Chatham University

MFA Creative Writing
Faculty and Staff

Paola (PJ) Corso

Hometown : Alle-Kiski Valley, Pittsburgh Area
Joined Chatham : 2012

Academic Areas of Interest

Short Stories, Poetry, Ethnic/working class writing, Writing with a social context, Magical leaps

Personal Areas of Interest

Community organizing, Photography, Italian Americana

Personal Website : Visit Website


Paola Corso’s books are set in the Pittsburgh area where her Southern Italian immigrant family found work in the steel mill. A New York Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellow and Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award Winner, she is the author of Catina’s Haircut: A Novel in Stories on Library Journal’s notable list of first novels in Fall 2010, Giovanna’s 86 Circles And Other Stories, a John Gardner Fiction Book Award Finalist, a book of poems, Death by Renaissance, and newly released poetry collections, The Laundress Catches Her Breath, winner of the Tillie Olsen Award for Creative Writing, and Once I Was Told the Air Was Not for Breathing about Pittsburgh steelworkers and garment workers in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. She also co-edited Politics of Water: A Confluence of Women’s Voices with Dr. Nandita Ghosh. Formerly a writer-in-residence in Western Connecticut State University’s MFA Program in Creative and Professional Writing, she is currently poetry editor at The Thomas Merton Center for Peace and Social Justice and a book columnist for Group Against Smog and Pollution. Her community service earned her a place on the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation's Artist & Communities Short List.