Matthew Vollmer

Matthew Vollmer

Matthew Vollmer

Associate Professor


431 Shanks Hall 
180 Turner Street, NW 
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061


(540) 231-8322


Department Membership



  • Creative Writing
  • Fiction
  • Creative Nonfiction

Professional Activities

  • Arts Living Learning Steering Committee
  • MFA Committee
  • Creative Writing Committee
  • English Undergraduate Committee
  • Curator, Poetry on the Stairs, Center for the Arts


  • MFA, Iowa Writers’ Workshop, The University of Iowa, 2006
  • MA, NC State University, 1998
  • BA, UNC-Chapel Hill, 1996

Research Interests

    Awards and Honors

    Pushcart Prize 2015

    Best American Essays 2013

    National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 2010

    Selected Publications


    Gateway to Paradise, Persea Books, 2015

    Inscriptions for Headstones, Outpost 19, 2012

    Future Missionaries of America, Salt Modern Fiction 2010, MacAdam/Cage 2009

    Edited Books

    A Book of Uncommon Prayer, Outpost19, 2015

    Fakes: An Anthology of Pseudo-Interview, Faux-Lectures, Quasi-Letters, “Found” Texts, and Other Fraudulent Artifacts, edited by David Shields and Matthew Vollmer, W. W. Norton, 2012 

    Creative Nonfiction

    “This World Is Not Your Home” in Ploughshares

    “Music of the Spheres: A Meditation on NASA’s Symphonies of the Planets” in The Normal School


    “Fat Kid” in Autre

    “The New You” in Sonora Review

    Additional Information

    As a teacher and writer, I seek to cultivate—in myself and my students—an appetite for the countless ways that human consciousness can be represented, and thus the different forms that language—and story—can take. I’ve become increasingly interested in genre: how genre dictates the shape, sound and appearance of our information; how genre defines boundaries and sets limitations. It seems to me that if we acknowledge that the rules of the game are often dictated by our genres—categories in which particular types of communication-events take place, according to whatever prescripted patterns the genre in question demands—then the experience of inhabiting a particular genre, of understanding its conventions in order to discover ways to expand it, to break it apart and make something new, can be an incredibly liberating—if not essential—exercise for writers to engage in. It is, therefore, an activity I am committed to exploring further, both in the classroom and in my own writing. 

    To find out more about Matthew Vollmer, visit his personal website