Master of Fine Arts

Current Students


AngieAngie O'Gorman's articles and essays have appeared in America MagazineCommonwealNational Catholic Reporter, and Natural Bridge. She compiled and edited a collection of essays entitled,  The Universe Bends Toward Justice: A Reader on Christian Nonviolence in the United States.  Her first novel, The Book of Sins, was published in 2010.  Susan Neville, author of Sailing the Inland Sea: On Writing, Literature, and Land, said of O'Gorman's novel, "She has imagined a future in which capitalism has bought out Christianity....Like all good dystopian novels, The Book of Sins asks us to consider what will happen if present trends continue, and her fully-realized characters cause us to question our own complicity in those trends."  Originally from New York, O'Gorman has lived in Guatemala, Honduras, and the West Bank where she worked with unarmed peacekeeping teams. She now lives in St. Louis, Missouri and works at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. She is currently writing a series of linked stories and can be reached at or

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. 

Ryan KrullRyan Krull began writing fiction the final semester of his undergraduate career. After receiving a BA in communications he spent a year as a freelance journalist/bus boy. He has just begun his 2nd year in the UMSL MFA program and works in the College of Arts and Sciences as an Academic Advisor and Mentor in the college’s First Year Experience course. His short story “The Yogini Spinster” is forthcoming in Whiskey Island, the literary magazine of Cleveland State University’s MFA program. 

tina  Tina Shen learned English at the age of nine by putting her imagination in writing – her favorite composition from this period is an essay entitled “If I Will Win USA $90,000.” When her social studies teacher asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she replied, “artist,” at which the teacher laughed. The teacher explained that artists starved to death. Tina took this discouragement to heart, for she loved food dearly, and strayed from creative writing for more than a decade. In this lull, she pursued her undergraduate degree in Gender Studies from the University of Chicago, and worked as a receptionist, dog walker, canvasser, building manager, pet sitter, server, personal assistant, and kennel attendant. Her consistent failure to render her employment lucrative convinced her that she had a fair shot at starving to death even if she weren't to become an artist, and, with this in mind, she felt safe to finally embrace her propensity to write. Tina is now a second-year in the fiction program, and teaches first-year composition at UMSL. She grows food in her back yard, just in case her social studies teacher was right.

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 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.

KaseyKasey Perkins earned her BA and MA in English from Truman State University in Kirksville, MO. She spent several years in Kirksville competing in poetry slams for extra cash and ultimately became the person who planned, executed and hosted them. From there she fell even further in love with poetry and the writing community, and decided to eschew a PhD in Composition Studies for an MFA in poetry. Her work has appeared in Oracle, Monkey Puzzle, SLAB, and Lumina magazines, among others. Her ultimate life dream is to teach creative writing, which really implies she doesn't want to "work" for a living. Kasey's poetry is usually grounds to showcase her love of beauty in the mundane; at times, it also allows her to flaunt her rather sick sense of humor.  When she's not trying to write new poems or moonlighting as an adjunct composition instructor at a community college, Kasey is trying to convince people to publish her master's thesis: a book of poems titled The Universe in Bed

MeganMegan McCormack is excited to be in an MFA program after a year-long break from school. She graduated from UMKC in 2011 with a Master's in Literature. While at UMKC, she worked with at the Writing Center as well as their Upward Bound Program. In 2009, Megan graduated from Westminster College with a Bachelor's in English (Creative Writing) with a minor in Women and Gender Studies as well as in History. Her poetry and short stories have been published in Westminster College's literary magazine, Janus, in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. She has won 1st place in prose for "Failure in Finality" in the 2008 issue of Janus, as well as 1st place for her short story, "Under Warranty" in the Jefferson County Library Writing Contest in 2011. Megan was also awarded a teaching assistantship through UMSL's English Department. Megan has always loved St. Louis, and she is very happy to be working with a great group of writers and professors.

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.