Faculty Mentors

MFA in Creative Writing Faculty Mentors

Joan Baranow

Joan Baranow, PhD was the founding director of the MFA program.  Her poetry has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Paris Review, The Antioch Review, Spillway, and other magazines. Her poetry has also appeared in the anthology Women Write Their Bodies: Stories of Illness and Recovery (Kent State). She has published three books of poetry: Morning: Three Poems, Blackberry Winter, and Living Apart. A long-time member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, she has won Individual Artists Fellowships in Poetry from the Marin Arts Council and from the Ohio Arts Council. With her husband, physician and poet David Watts, she produced the PBS documentary Healing Words: Poetry & Medicine. Her second documentary, The Time We Have, is currently in post-production.

Thomas Burke

Thomas Burke, MFA has fiction and literary non-fiction published in magazines such as The James White Review, Harrington Gay Men’s Fiction Quarterly, The Chiron Review, and the Evergreen Chronicles; in webzines; and in anthologies including Queer and Catholic (Routledge). He is the author of a story collection Where Is Home. Twice nominated for a Pushcart prize, he received the Steven L. Smith Prize for Gay Fiction. In addition to creative works Burke has also published and presented on pedagogy and has worked with faculty to develop holistic assessments of writing. He holds an M.F.A. in Writing from the University of San Francisco and an M.A. in Language and Civilization from the Université de Paris, la Sorbonne.

Judy Halebsky

Judy Halebsky, PhD is the director of the MFA program and the author of Tree Line and Sky=Empty, which won the New Issues Poetry Prize. Her chapbook Space/Gap/Interval/Distance won the Poets-under-forty award from Sixteen Rivers Press. She also writes text for performance and creates live stories. Her play, The Weaver and the Dress was staged at Willamette University. She holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from the University of California, Davis and an M.F.A. in English & Creative Writing from Mills College. Her honors include fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Millay Colony, and the Vermont Studio Center as well as a Graves Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Humanities.

Marianne Rogoff

Marianne Rogoff, PhD is the author of the memoir Silvie's Life, which has been translated into Portuguese, adopted to teach medical ethics, and optioned for film. Six stories in her 2016 collection Love Is Blind in One Eye: 7 Stories were nominated for the Pushcart Prize. In 2017, a novella-in-flash was shortlisted for the international Bath Flash Fiction Award. Her travel stories have appeared in The Best Travel Writing and The Best Women’s Travel Writing, including a Solas Bronze Award. She has also published numerous essays and book reviews in The Rumpus, San Francisco Chronicle, and Bloomsbury Review.

Spring 2019 Manuscript Consultants


Rick Benjamin

Rick Benjamin is the Associate Director of Community Engagement at the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center of UCSB. He served as the State Poet of Rhode Island from 2013-2016 and has taught at Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, the MFA Program in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College, and in community and assisted living centers—where he has passed good time in the company of people who range in age from six to ninety-six. His poems and essays have appeared in PRØOF, Watershed, The Providence Journal, Tongue, 350.org, The Writer’s Circle, American Poets in the 21st Century: The New Poetics, Urthona: An International Buddhist Journal of the Arts, Home: An Anthology of Ars Poetica, and La Petite Zine.

Susan Terris

Susan Terris is editor of Spillway Magazine and a poetry editor of Pedestal Magazine. Her most recent books are Take Two: Film Studies (Omnidawn Publishing, Fall 2017), Memos (Omnidawn Publishing), and Ghost of Yesterday: New & Selected Poems (Marsh Hawk Press). She is the author of 6 books of poetry, 16 chapbooks, 3 artist's books, and one play. Journal publications include The Southern Review, Denver Quarterly, Georgia Review, and Ploughshares. A poem of hers from Field appeared in Pushcart Prize XXXI. A poem from Memos, which was published by the Denver Quarterly was in Best American Poetry 2015.

David Watts

Dr. David Watts’ second book of stories, The Orange Wire Problem, along with Bedside Manners, embodies explorations into the complexities, ethics and mysteries of healing. He has published five books of poetry, one under his pseudonym, Harvey Ellis, and produced two CDs of “word-jazz.” He is a producer of the PBS program Healing Words: Poetry and Medicine and has been an on-camera television host for PBS, Lifetime Network, and KTVU-TV. He was elected to Best Doctors in America, an honor bestowed on the top five percent of practicing physicians. He founded two summer writing workshops for poets and writers with an interest in illness and healing, one at Sarah Lawrence College and another at Dominican University. A gastroenterologist at UCSF, he lectures throughout the USA in medical and nursing schools on how to keep compassion alive in a complex and hurried world.

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