Student and Alumni Stories

While in the program, students can take advantage of opportunities to build a strong foundation and network for a thriving career post graduation.

Interview with Joanna Kaufman

An interview with Joanna Kaufman, 2021 Alumna of PNCA at Willamette’s
Low Residency Creative Writing Program

Partnerships and Collaborations

Our annual residencies are in the heart of Portland, Oregon where we are deeply integrated into its community of artists and writers who have made a commitment to making art that is revelatory, experimental, and that advocates for social justice.

The program draws upon our existing strong relationships with partners in our burgeoning Portland literary scene—including Write Around Portland (WRAP), IN TRANSLATION Reading Series, Literary Arts, Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC), Regional Arts & Cultural Council (RACC), Mother Foucault’s bookshop, Powell’s Books, Passages Bookshop, Poetry Press Week, Tender Table, Street Books, along with a host of local, regional, and national small presses, e.g., Tavern Books, Gramma Poetry, New Directions, Wave Books, Hawthorne Books, among others.


Writers in the Schools (WITS)

During residencies, students have the option of participating in training to support writers going into K-12 classrooms to teach creative writing units. Instruction happens during the residencies, and writers can gain WITS experience through internships with K-12 schools or other literary arts organizations that have WITS programs.


Through faculty mentor modeling and informative panels at the residencies and through the student’s packet work with faculty mentors, our program prepares and encourages students to attend the annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and Modern Language Association (MLA) Conferences. Our program will have a presence at the AWP Conference, both onsite recruitment and offsite reading / performance events (and parties!) with students and faculty mentors. Furthermore, literary translators and experimental writers might want to attend smaller conferences like American Literary Translation Association Conference (ALTA) and the NonFiction NOW Conference. Students in low-residency MFA programs often enjoy attending writing conferences because such conferences hold additional space for students spread around the country to come back into community.

Grass Roots Publishing

During the residencies, writers can learn hands-on skills on how to make books with specific instruction in letterpress printing, zine making, book design, various kinds of binding (from stapling to perfect bound), and printmaking. Students who are local can choose PNCA’s Book Arts course as their studio elective. Furthermore, we facilitate panels in which writers who are also publishers offer others advice on starting their own presses and publishing their own works and the works of others. Finally, we can help set students up with internships at small presses including Hawthorne Books, Tavern Books, Yes Yes Books, Forklift, Ohio (a Journal), and more.


At each residency, faculty mentors, guest artists, and students give readings and presentations of their work. Residencies include talks and workshops about the various ways writers can perform their work for others. Examples include: giving readings (individual and collaborative), multi-modal and interdisciplinary presentations (mixing text with sound, image, drama, music, dance, food, fashion and design, blending with social media, and more with notable Portland examples including Poetry Press Week and Tender Table), and blending with social media and blogging.

Portland is a Lit City