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

January 11-16, 2020


Gillian Conoley

Gillian Conoley received the 2017 Shelley Memorial Award for lifetime achievement from the Poetry Society of America. She was also awarded the Jerome J. Shestack Poetry Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and a Fund for Poetry Award. Her most recent collection: A Little More Red Sun on the Human: New and Selected Poems is just out with Nightboat Books. She is the author of seven previous books, including PEACE, an Academy of American Poets Standout Book and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Conoley’s translations of three books by Henri Michaux, Thousand Times Broken, appeared in 2014 with City Lights. Conoley is Poet-in-Residence and Professor of English at Sonoma State University where she edits Volt.

Michelle Herman

Michelle Herman is the author of three novels: Missing, Dog, and Devotion, as well as three essay collections, The Middle of Everything, Stories We Tell Ourselves, and Like A Song and a book for children, A Girl’s Guide to Life. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in Story, American Scholar, O, the Oprah Magazine, Conjunctions, The Southern Review, and many other journals. She also writes a weekly advice column for Slate and has taught creative writing for many years at the Ohio State University, where she also directs a graduate interdisciplinary program across all the arts.

Susan Kelly-Dewitt

Susan Kelly-DeWitt is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow and the author Gravitational Tug (forthcoming 2020), Spider Season (Cold River Press, 2016), The Fortunate Islands (Marick Press, 2008) and nine online and small press collections; her work has also appeared in many anthologies, and in print and online journals at home and abroad. She has been a reviewer for Library Journal, editor-in-chief of the online journal Perihelion, Program Director for the Sacramento Poetry Center and Women's Wisdom Arts Program, a Poet in the Schools and in the prisons, a blogger for Coal Hill Review and an instructor for UC Davis Division of Continuing Education. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, the Northern California Book Reviewers Association and a contributing editor for Poetry Flash.

Thomas Larson

Journalist, book/music critic, and memoirist Thomas Larson is the author of Spirituality and the Writer: A Personal Inquiry (Swallow Press). He has also written The Sanctuary of Illness: A Memoir of Heart Disease (Hudson Whitman), The Saddest Music Ever Written: The Story of Samuel Barber’s ‘Adagio for Strings’ (Pegasus Press), and The Memoir and the Memoirist: Reading and Writing Personal Narrative (Swallow Press). He is a twenty-year staff writer for the San Diego Reader, a six-year book review editor for River Teeth, and a former music critic for the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Raina J. León

Raina J. León is an Afro-Latina, native Philadelphian, daughter, sister, madrina, comadre, partner, poet, writer, and teacher educator. She believes in collective action and community work, the profound power of holding space for the telling of our stories, and the liberatory practice of humanizing education. She seeks out communities of care and craft and is a member of the Carolina African American Writers Collective, Cave Canem, CantoMundo, Macondo. She is the author of three collections of poetry, Canticle of Idols, Boogeyman Dawn, and sombra: (dis)locate (2016), the chapbooks, profeta without refuge (2016) and Areyto to Atabey: Essays of (the) mothering self in the Afro-Boricua. She has received numerous fellowships and residencies, including most recently at Alley Cat Books (Fall 2019) and the Museum of the African Diaspora (Fall 2018) and is a founding editor of The Acentos Review, an online quarterly, international journal devoted to the promotion and publication of Latinx arts. She is an associate professor of education at Saint Mary’s College of California and recently completed work as the coordinator for the poet-in-residence program at the Museum of the African Diaspora.

Terry Lucas

Terry Lucas is the author of two award-winning poetry chapbooks, Altar Call and If They Have Ears to Hear, and two full-length poetry collections: In This Room and Dharma Rain. His work has received numerous awards, including the 2014 Crab Orchard Review Feature Award in Poetry, the fifth annual Littoral Press Poetry Prize, and five Pushcart Prize nominations. Terry’s poems, reviews, and essays have appeared in dozens of national literary journals. He has taught in the Chicago Public School System as a Master Poet in the Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center’s Writing Center. Terry is the current Poet Laureate for Marin County California. He is a graduate of New England College MFA and is the former co-executive editor of Trio House Press.

