M.F.A. Faculty

MFA Core Faculty

  • Andrew Altschul (fiction)
  • Samuel Maio (poetry)
  • Cathleen Miller (nonfiction)
  • Alan Soldofsky (poetry)
  • Nick Taylor (fiction)

Additional Creative Writing Faculty

  • John Engell (fiction)
  • Persis Karim (poetry)
  • Scott Sublett (screenwriting)


  • Sally Ashton (poetry)
  • Kelly Harrison (fiction)
  • Robert James (fiction)
  • Neli Moody (poetry)


Andrew F. Altschul
Associate Professor
  &  Director, Center for Literary Arts | MFA UC Irvine
Faculty Offices 214, 408-924-4489

Andrew Foster Altschul is the author of the novels Lady Lazarus (2008) and Deus Ex Machina (2010). His short fiction and essays have appeared in publications including Esquire, McSweeney's, Ploughshares, Fence, One Story, StoryQuarterly, and anthologies such as Best New American Voices and O. Henry Prize Stories. A former music journalist and rock DJ, he is the Books Editor of The Rumpus.


Samuel Maio
Professor | Ph.D. University of Southern California
Faculty Offices 223, 408-924-4483

Samuel Maio is the author of a book of poems, The Burning of Los Angeles (1997), a Pulitzer Prize nominee of the Los Angeles Times, and a critical study, Creating Another Self: Voice in Modern American Personal Poetry (1995), a Christian Gauss Award finalist. Both books were published by the Thomas Jefferson University Press. Maio has published well over 100 poems, short stories, essays and reviews in periodicals such as: Antioch Review, Bloomsbury Review, Chariton Review, The Formalist, Northwest Review, The Southern California Anthology, and many others. Several of his poems from The Burning of Los Angeles were featured in the Los Angeles Times Book Review. The book was subsequently reviewed widely and is now in its second printing. His essays on modern poets and poetry appear frequently in The Formalist.

Formally trained in the scholarship of literature, Maio studied under the direction of renowned Americanists Jay Martin and Ronald Gottesman at the University of Southern California (USC), where he earned his Ph.D. in Modern Poetry in 1986. While at USC, he won the Academy of American Poets Prize. He is Professor of English at San Jose State University where he has taught since 1990, having previously been a member of the English faculty at the University of California at Davis. He is currently finishing his second book of criticism, Countermeasures: Metrical Poetry in the Modern Age, scheduled for 2002 publication, and he is at work on new poems and stories as well.


Cathleen Miller

Associate Professor & Reed Magazine Advisor | MFA Penn State
Faculty Offices 125, 408-924-4441

Cathleen Miller's memoir, The Birdhouse Chronicles, describes her move from San Francisco to a ramshackle farmhouse in Pennsylvania's Amish country. Birdhouse was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Miller is the co-author of the international bestseller Desert Flower, published in sixteen countries, with over two million copies in print. Her essays have appeared in the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Salon.com, Cimarron Review, Old House Journal, and the anthologies Travelers' Tales San Francisco and Wild Writing Women: Stories of World Travel. Currently she's at work on a biography of Dr. Nafis Sadik, an advocate for women's reproductive freedom and the first female director of the United Nations.

Miller was one of the founding members of the popular Bay Area group, the Wild Writing Women, which hosts a literary salon in San Francisco. In 2004 she served as the Distinguished Writer in Residence at St. Mary's College.


Alan Soldofsky
Professor & Director of Creative Writing Programs | MFA Iowa
Faculty Offices 106, 408-924-4432

Alan Soldofsky is the author of two collections of poetry, Kenora Station and Staying Home, both originally published as limited edition artist's books by Steam Press of Berkeley, intaglio prints by Lyman Piersma, book design by Alistair Johnston.

A graduate of the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop, he joined the San Jose State faculty in 1985 and directed first the San Jose Poetry Center, then the SJSU Center for Literary Arts, before being appointed director of the Creative Writing Program.

