Creative Writing Faculty

The creative writing faculty at Cal Poly believes that the professor's job is to help students identify and enhance that which is idiosyncratically best in their writing while also providing opportunity and suggestions for new areas of exploration. All instructors in creative writing are not only dedicated teachers but continually productive artists.

Less Obvious Gods by Lisa CoffmanLisa Coffman (M.A. in creative writing, New York University, 1989) is the author of two full-length collection of poems, Less Obvious Gods (Iris Press, 2013) and Likely (Kent State University Press, 1996). She has won grants for her poetry from the National Endowments for the Arts, the PEW Charitable Trusts, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Her work has been featured on The Writer’s Almanac, and has appeared in journals including The Southern Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Mid American Review and River City, and in the anthologies Myrrh, Mothwing, Smoke: Erotic Poems; The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI: Tennessee; A Fine Excess; and Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia. Prior to moving to California, Coffman was an Assistant Professor of English at Penn State Altoona and has twice been a Visiting Professor at Deep Springs College. She also works as a free lance writer



Tlas vegas noir by Todd James Pierceodd James Pierce (M.F.A., UC Irvine, 1995; Ph.D., Florida State, 2003). A native of the central coast, Todd left a permanent job at Clemson University to teach at Cal Poly. He is the author of nine books and anthologies. Joan Didion selected his book of short stories Newsworld (University of Pittsburg Press, 2006) as winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize. Beyond Newsworld, he has published a novel, The Australia Stories (MacAdam/Cage, 2003); is the author or co-author of three college textbooks (including Visual Storytelling, Oxford University Press, 2015); is the co-editor of two anthologies of short stories (Las Vegas Noir and Dead Neon); and is the author of two books of nonfiction, including Three Years in Wonderland (Mississippi University Press, 2016). His stories and poems have appeared in over 70 magazines and journals, including American Short Fiction, The Georgia Review, Gettysburg Review, Fiction, Iowa Review, The Missouri Review, New England Review, North American Review, Shenandoah, Story Quarterly, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Willow Springs, as well as being anthologized in various college- and high-school literature textbooks. Presently, he directs WriterSpeak, the university’s visiting writers program.

Leslie St. John is a self-expression muse, helping people get "unstuck." She is creator of Prose and Poses, an embodied practice of yoga, movement, and writing to help people unshackle creativity, feel their body as an ally, and cultivate more self-intimacy. She offers workshops and retreats along the Central Coast, including her favorite wine country oasis, Sagrada Wellness. She received her MFA from Purdue University, where she served as poetry editor for the Sycamore Review. She is the author of Beauty Like a Rope, a chapbook by Word Palace Press. Her poetry and articles have appeared in Teach.Yoga, Apersus Quartery, Cimarron Review, Crab Orchard Review, Florida Review, Indiana Review, Oxford American, Pinch, Rebelle Society, and Verse Daily. A 500hr RYT, she has studied with Tias Little, Noah Maze, and Rocky Heron. She teaches Writing, Romanticism, and Poetry at Cal Poly, where she facilitated the publication of Unveiling Self: A Collection of Student Memoirs. You can find her writing at a café, hunting vintage shops, or hiking with her dog in San Luis Obispo.


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