetry was influenced by the Black Arts Movement and the poetry of Lucille Clifton. His first collection of poetry, Water Song (1985), was ten years in the making.  He began teaching in 1987, first at Essex County College and later at Seton Hall Law School, CUNY, NYU, and Rutgers University. Later he moved to Simmons College and Drew University’s MFA program. He was the editor of Obsidian III from 1997 until 2001, when he accepted an appointment from the Fulbright Association to teach at National Taiwan University. Weaver has received numerous awards, including the 2014 Kingsley Tufts Award for The Government of Nature (2013), multiple Pushcart prizes, a Pew fellowship, and the May Sarton Award. In 2014, Weaver completed his Plum Flower Trilogy with the publication of his 14th collection of poetry, City of Eternal Spring. Weaver was a member of Cave Canem’s first faculty at the retreat in 1997, and in 1998 he became the first “Elder” of the Cave Canem organization.

Alicia Ostriker: Distinguished Poet in Residence

Alicia Ostriker has published sixteen 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 (Beacon 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 2009). In 2015 she was elected Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Aracelis Girmay

Aracelis Girmay holds a B.A. from Connecticut College and an M.F.A. from New York University. She is the author of three poetry collections, Teeth (Curbstone, 2007), Kingdom Animalia (BOA Editions, 2011), for which she won the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award and which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and The Black Maria (BOA Editions, 2016). 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. Her fifth collection, pray me stay eager, is forthcoming in 2017 from Alice James. 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). She has also co-translated contemporary Arabic language poetry with Saadi Simawe.  Watson was hailed by Library Journal as one of “24 Poets for the 21st Century.” 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. She is also a core faculty member for the Colrain Manuscript Conference.

Judith Vollmer

Judith Vollmer’s fifth full-length poetry collection, The Apollonia Poems, has been awarded the 2016 Four Lakes Poetry Prize of the University of Wisconsin Press and is forthcoming in early 2017. Vollmer also has received the Brittingham, the Cleveland State, and the Center for Book Arts publication prizes; grants from the National Endowment and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; finalist honors for the Paterson Poetry Prize; a National Book Critics Circle nomination; and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award of the University of Pittsburgh. Poems, reviews, and essays have appeared, or are about to, in The Women’s Review of Books, Poetry International, Prairie Schooner, Agni, Poet Lore, The Stillwater Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Insane Devotion: On the Writing of Gerald Stern, edited by Mihaela Moscaliuc, and The Cambridge Companion to Baudelaire. Vollmer teaches in the Drew University MFA Program in Poetry & Poetry in Translation, and is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. She lives in Pittsburgh.

Michael Waters
photo credit: Michael Paul Thomas

Michael Waters’ eleven books of poetry include Celestial Joyride (2016); Gospel Night (2011); Darling Vulgarity (2006– finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize), and  Parthenopi: New and Selected Poems (2001– finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize) from  BOA Editions, and Bountiful (1992), The Burden Lifters (1989), and Anniversary of the Air (1985) from Carnegie Mellon UP. 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 UP, 2003). The recipient of five Pushcart Prizes and 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, including Poetry, The Paris Review, The Yale Review, The American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Georgia Review, and Rolling Stone, and has chaired the Poetry Panel for the National Book Award. Waters is Professor of English at Monmouth University.

Mihaela Moscaliuc

Mihaela Moscaliuc is the author of Immigrant Model (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015) and Father Dirt (Alice James Books, 2010), translator of The Hiss of the Viper (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2014), co-translator of Carmelia Leonte’s Death Searches for You a Second Time (Red Dragonfly Press, 2003), and editor of Insane Devotion: On the Writing of Gerald Stern (Trinity University Press, 2016). 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, Vestoj: A Journal of Sartorial Matters, and Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Her scholarship focuses on Roma/Gypsies and immigration literature. She received two Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Awards, an Individual Artist Award from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and a Fulbright Scholar Award.  Moscaliuc was born and raised in Romania and is Assistant Professor of English at Monmouth University.

Sean Nevin: Director

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

Emilia Phillips

Emilia Phillips is the author of two poetry collections from the University of Akron Press, Groundspeed (2016) and Signaletics (2013), and three chapbooks. Her poetry and lyric essays appear in Agni, Boston Review, Gulf Coast, The Kenyon Review, New England Review, Ninth Letter, Ploughshares, Poetry, and elsewhere. The recipient of the 2015 StoryQuarterly Nonfiction Prize judged by Leslie Jamison and the The Journal’s 2012 Poetry Prize judged by G.C. Waldrep, she has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, The Kenyon Review Writers’ Workshop, U.S. Poets in Mexico, and Vermont Studio Center. She is the Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Centenary College of New Jersey.

Oliver de la Paz

Oliver de la Paz is the author of four collections of poetry, Names Above Houses (2001), which won the Crab Orchard Award, Furious Lullaby (SIU Press 2001, 2007), and Requiem for the Orchard (U. of Akron Press 2010), winner of the Akron Prize for poetry chosen by Martìn Espada, and Post Subject: A Fable (U. of Akron Press 2014). Espada described Paz’s cinematic free-verse poems as “the stuff of life itself, ugly and beautiful, wherever or whenever we happen to live it.” He is the co-editor with Stacey Lynn Brown of A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry (U. of Akron Press 2012). He co-chairs the advisory board of Kundiman, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of Asian American Poetry and serves on the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Board.  A recipient of a NYFA Fellowship Award and a GAP Grant from Artist Trust, his work has appeared in journals like Virginia Quarterly Review, North American Review, Tin House, Chattahoochee Review, and in anthologies such as Asian American Poetry:  The Next Generation. He is the music editor for At Length Magazine and he teaches in the MFA program at Western Washington University. He was born in the Philippines and raised in Ontario, Oregon. He earned a BA in English and a BS in biology from Loyola Marymount University and an MFA from Arizona State University.

Robert Carnevale

Robert Carnevale is the co-translator (with Drew colleague Carol Ueland) of the internationally celebrated Russian poet Aleksandr Kushner (Apollo in the Grass, Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2015). Their translations have also appeared in The Kenyon Review, Agni, World Literature Today, The Anthology of Jewish-Russian Literature, and twice on Poetry Daily, and were supported by an NEA Literary Translation Fellowship. Carnevale’s own poems have been published in the The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Sidereal Times, The Alaska Quarterly and various other magazines. He has been teaching at Drew for 20 years, most of them in the Arts and Letters Program. Earlier, he was Assistant Coordinator of the Dodge Foundation Poetry Program for six years and also worked on the Voices & Visions film series on American poets.

Sarah Vap

Sarah Vap is the author of six collections of poetry. Her most recent book, Viability, was selected by Mary Jo Bang for the National Poetry Series, and was released by Penguin in 2016. Her first book, Dummy Fire, received the Saturnalia Poetry Prize. Her second, American Spikenard, was selected for the Iowa Poetry Prize. End of the Sentimental Journey, released in 2013 from Noemi Books, initiated their Infidel Poetics Series. She is recipient of an NEA Literature Fellowship for Poetry, and a most recently, a Research Enhancement Fellowship from the University of Southern California for a year of writing and research in West Africa.