Eastern Oregon University Home > Writing MFA > Recent News from the EOU MFA Community

Recent News from the EOU MFA Community

Winter 2023

MFA faculty member Claire Boyles has a short essay “On Finding a Way Through the Wilderness” in Sierra Magazine and a longer one, “Making Our Own Weather,” in Asterix Journal.

MFA alum Phil Carson‘s poem “The Simple Truth” was published in Half and One.

MFA student Christopher Densmore was the recipient of the MFA program’s Thomas Madden Scholarship.

MFA alum Amelia Díaz Ettinger has three poems (and spoken recordings of them) in the February issue of the South Florida Poetry Journal.

MFA alum Leah Hedberg has a lyrical essay on the film Honeyland in the journal Bright Wall / Dark Room. She drafted the piece in MFA faculty member Christoper Kondrich’s class, “Films of Ecology & Place” and sends thanks to him and the class.

MFA student Russell James has an essay “Okeus Gets the Last World” was published by The College Contemporary. He drafted it in MFA faculty member Melissa Matthewson’s fall class.

MFA faculty member Melissa Matthewson has a new short essay “Particles: A Love Story” in the journal Sweet: A Literary Confection.

MFA faculty member Nick Neely has a short piece on the Cassia crossbill in the new anthology Cascadia Field Guide: Art, Ecology, Poetry

MFA faculty member Kathryn Miles broke a story about a discovered plot to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I for National Geographic (subscribers only), and also has a feature in Downeast magazine about the “canceling” of Maine lobster.


Fall 2022

MFA faculty member Claire Boyles‘s story collection, Site Fidelity, recently won the High Plains Book Award in Fiction. 

MFA faculty member Christopher Kondrich has a poem “Empty Spaces” in The New York Review of Books.

MFA faculty member Kathryrn Miles‘s book Trailed was listed by Slate as one of “The 10 Best Audiobooks of the Year” and by The New York Times as among “The Best True Crime of 2022”: “Miles not only solves the case, she shines a light on the crime rate in the country’s national parks. ‘Although the F.B.I. does not keep statistics on gender and backcountry crime, my own archival research finds that the majority of reported murder and rape victims in our national wilderness areas are female,’ Miles writes. It’s an important finding, one that raises a much bigger question: Who gets to enjoy nature in safety?”

MFA alum Colette Marie has a searing new poem, “Five Months After My First Husband’s Death,” in The Sun.

MFA faculty member Melissa Matthewson just signed a contract with punctum books for her second essay collection, The Fire Trees, which will explore sense experience, queer ecology, intimacy, sexuality, and bodies through autobiography, archival collage, and reimagined histories. She anticipates it will be out in 2024.

MFA Alum Alex Ortega taught a four-week “Framing Flash Fiction” workshop for Fishtrap. 

MFA Alum Chelsey Waters‘s story “Beneath Her Breath” was published in The Hopper (with a nice illustration of a sturgeon) and nominated for inclusion in the “Best of the Net” anthology.

MFA faculty member Jodi Varon‘s book Your Eyes Will Be My Window was accepted by the University of Georgia Press for its Crux Series in Literary Nonfiction, with an expected publication date in 2023. About the book: “Twice erased in the wreckage of WWII Ukraine, the search for Esta Plat creates a road-map to a vanished world. Weighing faith against skepticism, reportage against memory, Your Eyes Will Be My Window is one woman’s attempt to reimagine the legacy of genocide.”


Spring 2022

We warmly welcome incoming MFA students Charley Agron, Shelley Baumgarten, Janel Crouch, Brittney Heitz-Garcia, Christina O’Bryan, Russell James, and August Stadtfield! We look forward to listing your successes here in the future. 

MFA faculty member Claire Boyles is the recipient of a 2022 Whiting Award. Maggie Nelson had this to say, in part, about Claire’s work at the ceremony in New York City on April 6: “A deep anthropologist and a finely restrained rhetorician, Boyles captures the affinities and frictions between those who have been made by that once, and still sometimes, wild place [the American West].” Site Fidelity was also named a finalist for the 2022 Colorado Book Awards in Fiction.

MFA faculty member James Crews was just profiled, along with his new anthology The Path to Kindness: Poems of Connection and Joy, in The Christian Science Monitor.

MFA alum Amelia Díaz Ettinger and MFA faculty member Joe Wilkins‘s latest books were both glowingly reviewed in The Oregonian for a National Poetry Month feature.

MFA faculty member Megan Kruse recently completed an inaugural residency at the Carolyn Moore House, a program hosted by Portland Community College. 

