My Story

The pictures on my Sunderland office walls provide a timeline and a sense of lineage: Steiglitz’s portrait of Sherwood Anderson, my literary grandfather, whose Winesburg was my own hometown; a centennial poster of Emily Dickinson, ever my first and most exacting and expansive teacher; and countless photographs of and broadsides by our MFA faculty over the years—my adopted and abiding family. After teaching at Exeter, Interlochen, Dickinson College, and the University of Michigan, I joined the MFA poetry faculty in 1995; I became the program director in 2009. Although our community is far-flung, we are close-knit and utterly aligned in our ideals, our dedication, our work ethic. Serving this extraordinary, world-renowned program is a privilege and a constant education. I can’t imagine my life without it.

Debra Allbery
Ellen Bryant Voigt and Debra Allbery
Ellen Bryant Voigt with former MFA directors


  • B.A. in English, College of Wooster
  • M.F.A. in Creative Writing (poetry), University of Iowa

Research Interests

  • Contemporary poetry
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Anglo-Saxon and Medieval literature

Courses Taught

  • The MFA Program for Writers is a low-residency program with ten-day residencies twice per year complimenting closely-supervised independent study.  Learn more about the program.

Crews and Other Activities

  • PEN America
  • The Poetry Society of America
  • AWP

Contact Debra Allbery

(828) 771-3716
Boon 205
WWC CPO 6365
PO BOX 9000
Asheville, NC 28815-9000