Division of HumanitiesMFA in Creative Writing - Low Residency

Rainier Writing Workshop


"I am impressed with the caliber, commitment, and generosity of the faculty. Their willingness to engage with us in and out of our classroom made this experience unlike any other I've had."

Lia Purpura

Lia Purpura

Nonfiction, Poetry






Mentor. Workshops and classes in nonfiction and poetry.

Statement: "In any writing workshop, my goal is to help participants figure out how to engage in a practice, and how to live like writers in a daily and sustaining way. The bracing thrill of sensing a real, live temperament / disposition / sensibility on the page is what I long for (and fall for!) as a reader, and so, as a mentor, I look forward to finding those moments in my students' work, studying them, marveling at them—and then, working to refine or reposition the whole, in whatever way the poem or essay requires, so that each piece is up to its best moments. I hope to remystify the process of writing rather than demystify it. What I mean is this: it’s by engaging with practical, process-oriented habits, and learning techniques and formal gestures, that one becomes receptive enough to trust and catch the unexpected surprises that come along, and to allow mystery (call it the imagination if you like) to freely flourish. I believe in a workshop where risks of all kind are supported and strengthened."


Lia Purpura is the author of seven collections of essays, poems and translations, most recently, Rough Likeness (essays) and King Baby (poems).  Her honors include a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, National Endowment for the Arts and Fulbright Fellowships, three Pushcart prizes, the Associated Writing Programs Award in Nonfiction, and the Beatrice Hawley, and Ohio State University Press awards in poetry.  Recent work appears in Agni, Field, The Georgia Review, Orion, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Best American Essays.  She is Writer in Residence at The University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and teaches at writing programs around the country, including, most recently, the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference.  Her new collection of poems, It Shouldn’t Have Been Beautiful, is forthcoming from Viking/Penguin in 2015.  She lives in Baltimore with her family.