MFA faculty member Kathyrn Miles published Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders. Trailed has received great reviews in places includiing The Boston Globe, Outside, and Publishers Weekly (starred review). Check out this interview with her in Orion. She also published a long feature on off-shore wind turbines in Audubon

MFA student Alexander Ortega‘s lyric short story “Maroons” was a finalist for the Iowa Review Award in Fiction.

MFA student Chelsey Waters‘s essay “Betweenness” took second place in Deep Wild Journal’s graduate student essay contest and appeared in the print magazine. She originally drafted a version of the piece in a workshop with MFA faculty member Nick Neely. Chelsey also represented the MFA program in the Regional MFA Reading at the Get Lit! Festival, reading an excerpt from her novel-in-progress, and you can watch the recording here (MFA faculty member Claire Boyles introduces her at the 28-minute mark).

MFA faculty member Joe Wilkins has a new poem, “The Great Fact Was the Land Itself,” in Juxtaprose; a recent essay in The Sun, “Old Friend”; and delivered the Wallace Stegner Lecture (video) at Lewis-Clark State College. 


Winter 2022

MFA faculty member Jennifer Boyden‘s poetry manuscript We Can’t Tell If the Constellations Love Us was awarded the 42 Miles Poetry Press Award. It will be published in 2023. 

MFA faculty member Claire Boyles‘s Site Fidelity was longlisted for the 2022 PEN America/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collections, and was also recently recommended by Michelle Nijhuis in High Country News. Claire also co-wrote two movies that aired as part of the Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas line-up: “Sister Swap: A Hometown Holiday” which premiered on December 5; and “Sister Swap: Christmas in the City”, which premiered December 12.

MFA faculty member Abigail Chabitnoy‘s second book of poetry, In the Current Where Drowning Is Beautiful, will be published by Wesleyan University Press in Fall 2022. 

MFA Alum Amelia Díaz Ettinger has a story, “You Look Pretty With Your Mouth Shut,” in Calyx, and recent poems like “Clark’s nutcracker” in The Amethyst Review, Somos en Escrito, Willawa Journal, and Hare’s Paw Journal. Her latest book Learning to Love a Western Sky was also reviewed by Sundress Publications

MFA alum Liz Asch Greenhill taught a two-part class at Corporeal Writing in February, “Embodied Metaphors: Earth Based Writing Informed by Eastern Medicine.”

MFA student Alexander Ortega was selected as a 2022 Fishtrap Fellow

MFA faculty member Kathyrn Miles‘s forthcoming book, Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders, due out May 3, was optioned by Muse Entertainment for a streaming series. 

MFA faculty member Nick Neely was selected for the 2022 City of Rocks Reserve Artist-in-Residency in Idaho along with his wife, the painter Sarah Bird. 


FALL 2021

Susan Kay Anderson, MFA ’17, has a new poem “Digression” in Heron Tree.

MFA faculty member Claire Boyles’s debut book Site Fidelity was included on Outside Magazine’s list of “20 Essential Works of Climate Fiction.” 

MFA faculty member Abigail Chabitnoy’s first book How to Dress a Fish was recommended in Orion alongside her own recommendation of Allison Adelle Hedge Coke’s new book Look at this Blue in a poetry feature for National Native American Heritage Month.

MFA faculty member James Crews’s anthology How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope made the American Booksellers Association Indie Poetry Bestseller List in September, keeping company with the likes of Mary Oliver, Rupi Kaur, and Natalie Diaz. Also check out his appearances on the podcast Author, Can I Ask You? and in an episode of Emerging Form, a podcast about the creative process.

MFA faculty member Melissa Matthewson has a new essay in LitHub, “A Revolution in Creativity: Slow Writing.” “It might help MFA students!” she writes. “I know it helped me to write it.” Dare we say this piece will help you whoever and wherever you are. She also interviewed Korean American writer Janice Lee for The Rumpus and has a new short essay “Earth and Motherhood” in Oregon Humanities.

MFA faculty member Nick Neely’s 2016 essay “Still Hunt” was included in the just-out anthology This Impermanent Earth: Environmental Writing from The Georgia Review.

MFA student Alexander Ortega is on a roll: He is the recipient of the MFA program’s 2021 Thomas Madden Scholarship, and the short story featured in his application, “Gramita’s House,” was published in the fall issue of Salt Lake City’s Quarterly West. His flash story “A Real Man” was included in the anthology Evergreen: Grim Tales & Verses from the Gloomy Northwest, edited by Sharma Shields and Maya Jewell Zeller and out now from Scablands Books. And that story along with two other flash pieces, “Megayega!” and “De Pedrito, desde las Nubes,” are in Volume 6 of Moss Lit.

