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.

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    Lisa Wells

  • Headshot of Rachel Werner

    Rachel Werner

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    Chelsea Werner-Jatzke

  • Headshot of Monica West

    Monica West

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    Katherine West

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    Derrick Weston Brown

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    Demi Wetzel

  • Headshot of Lesley Wheeler

    Lesley Wheeler

  • Headshot of Sarah Wheeler

    Sarah Wheeler

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    Arisa White

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    Emily White

  • Headshot of Iz White

    Iz White

  • Headshot of Peter White

    Peter White

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    Jason Whitmarsh

  • Headshot of Carrie Wicks

    Carrie Wicks

  • Headshot of Joe Wilkins

    Joe Wilkins

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    UW Castalia

  • Headshot of Joshua Marie Wilkinson

    Joshua Marie Wilkinson

  • Headshot of Laurel Wilkinson

    Laurel Wilkinson

  • Headshot of Arleen Williams

    Arleen Williams

  • Headshot of Phillip B. Williams

    Phillip B. Williams

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    John Williams

  • Headshot of L. Lamar Wilson

    L. Lamar Wilson

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    Melody Wilson

Headshot of Lisa Wells

Lisa Wells

Lisa Wells is the author, most recently, of Believers: Making a Life at the End of the World, a finalist for the 2022 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. Her debut collection of poetry, The Fix, won the Iowa Poetry Prize. You can find her essays in Harper’s Magazine, Granta, N+1, The New York Times, The Best American Science & Nature Writing, and in Orion Magazine where she writes the column “Abundant Noise.” 

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Rachel Werner

Pronouns: she/her

Rachel Werner is a teaching artist for Hugo House, The Loft Literary Center, and Lighthouse Writers Workshop in addition to being the founder of The Little Book Project WI. Her literary writing and craft essays have been featured by Off Menu Press, Digging Through The Fat, and Voyage YA Literary Journal. A selection of Rachel's recipes is included in Wisconsin Cocktails (UW-Press, 2020), and her poetry in the anthology Hope Is The Thing: Wisconsinites on Perseverance in a Pandemic (The Wisconsin Historical Society, 2021). She also regularly contributes content to TheKitchn, The Spruce Eats, and Fabulous Wisconsin. Her latest book, Glow and Grow: A Brown Girl's Positive Body Guide (Free Spirit Publishing), is forthcoming in fall 2024.

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Chelsea Werner-Jatzke

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Monica West

Monica West is the author of Revival Season, which was a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice, a Barnes and Noble Discover selection, and short listed for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. She received her B.A. from Duke University, her M.A. from New York University, and her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she was a Rona Jaffe Graduate Fellow. She has received fellowships and awards from Hedgebrook, Kimbilio Fiction, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She teaches in the MFA in Writing program at the University of San Francisco.

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Katherine West

Pronouns: She
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Derrick Weston Brown

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Demi Wetzel

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Lesley Wheeler

Lesley Wheeler is the author of the essay collection Poetry’s Possible Worlds and Poetry Editor of Shenandoah. Her previous books include The State She’s In, her fifth poetry collection, and Unbecoming, her first novel. Her work has received support from the Fulbright Foundation, Bread Loaf, Sewanee Writers Workshop, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Wheeler’s poems and essays appear in Kenyon Review Online, Poetry, Ecotone, and Massachusetts Review, and other journals. @LesleyMWheeler

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Sarah Wheeler

SARAH WHEELER is a writer who trekked her way from Rhode Island to Washington, where she is a nontraditional English undergraduate at the University of Washington, with intentions of joining the Creative Writing option. Once finished with her degree, she will pursue MFA candidacy in prose. Her focus tends toward the visceral and the internal, with emphasis on familial relationships as seen through the lens of the body itself.

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Arisa White

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Emily White

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Iz White

Isadore "Iz" White is an enrolled member of the Snoqualmie Tribe in King County. He grew up homeless in Seattle, well below the poverty line, in the 90’s. His tribe was federally recognized in 1999 and has continued to strengthen their efficiency and stability in financial development. His circumstances have given him both a unique perspective and breathing room to pursue his craft of writing. He is an up-and-coming poet who escaped the cycle of addiction. He speaks on social issues not only for his people, but all people. Iz White is committed to creating relationships between Native communities and non-native communities in an ever-changing demographic in and around the greater Seattle area.

