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Past Visiting Writers



Betsy AokiBetsy Aoki

Aoki completed her MFA at the University of Washington. Since then, she has received fellowships from the City of Seattle, Jackstraw Writers Program, and Artist Trust. Her work has been anthologized in Yellow as Turmeric, Fragrant as Cloves: A Contemporary Anthology of Asian American Women's Poetry and Fire on Her Tongue: an eBook Anthology of Contemporary Women's Poetry. Her chapbook Every Vanish Leaves Its Trace was published in 2009 by Finishing Line Press.

Elizabeth AustenElizabeth Austen

Washington State Poet Laureate Elizabeth Austen kicked off WVC's 75th anniversary with a reading and conversation. Austen served as poet laureate for 2014-16. Her debut collection, Every Dress a Decision (Blue Begonia Press, 2011) was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. She's also the author of two chapbooks, The Girl Who Goes Alone (Floating Bridge Press, 2010) and Where Currents Meet (Toadlily Press, 2010), and an audio CD, skin prayers (self-published, 2006). Her poems have been featured on The Writer's Almanac and Verse Daily, in the Los Angeles Review, Bellingham Review and Willow Springs. She is noted for her engaging public performances of poetry and has been featured at Poets House in New York City, Minneapolis's The Loft, the Skagit River Poetry Festival, Spokane's Get Lit!, Seattle's Cheap Wine and Poetry, and Bumbershoot, among others. Austen produces poetry programming for NPR-affiliate KUOW 94.9, earned an MFA at Antioch University LA, and teaches at Richard Hugo House. She makes her living at Seattle Children's Hospital, where she also offers poetry and journaling workshops for the staff.

 Todd BossTodd Boss

Todd Boss read from his collection, Pitch. He is an internationally acclaimed American poet whose books include Pitch (W.W. Norton, 2012) and Yellowrocket (2008). He lives in Saint Paul, Minn., with his wife and children.

 Allen BradenAllen Braden

Allen Braden was the fourth and last generation to work his family farm in Central Washington, where they raised cattle, hay, grain and barn cats. Braden earned a B.A. at Central Washington University and an M.A. and MFA from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Winner of multiple grants and prizes, Braden teaches at Tacoma Community College.

 Kimberly BurwickKimberly Burwick

Kimberly Burwick is the author of Horses in the Cathedral (Anhinga Press, 2010) and Has No Kinsmen (Red Hen Press, 2006). Her poems have been published in Fence, Kalliope, Barrow Street, Hayden's Ferry Review, The Indiana Review, Hotel Amerika and The Literary Review.

Burwick was raised in Massachusetts and now lives in Moscow, Idaho. She teaches at Washington State University and in the UCLA Extension Writer's Program.

 Todd DavisTodd Davis

WVC celebrated poet William Stafford's legacy with a reading by Todd Davis and a musical performance of Stafford's poetry by WVC faculty Steve Stefanides and Derek Sheffield, along with composer Terry Hunt.

Todd Davis is the author of four poetry collections, including In the Kingdom of the Ditch (2013) and The Least of the Three (2010). His poems have won the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize and have been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize.

Davis teaches creative writing, American literature and environmental studies at Penn State's Altoona College.

Chris Dombrowski Chris Dombrowski

Poet Chris Dombrowski gave a poetry reading accompanied by singer-songwriter Jeffrey Foucault on guitar.  Dombrowski is the author of two books of poetry, By Cold Water, a finalist for Foreword Magazine's Poetry Book of the Year, and Earth Again, both from Wayne State University Press. His poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including Beloit Poetry Journal, Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Making Poems, Poetry and Orion.

 Kathleen FlennikenKathleen Flenniken

Kathleen Flenniken served as Washington State's Poet Laureate from 2013-2014. She is an editor and president of Floating Bridge Press, a nonprofit press dedicated to publishing Washington State poets, and she is president of Jack Straw Foundation, an audio arts studio and cultural center. Plume (University of Washington Press, 2012) is a meditation on the Hanford Nuclear Site and Flenniken's hometown of Richland, Wash. The collection was a recent finalist for a Pacific Northwest Book Award. Flenniken's first book, Famous (University of Nebraska Press, 2006) won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, was named a Notable Book by the American Library Association, and was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. Her honors include a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Artist Trust.

 Jeffrey FoucaultJeffrey Foucault

Wisconsin native and folk/Americana musician Jeffrey Foucault has released five albums, including his most recent, Horse Latitudes in 2011. Foucault's music is often described as poetic, honest and haunting, and his style is often compared to Bruce Springsteen, Townes Van Zandt and Neil Young.

