Guest Speakers

The low residency MFA in Creative Writing degree can be completed in two years through distance mentorship and twice yearly campus residencies. During our residencies in January (8 days) and June (11 days), students will participate in workshops, craft talks, afternoon panels and evening readings. Students engage with Dominican faculty and an illustrious lineup of guest speakers in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, narrative / poetic medicine, memoir, and publishing.

Residency Guest Speakers

June 3-13, 2018


Ellery Akers

Ellery Akers is the author of two collections of poems, Knocking on the Earth and Practicing the Truth, as well as a children’s novel, Sarah’s Waterfall. She has won thirteen national writing awards, including the Poetry International Prize, the John Masefield Award, and an Independent Publisher Book Award. Her poetry has been featured on National Public Radio and has appeared in such journals as Poetry, The New York Times Magazine, The Sun, and The American Poetry Review. An award-winning visual artist as well, Akers has exhibited her artwork in museums and galleries nationally. She recently won the Watson Cross, Jr. Award from the National Watercolor Society.

Ellen Bass

Ellen Bass’s most recent books of poetry are Like a Beggar and The Human Line. She co-edited, with Florence Howe, the first major anthology of women’s poetry, No More Masks! An Anthology of Poems by Women. Her poetry has appeared frequently in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, and many other journals. Among her awards are a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Fellowship from the California Arts Council, three Pushcart Prizes, The Lambda Literary Award, The Pablo Neruda Prize, The Larry Levis Prize and the New Letters Prize. Her nonfiction books include Free Your Mind: The Book for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Youth and The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse. She is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and teaches in the MFA writing program at Pacific University.

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,, 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.

Rebecca Black

Rebecca Black’s first book, “Cottonlandia,” won a Juniper Prize from the University of Massachusetts Press. “Hers is a poetry full of promise and pain, migrating from Otis Redding to nanotechnology, “ writes New Yorker poetry editor Kevin Young. A former Wallace Stegner at Stanford University and National Endowment For the Arts fellow, in 2011 she was a Fulbright visiting professor at the Seamus Heaney Center in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She has been the Director of Creative Writing at Santa Clara University and a member of the MFA faculty at UNC Greensboro. She lives in Albany, California where she serves as the city’s 2016-2020 Poet Laureate.

Kim Culbertson

Kim Culbertson is the award-winning author of the YA novels Songs for a Teenage Nomad (Sourcebooks 2010), Instructions for a Broken Heart (Sourcebooks 2011), Catch a Falling Star (Scholastic 2014), The Possibility of Now (Scholastic 2016), and The Wonder of Us (Scholastic 2017). Much of her inspiration for her novels comes from the work she’s done as a high school teacher since 1997. In 2012, Kim wrote her eBook novella The Liberation of Max McTrue for her students, who, over the years, have taught her far more than she has taught them. She currently lives in Nevada City, CA, with her husband and daughter.

Albert Flynn DeSilver

Albert Flynn DeSilver is a poet, memoirist, novelist, speaker, and workshop leader. His work has appeared in more than 100 literary journals worldwide including ZYZZYVA, New American Writing, Hanging Loose, Jubilat, Exquisite Corpse, and many others. He is the author of several books of poems, including Letters to Early Street and Walking Tooth & Cloud—as well as the memoir Beamish Boy, which was named one of Kirkus Reviews “Best Books of 2012.” His latest book is Writing as a Path to Awakening: A Year to Becoming an Excellent Writer & Living an Awakened Life. Albert served as Marin County California’s very first Poet Laureate from 2008-2010. DeSilver teaches at the Omega Institute, Esalen Institute, the 1440 Multiversity, and at writing conferences nationally.

Courtney Donovan

Dr. Courtney Donovan is a health geographer who specializes in visual methodologies and narrative medicine. She examines how graphic narratives convey the importance of place, embodiment, and experience in overlooked health encounters and perspectives. Her research explores art production as a methodological approach and as a tool that promotes social justice and health equity. She is the co-editor of Writing Intimacy into Feminist Geography. She is a Truth Fellow with the Yerba Buena Center for Arts, and currently developing a community-based multimedia narrative medicine project, which aims to foster dialogue on Bay Area health disparities.

Rebecca Foust

Rebecca Foust has published five books of poetry, most recently Paradise Drive, reviewed in venues including the Times Literary Supplement, Georgia Review, Harvard Review, and Philadelphia Inquirer. Her poems, essays, short stories, and reviews appear widely. Recent Recognition includes the James Hearst Poetry Prize judged by Jane Hirshfield, American Literary Review’s Fiction Prize judged by Garth Greenwell, fellowships from MacDowell, Sewanee, and the Frost Place, and recent appointment as Marin County Poet Laureate. She is the poetry editor and writes a weekly column for Women's Voices for Change, and an assistant editor reading fiction for Narrative Magazine.