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Peter White

Peter White comes from the Yaqan Nukiy tribe (Creston, BC) which is a part of the Ktunaxa Nation (kootenay). As a little boy, Peter started out dancing Grass, but due many obstacles, including moving away from his home community, he stopped dancing after 3 years. When Peter was diagnosed with cancer in May of 2016, he knew this was a sign that he needed a change in his life. This was his push off the ledge that started to make everything fall into place. Now Peter is a Men’s Traditional dancer, the dance originates from the Sioux people. Traditional is one of the oldest known dances to Turtle island—a war dance. As a survivor of cancer, homelessness, alcoholism and depression—Peter contends that this dance has manifested his own inner warrior. 

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Jason Whitmarsh

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Carrie Wicks

As one listener put it, Carrie Wicks sings like a “lazy angel.” With a rich timbre and deep musicality, her voice is both viscerally compelling and relaxing, whether she’s exploring the jazz repertoire or her own collaborative compositions. Her debut CD on OA2 Records, I’ll Get Around to It, catapulted her to national acclaim in 2010. She followed that with Barely There in 2012 and Maybe in October 2015. A three-time nominee for the Earshot Jazz Vocalist of the Year Award, she released her fourth Origin OA2 album, Reverie, in October 2019.

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Joe Wilkins

Pronouns: he/him

Joe Wilkins is the author of the novel, Fall Back Down When I Die (Little Brown), a memoir, The Mountain and the Fathers (Counterpoint), and three poetry collections, most recently When We Were Birds, winner of the 2017 Oregon Book Award in Poetry. He directs the creative program at Linfield College. Go to Joe's website https://joewilkins.org or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JoeWilkins.Author.

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UW Castalia

Castalia is a monthly reading series at Richard Hugo House featuring graduate students, faculty, and alumni from the Creative Writing Program at the University of Washington.

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Joshua Marie Wilkinson

Joshua Marie Wilkinson is the author or editor of thirteen books. Born and raised in Seattle, he's on the English faculty at Seattle University.

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Laurel Wilkinson

Pronouns: she/her

LAUREL WILKINSON is a poet from Davis, California. She is an MFA candidate at the University of Washington, Seattle and a recipient of the Grace Milliman Pollock Scholarship and Nelson Bentley MFA Award in Creative Writing. Her recent work explores the subject of indeterminacy by drawing upon traditions of ecopoetry and the Asian American avant-garde. When not teaching or writing, she enjoys dancing, hiking, and drinking tea. You can find her on instagram @laurel__wilkinson

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Arleen Williams

Pronouns: she/her
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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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John Williams

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L. Lamar Wilson

L. Lamar Wilson is the author of Sacrilegion (Carolina Wren Press, 2013), a Thom Gunn Award finalist; co-author of Prime: Poetry and Conversation (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2014); and associate producer of The Changing Same (POV Shorts, 2019), which streams at American Documentary and airs on PBS. Recent poems and essays have been have appeared at Callaloo, Poetry, Poem-a-Day, The New York Times, Interim, TriQuarterly, NPR, Oxford American, The Root, south, The Washington Post, and elsewhere. Wilson, who spent nearly two decades in the nation’s top newsrooms, including the Times and the Post, has received fellowships from the Cave Canem, Civitella Ranieri, Ragdale, and Hurston-Wright foundations, is an Affrilachian Poet, and teaches creative writing, African American poetics, and film studies at Florida State University and The Mississippi University for Women..

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Melody Wilson

Pronouns: she / her / hers

Melody Wilson's work appears in The Shore, Quartet, and Briar Cliff Review. New work will appear in Sugar House Review, Re Dactions, Nimrod and The Fiddlehead. She received the 2021 Kay Snow Award and Semi-Finalist for the Pablo Neruda Award. For more information go to melodywilson.com.