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MA in Creative Writing and Literature for Educators - Faculty

Matthieu Boyd

Director, MA in Creative Writing and Literature for Educators

I am a core member of the Literature faculty on the Florham campus, specializing in the older literatures of Britain, Ireland, and their neighbors. Altogether I have studied some 18 languages, half modern, half ancient or medieval.

My degrees include:

  • A.M. and Ph.D., Celtic Languages and Literatures, Harvard University
  • Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, Harvard University
  • Higher Diploma in Early Irish Language and Literature, University College Dublin
  • Formation linguistique aux métiers bilingues français-breton, Stumdi (Landerneau, France)
  • A.B., French, Princeton University (with certificates in Medieval Studies and Theater and a thesis in Creative Writing)

I am immediate past president of the International Marie de France Society, and have served on the executive or advisory boards of the Celtic Studies Association of North America, the North American Branch of the International Arthurian Society, and the MLA's Discussion Group on Celtic Languages and Literatures.

I am general editor, with K. Sarah-Jane Murray, of a National Endowment for the Humanities-funded team translation of the Ovide moralisé (Moralized Ovid), an anonymous fourteenth-century French poem that tries to show - in no less than 72,000 lines! - how the Greco-Roman myths of Ovid's Metamorphoses are secretly compatible with Christian truth. It's a hugely influential piece of work that has never been translated into any modern language, until now.

I'm also the general editor of the Celtic Publications Series at Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. If you are looking to place a book on a Celtic topic, I'd love to hear about it.

You can find out more about my research.

Renée Ashley

Renée Ashley is the author of five volumes of poetry (Because I Am the Shore I Want to Be the Sea, Subito Press, Univ. of Colorado—Boulder; Basic Heart, X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize, Texas Review Press; The Various Reasons of Light; The Revisionist’s Dream; Salt, Brittingham Prize in Poetry, Univ. of Wisconsin Press), two chapbooks (The Verbs of Desiring, New American Press Chapbook Prize, and The Museum of Lost Wings, Hill-Stead Museum Sunken Garden Poetry Competition) and a novel (Someplace Like This), as well as numerous essays and reviews. Her awards include a Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Kenyon Review Award for Literary Excellence, the Charles Angoff Award from The Literary Review, an American Literary Review Poetry Prize, The Robert Watson Literary Prize in Poetry from Greensboro Review, a Black Warrior Review Poetry Award, the Chelsea Poetry Award, The Open Voice Award in Poetry from the Writers Voice, West Side Y, NY, NY, and the Robert H. Winner Award and the Ruth Lake Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America.

She has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and has received fellowships in both poetry and prose from New Jersey State Council on the Arts as well as a fellowship in poetry from the National Endowment of the Arts. She has served as Assistant Poetry Coordinator for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and as Writer-in-Residence at Rockland Center for the Arts and Distinguished Visiting Writer at Wichita State University. A portion of her poem “First Book of the Moon” is in marble in Penn Station Terminal in Manhattan, part of a permanent installation by Larry Kirkland. She is a poetry editor of The Literary Review and a member of the faculty of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s low-residency MFA Program and the MA in Creative Writing and Literature for Educators.

Renee Ashley also teaches Poetry in the MFA program at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Peter Benson

Peter Benson, Professor of English, teaches African literature, American literature, and writing. He received his Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He subsequently lived and taught in Sierra Leone, Kenya, and Senegal, and was recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Visiting Research Fellowship and two Fulbright

Fellowships. His interest in African literature began when he and the poet John Thompson founded a committee to win the release from political detention of their friend, the Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor. His book about African writers and intellectuals at the time of independence, Black Orpheus, Transition, and Modern Cultural Awakening in Africa, was published in 1986 by the University of California Press. His latest book, Battling Siki: A Tale of Ring Fixes, Race, and Murder in the 1920s (University of Arkansas Press, 2006), tells the life story of an African boxer murdered by gangsters in New York City in 1925. He has also published critical articles, reviews, poems, and feature articles.

Kathleen Graber

Kathleen Graber grew up in Wildwood, New Jersey, the daughter of small business owners who ran an arcade on the Wildwood boardwalk. She earned a BA in philosophy at New York University, and in 1994, after years of teaching high school English, Graber was inspired while leading a class field trip to the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival to begin writing poems. She subsequently earned an MFA at New York University.

Graber’s poems engage themes of grief, yearning, and the intersection of mental and geographical landscapes. Notes a reviewer for Publishers Weekly, “[W]hat makes Graber’s poems so fresh and wild are the associative slips that happen between the distant past and the urgent present.” In a 2007 interview for Kicking Wind, Graber states, “I do believe poetry changes the world: it changes the world by changing the way we think about the world.”

Graber is the author of The Eternal City (2010), chosen for the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets and a finalist for the National Book Award, and Correspondence(2006), winner of the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize and a finalist for the National Poetry Series.

Graber’s honors include a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, an Artist Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Hodder Fellowship in Creative Writing at Princeton University, and an Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship.

She has taught at New York University and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Gloria Pastorino

Gloria Pastorino, Assistant Professor of French and Italian, holds a Ph.D.in Comparative Literature from Harvard University with a dissertation on Dario Fo's stage language, which she is now turning into a book. She has worked with Dario Fo both on and off stage, and has translated several of his plays for American productions. Her publications include articles and translations of Fo's comedies, as well as the works of Pirandello, Castellucci, and Valdoca. Her long-term book project is a study of the evolution of the role of the servant in comedies of Plautinian derivation. She is also working on a translation with critical edition of texts by Lella Costa.

April Patrick

As a scholar of British literature, Dr. Patrick explores intersections between poetry, fiction, life writing, periodical studies, gender studies, and medicine. She also studies the history of children's and young adult fiction and nonfiction from the 19th century through contemporary works.

  • Ph.D., English & Women's Studies, Texas Christian University
  • M.A., English & Women's Studies, University of Houston
  • B.A., English & Secondary Education, Schreiner University

April teaches undergraduate courses at FDU and is the Director of the Honors Program on the Madison Campus.

Ken Sammond

I am Senior Lecturer in the Literature, Language, Writing and Philosophy Department at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU), teaching in the Writing and Literature programs.

I hold a PhD in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University and an MPA from Baruch College - CUNY.

My dissertation, Exile and Empire: Post-Imperial Narrative and the National Epic: A Comparative Study of Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses and Virgil’s Aeneid, focuses on the uses and reactions of colonialism and postcolonialism in relation to Roman ideologies of nationalism.

My research interests focus on the intersection of writing, sports, Greco-Roman epic, exile, and representations of marginalized peoples. The genres I focus on include novels, short fiction, the epic, essays and graphic novels. My broad areas of teaching focus on uses of research in crafting essays, the evolution of South Asian Anglophone literature, Augustan epic, sports literature, mythology, and literatures of exile.

I engage with students in the MA program in Creative Writing and Literature, encouraging them to broaden their perspectives and examine texts in a comparative manner, through two courses: "Graphic Novel" and "Writing and Sports.”

Rachel Sherman

Rachel Sherman holds an MFA in fiction from Columbia University. Her short stories have appeared in McSweeney’s, Fence, Open City, Conjunctions, and n+1, among other publications. Her first book, The First Hurt, was short-listed for the Story Prize and the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and was named one of the 25 Books to Remember in 2006 by the New York Public Library. Her first novel, Living Room (2009) was called “...edgy, moving, smart, funny, and altogether human,” by author Dani Shapiro, and was commended for its “…perfect pacing…” by The New York Times Book Review. She teaches writing at Rutgers and Columbia Universities, and leads the Ditmas Writing Workshops.