Teachers

Meet Our Teachers

Hugo House teachers are at the core of our goal to help writers become better writers. Our teachers are writers; they are selected on the basis of their active engagement in the literary world as well as their love of teaching.

  • Headshot of Arleen Williams

    Arleen Williams

  • Headshot of Phillip B. Williams

    Phillip B. Williams

  • Headshot of Emily Wolahan

    Emily Wolahan

  • Hugo House logo

    Simon Wolf

  • Headshot of Jane Wong

    Jane Wong

  • Headshot of Deborah Woodard

    Deborah Woodard

  • Headshot of Geraldine Woods

    Geraldine Woods

  • Headshot of Carolyne Wright

    Carolyne Wright

  • Hugo House logo

    Dandan Xin

  • Headshot of Becca Yenser

    Becca Yenser

  • Headshot of Kristen Millares Young

    Kristen Millares Young

  • Headshot of Wancy Young Cho

    Wancy Young Cho

  • Headshot of John Yunker

    John Yunker

  • Headshot of Noah Zanella

    Noah Zanella

  • Headshot of Andrew Zawacki

    Andrew Zawacki

  • Headshot of Amy Zhang

    Amy Zhang

Headshot of Arleen Williams

Arleen Williams

Pronouns: she/her
Headshot of Phillip B. Williams

Phillip B. Williams

“Williams demonstrates an astounding technical mastery of poetic forms that goes far beyond form for form’s sake, as he repeats, reconfigures, and recontextualizes words and phrases in order to create continuity and multifaceted meanings.” ―Muzzle Magazine

“Williams sings for the vanished, for the haunted, for the tortured, for the lost, for the place on the horizon where the little boat of the human body disappears in a wingdom of unending grace.” ―The Best American Poetry

“To experience Williams’ poetry is to encounter a lucid, unmitigated humanity, a voice for whom language is inadequate, yet necessarily grasped, shaped, and consumed.” ―Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Phillip B. Williams is the author of Mutiny (Penguin Random House, 2021), and Thief in the Interior (Alice James Books, 2016), winner of the 2017 Kate Tufts Discovery Award and a 2017 Lambda Literary award. He is also the author of the chapbooks Bruised Gospels (Arts in Bloom Inc., 2011) and Burn (YesYes Books, 2013).

His forthcoming collection Mutiny is a rebellion, a subversion, an onslaught. In poems that rebuke classical mythos and western canonical figures, and embrace Afro-Diasporanfolk and spiritual imagery, Williams conjures the hell of being erased, exploited, and ill-imagined and then, through a force and generosity of vision, propels himself into life, selfhood, and a path forward. Intimate, bold, and sonically mesmerizing, Mutiny addresses loneliness, desire, doubt, memory, and the borderline between beauty and tragedy.

In his debut collection Thief in the Interior, Williams investigates the dangers of desire, balancing narratives of addiction, murders, and hate crimes with passionate, uncompromising depth. Formal poems entrenched in urban landscapes crack open dialogues of racism and homophobia rampant in our culture. Multitudinous voices explore one’s ability to harm and be harmed, which uniquely juxtaposes the capacity to revel in both experiences.

Of Thief in the Interior, Los Angeles Book Review noted, “The seasoned reader of poetry will be impressed that Thief in the Interior is Phillip B. Williams’s first collection. His control of the line is masterful, and his syntax eschews, for the most part, direct or simple delivery of language, creating a formal and solemn tone that scores the emotional pitches of the book.” Author Adrian Matejka notes, “Williams’s poems embody balance: uncompromising and magnetic, surprising and intuitive. Need is everywhere―in the unforgiving images, in lines so delicate they seem to break apart in the hands, and in the reader who will enter these poems and never want to leave.”

Williams’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Boston Review, Callaloo, Kenyon Review, The New Republic, The New Yorker, and others. He is the recipient of a 2020 creative writing grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a 2017 Whiting Award, and a 2013 Ruth Lilly Fellowship. He serves as a faculty member at Bennington College and Randolph College low-res MFA.

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Emily Wolahan

Pronouns: she/her

Emily Wolahan (she/her) is the author of the poetry collection Hinge (NPRP 2015). Her poems have appeared in Puerto del Sol, Sixth Finch, Georgia Review, and Oversound, among other places. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Anthropology and Social Change (CIIS). She has been an editor at Two Lines Press and Jerry Magazine and is currently a Poetry Editor at Tinderbox Poetry Journal. www.emilywolahan.com

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Simon Wolf

Simon Wolf has his MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics from the University of Washington Bothell. His work has been published with Leveler Poetry, featured in 'Coastal Poets – A Reading and Film Festival,' Clamor Journal, and is forthcoming in Inkwell. Check out more of Simon on Instagram @simon_sayspoems.

