Each residency, the Solstice MFA in Creative Writing Program welcomes several guest faculty members representing each of our genre concentrations. Learn more about our upcoming special guests.

Upcoming Guests: July 2024

Yasmine Ameli

a queer biracial Iranian American looking ahead with a hand under her cheek

© Courtesy of the author

Yasmine Ameli (she/her) is a queer biracial Iranian American poet and essayist based in Massachusetts. Passionate about democratizing writing, publishing, and arts funding resources, she teaches through Grub Street and Assets for Artists; she also works independently as a holistic writing coach for creative writers seeking guidance on cultivating sustainable writing practices and arts business skills. In addition to reading and editing for the Minnesota Review, she has served as a juror for the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and Scholastic. Her work appears in Poetry, Ploughshares, The Sun, the Southern Review, Black Warrior Review, and elsewhere; and her writing projects have received support from Poets and Writers, Reese’s Book Club, MASS MoCA, Monson Arts, Franconia Sculpture Park, the Edith Wharton House, the Straw Dog Writers Guild, and the Oak Spring Garden Foundation. Yasmine holds a BA in English from Johns Hopkins University and an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Virginia Tech. Find her online at her website and Instagram @yasmineameli.

Toni Bee

a Black woman holding up an open hand

© Courtesy of the author

Toni Bee is a poet, educator, and photographer raised in Boston and educated in Roxbury, Massachusetts. She was elected Poet Populist of Cambridge—the first woman to grace that position—and is also the Inaugural Cambridge Poetry Ambassador. In addition, she was a teaching artist and storyteller at the Wang Theatre (now Boch Center). Toni raised her daughter while receiving her BA from Simmons University and self-published her first poetry book 22 Again. Toni is the founder of Poets In The Garden and Finding Mrs. Phillis, programs that elevate BIPOC voices in green spaces and in history. She’s been published in Boog City and local literary journals, and she was on the board of the New England Poetry Club. Toni has featured at Lizard Lounge, The Cantab (Boston Poetry Slam), the New England Poetry Club, Boston National Poetry Month Festival, the Menino Art Center, Stone Soup, the Boston Poetry Marathon, and with Voices of Poetry at the Cambridge Public Library. She has been a panelist at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival and has been granted The Woman of Distinction award by YWCA Cambridge. Visit her website for more information.

Kevin Carey

a white man with glasses, shaved head, and long-sleeve shirt leaning against a concrete wall

© Stephanie Young

Kevin Carey’s middle-grade novel Junior Miles and the Junkman made its debut in September 2023. A co-written collection of poems, Olympus Heights, came out a month later. Kevin’s other books include The Beach People, The One Fifteen to Penn Station, Jesus Was a Homeboy—an Honor Book for the Paterson Literary Prize—and Set in Stone. His poems have appeared on National Public Radio’s The Writers Almanac and on The Academy of American Poets Poem a Day platform. Kevin is also a playwright and a filmmaker. He has co-directed and -produced two documentaries about poets: All That Lies Between Us and Unburying Malcolm Miller. His crime novel, Murder in the Marsh, was released in 2020. Coordinator of Creative Writing at Salem State University, Kevin is also the co-founder of Molecule: a tiny lit mag. Visit his website for more information.

Gina Chung

a Korean American with a streak of green hair and off-white blouse

© S.M. Sukardi

Gina Chung is author of the novel Sea Change, which was named a 2023 B&N Discover Pick and a New York Times Most Anticipated Book; it was also longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Her short story collection Green Frog—out March 12, 2024, from Vintage in the U.S. and June 6, 2024, from Picador in the U.K.—has garnered critical acclaim. A recipient of the Pushcart Prize, she is a 2021-2022 Center for Fiction/Susan Kamil Emerging Writer Fellow and holds an MFA in fiction from The New School. Her work appears or is forthcoming in One Story, BOMB, The Kenyon Review, Literary Hub, Catapult, Electric Literature, and Gulf Coast, among others. Currently living in New York City, Gina is Korean American writer originally from New Jersey.

