Characters of SHSU's MFA program in Creative Writing

Creative Writing faculty member Nick Lantz

Major Accomplishments

We Don't Know We Don't Know
2010, Graywolf Press

Nick Lantz
Assistant Professor

(M.F.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2005)

Creative Writing

Office: Evans 314A
Phone: (936) 294-1990
E-mail: nick.lantz@shsu.edu

Nick Lantz (MFA, University of Wisconsin-Madison) teaches graduate courses in poetry. His first book, We Don’t Know We Don’t Know, was selected by Linda Gregerson for the Katharine Bakeless Nason Prize and was published in 2010 by Graywolf Press. It also won the 2011 GLCA New Writers Award, the Council for Wisconsin Writers Posner Award, and the Larry Levis Reading Prize. His second book, The Lightning That Strikes the Neighbors’ House, was selected by Robert Pinsky for the Felix Pollak Prize and was published by the University of Wisconsin Press, also in 2010. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. His work has appeared in journals such as Mid-American Review, Southern Review, Gulf Coast, FIELD, Indiana Review, and Prairie Schooner. Lantz is also a playwright. His play Across a Distance, which incorporates opera and American Sign Language, was produced in September 2010 as part of the fall season of UW-Madison’s University Theatre. Many of Nick’s short and one-act plays have been produced Portland, Oregon, Half Moon Bay, California, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.


Creative Writing faculty member Scott Kaukonen

Major Accomplishments

Ohio State University Press

Scott Kaukonen
Associate Professor

(Ph.D., University of Missouri-Columbia, 2006)

Creative Writing; Contemporary Fiction;
20th Century American Literature;
Religious Culture and Literature

Office: Evans 412
Phone: (936) 294-1407
E-mail: kaukonen@shsu.edu

Dr. Scott Kaukonen (Ph.D., University of Missouri) teaches graduate courses in fiction writing, publishing, and twentieth- and twenty-first century literature. His debut collection of stories, Ordination, won the Ohio State Prize for Short Fiction, and was published by the Ohio State University Press. The collection includes the story, “Punnett’s Squares,” winner of the Nelson Algren Prize from the Chicago Tribune. He’s a past recipient of a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and he’s also received an AWP/Prague Summer Fellowship. His fiction has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Cincinnati Review, Pleiades, Barrelhouse, The Normal School, Third Coast, and elsewhere. His novel-in-progress, The Martyrdom of Katie Deeds, explores the relationship between American fundamentalism and American consumer culture.


Creative Writing faculty member Melissa Morphew

Major Accomplishments

Hunger and Heat (The Missionary Letters) (Anabiosis Press)
The Garden Where All Loves End (La Jolla Poets Press)
Fathom (Turning Point)
Weeding Borges’ Garden (Turning Point). 

Melissa Morphew

(Ph.D, University of Georgia, 1994)

Creative Writing; Contemporary poetry; 20th Century British/American literature; revisionist myths;
magical realism; pop culture

Office: Evans 116
Phone: (936) 294-1944
E-mail: eng_smm@shsu.edu

Dr. Melissa Morphew (Ph.D., University of Georgia) teaches graduate classes in poetry writing and twentieth- and twenty-first century British and American literature. An accomplished poet, Professor Morphew has won numerous awards for her work, including the Randall Jarrell International Poetry Prize, The W.B. Yeats Society Award for Poetry, a Tennessee Arts Commission Individual Artist’s Grant in Poetry, and a South Carolina Academy of Authors Fellowship in Poetry. Her chapbook Hunger and Heat (The Missionary Letters) was published by Anabiosis Press. She has also published three full-length collections, The Garden Where All Loves End (La Jolla Poets Press), Fathom (Turning Point), and Weeding Borges’ Garden (Turning Point). Her most recent book of poems, Bluster, won the Sacramento Poetry Center Press Book Award. Professor Morphew is currently at work on a collection of lyrics, tentatively titled Summer, and Blue. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Prairie Schooner, the Georgia Review, Shenandoah, and the Crab Orchard Review. Among her other projects, she is writing a children’s novel, provisionally titled, The Celestial Omnibus Salvage Yard.


Creative Writing faculty member Paul Ruffin

Major Accomplishments

Texas State University System Regents' Professor
Editor of The Texas Review
2009 Poet Laureate of Texas

Paul Ruffin
Distinguished Professor of English 

(Ph.D., University of Southern Mississippi, 1974)

Modern American fiction and poetry;
creative writing

Office: Evans 152
Phone: (936) 294-1429
E-mail: eng_pdr@shsu.edu
Website: http://www.pauldruffin.com

Dr. Paul Ruffin (Ph.D., Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi) teaches graduate classes in fiction and poetry writing as well as the editing and publishing practicum. Professor Ruffin founded and serves as Editor of Texas Review and founded and directs Texas Review Press, has published over ninety pieces of fiction, eighty essays, and over a thousand poems. His poetry, short fiction, and essays have appeared in such publications as Southern Review, Paris Review, Poetry, Michigan Quarterly Review, American Literary Review, Connecticut Review, Southern Humanities Review, Southern Quarterly, South Carolina Review, Georgia Review, Shenandoah, New England Review, American Way, Mississippi Review, Best of the West, and Southwestern American Literature. His work has been published in a number of university textbooks, including Harcourt Brace’s College Handbook of Creative Writing, Norton’s Introduction to Literature, and Little Brown’s Introduction to Literature and Introduction to Poetry. National Public Radio has also featured his work. Professor Ruffin is the author of two novels, four collections of short fiction (the latest, Living in a Christ-Haunted Land, released in French translation by 13E Note Editions as well in late 2011), four books of essays (the latest, Travels with George in Search of Ben Hur, published by the University of South Carolina Press), and seven collections of poetry. Professor Ruffin has edited or co-edited twelve other books, including scholarly books on John Steinbeck and William Goyen. He writes a weekly column, “Ruffin-It,” which appears in several newspapers in the South and West. A past recipient of the Sam Houston State University Excellence in Research Award, Professor Ruffin teaches graduate classes in fiction and poetry writing and conducts editing and publication practica for graduate students. In December of 2003, he was named Distinguished Professor of English and in 2008 Texas State University System Regents’ Professor. He was 2009 Texas State Poet Laureate.


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