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MFA Students

Updated 2/26/18

1st Year

  • Tina Lawson

    T. M. Lawson

    BA, English, Creative Writing, UCLA

    Writing and research interests: Open poetics, hybrid prose with more integration with visual aesthetics (including typography, collages, and origami), nature motifs, trans/feminist/animal subject matter, sexuality, interpersonal relationships, the acts of consumption and cannibalism, the human body, social justice (abuse, aggression, and violence of all varieties) within our contemporary global-Western culture.

    T.M. Lawson is working with open poetics, leaning into hybrid prose, with more integration with visual aesthetics (including typography, collages, and origami). They gravitates toward nature motifs, as well as trans/feminist/animal subject matter, investigating sexuality, interpersonal relationships, the acts of consumption and cannibalism, and the human body, as well as highlighting moral values against social justice (abuse, aggression, and violence of all varieties) within our contemporary global-Western culture.

    Published in Los Angeles Review, White Stag, Entropy Magazine, and Poets.org. Editor for Angel City Review.

    Selected publications: Bonsai Bondage (.docx)

  • Ayden LeRoux

    Ayden LeRoux

    BA, The Interaction of Text and Image, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University

    Writing and research interests: Creative nonfiction, epistolary writing, poetry, fiction, visual art, art theory, material poetics, gender and sexuality, food studies, pilgrimage.

    Ayden LeRoux is an artist, author, educator, and critic. LeRoux’ photography, performance, video, and installations have been presented in solo exhibitions at IDIO Gallery, Flux Factory, and the Institute for American Art (IFAA), as well as in group shows at chashama and the International Photography Festival, among others. Her work has been exhibited in China, Cuba, Greece, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, and San Francisco. She has participated in residencies at A-Z West, the ACE Hotel, the Alaskan Parks & Recreation Dept., and SPACE on Ryder Farm. She is a contributor to Glasstire, and she has written for edibleManhattan, Eyes Towards the Dove, Theo Westenberger, and Works & Conversations. In addition to her own practice, Ayden collaborates frequently and is the Assistant Director of Odyssey Works, a performance group that studies the life of one individual and makes immersive, durational experiences for that person. She is the author of two books on their work, Isolation and Amazement (Samsara Press, 2012), and Odyssey Works: Transformative Experiences for an Audience of One (Princeton Architectural Press, 2016) co-authored with Abraham Burickson. Odyssey Works has been featured by The New York Times, ArtInfo, Newsweek, BOMB, Hyperallergic, the Marina Abramovic Institute, Vulture, NPR's Studio 360, Fast Company, and San Francisco Magazine. She has lectured and led workshops at Adobe, the Brooklyn Museum, MICA, Fordham University, and Battersea Centre for the Arts, among others.

    Selected publications:
    Odyssey Works (Princeton Architectural Press, 2016)
    Excerpts from "Every Bed I've Ever Slept In" (Nonfiction Vignettes)
    "Matryoshka Doll" (essay)

  • Evelyn Murdock

    Evelyn Sassafras Murdock

    BA, English and Theatre with a focus on Dramaturgy, University of Alabama at Huntsville

    Writing and research interests: counter-culture, queer studies, Theatre of the Absurd, dramaturgy, Southern Gothic writing, punk rock, science fiction, animation, noise.

    Evelyn Sassafras Murdock started college in 2010 after her band broke up and accidentally became a poet. Now she's a MFA candidate at UC San Diego. As a trans writer from Alabama, Evelyn often writes about queer experiences and life on the fringes of society in the Deep South. She's won some awards and stuff but the other day she pet a really cool dog and she'd rather tell you about that.

  • Alison A. Ogunmokun

    Alison A. Ogunmokun

    BA, English, DePaul University

    Writing and research interests: African American Studies, American Literature, Black Diaspora, Relationships, Malawian Culture, Nigerian Culture, First Generation American essays and poetry, Jazz, Harlem Renaissance, and Social Justice.

