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Current MFA Students

First Year Students

Savannah Butler

Savy Butler is a first year poetry student and holds a BA in English from the University of Maine. Her poetry seeks to understand and process what at first doesn’t make sense, ranging from the human psyche to flash floods. She is interested in how language can be used and further stretched to understand the human experience. In her free time, she can be found wandering, practicing yoga, and playing with her dog.

Kira Compton

Kira Compton is bad at writing bios, as well as several more important things. She can usually be found reading, writing, or rummaging.



Trey Haden

Trey Hayden is a first-year poetry student. He holds a BA in economics from Rhodes College. Born and raised in Kentucky, he is grateful to be in Idaho now, studying poetry.



Kara Killinger

A photo of Kara KillingerKara Killinger is a fiction writer from Texas. She holds a BA in communication and English from Trinity University. Her stories are about sad girls, situationships, and the weight of emotional intimacy. In addition to writing, Kara enjoys making music and investigating the trinkets section of the thrift store.

Caleb Merritt

Caleb Merritt is a first-year poet who grew up in South Dakota, though he most recently resided in Alabama. During the pandemic, he married his undergraduate Speech & Debate duo partner, Alli, who he met at Hastings College where he received his BA in Studio Art. Before graduate school, he worked for Habitat for Humanity. His work was most recently put out as Chappbook, his third collection of poetry.


Charles Pineda

Charles Pineda is a fiction scribbler (writer, only if you insist) born and raised near New Orleans, LA. He worked professionally in film and the tech industry for much of his professional career before pursuing writing full-time. In the great tradition of ‘Southern writers,’ he can often be found wandering around with a cigar clutched in hand, a slightly dazed look on his face, and incomprehensibly mumbling to himself about the beauty of a streetcar that no longer runs ‘here’ (and probably never existed to begin with) before sitting down and fortunately typing it into something far more sensible. He enjoys finding both the serious and especially the humor in things.

Adam Ray Wagner

Adam Ray Wagner is a poet from various states—mostly Nebraska. He holds a BA in Creative Writing from Colorado State University and an MA in English: Poetry & Poetics from the University of Maine. His poetry is rooted in the Objectivist tradition with a concern for the ethics of perception—particularly how that perception relates to ecological and political crises.


Cassandra Kiyoko Woodard

Cassandra Kiyoko Woodard is a fiction writer with a particular obsession with cut fruit, gardens, and intergenerational trauma, particularly as it relates to Japanese American communities. She grew up in Cupertino, California, where apple orchards gave way to Apple headquarters. As a result, she holds a deep grudge against people riding bicycles on highways. When she is not writing, she can be found peddling her cooking (of varying quality) onto her loved ones (all of high quality).


Second Year Students


Christofer Arbudzinski

Christofer Arbudzinski is a 2020 Pomona College graduate and Dole Kinney Prize recipient. His poems have been said to possess “a searing sense of the line.” His style has been described by its aversion to “[calling] a spade a spade.” His presence in one undergraduate workshop led to the coining of an affectionate phrase: the “Chris Nod,” which involves a satisfied closed-mouth half-smile (pictured) and a slow head motion (not). Christofer has gone by “Chris” all his life while readily admitting that “Christofer” fits better for a fantastical setting or grand occasion.

Kelsey Hennegen

Kelsey Hennegen believes her best hope for grappling with what it is to be human lies in her work as a poet. Her poetry traverses memory and grief, vulnerability and violence, intimacy, and defiant redemption, often drawing from mythic traditions and theology. She holds MAs in Liberal Arts and Eastern Classics from St. John’s College and English from Middlebury’s Bread Loaf School of English. As a resident artist with the Historic Santa Fe Foundation (2020-21), Kelsey created a month-long poetry exhibit for the foundation’s El Zaguan gallery and published a chapbook titled “To Keep the Name Daughter.”


Hannah Lucille Phillips

Hannah Lucille Phillips is a fiction writer originally from the Endless Mountains region of Pennsylvania. She has BAs in creative writing and English education and is a teaching-writer for The Cabin, Boise’s nonprofit literary center. Her work tends to focus on the queer community—the complexity of its growth, its geographical and generational divides, and its beautiful, complicated people. Hannah is currently writing her first novel.


Daisy Clar Rosenstock

Daisy Clar Rosenstock is a second-year poetry student. Her work explores the very spirit of writing and she is specifically interested in when said spirit shifts from one place to another and whether or not this is abandonment or simply a higher plane of movement. When not writing, Daisy can be found daydreaming about abandoned houses or chatting with the local dying pine tree.

Ayotola Tehingbola

Ayotola Tehingbola (’93, Nigeria, Yorùbá) reluctantly carries the title of a ‘political writer.’ Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Passages North, Quarterly West, Hawaii Pacific Review, Pidgeonholes, You Might Need To Hear This, Corona Nigeria, and Kahalari Review. She is the recipient of the Winter 2022 Karen Finley Scholarship at the Hudson Valley Writers Center and a 2022 Glenn Bach Award for Fiction at BSU. She is also the recipient of a 2022 Alexa Rose Foundation Grant.


Third Year Students


Hillary Colton

Hillary Ann Colton was raised in Garden City, Idaho. She is a 2022 Alexa Rose Foundation grant recipient and lives in the Treasure Valley with her two children and beloved dog. 



Desmond Everest Fuller

Desmond Everest Fuller is a third year MFA candidate in fiction and the associate editor of The Idaho Review for the 2023 issue. His short stories appear in Indiana Review, West Trade Review, The Gravity of the Thing, and elsewhere.



Hope Kelham

Hope Kelham (b. 1996, Indiana) is a visual artist and third-year poetry student at Boise State University. She holds a BA in Photography & Related Media, a BA in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, and a BA in Creative Writing from Purdue University. Her poetics focus on the politics of love, climate catastrophe, violence against queer and women’s bodies, and the oppression of all genders. Her work often critiques the dynamics within power, capitalism, and interpersonal relationships – pointing toward vast injustices within social systems and thought structures. Hope is bewildered by the posthumous landscape, swamps, the sound a black hole makes, and emotion too momentous for the constraints of realism.

Natalie Stein

Image of Natalie Stein's face

Nat Stein is a third-year poetry student. They write about horse girls, the revolutionary power of unpaved roads, spells, and samizdat. Nat channels the languages we make for ourselves when people want us to be quiet.




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