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Creative Writing

In the creative writing lab, student artists will develop their writing voices, styles, and interests by exploring various forms, texts, and generative techniques. They will be encouraged to engage with writers of color as a means of discovering new, unique ways of building their individual practices. Students will have opportunities to collaborate with each other and with other students in other disciplines through playwriting, songwriting etc. Over the course of the lab, each student will create a longer piece or collection of pieces to contribute to a class collection / book / zine.

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Maryam Kazeem, Lead Instructor

Maryam Kazeem is a writer based in Lagos.  Her creative work (image and text) is deeply interested in speculation and lately she’s been writing about archives, memories, and myths.  Maryam’s work has been published in Al Jazeera, Literary Hub, Catapult, and Kweli among others.  She recently completed an MFA in Creative Writing at CalArts and will be teaching in CalArts in the fall as a Post-MFA Fellow.

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Collin Jonkman, Lead Instructor

Jonkman is a writer, researcher, performer, and educator living in Los Angeles, where she is completing an MFA in Creative Writing at CalArts. She holds an MS in Communication Studies from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is interested in songwriting, personal essay, lyric essay, playwriting, autoethnography, and performance lecture. Collin writes around the themes of identity, memory, power, nature, and echo.

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Sarah Sophia Yanni, Lead Instructor

Sarah Sophia Yanni is a writer and educator from the San Fernando Valley.  Her work is concerned with daughters, translation, and the space of the immigrant home.  She is the author of the chapbook ternura / tenderness (Bottlecap Press) and her work has been published by Mujeristas Collective, DREGINALD, Hinchas de Poesia, and others.  She was the 2019-2020 Editorial Fellow with Arts in a Changing America and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from CalArts.

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Noelle Armstrong, Lead Instructor

Noelle Armstrong is a poet and teacher in Los Angeles.  She is invested in collaboration, learning in community, and creativity as a form of care.  Noelle holds an MFA in Creative Writing from CalArts and her work has appeared in The Iowa Review, Oddville Press, and DoubleBlind Magazine among others.

Caroline Laganas, Current Student Instructor


Caroline Laganas is a journalist by profession and a writer by passionate conviction.  She is earning her MFA in Creative Writing at CalArts.  She received her BA in Journalism from Pepperdine University.  She is currently writing and illustrating her first poetry collection, which celebrates glimmers of everyday life.  Her poems have appeared in FishFood Magazine, Expressionists, This Time Around: Passages Anthology, Eber & Wein Publishing’s Best Poets of 2014, A Celebration of Poets, and Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans.  Her articles have appeared in the Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper The Gazette, Malibu Magazine, and numerous Pepperdine University publications.

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Matthew Bussa, Current Student Instructor


Matthew Bussa is a writer and musician from Berkeley.  He specializes in collaborative writing projects, poetry, and art historical research.  He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from CalArts and currently lives in Los Angeles.  Outside of writing/school/art-making, he loves playing soccer and practicing jazz guitar.

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