MFA faculty member Joe Wilkins was featured earlier this year on the Freeflow Podcast, which “takes today’s best storytellers, artists, and leaders outside and into their favorite wild places, to talk about craft, conservation, and the creative life.” He also has a new short essay “Broken Badlands” in Orion and three new poems in Contrary.



Susan Kay Anderson, MFA ’17, has a new poem, “The Problem,”  in Heron Tree Magazine and another, “The Shine of It,” in Trouvaille Review. A review of her new book, Please Plant This Book Coast To Coast, in the current issue of Hash Journal. 

MFA director David Axelrod has a new poem, “There Are Things More Important Than Living,” in Terrain.org’s Letter to America series. And extra kudos to David for the news that his next book of poetry, Years Beyond the River, is forthcoming from Terrapin Books in the fall. 

MFA student Amelia Díaz Ettinger has a new short story, “A Girl Like Me,” in The Ice Colony.

MFA student Kyle Rowland has a new flash piece, “Haunt,” in the journal Coffin Bell

MFA faculty member Joe Wilkins‘s latest poetry collection Thieve (Lynx House Press) is a finalist for the Stafford/Hall Award for Poetry among the Oregon Book Awards. He is also interviewed in Oregon ArtsWatch



Susan Kay Anderson, MFA ’17, has a book, Please Plant This Book Coast to Coast, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Says Erica Bodwell, author of Crown Wild:  “In this startling and fascinating book, Susan Kay Anderson takes the reader on a journey from California to Oaxaca to Hawaii, through the life and words of Virginia Brautigan Aste–married to Richard Brautigan for a decade–in a series of interviews that reveal Ms. Aste’s courage, creativity and sheer survival instinct.” Susan also has recent poems in Anti-Heroin Chic, Indolent Books, Madness Muse, Gnashing Teeth Publishing, Sleet Magazine, Voice Lux Journal, and Touraville Review. And she was also recently interviewed by Jenee Rodriquez for The Silent World In Her Vase

MFA director David Axelrod‘s work has recently appeared in About Place, Bellingham Review, The Meadow, and Split Rock Review; and is forthcoming in Weber: The Contemporary West, saltfront: studies in human habit(at), and Terrain.org’s Letters to America series.

MFA faculty member James Crews is rocking it with recent poems in The Sun, The New York Times Magazine, and Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry (two poems, “Winter Morning” and “Clearly”).

Kasey Croxford-Zmrhal, BA ’21, just had her first short story “Torn Suede” published in Big Whoopie Deal. We’re thrilled also that Kasey will enroll in EOU’s MFA program this summer.

Asha Dore, MFA ’16, has forthcoming poems in Sweet: A Literary Confection, WhiskeyTit, and the Heavy Feather Review. 

MFA student Amelia Díaz Ettinger published a book of poems, Learning to Love the Western Sky with Airlie Press in the fall.   

Liz Asch Greenhill, MFA ’16, has created a new podcast called Bodyland: Metaphor Medicine. She writes, “Essentially it’s a collection of guided visualizations. Each one is based on Surrealist art and Chinese Medicine. They are meant to be listened to a la carte as restorative care during meditation time, on subway or bus commutes, or during bouts of insomnia.”   

MFA faculty member Nick Neely talks about (and reads the prologue of) his second book Alta California in a new episode of the podcast A Book and its Author. He also has an extremely short capsule review in Ampersand Magazine of the film The Dark Divide, which is based on Robert Michael Pyle’s book Where Bigfoot Walks (he recommends this sometimes goofy but beautiful flick).

Amy Parker, MFA ’16, has new work in bioStories and forthcoming in DIAGRAM, Schuylkill Valley Journal, and Serotonin.

MFA student Kyle Rowland recently published a poem in Issue 10 of Phantom Drift. He says, “I got to do a reading with them back in November, so I can vouch that [the journal] showcases some really badass work from some cool writers and poets!”

MFA faculty member Jodi Varon had an essay “Augury” published in the autumn 2020 issue of Boulevard.

MFA student Vanessa Watters has a spate of good news: Her poem, “Big Mother Blue,” was accepted by Poets Choice for their forthcoming compilation, Global Warming; another poem, “Limbo,” concerning our current times, will appear in Beyond Words; and a third poem, “Amnesia,” is now featured on The Dewdrop online.

MFA student Chelsey Waters published her first short story, “Reunion on the St. Joe,” in the December issue of Unearthed. She began the story last summer at Fishtrap with Leni Zumas and finished it in Joe Wilkins’s post-residency seminar. She is also the recipient of MFA program’s 2020 Thomas Madden Scholarship.

MFA faculty member Joe Wilkins‘s novel Fall Back Down When I Die (Little, Brown 2019) came out in paperback last year and, among other honors, won the High Plains Book Award