Creative Writing & Environment Graduate Faculty Members

K.L. Cook

Professor and Dean's Faculty Fellow in the Arts

K. L. Cook (MFA, Warren Wilson College) is the award-winning author of six books of fiction, poetry, and essays. His first book, Last Call, a collection of linked stories chronicling three decades in the life of a Texas Panhandle family, won the inaugural Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction. The Girl from Charnelle, a novel focusing on the same fictional family, won the Willa Award for Best Contemporary Fiction and was an Editor’s Choice selection of the Historical Novel Society, a Southwest Book of the Year, and a finalist for the James Jones First Novel Award, among other honors.  Love Songs for the Quarantined, a thematically linked story cycle, won the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction and was a Longlist Finalist for the Frank O’Connor International Story Prize. His most recent books are Marrying Kind, a new collection of short stories; a collection of poetry, Lost Soliloquies; and The Art of Disobedience: Essays on Form, Fiction, and Influence.

Cook’s stories, essays, articles, and poems have appeared widely in such journals and magazines as Glimmer Train, One Story, Harvard Review, The Writer’s Chronicle, Poets & Writers, Threepenny Review, Brevity, Louisville Review, Hotel Amerika, Shenandoah, Bloom, and American Short Fiction.  His work has also been anthologized in Best American Mystery Stories, Best of the West, The Prairie Schooner Book Prize: Tenth Anniversary Reader, Teachable Moments: Essays on Experiential Education, The Short Story Project, Now Write: Fiction Exercises from Today’s Best Writers and Teachers, and a Poets & Writers anthology on literary marketing.  Other honors include a Western Writers of America Award for Best Short Story about the American West, the Grand Prize from the Santa Fe Writers Project, an Arizona Commission on the Arts fellowship and grant, and residency fellowships to the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Ucross, and Blue Mountain Center.

Christiana Langenberg

Academic Advisor III [LASAS]

Christiana Louisa Langenberg (MA, University of Minnesota) is the author of the bilingual collection of stories Half of What I Know. “Half of What I Know shows that even the small episodes of life leave their mark. Christiana Langenberg’s talent and imagination are so powerful in Half of What I Know, it is impossible to overlook the vision and meticulous craft she inscribes in each of these stories,” said Deborah Marie Poe, fiction editor of Drunken Boat Online Journal of Art and Literature. “Langenberg keeps us teetering at the edge of some crash, ultimately demonstrating that life’s treasures eclipse the wrecks.”

Christiana’s second collection of stories, Here is What You’ll Do, was a finalist in the 2010 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. She is the recipient of the Drunken Boat Panliterary Award for Fiction, the Chelsea Award for Short Fiction, the Great River Writers’ Retreat, the Louisville Literary Arts Prose Prize and a multiple Pushcart Prize nominee. Her stories have been published in The Huffington Post, Passages North, Glimmer Train, Dogwood, New South, Lumina, Storyglossia, Drunken Boat, So To Speak, Literary Salt, Carve, Chelsea, Green Mountains Review, American Literary Review, and a variety of literary formats.

Christiana is the Advising Coordinator for undergraduate English majors and the Advising Coordinator for the Women’s and Gender Studies program. She teaches primarily undergraduate Creative Writing classes, such as the Write Like a Woman course she created in 1998 and has been teaching writing for nearly 30 years. She has taught in residential treatment centers for emotionally disturbed adolescents, a maximum security prison and at universities in Minnesota and Colorado, as well as the Midwest Writing Center’s annual writing conference. In June 2013, as the David R. Collins invited speaker, she delivered a keynote address, “Between Word Greed and Abandonment: Learning to Love the Process,” at the Midwest Writing Center conference. At ISU she has graduate faculty status and has taught the Graduate Fiction Workshop.

Christiana is currently working on two separate book projects: one a collection of essays about the differences between Italian and American women’s perceptions of body image, confidence, swagger and self-esteem; the other a series of nonfiction pieces (in experimental narrative forms) about the issues of “otherness” that children with multiple disabilities must navigate as they invariably fight the K-12 education system. The Winter 2014 issue of Passages North included her award-winning lyric essay “Foiled,” a braided narrative about the tragic death of a Vietnamese immigrant and the complexities of raising a child with multiple disabilities.

Debra Marquart

Distinguished Professor [ENGL]

Debra Marquart is a Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State University and Iowa’s Poet Laureate. She is the Senior Editor of Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment.  In 2021, Marquart was awarded a Poets Laureate Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets.

Marquart’s work has been featured on NPR and the BBC and has received over 50 grants and awards including an NEA Fellowship, a PEN USA Award, a New York Times Editors’ Choice commendation, and Elle Magazine’s Elle Lettres Award.

A memoirist, poet, and performing musician, Marquart is the author of seven books including an environmental memoir of place, The Horizontal World: Growing Up Wild in the Middle of Nowhere and a collection of poems, Small Buried Things: Poems. Marquart’s short story collection, The Hunger Bone: Rock & Roll Stories drew on her experiences as a former road musician. A singer/songwriter, she continues to perform solo and with her jazz-poetry performance project, The Bone People, with whom she has recorded two CDs.

Marquart’s most recent book, The Night We Landed on the Moon: Essays Between Exile & Belonging, was published in 2021, and her poetry collection, “Gratitude with Dogs Under Stars: New & Collected Poems” is forthcoming from New Rivers Press in 2022.

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Charissa Menefee

Professor [ENGL]

Charissa Menefee (PhD, Southern IL U-Carbondale) is a playwright, poet, director, and performer. Her chapbook, When I Stopped Counting, is available from Finishing Line Press, and her poetry can also be found or is forthcoming in Adanna, Poetry South, Terrene, Poets Reading the News, The Paddock Review, Twyckenham Notes, Amygdala, The Indian River Review, Footnotes, Dragon Poet Review, Telepoem Booths, and collections such as The Hippocrates Prize for Poetry & Medicine Anthology, Surprised By Joy, and The Poeming Pigeon: In the News. She is a 2018 Writer-in-Residence at the Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts.

Dr. Menefee has been a Tennessee Williams Scholar in Playwriting at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and a finalist for the Julie Harris Playwright Award. Her plays have been honored by the Utah Shakespeare Festival's New American Playwrights Project, Pandora Festival of New Plays, American College Theatre Festival, Arizona Theatre Conference, Christian H. Moe Awards, and City of Charleston Literary Arts Awards. Pretty Lucky is included in 105 Five-Minute Plays for Study and Performance (Smith & Kraus). Recent productions include Our Antigone, adapted from Sophocles, premiered at Story Theatre Company (Iowa); Your Soup, Sir, part of Paula Vogel's UBU ROI Bake-Off at the Playwrights Center (Minnesota); Sarah's Poem, premiered in Rover Dramawerks' 365 Women a Year Festival (Texas); Check Your Ticket, included in the What She Said Festival at The Underground Theatre (Minnesota); and Lydia's Plan, named Best Play in the Theatre Lawrence Short Play Festival (Kansas). How Long is Fifteen Minutes? was supported by a research grant from Iowa State University's Center for Excellence in the Arts & Humanities and recently featured in Tennessee Women's Theatre Project's Women's Work Festival; the anchoring monologue is in production as a short film, directed by the author. Dr. Menefee has been involved with about two hundred plays, as writer, director, producer, dramaturg, actor, designer, and technician. She was co-founder and co-producer, with playwright Micki Shelton, of Tomorrow’s Theatre Tonight, a new play reading and development series that ran for nearly a decade in Arizona.

Current projects include two new collections of poetry, Last of the Shepherds and The Poet Donates His Minutes; a new full-length historical drama; and a novel.