Archive | February 2013

An Interview with Jamaal May

Alumni Jamaal May (poetry, ’11) was recently interviewed for Michigan State University Public Radio.  Listen to the recording here.


Jamaal is the author of the poetry collection Hum, forthcoming in 2013 from Alice James Books.

Warren Wilson at AWP

The MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College will be well- represented at the 2013 AWP Conference in Boston, March 7-9.  Here’s a guide to panel: Full conference schedule

Many WWC MFA faculty and alumni will also be holding signings at Bookfair booths and participating in offsite readings.  Schedules for these can be found here:

Author Signings

Offsite Events

And here’s a list of all events including Warren Wilson faculty and alumni (right click to download):

Warren Wilson MFA at AWP

We’ll look forward to seeing you all at the Warren Wilson MFA reception at Sweetwater Tavern, 3 Boylston Place, on Friday, March 8th from 9 till midnight.  We’ll post reminders for all of these events during the conference, so be sure to check back often!

“A New Measure of Value”

In an essay for Inside Higher Ed, Ellen McCulloch-Lovell (poetry, ’12) urges colleges to pay more attention to their graduates’ civic engagement.


Many leaders of liberal arts colleges and some other institutions are disappointed by the new College Scorecard from the Obama administration, observing that its measures leave out much of the true value of a higher education. But it’s not enough for us to say we think our model of education produces value. We need to start to analyze and measure outcomes beyond income if we are to challenge the idea that institutions should be judged primarily by how much their graduates earn one year after graduation.

Our democracy is threatened today by lack of participation by all segments of our society, including our optimistic and energetic young people. Corporate and secret money looms over our elections. The narrowing of media outlets means that it’s harder to find the tough investigative journalism and information that shine light on government policies and elected officials’ behaviors.

At a time when we must reanimate our democracy, let’s cooperate on a Civic Scale that shows the profound value of educating our future citizens. We want our students to thrive in their lives; that means finding jobs and supporting families. It must also, however, include finding meaning in life in service to others and to the country.

We must redefine “return on investment” to include civic behaviors that support our diverse and participatory democracy. As Thomas Jefferson said, “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”  …[Read the Full Article]…


Poems by C. Dale Young and Victoria Chang

New work by faculty member C. Dale Young and alumna Victoria Chang (poetry, ’05) appears online at Diode.

Learning to Walk

C. Dale Young

The halo, still fixed to my head then,
pinned to the calvarium’s fine table
of bone, almost helped me to balance.
And balance is such a fine quality.
No matter how many times my mother

recounts for me how I first learned
to walk, I have no recollection of it.
But I remember the second time I learned,
because learning to walk as an adult,
like learning anything one should learn

as a child, involves shame and embarrassment,
those snickering sisters who love to watch you fail.
To clutch the two poles alongside you, poles
parallel to the ground you stand on, you wish
you were a gymnast or at least studying

Read More…

Reading Announcement

Faculty member Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy (2012, Harper), will read Thursday, February 28th at the University of Iowa, where she is the Jonathan Goldsmith Visiting Author.  The reading is free, and will take place at 8 p.m. in the Frank Conroy Reading Room of the Glenn Schaeffer Library.


For more information, please visit the University website.

Hoagland and Young at Plume

New work by faculty members Tony Hoagland and C. Dale Young appears online at Plume magazine.

Writing Under the Influence of Me
~Tony Hoagland

It means I drop things, and I keep turning

around while I forget what I am looking for.

Writing under the influence of me

means that I touch my paintbrush to my face unconsciously,

that I break something that belongs to someone else,

then hide the pieces under the couch.  …[Keep Reading]…


~C. Dale Young

I learned to hide the wings, almost immediately,

learned to tuck and bandage them down.

