Our Faculty



Eastern Washington University’s MFA program in Creative Writing is a vibrant and active community of writers and educators diverse enough to engage writers of all styles and small enough to provide the individual attention which truly nurtures great writing. The faculty are highly educated and widely published; students interact in classrooms, at readings, and elsewhere. Part of the EWU MFA experience is learning to live the writer’s life, and the program brings in a variety of visitors to help students explore that life.

Recent guests include Amy Tan, Susan Choi, Morgan Talty, Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, Dana Johnson, Bonnie Nadzam, Paul Harding, Lily Hoang, Krys Lee, William Finnegan, Albert Goldbarth, Thomas Lynch, Peter Everwine, Patricia Hampl, Linda Bierds, Thomas Lux, Alison Baker, James Tate, Dorianne Laux, Yusek Komunyakaa, Phillip Lopate, Lan Samantha Chang, Marilynne Robinson, Stuart Dybek, Jane Smiley, and many more.

See our Visiting Writers page for more.

Our Faculty

Each of our faculty are practicing writers with significant national book publications and are committed, passionate, and accessible teachers of writing.

Gregory Spatz

Professor, Program Director
Photo of Gregory Spatz
Catalyst Room #443

Lisa Denker

Senior Secretary
EWU Creative Writing, Public Administration, and Urban and Regional Planning
Photo of Lisa Denker
Catalyst Room #438

Polly Buckingham

Senior Lecturer
Photo of Polly Buckingham
Patterson Hall 203

Jonathan Johnson

Photo of Jonathan Johnson
Catalyst Room #444

Leyna Krow

Quarterly Faculty
Photo of Leyna Krow

Natalie Kusz

Associate Professor
Photo of Natalie Kusz
Catalyst Room #435

Samuel Ligon

Photo of Samuel Ligon
Catalyst Room #437

Laura Read

Quarterly Faculty

Rachel Toor

Photo of Rachel Toor
Catalyst Room #436

Shawn Vestal

Quarterly Faculty
Photo of Shawn Vestal

Emeritus Faculty

Photo of Christopher Howell

Christopher Howell

Professor Emeritus
Photo of Christopher Howell

Christopher Howell’s Light’s Ladder won the Washington State Book Award in 2005. His poems, essays, and translations have also appeared in a number of anthologies and journals, including Antioch ReviewColorado ReviewCrazy HorseDenver QuarterlyFieldGettysburg ReviewHarper’sHudson ReviewIowa ReviewNorthwest ReviewPoetry NorthwestSouthern Review and Volt. He has been the recipient of three Pushcart Prizes and two National Endowment fellowships, as well as a number of other awards.