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Jane Wong

Jane Wong is the author of How to Not Be Afraid of Everything (Alice James, 2021) and Overpour (Action Books, 2016). A Kundiman fellow, she is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships and residencies from Harvard's Woodberry Poetry Room, the U.S. Fulbright Program, Artist Trust, Hedgebrook, Willapa Bay, the Jentel Foundation, and others. Her debut memoir, Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City, is forthcoming from Tin House. She is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Western Washington University. Her poetry art installations have been shown at the Frye Art Museum and the Richmond Art Gallery.

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Deborah Woodard

Pronouns: she/her

Deborah Woodard holds an MFA from the University of California, Irvine, and a PhD from the University of Washington. She is the author of Plato’s Bad Horse (Bear Star Press, 2006), Borrowed Tales (Stockport Flats, 2012), and No Finis: Triangle Testimonies, 1911 (Ravenna Press, 2018). Her chapbook Hunter Mnemonics (hemel press, 2008) was illustrated by artist Heide Hinrichs. She has translated Amelia Rosselli with Giuseppe Leporace in The Dragonfly: A Selection of Poems: 1953 – 1981 (Chelsea Editions, 2009) and with Roberta Antognini in Hospital Series (New Directions, 2015) and Obtuse Diary (Entre Ríos Books, 2018). Woodard teaches at Hugo House in Seattle and co-curates the reading series Margin Shift.

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Geraldine Woods

Pronouns: she/her

I’m the author of a stack of grammar books (English Grammar For Dummies, Webster’s New World Punctuation: Simplified and Applied, and more) and an educator with four decades of experience teaching every level of English from 5th grade through AP. My most recent books, 25 Great Sentences and How They Got That Way (Norton, 2020) and Sentence. A Period-to-Period Guide to Building Better Readers and Writers (Norton, 2021), explore the techniques authors use to make their writing more effective. My only remotely cool moment came when I was interviewed by a reporter from MTV about the decision by “Panic! At the Disco” to drop their exclamation point.

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Carolyne Wright

Pronouns: she / her

Carolyne Wright’s new book is Masquerade, a memoir in poetry (Lost Horse Press, 2021). Previous books include This Dream the World: New & Selected Poems (Lost Horse, 2017), whose title poem won a Pushcart Prize and also appeared in The Best American Poetry 2009; and the anthology, Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workspace (Lost Horse, 2015), which received ten Pushcart Prize nominations. Carolyne has also received NEA and 4Culture grants, and a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award. Visit https://carolynewright.wordpress.com for more information.

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Dandan Xin

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Becca Yenser

Pronouns: She/ her/ they/ them

Becca Yenser is author of Bang the Dream (Selcouth Station Press, 2021), The Grief Lottery (forthcoming, ELJ Editions, 2022), and A Constellation of Wounds (forthcoming, Bone and Ink Press, 2022). Their semi-autobiographical novella, The Ms. Pac Man Chronicles, won the Daily Drunk Mag’s 2021 novella chapbook contest. More fiction, poetry, and nonfiction appear in Hobart, Bending Genres, Tiny Molecules, Heavy Feather Review, Susan, Ink Node, Fanzine, Superfroot Magazine, and X-Ray Literary Journal. Yenser is the recipient of the 2021 Reflex International Flash Fiction Contest. They were awarded Honorable Mention for the Masters Review 2021 Chapbook Contest, the Toasted Cheese Dead of Winter Horror Fiction Contest (2021), and the Waxing and Waning Prose Award (2021). Yenser earned an MFA at Wichita State University, where they studied fiction and poetry and were named Fiction Fellow. They worked as an award-winning reporter and arts and culture writer for WSU’s student-run paper, The Sunflower. Yenser also served as fiction editor and co-Editor-in-Chief of Mikrokosmos Literary Journal. The poet Jessica Q. Stark (author of Savage Pageant and editor of AGNI), commented, "Becca Yenser’s Bang the Dream is a revving engine, a clandestine swig under black sky, a series of torn portraits in which everyone feels a little bit haunted." The writer Kevin Maloney (Cult of Loretta), reviewing Bang the Dream, remarks, "Like the best of Lucia Berlin or Denis Johnson, Becca Yenser paints broken people against ecstatic landscapes: grievers moon-gazing in Ireland, junkies nodding off next to a Kansas River, an Albuquerque drug dealer fly fishing with the pink Sandias looming in the distance." Yenser was born in Iowa, raised in Oregon, and currently resides in New Mexico.

Website: www.inknode.com/beccayenser

Twitter: @beccayenser

Instagram: @beccayenser

Headshot of Kristen Millares Young

Kristen Millares Young

Pronouns: She/Her

Kristen Millares Young is a journalist, essayist, and author of the novel Subduction, named a staff pick by the Paris Review and called “whip-smart” by the Washington Post, “a brilliant debut” by the Seattle Times, and “utterly unique and important” by Ms. Magazine. Winner of Nautilus and IPPY awards, Subduction was shortlisted for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award and named a finalist for two International Latino Book Awards and Foreword Indies Book of the Year in 2020. Her essays, book reviews, and investigations appear in the Washington Post, the GuardianLiterary Hub, and the anthologies Advanced Creative Nonfiction, Latina Outsiders, and Alone Together, winner of a 2021 Washington State Book Award. A former Prose Writer-in-Residence at Hugo House, she is the editor of Seismic: Seattle, City of Literature, a finalist for a 2021 Washington State Book Award. Kristen was the researcher for the New York Times team that produced “Snow Fall,” which won a Pulitzer Prize. She was the 2023 Distinguished Visiting Writer for Seattle University and the University of Washington Bothell Master of Fine Arts program. 

