M.F.A. Faculty

MFA Core Faculty

  • Samuel Maio (poetry)
  • Cathleen Miller (nonfiction)
  • Alan Soldofsky (poetry)
  • Nick Taylor (fiction)
  • Selena Anderson (fiction)
  • Keenan Norris (fiction, nonfiction)

Additional Creative Writing Faculty

  • Scott Sublett (screenwriting)


  • Robert James (fiction)
  • Tod Edgerton (poetry)


Sam Maio

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

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

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.

Selena Anderson

Selena Anderson
Assistant Professor | Ph.D. University of Houston 
Faculty Offices 105, 408-924-4449 

Selena Anderson recently finished her PhD at University of Houston and completed her MFA at Columbia University. Her stories appear in such publications as BOMB, Fence, Oxford American, Callaloo, Georgia Review, and The Best of Gigantic, and have been honored with the Transatlantic/Henfield Prize and the Inprint Joan and Stanford Alexander Prize. She is working on a story collection and a novel.  

Keenan Norris

Keenan Norris
Assistant Professor; Director, Reed Magazine
PhD, University of California, Riverside

Faculty Offices 128 

Keenan Norris’s novel Brother and the Dancer won the 2012 James D. Houston Award and was nominated for the inaugural John Leonard Prize, a first books prize issued by the National Book Critics Circle. His chapbook By the Lemon Tree was nominated for the 2019 California Book Award. He is also the editor of the critical volume Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape. Keenan also recently signed a book deal with Goliad Press to publish his novella Luster. 

His short fiction appears in several literary journals, as well as the anthologies Oakland Noir, Inlandia: A Journey Through the Literature of Southern California’s Inland Empire and an upcoming anthology of San Bernardino literature. 

Keenan has also published journalism, editorials and academic scholarship. In popmatters.com, his journalism has explored Oakland’s relationship to Silicon Valley, as well as the exploitation of Black Studies programs by university athletic departments. He has published “Post-Mortem Morning: Oakland and the Remains of the Left” and “Ben Carson, Thug Life and Malcolm X” in the Los Angeles Review of Books and he has also published peer-reviewed scholarship in the Oxford Bibliographies in African-American Studies series, in the critical anthology Post-Soul Satire: Black Identity after Civil Rights and in Boom: A Journal of California, where his work has explored activismt work on behalf of asylum seekers from Central America and the aftermath of Oscar Grant's murder.

He has served as guest editor for the Oxford African-American Studies Center since 2014 with a focus on improving its archive of California scholarship. He is also editing a special issue of Words, Beats & Life: the Global Journal of Hip-Hop Culture focusing on street lit and served as faculty advisor to Issue #152 of Reed Magazine. He was a Yerba Buena Center for the Arts fellow from 2015-2017 and in that role developed, with Dr. Leslie Rabine, a multimedia installation, Writing Freedom (writingfreedom.net), for the February 2017 Yerba Buena Public Square event.

Scott Sublett

Scott Sublett

Associate Professor | MFA UCLA

Hugh Gillis Hall 212, 408-924-4572


Scott Winfield Sublett is writer-director-producer of Bye-Bye Bin Laden, named “Best Feature” at the South Beach International Animation Festival, and writer-director of Generic Thriller, a post-modern farce starring Oscar-winner Shirley Jones. Both features are currently available on DVD, Netflix and streaming.
He wrote the librettos and lyrics for the musical stage plays Die, Die, Diana; Bye-Bye Bin Laden!; and HavanaDiana 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 MagazineBye-Bye Bin Laden! was named "one the top five premieres of 2004" by The San Francisco Bay Guardian. Havana (under the title Imperialism: The Musical) received a workshop production at City Lights Theater. The independent feature Pizza Wars: The Movie, which he co-wrote, was screened at the Cinequest Film Festival and received national DVD distribution.
He has numerous independent film producing credits including as executive producer of All About Dad, named one of top ten Asian-American films of 2009 by Asia Pacific Arts, the online publication of the US China Institute at USC. Other indie features he has had a hand in producing include: Glory Boy Days; Cheer Up, Sam; and Cheap Fun.
His screenplay I Was a Teenage Sumo was optioned by Disney, and he has published hundreds of articles, essays and film critiques in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Times, The Washington Blade and United Press International. He was one of two producers of the premiere production of the stage adaptation of Khalid Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. A Professor at San Jose State University, he holds an M.F.A. in screenwriting from UCLA and a B.S. in radio/TV/film from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
He is a member of the faculty of the SJSU English Department’s M.F.A. Creative Writing Program, and leads SJSU’s wildly successful screenwriting program. In 2013 he won first place the Fade In Magazine screenwriting competition with his script The Good Coach, and his script Charleston Harbor won second place in the Beverly Hills Screenplay Contest.
In fall 2014 his book Screenwriting for Neurotics was published by the University of Iowa Press.


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


Interests: Creative Writing (fiction, nonfiction)

Tod Edgerton

Michael (Tod) Edgerton 
PhD, University of Georgia; MFA, Brown University

Faculty Offices 223