Maya Jewell Zeller

MFA Alumni Bio

Maya Jewell Zeller bio feature

Maya Jewell Zeller, EWU MFA alum 2007, is the author of Rust Fish (which came out of her thesis project); Yesterday, the BeesAlchemy for Cells & Other Beasts (a collaboration with visual artist Carrie DeBacker); and the forthcoming out takes/ glove box, chosen by Eduardo Corral for the New American Poetry Prize; she is also co-editor, with Sharma Shields, of the multi-genre anthology Evergreen: Grim Tales & Verses From the Gloomy Northwest (Scablands, 2021); and co-author of the textbook Advanced Poetry: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury UK; January 2024).

Maya’s poems and essays appear in such journals as The Rumpus,  PleiadesBellingham ReviewWest BranchCincinnati Review, and High Desert Journal; her memoir, “Raised by Ferns,” was runner-up in the 2022 AWP Sue Silverman Award for Creative Nonfiction. She has been a resident in the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, recipient of a Promise Award from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and honored with awards from Crab Orchard ReviewNew Ohio ReviewNew SouthSycamore ReviewDogwood, & elsewhere.

Maya is Associate Professor at Central Washington University, as well as Affiliate Faculty in the Poetry and Nature Writing low-residency Programs for Western Colorado University. She lives in Spokane with her children. Follow Maya on Twitter @MayaJZeller and visit her website,, where she posts prompts for your writing. Check out this contributor spotlight on Maya in Bellingham Review.

Here’s what Maya had to say about her time at Eastern’s program:

“The MFA from EWU (terminal degree in my field) qualified me for both positions I hold; helped me develop skills for teaching writing processes; opened avenues for editing and publishing positions, as well as offering industry know-how in writing. I simply would not have my career if it were not for my MFA from EWU.”

Read some more of Maya’s work:

“Biological Half Lives” – The James Franco Review

“Poverty Fires”– Diagram