Dawn McGuire

Dawn McGuire is a neurologist-poet and the author of four poetry collections, most recently American Dream with Exit Wound, a California Book Award finalist. She has received the Indie Book Award in Poetry for her 2012 collection, The Aphasia Cafe, and the Sarah Lawrence/Campbell Corner Prize for “poems that treat larger themes with lyric intensity.” Her work appears in Zyzzyva, Nimrod International, Narrative and numerous other literary magazines, and has been featured in a New Yorker poetry podcast.

Joshua McKinney

Joshua McKinney’s most recent book of poetry is Small Sillion (Parlor Press, 2019). His work has appeared in such journals as Boulevard, Denver Quarterly, Kenyon Review, New American Writing, and many others. He is the recipient of The Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize, The Dickinson Prize, The Pavement Saw Chapbook Prize, and a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Writing. He is co-editor of the online eco-poetry zine, Clade Song. A member of Senkakukan Dojo of Sacramento, he has studied Japanese sword arts for over thirty years.

Indigo Moor

Poet Laureate Emeritus of Sacramento, Indigo Moor’s fourth book of poetry Everybody’s Jonesin’ for Something, took second place in the University of Nebraska Press’ Backwater Prize and will be published spring 2021. His second book, Through the Stonecutter’s Window, won Northwestern University Press’s Cave Canem prize. His first and third books, Tap-Root and In the Room of Thirsts & Hungers, were both part of Main Street Rag’s Editor’s Select Poetry Series. Indigo is a former teacher at the Stonecoast MFA Program. He is on the advisory board for the Sacramento Poetry Center, a Cave Canem fellow, the resident artist at 916 ink.

Angela Pneuman

Angela Pneuman is the author of a collection of short stories, Home Remedies, and the novel Lay It on My Heart, from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Her fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, New England Review, and many other literary magazines, and she has written nonfiction for The Believer, Salon, and The Rumpus. Since 1999 she has taught creative writing at Stanford, where she was a Stegner Fellow, and for Stanford Continuing Studies. She also serves as the Executive Director for the Napa Valley Writers' Conference, now in its 40th year. Angela holds an MFA in writing and a PhD in English and is currently at work on a new novel based on a real-life crime.

Evie Shockley

Evie Shockley is the author of semiautomatic and the new black, both winners of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry; semiautomatic was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the LA Times Book Prize. Her publications include as well the critical study Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry and poems and essays appearing recently and forthcoming in The Paris Review, Kenyon Review, Obsidian, The Black Scholar, Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry & Opinion, The New Emily Dickinson Studies, New Literary History, and the PoetryNow podcast series. Among her honors are the Stephen Henderson Award, the Holmes National Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the American Council of Learned Societies. She is Professor of English at Rutgers University, New Brunswick.

Tess Taylor

Tess Taylor is the author of the chapbook The Misremembered World, selected by Eavan Boland for the Poetry Society of America’s inaugural chapbook fellowship, The Forage House, which was a finalist for the Believer poetry prize, and Work & Days, which was named one of the best books of poetry of 2016 by The New York Times. Ilya Kaminsky recently hailed her as “the poet for our moment.” In spring 2020 she will publish two books of poems: Last West, part of Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures exhibition at the MoMA, and Rift Zone, from Red Hen Press. She is poetry reviewer for NPR’s All Things Considered.

Tony Vidal

Tony Vidal (Producer, Director, Writer) studied screenwriting at USC and later became head story analyst at Orion Pictures and The Ladd Company. He was hired by Summertime Films to co-write Her Best Move, an indy feature about girls soccer that was distributed by MGM and aired on The Disney Channel. Tony then wrote The Prankster, a teen comedy/romance produced by his own production company, Prankster Entertainment. The Prankster was distributed by Strand Releasing on numerous platforms including Netflix and Hulu, and had a successful two year run on Showtime and Starz. Recently, Tony wrote and directed Baja, which was theatrically released by AMC Independent in 2018, and is currently on Amazon and all major platforms.

Past Residency Guest Speakers

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