Meet the Chair

I love the vitality and strength of our students and our program. It’s a grand affection that’s renewed every year. Artists are the most stimulating people to be around because they constantly solve problems that may not have even existed until they thought of them!

It’s pure joy to pass a torch to the future of literature!

CCA is a unique community of makers that bestows immediate identity. The moment you arrive on campus, you are an artist among other artists. This identity, especially important in the highly mercantile and increasingly conformist “global” world, carries our students into a more confident future.

When you are validated as an artist, you have an indelible international passport. Our students come from diverse class, ethnic, gender, geographical, and academic backgrounds.

Our common project is language and to write the best we can.

Since 2002, the MFA in Writing program at California College of the Arts has graduated dozens of gifted poets, fiction and nonfiction writers, and playwrights who have gone on to publish with both large and small presses.

Our alumni are recipients of prestigious awards such as the Norma Farber First Book Prize, the National Endowment for the Arts Grant, and the Zora Neale Hurston Scholarship at Naropa University.

Read recent news and features about our alumni »

Some now teach, while others are employed as professional writers. Many continue to thrive in the historically famous, dynamic literary culture of the San Francisco Bay Area, where they’ve created new reading and performance venues and the next generation of literary magazines and presses.

We focus on the art of literary craft through workshops, one-on-one mentorships, seminars, internships, and practicum in teaching as well as literary journal production. Each year students and faculty alike attend many onsite readings by renowned writers we invite to read and discuss their work.

Learn more about the Writers Series »

We emphasize writing as practice and process. We expect from students no less than what we expect from ourselves -- that they devote themselves to their writing and rigorously engage with literature and the external community. We encourage reading as much as writing -- these inseparables give us a deeper sense of literary history, to find in it a place for the genuine.  

We want our students to think of themselves as “persons of letters” and “literary citizens.”

I’m thrilled to be among our distinguished and deeply committed faculty of working writers -- award-winning authors, translators, Fulbright fellows, and international scholars. Visitors always notice the personal attention we give students. We understand that a piece of literature is an object no different from any other art object -- subject to close examination and critique.

And we know that artists are expected to remain open and vulnerable while developing a second skin. My colleagues help our students find their own emerging originality and create their own literary kinship.

We welcome students who work in other media and want to incorporate the book arts, design, visual criticism, painting, photography, etc., in their work. For those interested in theoretical approaches to art, the college offers a dual-degree option: a three-year MFA/MA in Writing and Visual and Critical Studies.

We always encourage cross-genre and experimental writing.

Our classes are small, our program intense. If you join us in the beachy light of our San Francisco campus garden studio, you will always be visible, and we will always take you seriously.

See also: Gloria Frym's faculty bio.