Graduate Program in Creative Writing

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Students and Alumni

KU's MFA students and PhD students in creative writing come from a wide variety of places and backgrounds, and they often gather for activities and readings. The Kansas Writers Collective, formed by the students in the graduate creative writing program, participated in a panel discussion at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) in Denver, Colorado, organized readings, workshops, social and community outreach events in Lawrence and the surrounding communities, and was instrumental creating KUs first graduate student-run literary journal, Beecher's.

For a list of KU alumni and their publications, please see the Published KU Alumni Page.

Amy Ash
Writing Sample

I earned my MFA from New Mexico State University in 2006 and chose to pursue a PhD in Creative Writing at KU, one of the few universities in the country that offers a Creative Writing PhD. What I like best about the program is that the teaching opportunities are great and the writing community is strong. There is no other town like Lawrence in the Midwest. My work has been published in Lake Effect, Inkwell, Desert Voices, and Cimarron Review.

Alyse Bensel

PhD candidate in creative writing-poetry (University of Kansas); MFA in creative writing-poetry (Pennsylvania State University); BA in English and environmental studies (Washington College). Areas of interest: Modernist and contemporary poetry; prosody; formal poetry; environmental literature and ecocriticism. Alyse is the Book Review Editor at the Los Angeles Review. She is the author of the poetry chapbook Shift (Plan B Press, 2012), and her poetry has appeared in MAYDAY Magazine, Cold Mountain Review, Cider Press Review, and Word Riot, among others. Additional prose has appeared in Prairie Schooner, CALYX, and the Colorado Review.

Josh Canipe

Joshua earned an MA in English and an MFA in Fiction from McNeese State University. Currently a third-year student in the Creative Writing PhD program, his fiction has been included in the 2013 Best of the Net anthology and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His recent fiction has appeared in journals such as Glimmer Train, Trigger, Fiction Weekly, and River Styx, where he won the 2012 Schlafly Microfiction Prize. Areas of interest include: creative writing pedagogy, the history of the short story, and the use of historical research in fiction.

Callista Buchen

Callista Buchen has an MA in literature from the University of Oregon and an MFA in creative writing from Bowling Green State University. Her poetry and prose have appeared in The Pennsylvania Review, The New Formalist, Willow Review, Bellevue Review, elimae, Staccato Fiction, Gigantic, jmww, Connotation Press, Emprise Review, Black Heart Magazine, >kill author, and A cappella Zoo. Her reviews have been published in Mid-American Review, The Collagist, Prick of the Spindle, and jmww. Callista, a Pushcart Prize nominee and former assistant editor of Mid-American Review, is the editor of Portal del Sol, as well as a staff reader for jmww and KU's Beecher's. For more information, see

Benjamin Cartwright

Ben Cartwright has had poems and prose poems published in Fract/ons, Prick of the Spindle, Organization & Environment and the Blue Island Review.  His fiction has been published in Pure Francis.  His work is forthcoming in The Stinging Fly, Sentence and Stone Telling.  Ben maintains a podcast of Lawrence area writers reading their work at  He also maintains a podcast of writers and scholars reading Science Fiction at  Ben is the current volunteer coordinator for AboutSF through the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at KU.  Ben blogs at

Jennifer Colatosti

Jennifer Colatosti writes fiction and creative nonfiction. She holds an MA in Creative Writing (Fiction) from Ohio University, and is currently a PhD student in Creative Writing at KU. She has served as managing editor and assistant fiction editor for Beecher's and currently serves as fiction editor. Her work has been published in The MacGuffin, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, and Midwestern Gothic.
"Not Even Goddesses" (fiction), The MacGuffin, Fall 2011
"We Can Start There" (fiction), Connotation Press, March 2012
"Compass Rose" (fiction), Midwestern Gothic, Spring 2013
"Buffalo, Truth, and Slugs: An Interview with Dinty W. Moore", (interview, co-authored with Heather K. Frese), Southeast Review, February 2012
Vic Contoski Creative Writing Award in Fiction, Honorable Mention, May 2011
Vic Contoski Creative Writing Award in Fiction, Second Place, May 2012
William Albrecht Memorial Scholarship, Second Place, May 2012
Andrew Debicki Award for International Travel for Dissertation Research, December 2012

Patrick Gabbard

Patrick Gabbard is a second-year Creative Writing Ph.D. with an emphasis in poetry. He is originally from Tacoma, Washington. In 2005 he received a BA in History from the University of Utah. In 2008 he received an MFA in Poetry from Arizona State University. His current areas of interest include transnational perspectives in american literature and the impact of globalization on american literature.

Phillip Garland

MFA candidate at University of Kansas. B.A. in English at University of Tennessee. Areas of Interest: Creative writing (fiction, non-fiction, lyric essay), alterity, memory, history, and geography.

Louise Krug

B.S. in journalism from University of Kansas. I am so surprised that I actually made a good decision. This PhD program lets me write, it lets me read, it lets me teach, and it lets me talk about all of those things as much as I want, which is easy, because everyone here is into all of said topics. Here, we write things that we all read and take seriously. We give feedback, we give encouragement, and we remind each other why we are writers.

Sara Leavens

MFA candidate in fiction; M.A. in English Lit, Creative Writing emphasis (University of Northern Iowa); BA in English Lit, minor in Technical Communications (Iowa State University). Areas of interest: fiction writing; ecopoetics; postmodern American literature; working-class studies; critical pedagogy. Sara's work has appeared in the North American Review and Blood Lotus.

Scott Ross
Writing Sample

Scott Ross is a third-year MFA student with an emphasis in scriptwriting. He grew up in southwest Missouri and got a BA in history from Mizzou in 2008. This was followed by a short stint working on a tour boat in New Orleans, and a longer stint selling coffee and trying to look hip. Scott is currently News Director at KJHK 90.7fm, where he runs three shows: Ad Astra Radio (arts and culture), Sunflower Reading Series (readings by local and visiting writers), and the Dancing Bear Variety Hour (sketch comedy). Past episodes can be found here: He is also writing and producing a scripted comedy video webseries for KJHK. Additionally, he sometimes dabbles in cartooning and has been published in Knee-Jerk Magazine.

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