facultydetails | Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

Chatham University

Creative Writing (MFA) Faculty and Staff

Sheryl St. Germain

Sheryl St. Germain

Program Director and Professor
Hometown : New Orleans, LA
Joined Chatham : 2005

Academic Areas of Interest

Poetry; Creative Nonfiction and Essay Writing; Nature, Environmental and Travel Writing; Social Jusitice and Teaching in Alternative Spaces; Writing and Healing

Personal Areas of Interest

Crocheting, gardening, yoga, gaming

Personal Website : Visit Website


A native of New Orleans, Sheryl St. Germain has taught creative writing at The University of Texas at Dallas, The University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Knox College and Iowa State University. She directs the MFA program in Creative Writing at Chatham University where she also teaches poetry and creative nonfiction. Her work has received several awards, including two NEA Fellowships, an NEH Fellowship, the Dobie-Paisano Fellowship, the Ki Davis Award from the Aspen Writers Foundation, and the William Faulkner Award for the personal essay. Her work has been nominated many times for the Pushcart Prize. Her poetry books include Going Home, The Mask of Medusa, Making Bread at Midnight, How Heavy the Breath of God, The Journals of Scheherazade, and Let it Be a Dark Roux: New and Selected Poems, published by Autumn House Press. A book of lyric essays, Swamp Songs: the Making of an Unruly Woman, was published in 2003 by The University of Utah Press, and Navigating Disaster: Sixteen Essays of Love and a Poem of Despair, was published by Louisiana Literature in 2012. She has also published a chapbook of translations of the Cajun poet Jean Arceneaux, Je Suis Cadien. She has also co-edited two anthologies, Between Song and Story: Essays for the 21st Century, with Margaret Whitford (Autumn House Press) and Words Without Walls: Writers on Addiction, Violence and Incarceration, with Sarah Shotland (Trinity University Press).


  • MA, University of Texas at Dallas, 1982
  • BA, Southeastern Louisiana University, 1979
  • PhD, Humanities, The University of Texas at Dallas, 1986



  • Artist Residency, A Studio in the Woods, 2005
  • Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellow, 2002
  • William Faulkner Creative Writing Award for the Personal Essay, 1999.
  • NEH Fellow for Institute on the Environmental Imagination, 1997
  • Artist Fellowship, Hermitage Artist Retreat
  • Dobie Paisano Fellowship, 1990
  • National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1991, 1996


  • AWP board
  • Associated Writing Programs, Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment
  • Association for the Study of Literature and Environment



  • Selected Readings, 2008: Texas A&M University, Blinn College, Cornell College, Iowa State University, Grandview College, Prairie Lights Bookstore, Loyola University, University of New Orelans, McNeese University, East Jefferson Public Library, New Orleans, University of Mississippi, Cornelia Cafe NYC
  • “Organizing the Truth: Building the Nonfiction Canon.” Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment Conference, Kansas, 2013. Ecopoetry panel. Louisiana Book Festival, October 2012. Reading and signing. Associated Writing Programs Conference, Chicago. Spring 2012. Moderator for “Between Song and Story: a Reading.” Louisiana Book Festival, October 2011: --Invited Panelist on environmental literature --Writing workshop on “Conjuring Place” --Poetry Reading and Book Signing --Public Conversation with Julie Kane, Louisiana Poet Laureate Associated Writing Programs Conference, Spring 2011. Panel participant, two panels: “A Tribute to John Haines,” and “Environmental Writing in the Age of Global Climate Change, Washington DC. Nonfiction Now Conference, Iowa City. Moderator for “Between Song and Story: a Reading.” Associated Writing Programs Conference, Spring 2010. Panel participant: “New Directions in Environmental Writing” Denver, CO. Association for the Study of Literature and Environment Conference, Victoria, BC. “Healing Words, Healing Worlds” (nonfiction reading: “Navigating Disaster”); “On Publishing” (panelist); “Overland Journeys: Creative Nonfiction,” moderator, June 2009