Master of Fine Arts

Current Students

 



mark shaw

"The only way someone can improve his or her tennis skills is to compete with more talented tennis players. As a student at Covenant College and Washington University--St. Louis, I sometimes felt like I was one of the best writers in each one my creative writing courses. This was not because I was more talented than they were but because I worked harder than most of my classmates. The majority of them did not desire to become professional writers. However when I enrolled in UMSL's MFA program, I quickly realized that all of my new classmates were far more gifted than I was, and I needed their wisdom to sharpen my skills and to lift my writing to the privileged status of professional, published poetry and prose. Every semester I have been with the program my writing has improved a thousand fold.

I sometimes write Native American Literature, and I worried that my work might be denounced by my professors for not falling in line with the standards of Western Literature. Instead, I discovered that both my professors and my classmates encouraged me to experiment with various writing styles. It is a comforting thought to know that everyone in the MFA program will help me find my voice." - Mark Shaw

Mark Shaw is two-thirds of the way through the program but has taken time off to live on his American Indian reservation in Bowler, Wisconsin. As an enrolled member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Nation, he currently works for the Mohican News as a full-time staff reporter, photographer, and editor. 




  

JoshJoshua Anderson is an ordained Presbyterian minister, husband, father of three children, and a second year MFA student. A graduate of the University of Virginia's undergraduate Area Program in Poetry Writing, Joshua is the winner of the 2003 Rachel St. Paul Poetry Prize. 
 

freemanMatthew Freeman woke up to find himself a poet while a still lovelorn teenager in Dogtown, St. Louis. After an irregular journey he found himself back at St. Louis University, where he was twice given the Montesi Award for his poems. His fourth collection, The Boulevard of Broken Discourse, was recently published by Coffeetown Press. Matt teaches at Adapt, Missouri, and his proud to be in the MFA program at UMSL.


vasserJason Vasser began writing poetry while attending Visual Performing Arts Middle school at Marquette. While there he performed Paul Lawrence Dunbar’s poem A Negro Love Song, for their Black History program. Preparing for his performance, Jason learned to read and write poetry and the art form became his primary source of self-expression. He began his academic career by serving with AmeriCorps East St. Louis as a mentor to students at Wyvetta Hoover Young Middle School, located in Washington Park Illinois. Upon the completion of two years of service, he earned an education award which he used to enroll at the University of Missouri St. Louis and major in Anthropology. While at UMSL, Jason taught as a student teacher in the Center for Human Origin and Cultural Diversity where the subject matter focused on how concepts of race are societal constructions. Jason graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and a certificate in African Diaspora studies in 2012 and was accepted into the Master of Fine Arts program where he will continue to study poetry. 


Marisol

Marisol Ramirez came to her sense in the fall of 2011 and found the courage to call herself a poet. Earlier, she had tentatively been the future lawyer, the future teacher, the future marketing manager—never the writer. She took her first-ever workshop senior year of undergrad simply for pleasure. The problem with dabbling in passionate hobbies is that they might become careers.  In May 2012, She graduated from the University of Arizona with a BA in English and a Marketing Minor, headed for UMSL after a whirlwind of spontaneous applications to MFA programs across the nation. The last time she had taken poetry this seriously was in high school, where she had won the poetry contest three consecutive years and been published in the campus literary magazine. Now she has moved across country, away from her Arizona border town, taco stands, open range, rattlesnakes, chorizo con huevos, purple mountain ranges, and flaming sunsets to do what she loves—write.


Chip HouserChip Houser practiced architecture and interior design in Italy, Germany, Colorado, and most recently St. Louis before entering UMSL’s MFA progam to focus on writing fiction. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Kansas, a handful of state architectural licenses, and a Certificate in Creative Writing from Washington University. His fiction has placed in several contests, including the Writer’s Digest Your Story Contest, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild Annual Short Story Contest, and the Missouri Writer’s Guild Doris Mueller Poetry & Prose Contest. His lifelong commitment to picking at his festering emotional wounds informs his writing and helps keep his social calendar open.

Glenn BootheGlenn Boothe earned his BA in English in 1997 and soon after graduation started working in IT. He started as a PC Technician, then earned several certifications and now works with Engineering Application Systems as well as Microsoft's Active Directory and Exchange Mail Systems. He thinks the analytical skills one learns while earning an English degree lends well to the skills one needs to succeed in technology. A couple of years ago, he joined the St Louis Rowing Club and fell in love with the sport. Around the same time, partly because of the rowing, he returned to his first passion which was writing. It was then that he realized that he wanted return to college and pursue a MFA degree in Creative Writing. He believes that at the core of all creative works, no matter what the medium, are great stories. He hopes to tell his story someday with the help of the excellent faculty, and his peers, in the writing program at UMSL.

Christopher CableChristopher Alex Chablé is a writer with a background in Spanish and Latin American Studies. In addition to writing poetry, he researches Chicano / U.S. Latino issues and Native American and Mexican Literatures. His articles and reviews have appeared in publications from ABC-CLIO and Greenwood Press and Indigenous Peoples' Issues and Resources (IPIR). Chablé's translations news articles to English, Spanish and Portuguese have appeared in IPIR and The Occupied Wall Street Journal. His most recent publication is a Spanish translation of the pastry chapter of a cookbook from St. Louis' SouthSide Day Nursery.

the kent

Kent Walker is a graduate of Cape Girardeau’s Southeast Missouri State University. He taught Adult Education and English as a Second Language for two years. He authored, compiled, and self-published a flash fiction compilation titled, Raw Clips. He taught a creative writing class titled Flash Fiction "How Less is More" at Southeast Missouri State University. He has been known to write fiction that is drawn from his two years of experience in Iraq, and he also enjoys writing fiction with themes of magic surrealism.




