Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing

Amanda Johnston


Office Location

Stonecoast MFA Office - 98 Bedford Street, Portland, ME 04012



Academic Degrees

  • M.F.A.,Stonecoast, University of Southern Maine


Amanda Johnston earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine. She is the author of two chapbooks, GUAP and Lock & Key, and the full-length collection Another Way to Say Enter (Argus House Press). Her poetry and interviews have appeared in numerous online and print publications, among them, Callaloo, Poetry, Puerto del Sol, Muzzle, Pluck!, No, Dear and the anthologies, Small Batch, Full, di-ver-city, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, and Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism. The recipient of multiple Artist Enrichment grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the Christina Sergeyevna Award from the Austin International Poetry Festival, she is a member of the Affrilachian Poets and has received fellowships from Cave Canem Foundation and the Austin Project at the University of Texas. Johnston is a Stonecoast MFA faculty member, a cofounder of Black Poets Speak Out, and founder / executive director of Torch Literary Arts. She serves on the Cave Canem Foundation board of directors and currently lives in Texas.

Named one of Blavity’s 13 Black Poets You Should Know, Amanda’s work has been featured on Bill Moyers, the Poetry Society of America’s online series In Their Own Words, and the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day series. In 2018, she was commissioned to curate a collection of poems for the Poetry Coalition on the theme Where My Dreaming and My Loving Live: Poetry & the Body.

She has facilitated creative writing workshops and presented at the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, Hugo House, Langston Hughes House, Frye Museum, Carver Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Prizer Arts and Letters, NeoSoul Poetry Lounge, Nuyorican Poet’s Café, Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Pillsbury House Theater, Rude Mechanical Theater, and at numerous campuses and literary venues across the country.

Amanda was born in East St. Louis, IL and raised in Austin, TX. She began writing in Kentucky while her husband was stationed at Fort Knox. Since then, her writing has been published widely and she has presented at numerous literary conferences and events. 

Areas of Expertise

Writing for Social Justice

Areas of Scholarship

Contemporary Poetry

Social Justice

Arts Activism

Hybrid Forms

African American Literature

Recent Publications


Another Way to Say Enter (Argus House Press 2017)


GUAP (This Green Line, 2014)

Lock & Key (This Green Line, 2014)


Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry by Gabbin and Alleyne, editors (Northwestern University Press 2019)

Revisiting the Elegy in the Black Lives Matter Era by Scott, Maner, Rutter editors (Routledge 2019)

Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism by Danielle Barnhart and Iris Mahan, editors (OR Books 2018)

I Scream Social by Annar Veröld, editor and Schandra Madha, editor (Malvern Books 2018)


Association of Writers and Writing Programs Annual Conference

Southern Atlantic Modern Language Association Annual Conference

Kentucky Women Writers Conference

Mosaic Literary Conference

West Chester University Poetry Conference

Texas Book Festival

Split This Rock Poetry Festival

Six Square District Cultural Arts Festival

Austin International Poetry Festival

Center for African American Poetry and Poetics

Hugo House

Lillian Vernon House

Langston Hughes House

Creative Activity

Amanda Johnston is a cofounder of Black Poets Speak Out, founder and executive director of Torch Literary Arts, and serves on the Cave Canem Foundation board of directors. She is currently working on multiple projects including two poetry manuscripts and a rhythm and poetry children’s book.

Awards and Recognition

Cave Canem Fellowship

Split This Rock Freedom Plow Award, Joint Finalist

Kentucky Foundation for Women, Artist Enrichment Grants

Kentucky Foundation for Women, Hopscotch House, Artist-in-Residence

Pushcart Prize, Nominee

Professional Activity

Cave Canem Foundation Board of Directors

Affrilachian Poets, Member