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New Poetry Faculty

The Ashland University MFA program is very pleased to be able to report that we have three new poets joining our faculty team. Tess Taylor, Aria Aber, and Vanessa Angélica Villareal have agreed to join our poetry faculty. These are all wonderful poets and educators and we encourage you to get to know their work if you’re not already aware of it.

Aria Aber

Aria Aber was raised in Germany. Her debut book Hard Damage (University of Nebraska Press, 2019) won the 2018 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry. Her poems are forthcoming or have appeared in The New Yorker, Kenyon Review, The Yale Review, The New Republic, and elsewhere. She was the 2018-2019 Ron Wallace Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Books by Aria Aber:

  • Hard Damage (University of Nebraska Press, 2019).

Tess Taylor

Tess Taylor is the author of five acclaimed collections of poetry, and her criticism and non-fiction appear widely. Critic Stephanie Burt called Work & Days, her second book “our moment’s Georgic” and it was named one of the 10 best books of poetry of 2016 by The New York Times. She was a Distinguished Fulbright US Scholar to the Seamus Heaney Centre in Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and has served as on air poetry reviewer for NPR’s All Things Considered for over a decade. In spring 2020 she published two books of poems: Last West, part of Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures, at the MoMA, and Rift Zone, called “stunning” in the New York Times and “brilliant” in the LA Times. She has taught at St. Mary’s, UC Berkeley, and UC Davis, among others. She grew up and lives in El Cerrito, California.

You can visit her website at 

Books by Tess Taylor:

  • Last West (Museum of Modern Art, 2020)
  • Rift Zone (Red Hen Press, 2020)
  • Work & Days (Red Hen Press, 2016)
  • The Forage House (Red Hen Press, 2013)

Vanessa Angélica Villarreal

Vanessa Angélica Villarreal is the author of Beast Meridian (Noemi Press, 2017), a recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award, a 2018 Texas Institute of Letters Poetry Prize, and a 2019 Kate Tufts Discovery Award finalist. Her work appears or is forthcoming in The New York Times, Poetry Magazine, BuzzFeed, The Boston Review, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She is pursuing her PhD in English Literature and Creative writing at the University of Southern California.

Books by Vanessa Angélica Villarreal:

  • Beast Meridian (Noemi Press, 2017)

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