Alumni Readers Series

The MFA in Creative Writing Program is proud of the program’s alumni. During each residency, the program is pleased to bring in alumni to celebrate and share their professional achievements with students through readings, workshops, and panels. Recent and upcoming alumni readers include Kiara Brinkman, Mark Doty, Karen Essex, and Martha Southgate.


The Port of Los AngelesJane SpragueJane Sprague is the author of the books The Port of Los Angeles (Chax Press, 2009) and, with Tina Darragh and Diane Ward, The *Belladonna Elders Series 8 (*Belladonna, 2009). She is also author of the chapbooks Apache Roadkill (Dusie / Weekend Press, 2009), Sacking the Henwife (Dusie, 2007), Entropic Liberties (with Jonathan Skinner; Dusie, 2006), fuck your pastoral (Subpoetics, 2005) and The Port of Los Angeles (Subpoetics, 2004) among others. Her poems, essays, reviews and interviews with poets and editors have been published in numerous print and online magazines including Columbia Poetry Review, Rain Taxi, How2, Jacket, XCP: Cross Cultural Poetics, ecopoetics, Dandelion, Tinfish, The Poetry Project Newsletter, Tarpaulin Sky , Kiosk, P-Queue, Hot Whiskey and others. Since 2004 she has edited and published the imprint Palm Press,, an independent press committed to making possible works which interrogate the boundaries of contemporary politics, poetry, pedagogy and poetics. She regularly reads from her work, recent readings include The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church (NYC), The Poetry Center at CSUSF (San Francisco), and Colorado State University at Boulder (Boulder, CO), among others. Additionally, she has curated several reading series in the states of New York and California and the conference “Small Press Culture Workers” (Ithaca, NY, 2004). Her current writing and editorial projects include My Appalachia, a poetry and prose work that explores geography, genocide and generational poverty in upstate New York, where she is from, in addition to the collection Imaginary Syllabi which gathers documents by contemporary writers who teach in modes of radical, utopian, fabulist and generative student-centered pedagogies (Palm Press, 2010). She is an associate faculty member of Bard College’s Institute for Writing and Thinking and its Language and Thinking Workshop. She teaches writing at California State University, Long Beach in Long Beach, CA where she lives on an island with her family.


Up High in the TreesKiara Brinkman grew up first in the Midwest and then some more in California. She graduated from Brown University and earned her MFA from Goddard College. Her writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, One Story, Pindeldyboz, and, among other magazines. She has worked as a teacher, a tutor, and a nanny, and currently lives in San Francisco. Her book, Up High in the Trees, is a New York Times Editor’s Choice selection, a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers pick, a Book Sense selection, and a Borders Original Voices pick. It is also Kiara’s Goddard thesis.


Horse Thief - Anna BalintAnna Balint is the author of Horse Thief, a collection of short fiction, Curbstone Press, 2004. Earlier publications were Out of the Box, poems, Poetry Around Press, 1991; and spread them crimson sleeves like wings, poems and stories, Poetry Around Press, 1993. She co-edited Poets Against the War, an anthology of poems protesting the Gulf War, 1991. Her stories and poems have appeared in numerous journals including, Calyx, Briar Cliff Review, Clackamas Literary Review, Raven Chronicles, Caprice and Stringtown. In 2001, Balint received the Starbucks Foundation “Leading Voices Award” for outstanding work with urban youth in the Puget Sound Region in the field of creative writing. She lives in Seattle, where she teaches creative writing.


Mr. Lincoln's Wars - Adam BraverAdam Braver’s first book, Mr. Lincoln’s Wars, was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writer’s pick, a Border’s Original Voices selection, a Book Sense 76 pick, as well as appearing on the San Francisco Chronicle’s bestseller list, among many other year-end lists. His work has also been published in the Cimarron Review and the Pittsburgh Quarterly. He received his MFA from Goddard College in Vermont. Born and raised in California, Braver has now settled in Cranston, RI with his wife and son. He is on faculty in the Creative Writing department at Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI. His newest novel, Crows Over the Wheatfields, will be published in June 2006.


Kleopatra - Karen EssexKaren Essex is a novelist, screenwriter, and award-winning journalist. She is the author of the national and international best-selling novel, Leonardo’s Swans (Doubleday 2006), about the rivalries among the powerful women painted by the great master when he was employed by the Duke of Milan. She has also written two acclaimed biographical novels about the queen of Egypt, Kleopatra and Pharaoh, published in 2001 and 2002, which she adapted into a screenplay for Warner Bros. Essex also adapted Anne Rice’s novel The Mummy or Ramses the Damned into a screenplay for Titanic director James Cameron and 20th Century Fox, and has written a screenplay about Kamehameha, the first king of Hawaii, for Columbia/Tristar. Most recently, she has written a dance movie for Jennifer Lopez Entertainment and Paramount Pictures.


Dickey Nesenger began her work in the film business in 1973 as a documentary and commercial film editor in New York. After moving to Los Angeles in 1978, she worked as a script supervisor on films, television series, commercials and music videos, and alongside such luminaries are Orson Welles and John Frankenheimer. Her screenplay, Commercial was sold to Lighthouse Productions in Los Angeles. Also a playwright, Dickey’s plays have received numerous awards and productions throughout the United States. The Green Lake Monster, a finalist for the prestigious National Heineman Award at Theatre of Louisville for “Best Ten-Minute Play,” was published in Knock and nominated for a Pushcart Prize 2006. She received her MFA in Creative Writing through Goddard College, and currently teaches dramatic writing at Richard Hugo House and Antioch University Seattle, and is a frequent lecturer at Screenwriters’ Salon Seattle.