 David GessnerDavid Gessner

David Gessner is one of the most prominent nature writers in the U.S. He is the author of nine books, including All the Wild That Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner and the American West, released in April by W.W. Norton. His other works include Return of the Osprey, Sick of Nature and My Green Manifesto. The Tarball Chronicles won the 2012 Reed Award for Best Book on the Southern Environment and the Association for Study of Literature and the Environment's award for best book of creative writing in 2011 and 2012. He is currently a professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where he founded the award-winning literary journal of place, Ecotone.

Kevin GoodanKevin Goodan

Kevin Goodan and Kimberly Burwick presented poems on wildfire and firefighting.

Goodan was raised in western Montana and fought fores fires for ten seasons with the USFS on the Lolo National Forest. His most recent book is Upper Level Disturbances. His other poetry collections include In the Ghost-House Acquainted (2004) and Winter Tenor (2009). He is currently associate professor at Lewis-Clark State College and lives in Joel, Idaho.

 Joseph GreenJoseph Green

Joseph Green's poems have been appearing in magazines and other publications since 1975. Many have been collected in his five chapbooks, the most recent of which is That Thread Still Connecting Us (MoonPath Press, 2012), a group of poems that address family dynamics, death, loss and survival. His other collections include The End of Forgiveness (Floating Bridge Press, 2001), His Inadequate Vocabulary (The Signpost Press, 1986), Deluxe Motel (The Signpost Press, 1991) and Greatest Hits: 1975-2000 (Pudding House Press, 2001).  He continues to work with his wife, Marquita, to produce letterpress-printed broadsides for other poets through The Peasandcues Press, using woodcuts, linoleum cuts or other visual elements, along with hand-set metal type. At the C.C. Stern Type Foundry in Portland, Ore., he is part of a team striving to preserve the craft of casting the type itself.

 Dennis HeldDennis Held

Dennis Held's second book of poetry, Ourself, was published by Gribble Press, and his essays have been published in Poets & Writers and The Bloomsbury Review. He lives in Spokane, where he teaches in Eastern Washington University's Get Lit! Author's Tour, an educational outreach program. Held is also co-owner of Area 58, a gallery and store. 

 Christopher HowellChristopher Howell

Howell, who lives in Spokane, is the author of eight collections of poems, including Memory and Heaven (1997), Just Waking (2003), and his most recent work, Light's Ladder. He has received the Washington State Governor's Award, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, an Artist Trust fellowship, and the Vachel Lindsay and Helen Bullis prizes. His work has been published three times in the annual Pushcart Prize publication. Howell has been the director and principal editor for Lynx House Press since 1975. He is currently the senior editor at Eastern Washington University Press and is on the Master of Fine Arts faculty of the Inland Northwest Center for Writers.

 Arlene KimArlene Kim

Kim is a Korean-American writer whose first book, What have you done to our ears to make us hear echoes?, was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award and recipient of the 2012 American Book Award. Her work appears in Blackbird, diode, Terrain, Cha, DIAGRAM, the Richard Hugo House Literary Series and National Public Radio.

 Colleen McElroyColleen McElroy

McElroy earned a PhD in ethnolinguistic patterns of dialect differences and oral traditions from the University of Washington. She has written short stories, plays, television scripts and nonfiction. Her poetry collections include Winters without Snow; Queen of the Ebony Isles, winner of the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation; What Madness Brought Me Here: New and Selected Poems; Travelling Music; and Sleeping with the Moon, winner of the 2008 PEN Oakland National Literary Award. She has also written three books of nonfiction. Her work is influenced by her extensive travels, the Pacific Northwest Landscape, and the experience of African American women.

 Tim McNultyTim McNulty

McNulty is a poet, essayist, conversation activist and nature writer. He was inspired by poet Denise Levertov while attending the University of Massachusetts at Boston. After college, he traveled throughout the West and settled on the Olympic Peninsula. His work on nature and publications have appeared in a variety of publications in the U.S. and abroad, and they have been translated into German, Japanese and Chinese. He has received the Washington State Book Award and the National Outdoor Book Award. He reads, lectures, teaches and conducts workshops throughout the Northwest.

 Kevin MillerKevin Miller

Kevin Miller has taught creative writing in Washington state public schools for over 30 years. His books include Everywhere Was Far (Blue Begonia Press, 1998) and Light That Whispers Morning, winner of the Bumbershoot-Weyerhaeuser Publication Award. He has been published in Crab Creek Review, ZYZZYVA, Cranky, Poetry Northwest, Talking River Review and many other literary magazines.

Cynthia NeelyCynthia Neely

WVC alumna Cynthia Neely gave a reading from her  collection of poetry, Flight Path, and also presented an exhibit of her artwork in the MAC Gallery. She is the winner of the Hazel Lipa poetry prize from Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment for her chapbook Broken Water, and a finalist in the Aldrich Book Contest for Flight Path. She lives in Leavenworth, Wash.

