Archive | October 2012

Alumni Updates

Faith S. Holsaert (fiction ’82): Faith has three new poems appearing online at Prairie Wolf Review:


The littlest sister lies on white rattan

wrapped to her nose in

a woman’s navy shawl

her eyes closed


the shag carpet is red

and the wall behind her, too

her closed eye dreams

of green and horses …[Keep Reading]…

Megan Staffel in NER

Faculty member Megan Staffel’s story “There is no Ordinary” appears online at the New England Review:

Once, on a cold and snowy morning, there was a sharp, aggressive knocking on the glass door in our kitchen. It was a chicken.

“What’s that chicken doing?” Graham asked. The chickens lived in the shed behind our house and when the snow was deep, they rarely went outside of the small shoveled area in front of their door.

“That’s just a crazy one. She always wants something. Ignore her.” That is, more or less, what I said. It was a slow, relaxed Sunday, the animals were fed, and I had a cup of hot tea in my hand. So I turned around and went back upstairs where I was reading. In our family, I was the authority on chickens because I was the one who fed and watered them, and collected their eggs. And it was true, there was one hen who was far more talkative than the others. Every time I went outside she ran up to me, complaining...[Keep Reading]…

Megan is the author of Lessons in Another Language: A Novella and Stories (Four Way Books, 2010).

Robert Cohen in Five Chapters

Faculty member Robert Cohen’s story “Renaissance Man” appears online at Five Chapters.

No sooner does he put on the uniform than the banal truth announces itself: he feels like a new person. It’s a loss and a gain. Gidi stands before the mirror in the employee bathroom, adjusting the fit of his flaming red work shirt, his pointy paper hat with the garish font. At seventeen, it’s his first job, and not a particularly good one either. Still, he has his reasons for being there, a few of which he even understands. Now he pats the new person’s face with cold water, wipes it on a towel, and begins to fiddle with the drawstrings of his apron, tying and untying and then retying them for the rest of the afternoon, while Kevin, the day manager, puts him through the paces of his training, shuffling him along from station to station — grill, prep, fries, drinks – like an aspirant touring some provincial third-tier college.

“Let’s figure out what you’re good at,” Kevin says. “Then we’ll decide where to put you.”  …[Keep Reading]…

Robert is the author of Amateur Barbarians (Scibner, 2009) and The Varieties of Romantic Experience (Vintage, 2003).

Alumni Fiction in Frieght Stories

Alumnae Tatjana Soli (fiction, ’06) and Erin Stalcup (fiction, ’04) both have new stories appearing in the current issue of Freight Stories Magazine.

Love Monkey
Tatjana Soli

The traffic that morning had been nerve-wracking—a long, blue, exhaust-spewing snake winding its way east from Los Angeles into the dilapidated, scrub desert of Riverside County. Farid’s hand rested lightly on the steering wheel, the vents of the air-conditioner all aimed at him so that despite the ninety-degree heat outside, his face was cold and dry as stone. He had just bought the Lexus with a signing bonus from his new engineering job, and had spent the morning under the carport polishing it with a tenderness he had not shown to Caitlin since he returned from his trip. When she asked him to drive her to Scottsdale to visit her parents, he had been displeased, the only saving grace that he could open the car up on the freeway.

“Why don’t you just fly? I’ll take you to the airport,” he had said.

“Because they want to meet you.”  …[Keep Reading]…

Population 51, Elevation 15
Erin Stalcup

He steps off the dock as if he expects to set his foot on glass.

He sinks.

She doesn’t know this man she’s been watching but takes her hands out of her pockets and runs towards him, kicking up dust on the path, clattering across the dock, which is not wet, not slippery.

She gets on her belly and stretches down but her fingertips don’t touch the water. She reaches. She tries to get to him. She’s too small, too young, but she wants to be strong enough to find him and grab him and pull him out, yank him up, help him back to land.

There’s a roiled place in the water but no thrashing man, no one swimming, no one trying to save himself. She stands and throws her jacket to the dock. She pulls her sweater over her head. She readies herself to dive, but the water is smooth.

No one reaches up. …[Keep Reading]…

What Hangs on Trees

Alumna Glenis Redmond (poetry, ’11) discusses poetry and the southern landscape in Orion Magazine.

I AM SIMULTANEOUSLY enchanted and haunted by trees.

