Creative Writing Faculty

Amy Catanzano
Eric Ekstrand
Joanna Ruocco
Elisabeth Whitehead
Eric Wilson

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Amy Catanzano, MFA
Assistant Professor in Creative Writing (Poetry)
Co-Director, Dillon Johnston Writers Reading Series

Amy Catanzano is the author of two books of poetry and one cross-genre book of fiction and poetry. Starlight in Two Million: A Neo-Scientific Novella (Noemi Press, 2014) received the Noemi Press Book Award for Fiction. Multiversal (Fordham University Press, 2009) was selected by Michael Palmer for Fordham University Press’ Poets Out Loud Prize and the PEN USA Literary Award in Poetry. Her first book of poetry, iEpiphany, was published by Anne Waldman’s independent press, Erudite Fangs Editions, in 2008. Her creative work has appeared widely in literary journals such as Conjunctions, Denver Quarterly, New American Writing, and Fence. Her poetry has been anthologized in Naropa University’s commemoration of its 40th anniversary, Hydrogen Jukebox: 40 years of (Dis)Embodied Poetics, in Fence magazine’s A Best of Fence, and elsewhere. Her interests include poetry and poetics, cross-genre literature and experimental fiction, the intersections of poetry and science, ‘pataphysics, and the literary avant-garde. Her essays on quantum poetics appear in Jacket2, Poems and Poetics, and elsewhere. She has an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. An assistant professor of English (Creative Writing, Poetry), the poet-in-residence, and co-director of the Dillon Johnston Writers Reading Series at Wake Forest University, she teaches undergraduate and graduate poetry workshops. Prior to teaching at Wake Forest she taught in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa, where she also served as the administrative director of the Writing and Poetics Department and the managing editor of the literary journal.

Eric Ekstrand, MFA
Assistant Teaching Professor

Eric Ekstrand is the author of Laodicea, recipient of the 2013 Omnidawn Books 1st/2nd Poetry Book Prize, selected by Donald Revell. His poems can be found in Poetry, jubilat, Indiana Review, Black Warrior Review, Catch Up, Bat City Review, and elsewhere. He was awarded a Ruth Lilly Fellowship by the Poetry Foundation in 2009 and has been the recipient of an Inprint/Brown Foundation Fellowship and a Houston Writing Fellowship. He was poetry editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts from 2009 to 2010 and was the founding conference administrator for Boldface: A Conference for Emerging Writers. An Assistant Teaching Professor at Wake Forest University, he teaches freshman writing and poetry workshops. His interests include modern and contemporary poetry, poetry writing, religious studies in literature and art, aesthetics, and practical pedagogy. He has a BA in English Literature from Wake Forest University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston.

Joanna Ruocco, PhD
Assistant Professor in Creative Writing (Fiction)
Co-Director, Dillon Johnston Writers Reading Series

Joanna Ruocco’s books include The Mothering Coven (Ellipsis Press), Man’s Companions (Tarpaulin Sky Press), A Compendium of Domestic Incidents (Noemi Press), and Another Governess / The Least Blacksmith: A Diptych (FC2).  A Compendium of Domestic Incidents won the 2009 Noemi Press Fiction Chapbook Contest judged by Rikki Ducornet, and Another Governess / The Least Blacksmith: A Diptych won the FC2 Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize, judged by Ben Marcus. She also works pseudonymously as Alessandra Shahbaz (Ghazal in the Moonlight, Midnight Flame) and Toni Jones (No Secrets in Spandex). Her stories have appeared in numerous literary journals including NOON, Conjunctions, The Black Warrior Review, Caketrain, Bidoun, Quarterly West, Western Humanities Review, The Fanzine, Marginalia, and Harp & Altar. Her work has also been included in several anthologies, including Dzanc Books’ Best of the Web, It’s Always Been a War: American Writers on Class, Pushcart Prize XXVIII, and The Force of What’s Possible: Writers on Accessibility & the Avant-Garde, forthcoming from Nightboat Books. She co-edits the annual fiction journal Birkensnake with Brian Conn. She has an MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University and a PhD in Fiction from the University of Denver.

Elisabeth Whitehead, MFA
Assistant Teaching Professor

Elisabeth Whitehead has work in a chapbook sampler, A Third Instance (Instance Press, 2014), which also features poetry by Rosa Alcalá and Craig Watson. A second chapbook, a pilgrim’s traveling kit, was published by Cosa Nostra Editions in 2008. Her poems have been published in literary journals such as American Letters & Commentary, Aufgabe, Black Warrior Review, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, jubilat, and Quarterly West. She was a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to Helsinki, Finland. An Assistant Teaching Professor at Wake Forest University, she teaches freshman writing and poetry workshops. She holds an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Eric Wilson, PhD
Director, Creative Writing Program
Thomas H. Pritchard Professor of English

Eric Wilson is the author of numerous books, including Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck: Why We Can’t Look Away (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), My Business Is To Create: Blake’s Infinite Writing (University of Iowa Press, 2011), The Mercy of Eternity: A Memoir of Depression and Grace (Northwestern University Press, 2010), and Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2008), translated into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Croatian, Korean, Chinese, and Portuguese. Against Happiness appeared on the bestseller lists of the L.A. Times and the Calgary Herald, was featured on national and international media venues including NBC’s Today Show, UNC TV’s Bookwatch, TVO’s The Agenda, NPR’s All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation, the BBC’s Today Programme, and CBC’s The Current, and received coverage and reviews in Newsweek, the Chicago Tribune, the L.A. Times, the New York Times, The Globe and Mail, The Charlotte Observer, The Winston-Salem Journal, The Spectator, The Wall Street Journal, Booklist, Bookforum, the Globe and Mail, the Minneapolis Star Tribune,, Publisher’s Weekly, the Raleigh News and Observer, and America: The National Catholic Weekly. Additional books by Eric Wilson include The Strange World of David Lynch (Continuum, 2007), Secret Cinema: Gnostic Vision in Film (Continuum, 2006), The Melancholy Android: On the Psychology of Sacred Machines (State University of New York Press, 2006), Coleridge’s Melancholia (University Press of Florida, 2004), The Spiritual History of Ice (Palgrave Macmillan), Romantic Turbulence (Palgrave Macmillan, 2000), and Emerson’s Sublime Science (Palgrave Macmillan, 1999). The Thomas H. Pritchard Professor of English at Wake Forest University, he teaches British and American Romanticism, creative nonfiction, film and literature, and cultural studies. He has a PhD from the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

Also see overview of the Creative Writing Minor, Student Opportunities, Requirements, Applying to MFA Programs, and Resources.

For more information about the Creative Writing Minor, contact the Director of Creative Writing, Eric Wilson.

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