Daniel OrozcoDaniel Orozco

Daniel Orozco is the author of Orientation and Other Stories (Faber and Faber), released in May 2012. His work has also appeared in the Best American Essays, Best American Short Stories, Best American Mystery Stories, and Pushcart Prize anthologies, Harper's Magazine, McSweeney's, Zoetrope, and others. He is also the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and a Whiting Writers Award. He teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Idaho. 

Dan PetersDan Peters

Dan Peters lives in Selah, Washington, and teaches at Yakima Valley Community College. His books include Down the Road The Children Go (Blue Begonia Press, 2009), In the Easement of Absent Ties (Blue Begonia Press, 1998) and The Reservoir (Blue Begonia Press, 2002). He also co-edited the anthology Weathered Pages: The Poetry Pole (Blue Begonia Press, 2005). 

Joseph PowellJoseph Powell

Joseph Powell and Katharine Whitcomb gave a combined reading and book signing. Powell has published seven books: five of poetry, one fiction and one textbook. His most recent poetry collections are Hard Earth (March Street Press, 2010) and Preamble to the Afterlife (2012). He won a National Endowment for the Arts Award in 2009. Powell taught at Central Washington University until his retirement in 2014.

Robert Michael PyleRobert Michael Pyle

Pyle has published 12 books and a variety of essays, stories and poems. His 1987 book, Wintergreen, describes the devastation caused by logging in Washington's Willapa Hills and was the winner of the 1987 John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Nature Writing. His other books include Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide, Wintergreen: Rambles in a Ravaged Land and Sky Time in Gray's River: Living for Keeps in a Forgotten Place. Pyle won the 2007 National Outdoor Book Award and the 2011 Washington State Book Award in the biography/memoir category for The Mariposa Road: The First Butterfly Big Year.

Gloria Piper RobersonGloria Piper Roberson

Gloria is the mother of four, grandmother of six and great grandmother of twin boys and two girls.  She received her AA at WVC in 1974 at the age of 42.  She began creative writing classes the summer quarter of 2002.  She has since added 16 quarters, 12 of them with professor Derek Sheffield.  Her poems and short stories appeared in Mirror Northwest (2006-2007, 2013), Noisy Waters Review (2006-2007), and The Far Field online literary magazine (2014).  Gloria is the author of Winning Hearts…Winning Wings, the Story of the First Nonstop Transpacific Flight which has been translated into Japanese (Wenatchee Valley Culture Center, 2003).  She writes and directs adult and children worship dramas, delights in storytelling, reads weekly to the schoolchildren and rings in the handbell choir.  She loves family gatherings and sharing good, daily news with her chickens.

Peter SearsPeter Sears

Peter Sears teaches at the Pacific University Writing Program and for Community of Writers of Portland. He has published poems in Rolling Stone, Mademoiselle, New York Times, Orion, Christian Science Monitor and numerous other publications. His book The Brink won the 1999 Peregrine Smith Poetry Prize from the Gibbs Smith Publisher.

Derek SheffieldDerek Sheffield

WVC English faculty read from his new book of poetry, Through the Second Skin (Orchises Press, 2013). His poems have appeared widely in literary magazines and journals such as Poetry, The Georgia Review, Orion, Ecotone, The Southern Review, the Alaska Quarterly Review and He was awarded North American Review's James Hearst Poetry Prize, judged by Li-Young Lee, the inaugural Sparrow Prize in Poetry, and the Hazel Lipa Environmental Chapbook Award. In addition, he was runner-up for the 2012 Emily Dickinson First Book Award and a finalist for the Walt Whitman Award.

AnaMaria SpagnaAna Maria Spagna

Ana Maria Spagna is the author of Test Ride on the Sunnyland Bus: A Daughter's Civil Rights Journey, winner of the River Teeth literary nonfiction prize and finalist for the Washington State Book Award, and two collections of essays, Potluck: Community on the Edge of Wilderness and Now Go Home: Wilderness, Belonging, and the Crosscut Saw, a Seattle Times Best Book of 2004. Her distinctive voice is often praised for its warmth, insight and humor, and her work appears regularly in journals and magazines including Orion, Portland, Creative Nonfiction, and High Country News and has been listed as "notable" in Best American Essays.

Ana Maria was born in Bogota, Colombia, and raised in Riverside, Calif., but has lived most of her adult life in Stehekin, Wash., a remote community in the North Cascades accessible only by boat, foot, or float plane. After working for fifteen years on trail crews in national parks and forests, she now teaches creative nonfiction at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts where she serves as assistant director of the MFA program.

