Jan Clausen

Faculty, MFA in Creative Writing Program
Residency Site: Plainfield VT



Jan Clausen is the author of a dozen books in a range of genres, including Veiled Spill: A Sequence, from GenPop Books (2014). Other recent poetry collections are From a Glass House and If You Like Difficulty. Prose titles include the story collection Mother, Sister, Daughter, Lover; the novels Sinking, Stealing and The Prosperine Papers; and the memoir Apples and Oranges: My Journey Through Sexual Identity. Clausen’s poetry and creative prose are widely published in journals and anthologies; her book reviews and literary journalism have appeared in Boston Review, Ms., The Nation, Poets & Writers, and The Women’s Review of Books. A resident of Brooklyn since the 1970s, she maintains close ties to the Pacific Northwest, where she was born and raised. She is a recipient of writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts.


MA in Gender Studies and Feminist Theory, The New School
BA in Liberal Arts, The New School

Areas of Expertise

Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Cross-Genre, Hybrid, Poetry

Personal Statement

In working with MFA students, I always keep in mind the lessons of critical consciousness and democratic dialogue that stem from a lifetime of community activism centered on social justice issues. My epistolary conversations with advisees about their writing have to do with, on one hand, identifying pre-existing strengths in the work and figuring out how to build on those strengths; on the other hand, I push for consideration of new or under-explored possibilities. I took it as a compliment when a student wrote that she felt “busted” by my probing questions about her creative agenda—“in a good way,” she hastened to add. I think students tend to regard me as a demanding advisor, but also one who really listens and who is equally demanding of herself when it comes to offering a detailed, thorough response combining close analytic reading with a synthetic overview. For a selection of my most recent poetry, fiction, and critical prose, go to Ablation.


  1. Veiled Spill: A Sequence
  2. If You Like Difficulty
    If You Like DifficultyHarbor Mountain Press2007
  3. Apples and Oranges
  4. Prosperine Papers
    The Prosperine Papers Crossing Press1988
  5. Mother, sister, daughter, lover: Stories