Current Faculty

Scott Cairns

Scott Cairns, PhD

Program Director
Phone: 206-281-2109
Office: Image House
Education: PhD, University of Utah

Scott Cairns is a librettist, memoirist, translator, and author of eight poetry collections. His poems and essays have appeared in Poetry, Image, Paris Review, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, Prairie Schooner, etc., and both have been anthologized in multiple editions of Best American Spiritual Writing. He is a regular blogger for the religion section of Huffington Post, and contributes to a podcast, Flesh Becomes Word, for Ancient Faith Radio. His most recent books are Slow Pilgrim: The Collected Poems (2015), Idiot Psalms (2014), Short Trip to the Edge (spiritual memoir, 2007 & 2016), Endless Life (translations and adaptations of Christian mystics, 2007 & 2014), and a book-length essay, The End of Suffering (2009). He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006, and the Denise Levertov Award in 2014. His new projects include Descent to the Heart, a verse adaptation of selections from the writings of Saint Isaak of Syria. His spiritual memoir was just released in a Greek edition, Μικρό Ταξίδι στι Μεθόριο, and a second, expanded English edition appeared from Paraclete Press in 2016; a new, Romanian edition is forthcoming. He is curators’ distinguished professor of English at University of Missouri, and is founding director of Writing Workshops in Greece, a program now in its ninth year bringing graduate and undergraduate students — as well as unaffiliated writers — to Greece every June for engagement with literary life in modern Greece.

Cami Freeman

Dena Jones

Program Coordinator
Phone: 206-281-2727
Office: Image House
Education: MAIS, University of Washington

Puget Sound native Dena Jones received a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) from the University of Washington. Her poetry has appeared in Tahoma West, UW Literary and Visual Arts magazines. Additionally, she worked as an editorial assistant for Tiger Oak Media, Inc. She has written articles for Seattle Magazine, Seattle Bride, and Northwest Home + Garden. Most recently, she worked as an academic advisor and writing instructor for the University of Washington Math Science Upward Bound program. Jones, along with Program Director Scott Cairns, manages SPU’s MFA program.

Susanne Paola Antonetta

First-Year Creative Nonfiction Mentor
Education: MFA, University of Virginia

suzanne paola

Susanne Paola Antonetta’s Make Me a Mother, ranked a Top Ten Book of the Year by Image Journal, was published by W.W. Norton. A digital chapbook, Curious Atoms: A History with Physics, was published by Essay Press in May 2016. She is also author of Body Toxic, A Mind Apart, the novella Stolen Moments, and four books of poetry. She is a frequent blogger with Huffington Post. Awards for her poetry and prose include a New York Times Notable Book, an American Book Award, a Library Journal Best Science Book of the Year, a Lenore Marshall Award finalist, an Oprah Bookshelf pick, a Pushcart prize, and others. Her essays and poems have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Orion, The New Republic, and many anthologies. She lives in Bellingham, Washington.

Robert Clark

Second-Year Fiction Mentor
Education: MA, University of London

robert clark

Robert Clark is the author of four books of nonfiction and five novels, most recently the nonfiction book Dark Water: Flood and Redemption in the City of Masterpieces and the forthcoming novel Two-Hearted River. His other novels include Lives of the Artists, Love Among the Ruins, Mr. White's Confession (Edgar Award for best novel of the year), and In the Deep Midwinter. He is also the author of a spiritual memoir, My Grandfather's House: A Genealogy of Doubt and Faith, River of the West, and the essay collection Bayham Street. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and his books have been TLS and The New York Times Notable Books of the Year. He is a winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and the Washington State Book Award as well as a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Awards and the IMPAC Dublin Award. Mr. White’s Confession and Two-Hearted River are in development as films, and he has just completed a memoir/cultural history of Victorian writers, artists, and critics.

Robert Cording

First-Year Poetry Mentor
Education: PhD, Boston College

robert cording

Robert Cording is professor emeritus at College of the Holy Cross, where he taught for 38 years and was professor of English and the Barrett professor of creative writing. He has published eight collections of poems: Life-list (Ohio State University Press/Journal award, 1987); What Binds Us To This World (Copper Beech Press, 1991); Heavy Grace, (Alice James, 1996); Against Consolation (CavanKerry, 2002); Common Life, (CavanKerry, 2006); Walking With Ruskin (CavanKerry, 2010), A Word in My Mouth: Selected Spiritual Poems (Wipf and Stock, 2013), and, most recently, Only So Far (CavanKerry Press, 2015). He has received two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships in poetry and two poetry grants from the Connecticut Commission of the Arts. His poems have appeared in numerous publications such as The Nation, The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, Poetry, Kenyon Review, New Ohio Review, New England Review, Orion, and The New Yorker.

Gina Ochsner

First-Year Fiction Mentor
Education: MFA, University of Oregon

gina ochsner

Gina Ochsner is the acclaimed author of the short story collection The Necessary Grace to Fall, which received the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and the story collection People I Wanted to Be. Both books received the Oregon Book Award. Her novel entitled The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight received the Grub Street Book Prize in 2011, and was long listed for the Orange Prize in 2010. Her most recent novel is titled The Hidden Letters of Velta B. Ochsner has been awarded a John L. Simon Guggenheim grant and a grant from the National Endowment of Arts. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Glimmer Train, and Kenyon Review.

Jeanne Murray Walker

Second-Year Poetry Mentor
Education: PhD, University of Pennsylvania

jeanne walker

Jeanne Murray Walker held The Atlantic Monthly Fellowship at Bread Loaf School of English at the age of 19. Her poetry appears in periodicals such as Poetry, American Poetry Review, The Nation, The Atlantic Monthly, The Georgia Review, and Image. She has published eight collections of poetry, among them, A Deed to the Light, New Tracks, Night Falling, and the most recent, Helping the Morning: New and Selected Poems (Word Farm Press, 2014). Jeanne’s poems have been widely anthologized, including in the recent collection: The Open Door: 100 Poems, 100 Years of Poetry Magazine. Her plays have won The Washington National Theatre Competition, a Stage Time Award, The Virginia Duvall Mann Award, and two William and Arlene Lewis Playwriting Awards; they have been performed in cities across the U.S. and in London. Jeanne’s memoir, The Geography of Memory: A Pilgrimage through Alzheimer's, was published in 2013 by Hachette Press, and in 2015 she co-edited with Luci Shaw Ambition: Essays by Members of The Chrysostom Society. Jeanne holds a PhD in English from the University of Pennsylvania and served for 40 years as a professor at the University of Delaware, where she headed the creative writing faculty. She is a Pew Fellow in Poetry as well as the recipient of seven Pennsylvania State Council on the Arts Awards, the Colladay Award, the Prairie Schooner/Strousse Award, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.

Lauren F. Winner

Second-Year Creative Nonfiction Mentor
Education: PhD, Columbia University

lauren winner

Lauren F. Winner is the author of numerous nonfiction books, including Wearing God, Still, Girl Meets God, and Mudhouse Sabbath. An Episcopal priest, Lauren is vicar of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Louisburg, North Carolina, and she teaches at Duke Divinity School.

Recent Faculty

Visiting Writers, Artists, and Musicians

Charles D’Ambrosio
Madeline DeFrees
David James Duncan
Dana Gioia
Patricia Hapl
Andrew Hudgins
Mark Jarman
Thomas Lynch
Barry Moser
Marilyn Nelson

Over the Rhine
Eugene Peterson
Melissa Pritchard
Scott Russell Sanders
Valerie Sayers
Martha Serpas
Betsy Sholl
Melanie Rae Thon
Dan Wakefield
Christian Wiman