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Matthew Vollmer

Matthew Vollmer, Professor and Director of the M.F.A. in Creative Writing Program and the Undergraduate Creative Writing Program

Matthew Vollmer portrait
Matthew Vollmer, Professor and Director of the M.F.A. in Creative Writing Program and the Undergraduate Creative Writing Program

Department of English
403 Shanks Hall 
180 Turner Street, NW 
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-8322 |

As a teacher and writer, Matthew Vollmer seeks to cultivate — in himself and students — an appetite for the countless ways that human consciousness can be represented, and thus the different forms that language — and story — can take.

Vollmer has become increasingly interested in genre: how genre dictates the shape, sound, and appearance of our information; how genre defines boundaries and sets limitations. He believes 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 Vollmer is committed to exploring further, both in the classroom and in his own writing. 

To learn more about Vollmer, visit his personal website

  • Creative Writing
  • Fiction
  • Creative Nonfiction
  • MFA, Iowa Writers’ Workshop, The University of Iowa, 2006
  • MA, NC State University, 1998
  • BA, UNC-Chapel Hill, 1996
  • Director of the M.F.A. in Creative Writing Program
  • Arts Living Learning Steering Committee
  • Creative Writing Committee
  • English Undergraduate Committee
  • Curator, Poetry on the Stairs, Center for the Arts
  • Albert Lee Sturm Award from Mu of Virginia Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, 2022
  • Pushcart Prize, 2015
  • Best American Essays, 2013
  • National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 2010


This World is Not Your Home, Eastover Press LLC, 2022

Permanent Exhibit, BOA Editions Ltd., 2018

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 


“Fat Kid” in Autre

“The New You” in Sonora Review

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