    Alison A. Ogunmokun is a zesty girl with a deep passion for moisturizing from Bloomington, IL. She's a writer, comedian, and MFA candidate at the University of California in San Diego. Born to Nigerian and Malawian immigrant parents, Alison writes about the intersection of her often marginalized identities. She was the co-curator of a Live Lit show in Chicago that featured women and non-binary artists called 'Spread Your Own Gossip'.

2nd Year

  • Zachary Bushnell

    Zachary Tichauer Bushnell

    BA, Literature and Creative Writing

    Writing and research interests: Prose, poetry, theory, performance, game, situation, surveillance, artificial intelligence, artificial life, relation, involvement, event, divination, music, anatomy, hacking.

    Zachary Tichauer Bushnell writes and performs work concerned with the position of an observer in, of and for a world proven to be altered by observation. His essays, stories and poems have been published in Juked, Poetry at Sangam and No Guarantees.

    Selected publications: http://poetry.sangamhouse.org/2016/07/zachary-bushnell/

  • Valentina Calvache

    Valentina Calvache

    BA, Communication, Universidad Javeriana (Bogotá, Colombia)

    Writing and research interests: Prose. Translation, Digital Humanities, Pop Culture, Cultural Production, Hispanics/Latinos in the United States, Internet Architecture, Fashion.

    Valentina Calvache is a bilingual writer concerned with the liminal intersections between fiction, fashion and cultural production. Her work has been published in, among others, Exclama, Don Juan, Revista Antioquia, Bacánika, Antología de cuento Instituto Caro y Cuervo, & Alchemy.

    Selected publications:
    Pure Blaze (.docx)

  • Shelby Driscoll-Salemi

    Shelby London Salemi

    BA, English and Creative Writing, Thematic Minor in Spanish and Portuguese, University of Arizona

    Writing and research interests: Ecopoetics, hybrid forms, translation.

    Shelby London Salemi is a multi-genre writer from the Sonoran Desert whose work has appeared in Spiral Orb and The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide. Her translations of teen Brazilian poet Gabi Helena Borges appeared in Alchemy.

    Selected publications:
    Translations of poet Gabriela Helena Borges
    translating a shell and To Me: Travel Writing (.docx)

  • Estefani Loza Torre

    Estefani (Gidi) Loza Torre

    Poet, editor, translator.

  • Calvin Walds

    Calvin Walds

    BA, Political Science and Ethnic Studies, Albion College
    MA, Pan-African Studies, Syracuse University
    MS, General and Special Education, Touro College

    Writing and research interests: Twentieth Century African Diaspora Literature; Black Travel Writing; James Baldwin studies; Geography; Fugitivity and Marronage; Race and Continental Philosophy.

    Calvin Walds is a writer from Detroit. His thinking and writing often concern fugitive blackness, the possibilities of sound, and the afterlives of the archive. His writing has been published in Callaloo Journal, The Felt, and Coldnoon: Travel Poetics.

    Selected publications: https://hyperallergic.com/394732/one-poem-by-calvin-walds/

3rd Year

  • Katherine Agard

    Katherine Agard

    Katherine Agard is a writer from Trinidad and Tobago currently based in California. She travels frequently between North and South. Her writing has been supported by Lambda Literary, Kimbilio, Callaloo and VONA/Voices of our Nation. She writes and performs her relationship to color—material, socio-cultural, spiritual—and the language which allows us to perceive it.

  • Gina Srmabekian

    Gina Alexandria

    Gina Alexandra is an amateur human but an expert wolf.

    Selected publications: http://thediagram.com/16_6/alexandra.html

MFA in Writing

Program Director
Anna Joy Springer

Graduate Coordinator
Tania Mayer
(858) 534-8849

2019 Application Period
Sep. 4 - Dec. 12, 2018

Decision Notifications
February - March 2019

Program Begins
September 2019