His poems have appeared in numerous magazines and quarterlies including: Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, The Nation, The North American Review, and Poetry East. A former contributing editor to Poetry Flash, he has also published criticism and reviews in Chelsea, Ironwood, and Quarry West as well as articles and essays on crossings between Modernist and Post-modernist poetry, one of which, "Nature and the Symbolic Order: The Dialogue Between Czeslaw Milosz and Robinson Jeffers," is included as a chapter in Robinson Jeffers: Dimensions of a Poet, edited by Robert Brophy (Fordham University Press, 1995).


Nick Taylor
Associate Professor | MFA Virginia
Faculty Offices 219, 408-924-4458

Nick Taylor is the author of the novel The Disagreement (2008), winner of the 11th Michael Shaara Prize for Excellence in Civil War Fiction. He has received fellowships from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the William R. Kenan Endowment for Historic Preservation.


John Engell
Professor, Department Chair | Ph.D. Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Faculty Offices 102, 408-924-4499

John Engell teaches Colonial and Nineteenth-century American literature, Film, and Creative Writing and has served as Chair of the Department of English & Comparative Literature since 2007. Engell has published stories in Appalachee Quarterly, The Chattahoochee Review, The South Carolina Review, and American Fiction: Best Unpublished Stories by American Writers. He has published critical essays in Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, Early American Literature, Studies in American Fiction, Film/Literature Quarterly, and elsewhere.


Persis Karim
Professor| Ph.D. University of Texas
Faculty Offices 216, 408-924-4476

Persis Karim is the editor of the anthology Let Me Tell You Where I've Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora (2007) and co-editor (with Mahammad Mehdi Khorrami) of A World Between: Poems, Short Stories, Essays by Iranian-Americans. Her poetry has been published in Reed Magazine, Caesura, Alimentum, HeartLodge, and Di-verse-City.


Scott Sublett

Associate Professor | MFA UCLA

Hugh Gillis Hall 128, 408-924-4572


Scott Sublett teaches screenwriting, playwriting and film history in the Department of Television, Radio, Film, and Theatre. He holds an M.F.A. in screenwriting from UCLA and a B.S. in radio/TV/film from Northwestern. He is the author of ten screenplays and winner of two screenwriting prizes: the Carl David Memorial Fellowship and the David Gattone Award. He wrote the librettos and lyrics for the musical comedies Die, Die, Diana and Bye-Bye Bin Laden. The former was mounted at the New York International Fringe Festival in a production noted in the New York Times, The New York Daily News and New York Magazine. Bye-Bye Bin Laden was named "one the top five premieres of 2004" by The San Francisco Bay Guardian. The independent feature Pizza Wars: The Movie, which he co-authored, was screened at the Cinequest film festival in 2002 and received national DVD distribution. His screenplay I Was a Teenage Sumo was optioned by Disney. He is currently working on his irst independent feature as writer-director, Generic Thriller. For seven years he wrote for The Washington Times in Washington, D.C., where he served as film critic, book reviewer and entertainment feature writer. His free-lance journalism has appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle and United Press International.


Sally Ashton
Lecturer | MFA Bennington
Faculty Offices 222, 408-924-4491

Sally Ashton is Editor-in-Chief of the DMQ Review, an online journal featuring poetry and art (www.dmqreview.com). She earned her MFA from Bennington Writing Seminars in 2003 and is the recipient of an Artist Fellowship, Poetry, from Arts Council Silicon Valley. She is the author of These Metallic Days. Poetry and reviews have appeared in Sentence: a journal of prose poetics, failbetter.com, Mississippi Review, and in Breathe: 101 Contemporary Odes.


Kelly Harrison
Lecturer  &  Director of Writing Programs | M.F.A. San Jose State
Faculty Offices 222, 408-924-4496

: Rhetoric & Composition, Creative Writing


Robert James
Lecturer | M.F.A. San Jose State
Faculty Offices 106, 408-924-5087


Interests: Creative Writing (fiction, nonfiction)


Neli Moody
Lecturer | M.F.A. San Jose State
Faculty Offices 217, 408-924-4494

Neli Moody is the author of After Altamira: Poems (Ishmael Reed Publishing Company, 2006).