Four people meeting around a table


Picture of Sean Forbest Sean Frederick Forbes, Ph.D.
AUST 146
Picture of Ellen Litman Ellen Litman
Associate Director
AUST 142
Anna Ziering
Assistant Director
Director, Poetic Journeys
AUST 148
Melanie Hepburn
Administrative Manager
AUST 209



Picture of Sean Forbest Sean Frederick Forbes is an Assistant Professor-in-Residence of English and the Director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Connecticut.  His poems have appeared in Chagrin River Review, Sargasso, A Journal of Caribbean Literature, Language, and Culture, Crab Orchard Review, Long River Review, and Midwest Quarterly.  In 2009, he received a Woodrow Wilson Mellon Mays University Fellows Travel and Research Grant for travel to Providencia, Colombia.  Providencia, his first book of poetry, was published in 2013.  He has co-edited two collections of personal narratives titled What Does It Mean to be White in America? Breaking the White Code of Silence: Personal Narratives by White Americans (2016) and The Beiging of America: Being Mixed Race in the 21st Century (2017).  He serves as the poetry editor for New Square, the official publication of The Sancho Panza Literary Society for which he serves as Associate Director.  In 2017, he received first place in the Nutmeg Poetry Contest from the Connecticut Poetry Society.

Forbes CV

Picture of Ellen Litman Ellen Litman is an Associate Professor of English and the Associate Director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Connecticut.  She is the author of two novels, Mannequin Girl (W.W. Norton 2014) and The Last Chicken in America (W.W. Norton 2007), which was a finalist for the 2007 LA Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the 2008 New York Public Library Young Lions Award.  A native of Moscow, Russia, she is interested in immigrant narratives, contemporary Russian literature and culture, and translation studies.  Her fiction, nonfiction, and translations have appeared in Best New American Voices, Best of Tin House, American Odysseys: Writing by New Americans, East European Jewish Affairs, Guernica, The Forward, The New Yorker online, and elsewhere.  She is a recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, as well as a fellowships at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Bread Loaf Writers’ conference.

Litman CV

Picture of Gina Barreca teaching Gina Barreca is hailed as “smart and funny” by People magazine, “Very, very funny. For a woman,” by Dave Barry, and a “feminist humor maven” by Ms. Magazine.  Novelist Wally Lamb said “Barreca’s prose, in equal measures, is hilarious and humane.”  Her weekly columns from The Hartford Courant are now distributed internationally by the Tribune Co. and her work has appeared in most major publications, including The New York Times, The Independent of London, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Cosmopolitan, and The Harvard Business Review.  Gina, who is a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Connecticut and winner of UConn’s highest award for excellence in teaching, is a member of the Friars Club and an honoree of the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.  She is the author most recently of If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse? which was an ELLE Reader’s Prize selection. Her earlier books include It’s Not That I’m Bitter, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Visible Panty Lines and Conquered the World, the bestselling They Used to Call Me Snow White But I Drifted: Women’s Strategic Use of Humor and Babes in Boyland: A Personal History of Coeducation in the Ivy League.
Julie Choffel is the author of The Hello Delay (Fordham University Press, 2012), winner of the Poets Out Loud Prize, and a graduate of the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at UMass Amherst.  Her poems have been published in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, The Tiny, The Seattle Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Denver Quarterly, Verse, Art New England, and elsewhere.  She is currently the Poet Laureate of West Hartford, Connecticut.

Choffel CV

Bruce Cohen’s poems and non-fiction essays have appeared in well over a hundred literary periodicals such as AGNI, The Georgia Review, The Harvard Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, Prairie Schooner & The Southern Review as well as being featured on Poetry Daily & Verse Daily.  He has published five acclaimed volumes of poetry: Disloyal Yo-Yo (Dream Horse Press), which was awarded the 2007 Orphic Poetry Prize, Swerve (Black Lawrence Press) and Placebo Junkies Conspiring with the Half-Asleep (Black Lawrence Press), No Soap, Radio! and Imminent Disappearances, Impossible Numbers & Panoramic X-Ray, winner of the 2015 Green Rose Prize from (New Issues Press).  Prior to joining the Creative Writing faculty at the University of Connecticut in 2012, he directed, developed, and implemented nationally recognized academic enhancement programs for the last thirty years at the University of Arizona, The University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Connecticut.

Cohen CV

Darcie Dennigan is interested in poets theatre, otherworldliness, and female absurdists.  She is the 2019-2020 resident playwright at the Wilbury Theatre Group, which presented her play The Pleiades as part of their Studio W series, and she is currently publishing and performing monologues from her F-Scale project, which applies the test for fascist personalities to her own life.  She has staged three books of poetry: Monica de la Torre’s The Happy End / All Welcome, Kate Colby’s I Mean, and her own poem-play Dandelion Farm, which was inspired by Pina Bausch’s “1980.” An award-winning poet and author of three collections of poetry, she is also the author of the novel Slater Orchard: an etymology (coming in Fall 2019) and a collection of performance texts, The Parking Lot and other feral scenarios. Born in Rhode Island and living there now, she is co-founder of the Providence literary community Frequency Writers.
V. Penelope Pelizzon’s second poetry collection, Whose Flesh Is Flame, Whose Bone Is Time, was published in 2014 (Waywiser Press).  Her first book, Nostos (Ohio University Press, 2000), won the Hollis Summers Prize and the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award.  Pelizzon’s awards include a 2019 Hawthornden Fellowship, a 2012 Amy Lowell Traveling Scholarship, and the 2012 Center for Book Arts chapbook award for her collection Human Field.  New poems are forthcoming in 2019 in The Gettysburg Review and The New England Review.
Michael Pontacoloni’s poems appear in Cincinnati ReviewDenver QuarterlyPleiades, Mississippi ReviewColorado Review, and elsewhere. He has received scholarships and support from the Sewanee Writers Conference, Vermont Studio Center, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, from which he received his MFA in 2015.