 

 

Website and Social Media Handles:

 

www.kristenmyoung.com

@kristenmillares

 

www.instagram.com/kristenmillares ​

www.facebook.com/kristen.young.14019

www.twitter.com/kristenmillares

www.linkedin.com/in/kristenmyoung

Headshot of Wancy Young Cho

Wancy Young Cho

Wancy Young Cho is a Pushcart Prize nominee and appears in the New Orleans Review, NBC’s THINK, The Stranger, and Salon. He holds an MFA from Columbia University, Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award, and Written Image Screenwriting Award.

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John Yunker

John Yunker writes plays, short stories, and novels. He is the author of the novel The Tourist Trail; editor of the Among Animals fiction series and a nonfiction anthology, Writing for Animals; and his plays have been produced or staged at such venues as the Oregon Contemporary Theatre, the Source Festival, the Centre Stage New Play Festival, and Association for Theatre in Higher Education conference. His teleplay Sanctuary was performed at the 2017 Compassion Arts Festival in New York, and his short stories have been published in Phoebe, Qu, Flyway, Antennae, and other journals. He is co-author, with Midge Raymond, of the mystery novel Devils Island.

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Noah Zanella

I am a nonbinary writer and musician from Chicago. I have an MFA in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago. I was the recipient of the 2022 Elieen Lannan Academy of American Poets Prize. I'm trying not to miss it all.

Website: noahpzanella.wixsite.com/my-site

LinkedIn: Noah Zanella

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Andrew Zawacki

Pronouns: He/him/his

A 2015-16 Howard Foundation Fellow in Poetry, Andrew Zawacki is the author of five poetry books: Unsun : f/11 (Coach House, 2019); Videotape (Counterpath, 2013); Petals of Zero Petals of One (Talisman House,
2009); Anabranch (Wesleyan, 2004); and By Reason of Breakings (Georgia,
2002). A former Rhodes Scholar and Fulbright Scholar, he earned his doctorate from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.
Zawacki has also published four books in France: Sonnetssonnants, translated by Anne Portugal; Georgia and Carnet Bartleby, both translated by Sika Fakambi; and Par Raison de brisants, translated by Antoine Cazé and a finalist for the Prix Nelly Sachs. Anabranche, translated by Sika Fakambi, is forthcoming from Éditions Grèges.
His chapbook Georgia was co-winner of the 1913 Prize, while Masquerade won the Alice Fay DiCastagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America. Arrow’s shadow was issued by Equipage in the UK, and Kaeshi-waza was published in Canada by The Elephants. More recently, Sonnensonnets appeared from Tammy, Waterfall plot from Greying Ghost.
His work has appeared in Poems for Political Disaster, Legitimate Dangers:
American Poets of the New Century, The Iowa Anthology of New American
Poetries, Great American Prose Poems, The Eloquent Poem, and other
anthologies, as well as magazines such as The New Yorker, The Nation,
and The New Republic.
A past fellow of the Slovenian Writers’ Association, Zawacki edited Afterwards (White Pine, 1999), an anthology of postwar Slovenian poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, in addition to editing and co-translating Aleš Debeljak’s new and selected poems, Without Anesthesia (Persea, 2011), assisted by a Slovenian Ministry of Culture Translation Grant. His translations of two poetry books by Sébastien Smirou, See About (La Presse / Fence, 2017) and My Lorenzo (Burning Deck, 2012), have earned him a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship, a French Voices Grant, and a grant from the Centre National du Livre.
He coedited the late expatriate writer Gustaf Sobin’s collected poems and serves as co-executor of Sobin’s literary estate. Zawacki has published criticism in the TLS, Boston Review, Chicago Review, How2, Jacket2, New German Critique, and elsewhere. He has held fellowships from the Salzburg Seminar, the Bogliasco Foundation, la Résidence Internationale aux Récollets, le Collège International des Traducteurs Littéraires, Hawthornden Castle, Le Château de Lavigny, and the Millay Colony, Saltonstall Foundation, and Bread Loaf.

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Amy Zhang

Pronouns: she/her

Amy Zhang is the author of Falling Into Place, This Is Where The World Ends, and The Cartographers (HarperCollins). Her fiction has been recognized by the Indies Next List and received starred reviews from Booklist and VOYA, among other honors, and translated into five languages. Her poetry collection, Small Birds, Blue Bellies, was the recipient of the Rosenfeld Chapbook prize; select poems won the Hansmann Poetry Prize through the American Academy of Poets.