A new story by alumna Aggie Zilvaljevic (fiction, ’05) appears online in Grey Sparrow Journal:
Late afternoon that Sunday the two brothers, Vaidas and Jonas, had run after a speeding train, pretending they were wild horses. They’d rested in an empty courtyard near their apartment block, eating boiled corn on the cob. Vaidas nibbled his around, and Jonas ate it across. After that they smoked unfiltered cigarettes stolen from their father. But the lull only made them more restless and more tired, at the same time. They chased crows in the linden trees, swinging long wooden swords, clicking their tongues at the blackbirds and calling, “Caw-caw!”
Victoria Chang (poetry, ’05), discussing and reading from her new book, The Boss, appears on NPR’s Marketplace.
Angela Torres (poetry, ’09) is the winner of the Willow Books Literature Award for poetry. Her book, Blood Orange, is available now.
Kathryn Schwille (fiction, ‘99) has been awarded a $10,000 fellowship from the North Carolina Arts Council.
Faculty member David Shields’ new biography of the author J.D. Salinger, Salinger, is available now.
Alumna Marian Szczepanski’s (fiction, ’97) new book, Playing St. Barbara, is available now.
A new interview with MFA program founder and faculty member Ellen Bryant Voigt is online in Granta:
Ellen Bryant Voigt’s most recent collection of poems is Headwaters. She is the author of eight volumes of poetry, including Shadow of Heaven, a finalist for the National Book Award, and Messenger, a finalist for the National Book award and for the Pulitzer Prize. Here, she talks about her background in music, the biographical facts pertinent to her new collection and the New Yorker.
RA: You originally trained as a pianist and you’ve spoken about your time as a musician. The musical quality of your poems is celebrated, and it is obvious when reading your poems that this sound-driven lyric is your natural poetic voice. Have you ever tried to write against this inclination, or experiment with narrative or language-focussed poetry?
EBV: I don’t think of music and narrative as being mutually exclusive – some of my poems ARE narrative, and are as ‘sound-driven’ as the lyrics, as least in the making of them. With a few experimental exceptions, almost every poem in the language contains, importantly, aural properties, whether or not these are overt, foregrounded. There is, for instance, the rhythm of the line working with or against the rhythm of the sentence, an inherent music that reminds us of poetry’s beginnings as an art that was danced or sung or spoken. And to some degree, every poem is ‘language-focussed’ – as Auden said, ‘words whispering to one another.’ But if you are referring to theL=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets’ dismantling of syntactical conventions, the answer is no: I wouldn’t want to give up semantic and even discursive clarity as one tool among many.
The MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College is delighted to welcome Tyler Cloherty, who will succeed Amy Grimm as the next Assistant to the Director of the Warren Wilson MFA Program.
Tyler is a North Carolina native. For the past several years, she’s worked as an editor of scholarly books at McFarland Publishing in West Jefferson, NC. Prior to that she was a grant writer and the PR point person for Eliada Homes, Inc. She holds a BA in English from the University of North Carolina-Asheville and an MA in English from Appalachian State. Her interests include theater, Irish dance, and Celtic and Medieval Studies.
Tyler’s training with Amy is now underway. She’s looking forward to meeting faculty and students in January!
Faculty member Debra Spark’s essay, originally a Warren Wilson lecture, “That’s Funny,” appears online at Fiction Writers Review:
Three summers ago, I went straight from a ten-day teaching gig at Warren Wilson in North Carolina to Boston, where my father was dying. At least I thought he was dying. In the ten years of his long and heartbreaking decline, there were a lot of hospitalizations, a lot of moments when I thought, “This is it.” But I was wrong. He had recovered, each of those previous times. Well, sort of recovered. He hadn’t died. He was still enfeebled with a long list of health problems—epilepsy, osteoporosis, celiac disease. And then, in the last year of his life, leukemia was added to the list. So, chemotherapy. Also transfusions several times a week, all of this at the hospital where my doctor-father practiced medicine for fifty years.
My family is one that knows how to pull together in an emergency. In the days after my North Carolina job, my brother decided to fly east from San Francisco to see my dad. We didn’t want to scare my father, but if this was indeed “it,” my brother wanted to be there. My mother was already in Boston, ditto my twin sister.
Alumna Rebecca Foust’s (poetry, ’10) poems, “Click,” “Dark Ecology,” “spec house foundation cut into hillside,” “Rebuke,” and “To N., Serving Curried Rice for Food-Not-Bombs,” appear online in Mudlark Flash:
Your cat curled at the door, tongue like a dark liver thrust through her teeth, poisoned by eating a mouse that had eaten d-CON, click—your son’s testicular lump overnight has tripled-in-size—whirr-click. The kid who tossed your morning paper? Blown up, his third tour in Iraq, and what is that click- whirr-click, like-a-dry-insect sound? Where the world was intact now grins a wound, there’s a hole in the hull and you list. Click-whir-click—below your feet, fracked bedrock shifts. Click—the pixels pull in—whirr-click. Now you can see them resolve, the pixeled years, inside the framed sum of your fears. He’s come. There’s a boy in the hall with a Glock and crossed bandoliers.
An interview with Faculty member Robert Boswell on, among other topics, his new book, Tumbledown, appears online on the TIn House blog:
Robert Boswell is a patient man. The facts surrounding this interview support this claim.
Our conversation began in Telluride, where he and his wife, the writer Antonya Nelson, have a home. This was a year ago and I should mention that our weekend together began with me flying into the wrong airport some 90 miles north of where he was waiting to pick me up. He stoically stayed up until a shuttle service dropped me off at his home around 1:00am. We spent the next few hours catching up and talking about Alice Munro.
Over the course of the ensuing weekend we must have watched 100 hours of baseball. That might be an exaggeration but it was the playoffs and I don’t think we missed an at-bat. It makes sense that Boswell would love our nation’s pastime; a four-hour, one-run pitching duel is the perfect requiescence for a man who often writes over fifty drafts of a novel. The same sort of patience that goes into his writing can be seen when you are heading home from the bar after the game and you encounter an enormous bear foraging in a nearby trashcan. “We should probably walk a bit faster,” he said.” “But not too fast. Now getting back to Wise Blood.”
And so a year has passed and the baseball playoffs are about to start again (without Boswell’s beloved Astros) and the bears of Telluride are hoping for another autumn book recommendation. The season has brought with it a bit of a relief, for after ten years we have finally gotten another Robert Boswell novel to immerse ourselves in.