Rivera SunRivera Sun

Sun is the author of The Dandelion Insurrection, Billionaire Buddha and Steam Drills, Treadmills, and Shooting Stars, in addition to nine theatrical plays, a study guide to nonviolent action, and many essays and poems. She is cohost of Occupy Radio and cofounder of Love-In-Action network, a nationwide set of nonviolent study and action groups. Rivera is the social media coordinator for Campaign Nonviolence and Pace e Bene. 

Nance Van WinckelNance Van Winckel

Nance Van Winckel's fifth collection of poems, No Starling, was published by the University of Washington Press. She is also the author of three collections of short fiction. New poems appear in The Pushcart Prize Anthology, The Southern Review, Poetry Northwest, Crazyhorse, Field and Gettysburg Review. She was the recent recipient of an Isherwood Fiction Fellowship. She has also received two NEA Poetry Fellowships and awards from the Poetry Society of America, Poetry and Prairie Schooner. She teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her primary interest lately is Poetry-Off-the-Page, and she has had work in several juried art shows of her "pho-toems" (photo collage with text).

David WagonerDavid Wagoner

David Wagoner has won numerous prestigious literary awards, including two Pushcart Prizes and the Academy of Arts and Letters Award, the Sherwood Anderson Award, and he has been twice nominated for the National Book Award. He is a professor emeritus at the University of Washington. His collections of poetry include Dry Sun, Dry Wind; A Place to Stand; Poems; The Nesting Ground; Collected Poems 1956-1976; In Broken Country; First Light; Traveling Light; The House of Song; and A Map of the Night. He is also a successful novelist.

Katharine WhitcombKatharine Whitcomb

Katharine Whitcomb and Joseph Powell paired up for a reading and book signing. Whitcomb is the author of a collection of poems, Saints of South Dakota & Other Poems, winner of the 2000 Bluestem Award and published by Bluestem Press. She has also published two poetry chapbooks, Hosannas (Parallel Press, 1999) and Lamp of Letters (Floating Bridge Press, 2009), which was the winner of the 2009 Floating Bridge Chapbook Award. She is co-author of a parody self-help book/art piece, co-editor of Cascadia Chronicle: A Geospatial Journal of Place, Environment and Imagination, and of Sense of Place: The Washington State Geospatial Poetry Anthology. Whitcomb lives in Ellensburg and teaches at Central Washington University. 

Robert WrigleyRobert Wrigley

Wrigley teaches in the MFA creative writing program at the University of Idaho. His books include Moon In a Mason Jar (University of Illinois, 1986); What My Father Believed (Illinois, 1991); In the Bank of Beautiful Sins (Penguin, 1995), winner of the San Francisco Poetry Center Book Award; Reign of Snakes (Penguin, 1999), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Award; Lives of the Animals (Penguin, 2003), winner of the Poets' Prize; Earthly Meditations: New and Selected Poems (Penguin, 2006); and most recently, Beautiful Country (Penguin, 2010). He is the recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Among his other awards are the J. Howard and Barbara M. J. Wood Prize, and six Pushcart Prizes. He lives with his wife, the writer Kim Barnes, near Moscow, Idaho.

Bill YakeBill Yake

Bill Yake has published two books of poetry – This Old Riddle: Cormorants and Rain (2003) and Unfurl, Kite, and Veer (2010) both from Radiolarian Press – as well as several chapbooks, most recently The Islands at the Edge of the World (2012, Scatter Creek Press). His poems appear in magazines and anthologies serving the environmental and literary communities, including Wilderness Magazine, Anthropology and Humanism, Open Spaces Quarterly, Fine Madness, Rattle, and ISLE . Recent tree-inspired poems have been featured in an essay in Poetry, in Robert Krulwich’s NPR Science Blog, on Seattle’s NPR station, and in Between Earth and Sky, a book by the renowned instigator of forest canopy research, Nalini Nadkarni. One has even inspired innovative fabric art.

Susan Zwinger

Susan Zwinger introduced her book The Hanford Reach: A Land of Contrasts. The book, illustrated by photographer Skip Smith, was the fifth volume in the Desert Places Series. Zwinger has written several books on nature, including Still Wild, Always Wild: A Journey into the Desert Wilderness of California (Sierra Club Books, 1997) and Stalking the Ice Dragon: A Journey through Alaska and British Columbia (University of Arizona Press, 1991), which was the winner of the 1992 Governor's Award. Her writing has also been included in many literary and natural history journals and anthologies.

Zwinger has worked for organizations such as the Nature Conservancy, the Audubon Society and the Smithsonian, and has taught natural history and writing to people of all ages. She received her doctorate in art education from Penn State University in 1975.

Susan Zwinger