Jerel Dye

a white man with salt-and-pepper hair and beard and glasses in front of a brick wall

© Ed Nute

Jerel Dye has illustrated two graphic novels: Pigs Might Fly and Einstein, which was listed as one of the top 10 graphic novels of the year by ALA Booklist. He has been creating art and comics since 2005, producing dozens of self-published mini comics and creating comics stories for anthologies such as Inbound, Minimum Paige, Hellbound, and the award-winning Little Nemo/Winsor McCay tribute Dream Another Dream. In 2012, he received the MICE comics grant for his mini-comic From the Clouds. Much of Jerel’s art stems from a deep interest in science and technology, though it frequently contains a healthy dose of wonder. He received his BFA in Painting from UMass Dartmouth and his MFA at MassArt in the Studio for Interrelated Media. Jerel has been teaching courses in comics, drawing, and cartooning for 14 years at The Eliot School, MassArt, RISD, Lesley University, Hasbro, and others.

Carrie Finison

a white woman with brunette hair and glasses in front of some foliage

© Mira Whiting

Carrie Finison writes picture books with humor and heart, including Dozens of Doughnuts, a Junior Library Guild selection, and Don’t Hug Doug, an ALA Notable Children’s Book in 2022. She is also the author of Lulu & Zoey: A Sister Story and Hurry, Little Tortoise, Time for School!, both released in 2022. Her latest book, Pigs Dig a Road, will release in September 2024. In spite of all advice to the contrary, she began writing in rhyme a decade ago and hasn’t stopped. Her rhyming stories won both the Barbara Karlin work-in-progress grant from SCBWI, and the Peg Davol picture book scholarship from NESCBWI. In addition, her rhyming poetry has been published in children's magazines including High Five, Ladybug, and Babybug. She lives outside Boston with her husband, son, daughter, and two cats who permit her to write in their cozy attic office.

Shalene Gupta

a Chinese-Indonesian and Indian woman with glasses, long hair, blouse, and vest

© Usheer Kanjee

Shalene Gupta is a writer and journalist. She’s the author of The Cycle: Confronting the Pain of Periods and PMDD and co-author of The Power of Trust, nominated for a Thinkers50 Breakthrough Idea award. In 2022, Shalene was identified as a “thinker to watch out for” and made the Thinkers50 Radar list. In the past, she’s been a financial specialist for the Department of Treasury, a reporter for Fortune, and a researcher at Harvard Business School; she also taught English in Malaysia on a Fulbright scholarship. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, ESPN, Fast Company, Fortune, and Harvard Business Review, among other places. Currently hailing from Cambridge, Massachusetts, she is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and Johns Hopkins University.

Nate Klug

a white man with a crew-neck sweater, clean-shaven face, and short hair sitting in a chair in a clearing

© Allie Reveley

Nate Klug is a poet, translator, and essayist. He is the author of Rude Woods, a modern translation of Virgil's Eclogues, Anyone, and Hosts and Guests. His poems and essays have appeared in The Nation, The New York Review of Books, Best American Poetry, and elsewhere. His writing has been supported by fellowships from the James Merrill House, MacDowell, and the Poetry Foundation. A Congregationalist minister, he works at First Parish in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

Andrew Krivak, Commencement Speaker

a white man with graying hair and a black t-shirt propping his chin on his right hand with his index finger over his mouth

© Sharona Jacobs

Andrew Krivak is the author of four novels, two chapbooks of poetry, and two works of nonfiction. His 2011 debut novel, The Sojourn, was a National Book Award finalist and winner of both the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for fiction and the inaugural Chautauqua Prize. He followed The Sojourn with The Signal Flame (2017), a novel The New York Times said evoked “an austere landscape, a struggling family, and a deep source of pain” in Krivak’s fictional Dardan, Pennsylvania. His third novel, The Bear (2020), received the Banff Mountain Book Prize for fiction and is a National Endowment for the Arts Big Read title. His most recent novel, Like the Appearance of Horses (2023), returns to the characters and landscape of Dardan. Of the work, Asako Serizawa observed: “Andrew Krivak’s Homeric novel is at once intimate and sweeping, expanding an epic story set into motion in The Sojourn. Tenderly attentive to all that is given and taken by war, Like the Appearance of Horses is a graceful, heroic accomplishment that speaks to the costs of duty when violence is as constant as the Pennsylvania mountains that anchor and separate this indelible family we’ve come to know so personally.”