StacyStacey Walker has always been writing. One of her mother's favorite stories to tell is when she would sit under the willow tree in the back yard when she was seven and write poems. However, her first serious interest in writing poetry was when she was an undergraduate at the University of Missouri-Columbia. This is where she took her first poetry workshop and fell in love with writing poetry. She graduated with a BA in English from the University of Missouri-Columbia, with an emphasis in creative writing, poetry. After taking a short six month break, she soon found herself wanting more college. Even though she was accepted into the MFA program at The Art Institute of Chicago, she opted out and followed her then boyfriend down to Southeast Missouri where the only university there offered an MA in English. She was gladly accepted into the program where she began her new academic and teaching career. While there, she had the opportunity to work with some wonderful faculty and writers. She was an assistance editor on Southeast Missouri State University Press Big Muddy: The Journal of the Mississippi River Valley and has published many reviews on different collections of poetry in previous issues. In addition, as a student, she was a part of the Journey student reading series and magazine. Since graduating with Academic Distinction and completing her creative master thesis with a collection of essays and poems, she has been teaching at Southeast Missouri State University for the last 12 years. She is a full-time faculty member and teaches a variety of courses from beginning composition to advanced composition, from children's literature to Fiction and the Human Experience, and even Introduction to Creative Writing. Most recently, Stacey has enjoyed several independent publications in poetry and fiction. Within the last two years, she and her new husband, along with three other writers from Southeast Missouri, have published their own collection of flash fiction entitled Raw Clips. In the end, she is very excited about the opportunity to finally obtain the MFA she has always wanted, and she can't wait to move back to the area since being gone for the last 18 years. She wants to live near where she grew up and finally be closer to her parents so she, her husband, and their "baby on the way" can enjoy their new family adventures. 

cameronCameron Burson graduated from UMSL in the Spring of 2013 with a degree in English, leaving a trail of broken promises to more than a few other academic pursuits, including art, economics, psychology, and fitness. In the end, he realized that taking a class that required writing simply because it would be a welcome distraction from the monotony of other courses was akin to taking Pepto-Bismol to cure a stomach ache while actively gorging oneself. While he has been involved in many industries that have been responsible for traveling and a wealth of experience, this desire to write drove him to seek out UMSL's MFA Program in the hopes of establishing himself according to the literary standards of those that came before him.


buckley

Sarah Y. Moore is excited to join the MFA program after a three year break from academia. While earning a BA in journalism from Truman State University, Sarah spent time working as a reporter for the university's news station and travel magazine.  Between deadlines, Sarah enrolled in several writing workshops which helped her discover her passion for writing poetry.  Although her day job is in business administration, she has always considered herself a creative writer above all.   When she's not drinking inordinate amounts of coffee and tea, Sarah enjoys frequenting small businesses and reading autobiographies.


Marisol

 

Rafal Redlinski spent three sweltering summers tearing down high schools in Chicago before realizing that he was not cut out to live the life of a demolition worker. With that work experience in mind—along with the image of three pairs of work boots completely destroyed—he vowed to take his college coursework as seriously as possible. He graduated summa cum laude from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and is eager to start the MFA program at UMSL. His fiction writing is informed by the experience of being a first-generation American and the surprisingly permanent effects of an unsuccessful high school athletic career. Aside from writing, he is an avid poker player and an even more avid food-eater.

 



Glenn Boothe

Mary Grace Buckley is happy to be back at UMSL to join the MFA Program and devote herself to fiction.  She previously flexed her creative muscles as an undergraduate before earning her B. A. in English in 2012.  During that time, she participated in the Pierre Laclede Honors College’s creative writing club, After Hours, and served on the editorial committee of its annual literary journal, Bellerive.  In her final semester, as an undergraduate, she won the Bessy Paterson-Gephardt award for her short story, “Beyond.”  She served as an editorial intern at St. Louis Magazine during her senior year and later as a public relations intern at the Nine Network of Public Media, and she would love to pursue a career in journalism or public relations to support her fiction writing habit.  Her tastes and style currently run towards the whimsical and humorous, and she can’t wait to see how it evolves over the course of her time in the program.  Fun fact: she is an avid amateur trombone player who marched in the 116th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena on New Year’s Day, 2005 with the Lindbergh High School “Spirit of St. Louis” Marching Band and currently plays in the community band at St. Louis Community College’s Meramec campus.


Christopher Cable

Daniel Musgrave spent seven years doing cognitive research with great apes before the unfairness of captivity finally became too much for him to bear.  For his work on ape gestures, he earned a M.A. from Iowa State University in Anthropology and received numerous awards for anthropological research. Daniel found the freedom of fiction writing to be the best salve for years spent in and around cages once he resigned. Now, his most sincere hope is that his writing will have a positive impact on animal welfare and force us to reconsider our conceptions of what it means to be ‘human’ and be ‘animal’ before it’s too late for many species. When he’s not writing, Daniel enjoys being outdoors, either biking or backpacking, and spending time with his dog and wonderful wife.

 Abigail Matthews  

Abigail Matthews joins the MFA program while continuing a career as a counselor. After receiving a master's degree in counseling, she worked as both a social worker and a counselor in private practice for nine years. She lived overseas in England for four years where she began to take seriously her love of poetry and the British sense of humor. Abigail loves her three cats, digging in her garden and spending time with her husband and friends.