Long before the accident, before the glass shattering

and the scene going dim, dimmer, and then dark,

before the three fractures at the axis, the three cracks


in the bone, it had already begun.  …[Keep Reading]…


Interview with Dana Levin

Justin Bigos (poetry, ’08) interviews faculty member Dana Levin at The American Literary Review:

Dana at UNT Levin at University of North Texas

It’s not that I think that poetry “needs” to be fictive—it’s that it is fictive: it’s a form of art, which is not life, no matter how closely an artist may feel compelled to adhere to fact. The minute you’re moved to turn life into art, you enter a fictive space—which is to say a space for making, inventing, which demands flexibility, in terms of seeing and following where composition may be directing you. And the drive to bend, blur, or ignore factual truth was crucial to me personally, in terms of writing myself out from under the crush of grief.

I always think of Ted Hughes saying about Sylvia Plath, “If she couldn’t get a table out of it, she was quite happy to get a chair.” Abandoning the table for the developing chair often involves two primary things: listening to the poem (it only converses in what the poet receives as hunches, obsessions, epiphanies, and all other manner of telepathic communiques from the Muse) and (thus) relinquishing initial intent or spark for a poem, autobiographically, structurally. Plath’s famous poem, ‘Tulips,’ is often read as a poem about being carted off to the psych ward, but in fact she was on the verge of a burst appendix! I like the psych ward narrative: it’s so dramatic! It’s so Plath! Factual truth can be very deflating...[Keep Reading]…

Dana is the author of Sky Burial (2011, Copper Canyon Press).

“Getting Out of Your Own Way”

A clip from Eleanor Wilner’s lecture at the winter 2013 residency, “Getting Out of Your Own Way.”

Eleanor is the author of the poetry collection Tourist in Hell (2010, U of Chicago Press).  Visit the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers website to purchase past lectures on compact disc or by instant download.

How We Stay Good Girls

“How We Stay Good Girls,” a short story by alumna Christine Fadden, appears online at Painted Bride Quarterly.

I told my stepmother I was spending the night at Carla’s house and Carla told her parents she was spending the night at mine. Then we went with the boys up the mountain.

The boys were brothers and—for a while—Carla and I were like sisters. Neither of us wanted to have sex, which is contrary to every parent-of-a-teenager’s first assumption. It’s an assumption that says a lot about parents, and its wrongness became the impetus to our lie. If we went up the mountain with the boys and did not behave badly, our mission would prove we were good girls. We would deserve merits—possibly in the form of more freedom! We knew if we got caught we’d get punished, but we fantasized about telling our parents: “You see! We faced and resisted temptation.” Of course, there was no way we could win.

Before we took off for the mountain, Carla and I made a pact: neither would stick the other with the boy she didn’t want to mess around with. It would be she with the younger brother and me with the older one—or Backgammon.

Read More…

“Go On and Hate Me”

“Go On and Hate Me: The Remarkable Handling of Pity in Jean Rhys’ Voyage in the Dark,” by alumna Rachel Howard (fiction, ’09) appears online at Fiction Writers Review.

My violent objection to the notion of “unlikeable characters” began in fall 1996, in a UC Santa Barbara literature seminar. I was 20 years old and on the edge of a near-suicidal breakdown, having thrown myself for a full year at Eric, my elusive not-quite-boyfriend, while also fighting repressed childhood memories of my father’s sudden death. The professor for “Readings in the Novel” was an avuncular, brandy-voiced novelist from the Caribbean–what a lovely, safe escape from my obsessions this class would be. Then, on the second day of class, in walked Eric. Painful honesty compels me to report that I hoped this marked a fateful new chapter for us, and I adjusted the strap of my tank top to reveal more shoulder.

Fortunately, Eric was a lazy, mostly absent student. Did he show up the day we discussed Jean Rhys’s Voyage in the Dark? I feel like he did, but back in those days I lived with an illicitly thrilling and demented sensation that Eric was always with me, so it’s hard to remember.

What I remember best is the other students’ reaction to Voyage in the Dark’s narrator, Anna Morgan, a stand-in for Jean Rhys’s younger self, and a girl who, ahem, throws herself shamelessly at her lover and longs to die, while fighting repressed childhood memories of her father’s sudden death. “She’s pathetic,” the other students said. “She’s just a victim.” “There’s nothing you can like about her. She just seems like a waste of time.”  …[Keep Reading]…