John Fox

John Fox is a poet and certified poetry therapist. He is author of Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making (1997) and Finding What You Didn't Lose: Expressing Your Truth and Creativity Through Poem-Making (1995) and numerous essays in a range of books on subjects of spirituality, education, writing, medicine, psychology and healing. His work is featured in the PBS documentary, Healing Words: Poetry and Medicine (2008). John has brought poetry as healer to pastoral care departments in medical schools and hospitals through the United States and internationally in Ireland, England, Israel, Kuwait, Germany, United Arab Emirates, South Korea and Canada. He is President of The Institute for Poetic Medicine, a nonprofit he founded in 2005. You can write to him at and find out more about his work and the training provided by the Institute at

Dawn Gross

Hospice and Palliative medicine physician, educator, writer, public speaker, and radio host of Dying to Talk, Dawn M. Gross, MD, PhD, is dedicated to transforming the taboo around talking about death. A story-teller at heart, Dawn’s writing has appeared in several anthologies as well as The New York Times, JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine and Science. Her first book of non-fiction is in the works.

Perry Guevara

Perry Guevara, PhD is at work on a book project, Inhuman Depressions, which brings together sixteenth and seventeenth-century literature, cognitive science, the history of medicine, and ecology. His interdisciplinary approach to literature is motivated by past experience in biomedical research, studying, at first, the genetic basis of Parkinson’s Disease and, most recently, the narratives of patients undergoing deep brain stimulation for treatment-resistant depression.

Kate Peper

Kate Peper is a freelance designer and award-winning watercolor painter. Her chapbook, Dipped In Black Water, won the New Womens’s Voices Award from Finishing Line Press, 2016. She was a recipient of a Marin Arts Council Individual Artist Grant for poetry and her work has been nominated five times for a Pushcart Prize. Her poetry has appeared in many journals including The Baltimore Review, Cimarron Review, Gargoyle, The Lindenwood Review, Rattle, Spillway, Tar River Review, and others. She lives just north of San Francisco with her husband and semi-feral dog, Hannah.

Kate Peper

Carlos Rodriguez, MA is a poet and playwright with poetry in various small presses/journals, and his one-act play, "A Place You Can Go," was performed in San Francisco through the Playwright's Foundation. He has studied creative writing at three universities - University of Arizona, University of CA - Davis, and Stanford University - and has taught creative writing at both UC-Davis and Dominican University of CA, where he currently teaches. His interest in narrative / poetic medicine stems from his study of the psychoanalytic endeavor of "putting words to feelings."

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.

Nina Schuyler

Nina Schuyler is the author of The Translator, which won the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Award and was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Writing Prize. Her first novel, The Painting, was nominated for the Northern California Book Award and was named a "Year's Finest Best Book" by the San Francisco Chronicle and a "fearless debut" by MSNBC. It’s been translated into Chinese, Portuguese, and Serbian. Nina’s stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her work has appeared in ZYZZYVA, Santa Clara Review, Fugue, The Meadowland Review, The Battered Suitcase, and other literary journals. She teaches creative writing at the University of San Francisco and writing classes at Book Passage. She lives in Northern California, with her husband and two sons.

Prartho Sereno

Prartho Sereno was the 4th Poet Laureate of Marin County (2015-2017) and author of three prize-winning poetry collections: Indian Rope Trick (forthcoming from Blue Light Press, 2018), Elephant Raga, and Call from Paris. She is also author/illustrator of an award-winning gift-book, Causing a Stir: The Secret Lives & Loves of Kitchen Utensils. She has been a California Poet in the School since 1999 and was awarded a Radio Disney Super Teacher Award in 2005 for that work. She is also the creator/facilitator of a popular, 12-years-and-running writing series at the College of Marin: "The Poetic Pilgrimage: Poem-Making as Spiritual Practice.” Prartho shares her enthusiasm for creativity in workshops that incorporate dance, music, and the visual arts with senior citizens, college students, incarcerated youth, and Alzheimer's patients.

giovanni singleton

giovanni singleton’s debut collection Ascension, informed by the music and life of Alice Coltrane, received the California Book Award Gold Medal. Her writing has also been exhibited in the Smithsonian Institute’s American Jazz Museum, San Francisco’s first Visual Poetry and Performance Festival, and on the building of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She is the 2017-18 Holloway Lecturer in Poetry at University of California-Berkeley and founding editor of nocturnes (re)view of the literary arts, a journal dedicated to experimental work of the African Diaspora and other contested spaces. Canarium Books recently published a collection of her visual work entitled AMERICAN LETTERS: works on paper. 

Gail Strickland

Gail Strickland —classicist, poet and musician—was recognized by The Baltimore Review & Writers’ Digest and published by the Oxford University Journal New Satyrica. Gail has translated much of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Her debut novel, Night of Pan, first book of the Oracle of Delphi Trilogy—a mythic journey of the young Oracle in ancient Greece—was published November 2014 by Curiosity Quills Press. With five-star reviews from The Literary Classics Review, Peter S. Beagle (author of The Last Unicorn), and Thanasis Maskaleris, Gail has presented talks worldwide, bringing us an historical fantasy based deeply on history and instilled with the spirit and poetry of an ancient time.


Past Residency Guest Speakers

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