Category Archives: Faculty Spotlights

Faculty Emeritus & Alumni Poetry Reading

Reading in 337 Bachelor Hall AND on Zoom

Thursday, November 16, 2023 7:30pm

Poets Isaac Pickell, an alumnus, and David Schloss, Miami Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing, read from their new books of poetry. They were wonderful readings and it was great to see these familiar faces.

I was surprised to hear that David retired in 2011 (though he taught until 2014), because it didn’t seem long ago. Covid distorts time. He was one of the professors who hired me twenty years back, and those first years occupy a much larger space in my memory, time wise, than the years since.

I was also surprised to hear that Isaac got his MFA in 2017, because that didn’t seem long ago either. It was interesting to hear them back to back, because their approaches to poetry are very different, yet both deeply engrossing. I recommend you order their books. The Q & A was interesting too, so much so that if host Cathy Wagner hadn’t kept track of time the discussion could have gone on for hours. Though I regrettably don’t have a transcript, this photo comes from that exchange.

Their bios are below the photo. Thanks to those who came out.


Isaac Pickell

A recent alum of Miami’s MFA program, Isaac Pickell is a Black & Jewish poet and PhD candidate at Wayne State University in Detroit, where he teaches and studies the borderlands of blackness and black literature. Isaac’s new book of poems It’s Not Over Once You Figure It Out is available for pre-order from Black Ocean. Joe Hall praises the book’s “jaw-dropping turns of thought…The poems defend against the brutal foreclosures of this historical moment”; Taylor Byas says “Pickell’s speaker collapses time as we know it.” 

David Schloss

David Schloss was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1944, and educated at Columbia University, The University of Southern California Cinema School, Brooklyn College (BA), and The Iowa Writers Workshop (MFA). After teaching at Miami for decades, he retired in 2014 from Miami as Emeritus Professor of English. His new book, Provocations—his sixth full-length poetry collection—is just out from Dos Madres Press. John Ashbery lauds him for “reinventing classical forms and meter to speak profound truths on vital issues of our day.” Lesley Hardy calls Provocations “a blistering “report” on disaster and war…a monumental and challenging work.” 

Zoom attendees, please register here.

Faculty and Miami University Press Readings

Two writers read from their poetry, MU Press poet Kathleen Peirce and Miami University Creative Writing Professor, Brian Ascalon Roley.

Kathleen Peirce’s awards include The AWP Award, The Iowa Prize, and the William Carlos Williams Award as well as Fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation and the Whiting Foundation. She teaches in the MFA program at Texas State University. She reads from Lion’s Paw (Miami University Press 2021).

Brian Ascalon Roley reads from his chapbook Ambuscade (2021), which won the Finishing Line Press Open Competition from 350 manuscripts. His distinctions include fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, the Djerassi Foundation, Cornell University and the University of Cambridge, among others.

Meet Your Professors! — Interview Three, Margaret Luongo

To finish out this series, I interviewed Margaret Luongo, Director of Creative Writing, Associate Professor of English, and advisor for my apprenticeship with the CW program. Since my first (and regrettably, only) class with her, I have experienced just how wise and kind she is and I am very glad I got to work more closely with her as part of my apprenticeship, especially now that it is coming to close along with the rest of my college career. I’m very thankful that I have been able to work with Prof. Luongo over this past year, and I hope you all enjoy learning a bit more about her!

-Lauren Miles

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Meet Your Professors! — Interview Two, Patrick Murphy

Last semester, back when things were strange in the way we call “normal,” I was thrilled to be in the course ENG 360B: Comics in Theory and In Practice, co-taught by professors Jody Bates and Patrick Murphy. I had tried making comics before but always stopped short of completing them, but this class gave me the tools I needed to return to this incredible form of art and creative writing. When I decided to start this series of professor spotlights, I knew I wanted to learn more about Dr. Murphy’s work in comics. And now, with this interview, you can learn more too! — Lauren Miles

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Selvage, Diaspora, and Lingual Processes: a Conversation with Hoa Nguyen

National Poetry Month 2020

By: Savannah Trent

I sat down, well more accurately sat down and logged into google chat, to talk to poet Hoa Nguyen to ask her about identity, belonging, and the diasporic experience.  Nguyen, whose 2016 book length collection of poems Violet Energy Ingots was shortlisted for the 2017 Griffin prize in poetry, is a poet whose work is known for its melodic quality, weaving rhyme, non sequiturs, syllabic play, and references to Sappho and Shakespeare among others. Born in the Mekong Delta, she was raised in the Washington DC area during the time of punk, post-punk and the Reagan presidency though she now resides in Toronto where she teaches creative writing and serves as a mentor to Miami University’s low residency program in creative writing. She is also the author of Dark (Skanky Possum 1998), Your ancient see through (AA Arts 2001), Hecate Lochia (Hot Whiskey 2009), As long as trees last (Wave 2012) and Red Juice: Poems 1998-2008 (Wave 2014).

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Meet Your Professors! Interview One — cris cheek

National Poetry Month 2020

At the start of this semester, I wanted to begin a series of interviews with professors; I believe our faculty are what make the entire Miami English department special and I hoped to use the platform to showcase that. Now that so much has changed as a result of the pandemic, I hope this series can also help future students get to know the creative writing program since they can’t come visit in person. To kick this series off and continue with our National Poetry Month theme, I I interviewed poetry professor cris cheek about his work:

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“The Time to Play among the Borders of the Possible is a Gift:” An Interview with cris cheek

National Poetry Month 2020

cris cheek is a documentary performance writer, sound composer, and photographer. They worked alongside Bob Cobbing and Bill Griffiths with the Consortium of London Presses in the mid 1970’s to run a thriving open access print shop for little press poets. In 1981 they co-founded a collective movement-based performance resource in the east end of London at Chisenhale Dance Space, working in collaboration with choreographers, musicians, and performance artists to make interdisciplinary events. cris taught Performance Writing at Dartington College of Arts (1995-2002), played music with Sianed Jones and Philip Jeck as Slant, collaborated on works about value and recycling with Kristen Lavers in Things Not Worth Keeping and has been a professor at Miami University in Ohio since 2005. cris lives in Cincinnati. Most recent publications are the church and the school, the beer (Critical Documents, 2007), part:short life housing (The Gig, 2009), pickles & jams (BlazeVOX Books, 2017), and fukc all the king’s men: the tower and a few beasts living in its rubble (Xerolage, 2019). They podcast with Mark Hagood as Phantom Power: sounds about sound.

It would be, in every sense, a fool’s errand to try and pin down what particularly interested me so thoroughly in cris cheek’s work that I was compelled to reach out to them for an interview; not because it couldn’t be done, but because any attempt to delineate singular points of interest would inevitably only serve to push away others just as present as I read their work. To say, for example, that I was drawn immediately to the way in cheek’s pickles & jams that words, lines, even stanzas dance staggeringly across the page, often floating towards and juking away from stability, while certainly true, would ignore how equally pulled I felt toward the way cheek’s refusal of alphabetic context in fukc all the king’s men: the tower and a few beasts living in its rubble simultaneously implodes reading-as-such and constructs images so literal they refuse to not be read. Perhaps the most sensible argument I can make for the following interview is that cheek’s work is, at every point, a performance; therefore, like all great performances, cheek’s work inspired in me the festering curiosity that ignites every behind-the-scenes documentary. I needed to know the distance between the artist in the wings and art unfolding on stage. More importantly, I needed to know how, and by what crafty devices, the distance might be crossed so fluidly, so fully, and with such clarity of motion that I found myself unsure the distance actually existed.

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