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Readings & Events

The Creative Writing Program is pleased to welcome a distinguished group of visiting writers in the 2016-7 academic year. Additional details, times, and locations for these events will be posted here as they are finalized.

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Fall 2016
Winter 2017
Spring 2017
Last Sunday Student Reading Series 

Fall 2016

Tyehimba Jess: Reading
October 3, 2016, 7:00pm
Shattuck Hall Annex (1914 SW Park Ave., Portland, OR)

The MFA Program in Creative Writing at Portland State University is pleased to present a reading by Tyehimba Jess. Jess is the author of two books of poetry, both published by Wave Books: leadbelly (2005; winner of the National Poetry Series) and Olio (2016). His mammoth second collection explores the lives and work of African-American performers between the Civil War and the rise of recording technology. In its audacious blend of fictionalized biography, lyric poetry, and historical account, Olio offers a hybrid literary experience of unusual range and power. The Boston Globe has called it “one of the most inventive, intensive poetic undertakings of the last decade,” while Publishers Weekly describes it as “encyclopedic, ingenious, and abundant.”

The reading is free and open to the public.

Brian Evenson: Fiction Reading
October 28, 2016, 6:30 p.m.
Smith Memorial Student Union, Room 238 (1825 SW Broadway, Portland) 

Brian Evenson is the author of more than a dozen books of fiction, including A Collapse of Horses (Coffee House Press, 2016) and Immobility (Tor, 2012), which was a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award. His fiction, by turns “soul-shaking” (The New Yorker) and “improbably funny” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune), explores with brilliant imagination the uncertain and unsettling edges of human experience.

The reading is free and open to the public.

Lily Brooks-Dalton and Matt Robinson: Alumni Reading
Friday, November 4, 2016, 4:30pm
Smith Memorial Student Union, Room 294 

Matthew Robinson (MFA ‘15) is the author of the short story collection, The Horse Latitudes (Propeller Books, 2016.) Lily Brooks-Dalton (MFA ‘16) is the  author of a memoir, Motorcycles I’ve Loved (Riverhead Books, 2015), and a novel, Good Morning, Midnight (Random House, 2016.)

Winter 2017

James Galvin: Poetry Reading
Thursday, January 26, 2017, 4:30pm
Literary Arts  
925 SW Washington St.

James Galvin was raised in northern Colorado. He has published eight collections of poetry, most recently Everything We Always Knew Was True (Copper Canyon, 2016). He is also the author of the critically acclaimed prose book The Meadow, and the novel Fencing the Sky. His honors include a Lila Wallace–Reader’s Digest Award, a Lannan Literary Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has a home and some horses outside of Tie Siding, Wyoming, and is a member of the permanent faculty of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

In Everything We Always Knew Was True, Galvin portrays the solitude, spectacle, and ruggedness of the rural American West in an unsentimentally vulnerable voice. Galvin’s poems document a communion with landscape, questioning humanity’s ability to cope with losses both universal and deeply personal. This book shares honest and ordinary truths earned by an attentive, compassionate, investigative mind.

The reading is free and open to the public.  

Steven Karl and Ed Skoog: Poetry Reading
Friday, February 3, 2017, 6:30pm
Smith Memorial Student Union, Room 238 

Steven Karl is the author of Dork Swagger (Coconut Books) and Sister (Noemi Press.) His chapbooks and collaborative chapbooks have been published by Peptic Robot Press, H_NGM_N, Flying Guillotine Press, and Lame House Press. Recent poetry and non-fiction has appeared in, or is forthcoming from Sublevel, Pinwheel, Jellyfish, Entropy, Real Pants, The Volta, and The First Time I Heard My Bloody Valentine. He is the editor-in-chief for the online journal, Sink Review. Currently he lives in Tokyo, Japan with his wife and daughter and teaches writing remotely for Florida International University and face-to-face for Waseda University.  (Photo Credit: Gesi Schilling.)

Ed Skoog is the author of three books of poems, Mister Skylight, Rough Day (winner of the Washington State Book Award) and Run the Red Lights, all published by Copper Canyon Press. He has received fellowships from Lannan Foundation and Bread Loaf Writers Conference. His poems have appeared in Best American Poetry 2015, New York Times Sunday Magazine, Harper's, Paris Review, Poetry, American Poetry Review, New Republic, Tin House, and elsewhere. He is poetry editor of Okey-Panky, and co-host, with novelist J. Robert Lennon, of the podcast Lunch Box, with Ed and John. He lives in Portland. 