As a child, I was a tomboyish tree-climbing tree lover—a daydreamer held in mahogany arms. If I went missing, my family knew where to find me: perched on a branch, peering up into the sky or speculating about the world below. Then, I did not know the word sacred, but I sensed the meaning, especially sheltered from the world by a dome of emerald leaves. It was the one place where I felt the most whole. I experienced an inexplicable kinship with trees, which is probably why I developed an insatiable curiosity to learn their names: maple, pine, birch, willow . . . Live oaks were my trees of choice.

At that time, there was no way for me to grasp the shadow side, to investigate the tangled depths of my psyche in regard to trees, especially those gnarled live oaks. My dual consciousness was related to the land, especially land below the Mason-Dixon line. But I didn’t realize just how severe the dichotomy was until graduate school, when I was asked to write a pastoral poem, a poem that regales the bucolic aspects of nature. When I attempted to write the poem, I hit a wall, a psychological and historical one. It wasn’t until my last semester, when I studied a poem from Lucille Clifton’s book Mercy that I began to understand why the pastoral poem was causing me so much deep-seated angst. Clifton’s untitled poem begins:

surely I am able to write poems
celebrating grass          
….[Keep Reading]…

January 2013 Faculty

We’re happy to announce the January 2013 MFA faculty.  For more information, including brief bios, please visit the program website.

Debra Allbery (Director)

Dean Bakopoulos

Rick Barot

Marianne Boruch

Karen Brennan

Liam Callanan

Stephen Dobyns

Jennifer Grotz

David Haynes

Rodney Jones

Maurice Manning

Heather McHugh

Kevin McIlvoy

Antonya Nelson

Michael Parker

Martha Rhodes

Robin Romm

Dominic Smith

Patrick Somerville

Megan Staffel

Ellen Bryant Voigt

Connie Voisine

Eleanor Wilner

C. Dale Young

Reading Announcement

Faculty member Martha Rhodes will read from her latest collection, The Beds (Autumn House Press, 2012) November 1st at the NYU Creative Writing Program Reading Series.  Poets Cathy Park Hong and Kathleen Ossip will also read.

Time: 7pm

Location: Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House, 58 West 10th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues

For more information, visit the program website.

Alumni Updates

Alison Moore (fiction, ’90): Alison’s new novel Riders on the Orphan Train is now available from Roadworthy Press.

Fourteen years ago I “jumped the tenure track for the orphan train.” I’ve never regretted the decision. I left my assistant professor post at the University of Arizona MFA creative writing program to become an itinerant performer in collaboration with my husband, songwriter Phil Lancaster.  Since 1998 we have been presenting a multi-media program about the Orphan Trains in museums, libraries, and universities. Between 1854 and 1929, over 250,000 orphans and half-orphans were put on trains in New York and sent to every state in the US to be given away at train stations. I met many survivors at national reunions when I first started; now there are so few left. The historical novel is the result of research, travel, encounters, and a continuing passion for this little-known part of American history.

Calling All Alums: Can You Help?

Friends of Writers, supporting the Warren Wilson MFA community, has long depended on the active support and hard work of alumni volunteers, who have overseen and directed the Alum Conference, put out email blasts, compiled and updated the alum bibliography, served as class agents for the graduating class, helped with the Gala auctions, distributed newsletters, hosted fund-raising “Feasts,” contacted prospective students, and more.

The Board has many new projects underway as we reach out to our community through our blog and redesigned website, publicize the archived craft lectures, and continue to build our scholarship funds for current and future MFA students. WE NEED YOUR HELP with our expanded and increasingly techno-savvy activities.  If you are willing to offer any kind of volunteer assistance, please click the link and fill out the form below, so we can know who’s out there in our community on whom we can call when needs arise:

Friends of Writers Volunteer Form

Interview with Matt Hart

Justin Bigos (poetry, ’08) recently interviewed Matt Hart (poetry, ’02) for the American Literary Review.

JBAnd so then I feel torn: I want to keep reading your poems, but part of me wants to throw your book off the balcony and go write my own poems.  I don’t have a question here, I suppose.  But you can respond however you like.

MH: Well, as with the first question, I’m really flattered that you would say this.  If somehow the poems make you want to throw them off the balcony and do your own writing that’s perfect.  That’s a necessary part of all this.  Writing for me is always an extension of reading/listening, and the idea that something I’ve written might, even in some small way, spur someone to do his or her own work is incredibly gratifying.  I would say that that’s true of my intentions for this book in particular: Sermons and Lectures is my call for your response.  I mean, my actual address is even written out in one of the poems in hopes that someone might write back, thus making their own response a call that I would then respond to, etc...[Keep Reading]…
Matt’s book Sermons and Lectures Both Blank and Relentless is available from Typecast Publishing.