As a poet, Krivak has published the chapbooks Islands (1999) and Ghosts of the Monadnock Wolves (2021). He is also author of the memoir A Long Retreat: In Search of a Religious Life (2008) and editor of The Letters of William Carlos Williams to Edgar Irving Williams, 1902-1912 (2009), which won the Louis Martz Prize for scholarly research on William Carlos Williams. He holds an MFA in poetry from Columbia University, an MA in philosophy from Fordham, and a PhD in literary modernism from Rutgers University. Krivak lives with his wife and three children in Somerville, Massachusetts, and Jaffrey, New Hampshire.

Adi Rule

a smiling white woman with shoulder-length hair

© Alba Lumos Photography

Adi Rule writes young adult and middle grade novels, including Nell and the Netherbeast, Why Would I Lie?, Hearts of Ice, The Hidden Twin, and Strange Sweet Song, which won the 2016 New Hampshire Writers Project Literary Award for Outstanding Young Adult Book and the Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) Houghton Mifflin/Clarion Prize. Adi earned her MFA at VCFA and has led workshops throughout New England for groups that include 826 Boston, the VCFA Young Writers Network, and the NH Writers Project. Her work has appeared in Hunger Mountain journal of the arts and NH Pulp Fiction anthologies. She also contributes essays and features to New Hampshire Magazine.

Jacquinn Sinclair

a smiling Black woman with heart-shaped earrings, long locs, blazer, and scarf in front of a steel door bordered by brick walls

© Olivia Moon Photography

Jacquinn Sinclair is a Boston area-based journalist, author, and poet. Currently, she’s a contributing performing arts writer and theater critic for WBUR’s The ARTery. Her writing seeks to highlight creatives and organizations whose work is at the intersection of art and activism. Jacquinn’s stories and poems have been anthologized in the International Women’s Writing Guild’s Heels into the Soil: Stories & Poems Resisting the Silence and New Jersey Fan Club: Artists and Writers Celebrate the Garden State. She is also a recent winner of the Dunamis Organization’s Emerging Artist Fellowship and Grub Street’s Teaching Fellowship for Black Writers. An avid traveler and food enthusiast, Jacquinn has published work in The Boston Globe, Momentum, Lonely Planet, and more.

Valerie A. Smith, Spotlight Poet

Nominated by Sundress Publications

a smiling black woman with shoulder-length coil twists

© BJB Glamour Photography

Valerie A. Smith—the Solstice MFA Program’s second annual Spotlight Poet—is a poet and teacher from Atlanta, Georgia. Her first book, Back to Alabama, is a poignant poetry collection exploring the complexities of Black American identity, family, cultural heritage, womanhood, and religious faith. Valerie considers family in “Curlie Blue” and delves into the Black experience from music, art, and film to historical racism and resilience. This compelling work offers profound insights into the speaker’s journey, inviting readers to reflect on the enduring themes of social justice and spirituality. A deep, transformative examination of the Black American narrative, Back to Alabama resonates with raw truth and forthright introspection, leaving a lasting impact on the reader's heart and mind. Valerie’s poems have appeared in Radix, Aunt Chloe, Weber, Spectrum, Obsidian, Crosswinds, Dogwood, Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices, Oyster River Pages, and Wayne Literary Review. She has a PhD from Georgia State University and an MA from Kennesaw State University, where she currently teaches English and creative writing. Above all, she values spending quality time with her family.