The reading is free and open to the public.  


Arisa White
Please note that this reading has been canceled.  Check back at this page for news on a possible rescheduled reading.  

Arisa White is the author of three books of poetry, most recently, You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened, available from Augury Books. Her chapbook Post Pardon has been adapted into an opera. Her first book, Hurrah’s Nest, won the 2012 San Francisco Book Festival Award for Poetry. She has also written several plays and recorded a spoken word album. White is the recipient of fellowships from several institutions, including the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference, Prague Summer Program, and Fine Arts Work Center. She teaches creative writing at Goddard College.

Spring 2017

John Beer and Gabe Urza: Faculty Reading
Friday, April 14, 2017, 6:30 p.m.
Smith Memorial Student Union, Room 294 

Faculty members John Beer (poetry) and Gabe Urza (fiction) will read from and discuss their work.  




Christine Schutt, 2017 Tin House Writer in Residence
Friday, April 21, 2017, 6:30 p.m.
The Little Church, 5138 NE 23rd Ave, Portland, OR 97211

A critic wrote of her work, “Christine Schutt traffics in the kingdom of words and sentences, yet, like Ingmar Bergman, she has a narrative territory all her own: craggy relationships, the travails of girls growing into women, astonishing sexuality, and the general violence of our emotions and compulsions . . . while displaying her incomparable passion for the sentence.”

Christine Schutt is the author of two story collections and three novels. Her first novel, Florida, was a National Book Award finalist; her second novel, All Souls, a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize. A recipient of the Guggenheim and New York foundation of the Arts fellowships, Schutt has twice won the O. Henry prize, among other honors. She lives and teaches in New York.

Jason Maurer and Sara Guest: Making a Creative life (and a Living) in Portland
Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Neuberger Hall, Room 407 

MFA Student & Alumni Reading
Sunday, May 21, 5:00-7:00
Fieldwork Design (601 SE Hawthorne St.)

Readings & Roundtable on Tin House Seminar writer Jorie Graham.  Srikanth Reddy, Jeff Hamilton, Mary Szybist, Endi Bogue Hartigan, John Beer, and Michele Glazer discuss the work of Jorie Graham.
Monday, May 22, 6:00-9:00
The Cleaners, 403 SW 10th

Reading by students in the BFA Creative Writing Program
Wednesday, May 24, 3:00pm
Smith Memorial Student Union, Room 294

Portland Review celebrates its recent transition to PSU’s English Department with the 
release of its Spring 2017 issue

Wednesday, May 24, 7:00 to 9:00
Literary Arts, 925 SW Washington Street

Jorie Graham, 2017 Tin House Visiting Writer

Jorie Graham was born in New York City in 1950, the daughter of a journalist and a sculptor. She was raised in Rome, Italy and educated in French schools. She studied philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris before attending New York University as an undergraduate, where she studied filmmaking. She received an MFA in poetry from the University of Iowa.  Graham is the author of numerous collections of poetry, most recently Sea Change (Ecco, 2008), Never (2002), Swarm (2000), and The Dream of the Unified Field: Selected Poems 1974-1994, which won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

About her work, James Longenbach wrote in the New York Times: "For 30 years Jorie Graham has engaged the whole human contraption — intellectual, global, domestic, apocalyptic — rather than the narrow emotional slice of it most often reserved for poems. She thinks of the poet not as a recorder but as a constructor of experience. Like Rilke or Yeats, she imagines the hermetic poet as a public figure, someone who addresses the most urgent philosophical and political issues of the time simply by writing poems."

Graham has also edited two anthologies, Earth Took of Earth: 100 Great Poems of the English Language (1996) and The Best American Poetry 1990.

Her many honors include a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship and the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from The American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

She has taught at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and is currently the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard University. She served as a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets from 1997 to 2003.

MFA Graduation Readings
Friday & Saturday, June 9 & 10, 6:30 p.m.
The Little Church, 5138 NE 23rd Ave, Portland, OR 97211

Join the 2016-17 graduates of the MFA program as they read from their work in a celebration of their time and achievements in the program.  The schedule of readers for each night will be available a few weeks before the event. 

Last Sunday Student Reading Series

Please join us each month as MFA students in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry read from their works-in-progress. For more details, visit us on Facebook or watch videos of past readings.   

If you're an MFA student interested in reading, please contact 2016-17 series organizer Pat Brogan (