The NinesChristian PeetChristian Peet is the founder and publisher of Tarpaulin Sky Press and the author of the forthcoming true-crime novel, Angela’s Story (GPB/TS Press), as well as a collection of “postcards,” Big American Trip (Shearsman Books), and two cross-genre chapbooks, Pluto: Never Forget (Interbirth Books) and The Nines (Palm Press). Other fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and hybrid work appears in anthologies such Chain Arts’ study of feminism, A Megaphone, and Fence Books’ A Best Of Fence, as well as in literary magazines online and in print, including 5-Trope, Action Yes, Delirious Hem, Denver Quarterly, Drunken Boat, Everyday Genius, Fence, Ghost Proposal, Montevidayo, No Colony, Octopus Magazine, SleepingFish, Spinning Jenny, Trickhouse, et al.


The Pink Institution - Selah SaterstromSelah Saterstrom is the author of The Meat & Spirit Plan [Coffee House Press, Fall 2007], and The Pink Institution [Coffee House Press, 2004]. Her work has recently appeared in Cranbrook Magazine, 14 Hills, Tarpaulin Sky, The American Book Review, and other places. She has been the Case Writer-In-Residence for Western Illinois University and Artist-In-Residence at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. She currently lives in Denver where she is on faculty in the University of Denver’s Creative Writing Program.


Another Way to Dance - Martha SouthgateMartha Southgate received her MFA in fiction from Goddard College. In 1996, her Goddard thesis was published as Another Way to Dance, a young-adult novel which won the Coretta Scott King Genesis Award for Best First Novel. She went on to publish two adult novels: The Fall of Rome (2003), and Third Girl From The Left (2005). She received a 2002 New York Foundation for the Arts grant and has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her non-fiction articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, O, Premiere, and Essence.


Silver Linings PlaybookMatthew QuickMatthew Quick earned his BA through La Salle University and his MFA through Goddard College. His debut novel The Silver Linings Playbook (Sarah Crichton Books / Farrar, Straus & Giroux) was lauded by People, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, Publishers Weekly, and others. The movie rights for The Silver Linings Playbook have been optioned by The Weinstein Company, and David O. Russell has written the screenplay adaptation. TSLP is being translated into Italian and Spanish, and will soon be released in the UK by Picador. Matthew’s debut young adult novel Sorta Like a Rock Star (Little Brown) will be published in fall 2009. Matthew lives in the Philadelphia area with his wife.  (Photo credit: Dave Tavani)


The Faculty

Maybe you’ve got an idea for a novel you’re dying to write. Or you’re unsure how to start your memoir. Perhaps you’re hoping to find a way to tame the poems that seem to spring from your mind when you least expect it. Whatever you’re writing, you’ll have the opportunity to hone your craft with the individualized guidance of published faculty advisors who specialize in your genre. Engage in an ongoing, semester-long dialogue with a novelist about structure, pacing, and plot. Immerse yourself in the language of life-changing poems that you didn’t know existed a month ago. Or map your character arcs with a playwright whose latest work just opened to great acclaim.

Every advisor in Goddard’s MFA Program in Creative Writing is an accomplished writer actively working in their genre. They provide detailed feedback on your work, offer you support and insight into your writing process, and give you reading suggestions to stoke your creativity.

Whether you are an emerging or established writer, working with an advisor allows you to:

  • Hone your craft under individualized guidance.
  • Engage in an ongoing dialogue about your work.
  • Read and analyze life-changing literature.

At Goddard, advisors don’t try to impose a style on you; rather, they support you in the development of your own voice.

Learn more about our faculty.


Twice a year, at the start of each semester, students attend an intensive eight-day residency at the College’s Plainfield, Vermont campus or the Port Townsend, Washington campus. Residencies are a rich time of exploration, connection, and planning.

  • Goddard’s historic Plainfield, Vermont campus is located just outside Montpelier, the state capital of Vermont. It’s a sprawling former farm with a manor garden, surrounding forests, and period architecture.
  • Located at Fort Worden, the Port Townsend, Washington campus is a former Victorian-era Army base with beaches, trails, and a vibrant, seaside arts community on the Pacific Coast.

When you apply, you pick one of the two sites for the duration of your studies. Each residency week, the location you choose becomes home — shared with a lively community of fellow writers in a serene and retreat-like setting.

Goddard College programs operating in Washington State are authorized by the Washington Student Achievement Council. For more information, please refer to Accreditation and Approvals.

Low-Residency Model

Twice a year you will travel to either Vermont or Washington (see Locations below) to attend an eight-day residency. When you arrive at your first residency, you are paired with a faculty advisor who helps you craft your individualized study plan. Your study plan consists of your semester’s assignments and book list — all of it tailored to your specific ambitions and interests. During residencies you attend workshops, readings by faculty and graduating students, and other events designed to inspire your best work.

Goddard students are a diverse, passionate, and welcoming community of writers of all ages, from all corners of the world and walks of life. When you join this vibrant community, either in Vermont (January and June/July) or Washington state (February and July), you will:

  • work with your advisor to design an individualized study plan to support your creative vision
  • be part of an “advising group” — a small class led by your advisor that meets throughout the week
  • design your own residency schedule from a rich and varied menu of activities in all genres: workshops, readings, and other events that will inform, illuminate, and inspire
  • attend readings offered by: visiting writers, visiting alumni, current faculty, graduating students, and your peers
  • meet industry professionals from both the writing and the theater world

There are also a number of extra-curricular residency options that offer more opportunities to create community. You can choose to:

  • publish and be published in The Pitkin Review (a literary journal written and edited by students)
  • have your play presented in Take Ten (a ten-minute play festival produced entirely by students — VT option only)
  • read for your peers and listen to them in after-hours literary salons

In workshops, during meals, in after-hours salons, after readings, and in long walks in the woods or along the beach, you not only will engage in lively discussions, but you’ll forge friendships to last a lifetime.