MFA Core Faculty
- Alan Soldofsky (poetry)
- Nick Taylor (fiction)
- Selena Anderson (fiction)
- Keenan Norris (fiction, nonfiction)
- J. Michael Martinez (poetry)
Professor & Director of Creative Writing Programs
Faculty Offices 106
Alan Soldofsky directs the MFA Creative Writing Program at San Jose State University. His most recent collection of poems is In the Buddha Factory (Truman State University Press, 2013). With David Koehn, he is coeditor of Compendium: A Collection of Thoughts On Prosody, by Donald Justice (Omindawn, 2017). His poetry has four times been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His latest collection of poems Charts (For the End of Days) is a finalist for the 2020 Elixir Press Antivenom Poetry Prize.
He has also published Kenora Station and Staying Home, both originally published as limited edition artist's books by Steam Press of Berkeley, intaglio prints by Lyman Piersma, book design by Alistair Johnston. A graduate of the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop, he joined the San Jose State faculty in 1985 and directed first the San Jose Poetry Center, then the SJSU Center for Literary Arts, before being appointed director of the Creative Writing Program in 1999.
His poems have appeared in numerous magazines and quarterlies including: Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, The Nation, The North American Review, and Poetry East. A former contributing editor to Poetry Flash, he has also published criticism and reviews in Chelsea, Ironwood, and Quarry West as well as articles and essays on crossings between Modernist and Post-modernist poetry, one of which, "Nature and the Symbolic Order: The Dialogue Between Czeslaw Milosz and Robinson Jeffers," is included as a chapter in Robinson Jeffers: Dimensions of a Poet, edited by Robert Brophy (Fordham University Press, 1995). His scholarly work includes research into the history of Northern California and Bay Area poetry, and twentieth and twentieth century first and second poets from immigrant, refugee, and exile backgrounds.
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Nick Taylor is the author of the novel The Disagreement (2008), winner of the 11th Michael Shaara Prize for Excellence in Civil War Fiction. He has received fellowships from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the William R. Kenan Endowment for Historic Preservation.
Associate Professor; Director of the Center for Literary Arts
Faculty Offices 105
Selena Anderson completed her PhD at University of Houston and her MFA at Columbia University. Her stories have appeared in Fence, BOMB, The Baffler, Oxford American, and The Best American Short Stories and have been honored with the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award, The Texas Emerging Star Award, and The Henfield/TransAtlantic Prize. She lives in San Francisco where she is working on a novel.
Faculty Offices 128
Keenan Norris teaches English and Creative Writing (Fiction and Non-Fiction) and serves as coordinator of the Steinbeck Fellows Program at San Jose State. Keenan's novel The Confession of Copeland Cane won the 2022 Northern California Book Award. His book of essays Chi Boy: Native Sons and Chicago Reckonings and his novella Lustre were published in 2023. His essays have garnered the 2021-22 National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award and 2021 Folio: Eddie Award. Keenan's debut novel Brother and the Dancer won the James D. Houston Award in 2012. His short fiction has appeared in several anthologies of California literature, among them San Bernardino, Singing and Oakland Noir.
Keenan is the editor of the critical volume Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape. Keenan’s essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Remezcla and Alta. He has published peer-reviewed articles in the Oxford Bibliographies in African-American History series, The Encyclopedia of Contemporary American Fiction 1980-2020, Killens Review of Arts & Letters and Boom California. Keenan's multimedia educational resources about the life of abolitionist David Walker, "One of America's Most Dangerous Men," were part of TED-ED's 2023 Black History Month work.
Keenan has served as 2023 Lannan Visiting Writer at the Institute of American Indian Arts and the 2021 University of Virginia Rea Visiting Writer. He’s also been a 2017 Marin Headlands Artist-in-Residence and has garnered a Public Voices fellowship (2020-21), a Callaloo fellowship (2016) and two Yerba Buena Center for the Arts fellowships (2017, 2015). He served as California guest editor for the Oxford African-American Studies Center from 2015 through 2020.
Keenan was previously tenured faculty at the community college level, where he wrote curriculum to establish the online course offerings for the English department at Evergreen Valley College.
Faculty Offices 110
Longlisted for the National Book Award, winner of the National Poetry Series, and a recipient of the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, J. Michael Martinez is the author of three collections of poetry, Heredities (LSU Press), In the Garden of the Bridehouse (University of Arizona Press), and Museum of the Americas (Penguin Press). His fourth collection, Tarta Americana, is forthcoming from Penguin Press, Fall of 2023. His poetry may be found in various publications including PBS, The Poetry Society of America’s New American Poets Series, New American Writing, and POETRY. His writings have been anthologized in Ahsahta Press' The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral, Rescue Press' The New Census: 40 American Poets, and Counterpath Press' Angels of the Americlypse: New Latin@ Writing.
Martinez has read, lectured, or taught at universities and organizations nationwide, including The Folger Shakespeare Library, The Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Conference, The Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, Naropa University, The University of Colorado at Boulder, The Association of Writers and Writing Programs, The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, The Tucson Festival of Books, Canto Mundo, George Mason University and more.
An assistant professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at San Jose State University, Martinez lives in California.
Faculty Offices 223