Application deadlines

Winter Residency: October 1

Summer Residency: March 1

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Contact Us


Phone: (304) 473-8523


Doug Van Gundy

Director, Master of Fine Arts Program

59 College Avenue, Box 32

West Virginia Wesleyan College

Buckhannon, WV 26201


West Virginia Wesleyan’s MFA Program was founded by Dr. Irene McKinney, author of seven books and Poet Laureate of West Virginia from 1994 until her death in 2012. Irene envisioned a program that would provide students with a high-quality, apprenticeship-model MFA education, and the faculty is committed to carrying on her vision.

Listen to Irene read at the 2010 West Virginia Book Festival:

In September 2013, WV Wesleyan Press released Irene’s final poetry collection Have You Had Enough Darkness Yet? with an afterword by poet Maggie Anderson. Read an in-depth review here by poet Ida Stewart.

“What this book is is consciousness on fire, the dream come true—‘plangent, like a bell.’”

– Gerald Stern

“These striking poems build their energy and gather resilience from silence, breath, and daily noticing. Whether describing the domestic, foreign, or supernatural, Have You Had Enough Darkness Yet? asks us to pause in Keatsian awe as McKinney names a bright world of her own fashioning.”

– Dorianne Laux

All proceeds from the sale of this book go to the Irene McKinney Memorial Scholarship for Writers which, when mature, will provide tuition scholarships for Wesleyan MFA students. Buy the book from or order directly from WV Wesleyan so that more of your dollars go to our scholarship fund: email Jessie van Eerden, Program Director at to order, or mail your order to Jessie at 59 College Avenue, Box 46, Buckhannon, WV 26201. Cost: $16, free shipping & handling; check made out to WVWC. To order this book for your classroom, please go through your school’s distributor.

For a rich exploration of Irene’s full body of work, view West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s edited one-hour documentation video of the Celebrating Irene McKinney event hosted by Poet Laureate Marc Harshman on September 15, 2013 at the Culture Center in Charleston, WV.