Archive | December 2012

A Year in Reading: Patrick Somerville

Faculty member Patrick Somerville takes a look back at 2012 for The Millions:

My wife and I welcomed a son into the world in November of 2011, which spelled a bit of an adjustment to my reading habits this year and — if I’m being honest — a bit of an amplification to my TV-watching. I had less total private hours, and for the first time in my life I therefore found myself planning what I would read — sometimes months in advance — instead of naturally drifting from book to book, tracing the threads of this or that conversation with a friend, recalling a review, or happening upon something entirely unexpected.

There is romance and intellectual gratification to such wandering; my 2012 way is a little sad and a lot less sexy, but I have also found that time restrictions this year have made me read with more care, and with more appreciation for writers who sacrifice so much of their personal lives and creative vitality just to make something.

Which is to say that I read books with added admiration in 2012, and I read with renewed marvel at how many different tones, and emotions, and forms, and kinds of stories are possible with text and language as a foundation. Here is a little something about three that I liked a lot...[Keep Reading]…

Patrick is the author of This Bright River: A Novel (2012, Reagan Arthur Books).

Wally T-Shirts Are Here!

Show your love of the MFA Program and support the Friends of Writers with the Wally t-shirt! Designed by Browning Porter with words by Judy French, Wally t-shirts are available in adult sizes (small, medium, large, and x-large) and are tan with blue and white text that reads “Write, Revise, Dance, Repeat.”



Order yours now from the MFA Program Store

Alumni Updates

Corey Campbell (fiction, ’12): Corey’s short story “The Meteor” is this week’s feature at Necessary Fiction:


Mr. Tibberly found a meteorite on his hike in the desert. He knew straight off it had once been a meteor, but he hadn’t studied geology in school, so he decided to take it to the university meteorite lab to be sure.

His life had become very lonely lately. His failures disappointed him. Possibilities flooded his mind like mudslides.

Feels like everything is potential, he thought, but nothing has become.

If he were a robot, he would have shut himself off.

Mr. Tibberly held the meteorite closely. Everything is potential. But not this...[Keep Reading]…


Four Way Books

The Los Angeles Review of Books profiles Four Way Books, co-founded and directed by faculty member Martha Rhodes:

One reason that Four Way is so deeply invested in their authors’ work — not just as a product to sell but as a process to nurture — is the fact that everyone involved in the core operations of the press is also a writer: its founding editor, its associate directors, even its current publicist. Rhodes, the author of four books of poems, most recently The Beds (Autumn House Press), understands intimately the struggles a poet experiences during that final stage of putting a manuscript together. She draws on her own experience to offer advice. For some authors, that means pushing them through revisions in order to see their poems in a new light; for others, it might mean rethinking the book’s organization. “It’s important,” she says, “to challenge the manuscript. Make it bigger, make it smaller. Start here, end here. Start there, end there. Sections, no sections. 80 pages? 45 pages. 60 pages, 79 pages. 52 pages. Start hot? End cold? Start hot? Stay hot…?”

While Four Way’s authors “have generally already gotten to this point by the time they submit their work,” Rhodes advises her students (and, in her own work, reminds herself) “to look for the most essential poems in the collection — the poems they feel the book cannot live without, and to start to build from there — usually twelve to fifteen pages.” Working out from that core group, she looks for poems that “make sense when put into proximity with the other poems.” …[Keep Reading]…

“Hello, I Must Be Going”

A clip from Daniel Tobin‘s lecture at the summer 2012 residency, “Hello, I Must Be Going: the Poetry of Farewell”

Daniel is the author of the poetry collection Belated Heavens (Malcolm McDonald Series Selection) (Four Way, 2010) and Awake in America: On Irish American Poetry (Notre Dame, 2011). Visit the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers website to purchase past lectures on compact disc or by instant download.

Happy New Year from Friends of Writers!

If you’ve been in touch with us this season, our heartfelt thanks! If not, please  visit us at to make a donation. Or send a check to  Friends of Writers POB 128 Marshfield VT 05658.  By contributing to Friends of Writers, you are supporting the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers community.

And please sign up for our blog (daily or weekly, your choice) at

Thank you for your support and best wishes for a wonderful 2013!

January 2013 Residency Schedule

The Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers’ 2013 Winter Residency starts January 3rd in Swannanoa, featuring, as always, a number of public readings and lectures by program faculty.  Click below to see the full schedule, and remember to check back here for updates during the residency.

Winter 2013 Public Schedule

Alumni Updates

Christine Hale (fiction, ’96): Christine’s short story “Milk” appears in the latest issue of Spry:


I held on tight to my baby bottle right up to four years old.  Black-and-white photos from the old Kodak Brownie attest to this: my lanky self lolling on the glossy-waxed linoleum of the kitchen floor, eyes glazed with bliss, head cradled on a favorite plaid-cased pillow, one knee cocked and the other balanced atop its fulcrum, free foot bouncing like Mitch Miller’s sing-along ball.

My father liked milk, too.  He drank more than his share according to my mother, and, worse, he raided the butterfat that topped the un-homogenized milk, using a spoon or even his finger to pop the cream coin from the bottle’s mouth to his. I’d seen him do it, and imagined the greasy bite as repulsive, but what really gave the act its charge was my mother’s response. Control of the milk, especially the cream, made a flashpoint in their mostly cold war...[Keep Reading]…

Christine is the author of the novel Basil’s Dream (Livingston Press, 2009).

Margaree Little in The Missouri Review

“What Was Missing,” a poem by alumna Margaree Little (poetry, ’12) is this week’s feature at The Missouri Review.


What Was Missing

The undersides
of the hands. The hair.


The eyes. The chin,
the spot where the chin


becomes the neck.
Both of the arms.…[Keep Reading]…


A new short story by faculty member Patrick Somerville appears in Guernica Magazine.




Up there, not far from Greenland, north is not quite north. Rob has been reading about it. He’s learned that the Earth’s magnetic pole drifts nine kilometers a year, that it needs to be found every year by the Canadian government because it won’t stay put. Spiderlike, it roams the glacial landscape; it moves because the Earth’s magnetic field is disturbed by particles coming from the sun.

Rob likes how dense this fact seems, even though it implies a sort of leak in the world. He doesn’t want to think about the leak but he likes that we know it’s there.

He is a composer, he prefers closed systems, he prefers managing what’s perfect. He has always been this way.

Rob’s father is dead...[Keep Reading]…

Patrick is the author of the novel This Bright River (Reagan Arthur Books, 2012).