• Photo of Kim Addonizio

    Kim Addonizio


    A self-described "late-bloomer," she discovered poetry in her late 20s as a liberal studies undergrad. She went on to earn an M.A. in creative writing -- and critical acclaim. "Tell Me," her third collection of poetry, was a finalist for a 2000 National Book Award.

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  • Photo of Rae Armantrout, photo courtesy Kevin Walsh

    Rae Armantrout


    For "Versed," her ninth volume of poetry, she received both a National Book Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer Prize.

  • Photo of Po Bronson

    Po Bronson


    He gave up a lucrative career as a bond trader to study creative writing at SF State, where his best-selling novel "Bombardiers" began life as a writing assignment for a class.

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  • Photo of Kelly Corrigan

    Kelly Corrigan


    This author of the bestselling memoir, "The Middle Place," recalls SF State as a great school where she was humbled by 1,000 page-a-week reading assignments and privileged to have professors like Michael Krasny and Bruce Avery.

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  • Photo of Ernest Gaines

    Ernest J. Gaines


    This MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant recipient and author of the bestselling "A Lesson Before Dying" says the biggest thrill of his career remains the day that an SF State literary journal published his story "The Turtles" in the '50s.

  • Photo of Gerald Haslam

    Gerald Haslam


    After earning a B.A. and M.A. in English at SF State, he achieved critical acclaim for his fiction focused on rural California, including the Western Literature Association's Distinguished Achievement Award.

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  • Photo of devorah major

    Devorah Major


    This San Francisco Poet Laureate's father was the first director of the Educational Opportunity Program at SF State. She arrived on campus right after the student strikes and found her home in the Black Studies department where she devoured the curriculum.

  • Photo of Frances Mayes

    Frances Mayes


    This alumna returned to SF State to teach literature but after the success of "Under the Tuscan Sun" and "Bella Tuscany," she said arrivederci so she could write full time.

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  • Photo of Michael McClure

    Michael McClure


    One of the Beat period's most accomplished poets, he's well-known for authoring the controversial poem "The Beard" but less known for co-writing Janis Joplin's 1971 hit, Mercedes Benz.

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  • Photo of Janice Mirikitani

    Janice Mirikitani


    She marched in demonstrations at SF State during the turbulent '60s and went on to become San Francisco's 2000 poet laureate and executive director/president of the Glide Foundation.

  • Photo of Carol Muske-Dukes

    Carol Muske-Dukes


    This creative writing graduate was inspired by instructors Stan Rice, Nanos Valoritis and Kay Boyle. Now a professor at the University of Southern California, the former Poet Laureate of California continues to do some inspiring of her own.

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  • Photo of Anne Rice

    Anne Rice


    She and her late husband, Stan -- the inspiration for the vampire Lestat in "Interview With the Vampire" -- earned BAs together in 1964. She stayed on for a master's program, and to teach and run the Poetry Center.

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  • Photo of Philip Schultz

    Philip Schultz


    "Failure," the title of his sixth collection of poems, is a bit ironic considering it won this English graduate the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

  • Photo of Cole Swensen

    Cole Swensen


    One of five writers whose poetry collections were nominated for a 2004 National Book Award, she says former professors including Nanos Valaoritis and Frances Mayes helped her hone her craft.

  • Photo of Gail Tsukiyama

    Gail Tsukiyama


    She had her eye on a film career when she started at SF State but fell in love with language instead and now writes such bestsellers as "Women of the Silk" and "Dreaming Water."

  • Photo of Thomas Watkins

    Thomas Watkins


    This late environmental writer edited the Wilderness Society's magazine and served as the first Wallace Stegner Distinguished Professor of Western American Studies at Montana State University. His numerous publications include a Harold Ickes biography, a finalist for the National Book Award.