From Sena, with Love

By SENA JETER NASLUND, Founding Program Director

 

Sena Jeter Naslund ASo many of you I did not get to hug and squeeze whom I wished to thank for your thanks, at SenaFest, the marvelous surprise occasion, conceived by my partner-in-crime Karen Mann to mark my retirement as Founding Program Director! Continue reading “From Sena, with Love”

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On Word Choice and John Gardner’s “Fictional Dream”

Lamar Giles, Spalding MFA Faculty, Writing for Children & Young AdultsLamar Giles

There’s an excerpt that I share with every student I’ve ever had the pleasure of teaching. It’s by John Gardner (1933-1982) and comes from his essay “Basic Skills, Genre, and Fiction as Dream,” which appears in the anthology Crafting Fiction: In Theory, In Practice, edited by Marvin Diogenes and Clyde Moneyhun. While the entire essay is a marvel of craft advice and analysis, it’s the portion about the fictional dream that stuck with me so long ago, and that I make sure every writer willing to take advice from me at least knows about. Like my mom says, “You can’t say no one never told you.”

 

Continue reading “On Word Choice and John Gardner’s “Fictional Dream””

MFA SUMMER RESIDENCY in KYOTO, JAPAN July 12-23, 2018

By Katy Yocom, Spalding MFA Associate Director

 

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Even in Kyoto—
Hearing the cuckoo’s cry—
I long for Kyoto.

 

Matsuo Basho

 

 

 

Each summer, the Spalding MFA in Writing program travels overseas to study creative writing while exploring literature and art across cultures. Our Summer 2018 residency takes place in Kyoto.

Continue reading “MFA SUMMER RESIDENCY in KYOTO, JAPAN July 12-23, 2018”

This Is Not My #MeToo Post

Daniels_Leslie_Portrait_BW

Leslie Daniels, Spalding MFA Fiction Faculty

This is not my #MeToo post. With a 500 word limit, where would I begin? With the convict who held a knife against my 11 year old stomach? Or the psych professor in grad school 20 years later who pressed me for dates? With the decades in between of sidewalk ass grabbers or party gropers and worse, experiences of  weirdness, of intimate violence, of trespass? How about the silencers, the ones who urged me not to speak of it, the shamers?

Continue reading “This Is Not My #MeToo Post”

Bang for your buck: Cost, affordability, and what to look for when shopping for an MFA program

Katy Yocom, Associate Administrative Director, Spalding University MFA

Fourth Street Live

An MFA isn’t a degree like law or engineering, where you’re pretty sure you’re launching yourself into a lucrative career. Most people I know pursue an MFA because they have an unshakable passion for writing, because they feel driven—sometimes in the middle of their lives—to step off the expected path and do this thing that doesn’t make any sense at all, except that they can no longer pretend it’s okay not to do it.   Continue reading “Bang for your buck: Cost, affordability, and what to look for when shopping for an MFA program”

The Right Word

Eleanor Morse, Spalding MFA Faculty, Fiction   Eleanor Morse

 

How often do you pause in the middle of writing a sentence, in search of a word or phrase that describes exactly what you mean? You might keep going, leave a blank space in the text, and trust that what you need will pop out when you least expect it. Or you might sit and stare and wait for it. Or you might hunt it down relentlessly until you find it. However you seek it, there’s a moment when that word or phrase drops into place, and you know it’s right. Continue reading “The Right Word”

Looking Back on the Brink of Looking Forward

Karen Mann, Co-Founder & Administrative Director of Spalding low-residency MFA

Mann Karen for blog

 

 

 

At the MFA residency this fall, we are honoring Sena Jeter Naslund as she retires from the MFA program at the end of the year and turns her attention to new creative projects. Leading up to the residency, I have been thinking not only about what’s brought us to this point in the MFA program but I have also been anticipating the future! Continue reading “Looking Back on the Brink of Looking Forward”

Finding Love in Loss: An Interview with Kathleen Driskell

Interview by Caitlin McCann, Originally appeared in StorySouth, Back Issue #41
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Kathleen Driskell

Kathleen Driskell’s most recent book, Next Door to the Dead, is a Kentucky Voices selection published by The University Press of Kentucky. In this collection of poetry, Driskell reflects upon the experience of living next door to a graveyard. A graveyard she was initially led to believe was full, essentially inactive. She quickly discovered the opposite was true when one afternoon she had to bring in groceries while a funeral was being held next door—a moment she recounts in “Living Next to the Dead Acre.” Then there are also the teenagers who think themselves to be bold and cool to creep around a cemetery in the middle of the night, which she writes about in “What Haunts” But Driskell does not stay on our plane of existence for very long. The poems shift into the perspectives of the graveyard’s inhabitants, thus creating a community that would not otherwise exist. Each neighbor’s resurrected voice is distinct, relatable, and poignant. Driskell’s ability to make the 167-year-old death of a mother and her infant in “Markers” feel fresh and personal is astounding. Driskell writes of her neighbors with such tenderness and reverence. She is able to transcend the book’s focused location to deftly speak on themes and societal issues like love, war, fried chicken, and the female mummy in “Tchaenhotep: Mummy at the Kentucky Science Center” who is doomed to be the subject of the male gaze. Driskell’s voice as a poet is admirable—there is strength in its quietude, and it is this subtle strength that allows Next Door to the Dead to resonate long after you have read the last poem. Continue reading “Finding Love in Loss: An Interview with Kathleen Driskell”

Community/Creativity

Schmiedl

by Eric Schmiedl 

Spalding MFA Faculty, Playwriting

(originally published 2015)

 

In his book Love and Living, the writer and theologian Thomas Merton discusses the relationship between the individual and the greater community when he says:

love-and-living-thomas-merton-a-posthumously-published-collection-of-mertons-essays-and-meditations-centering-on-the-need-for-love-in-learning-to-live-love-is-the-revelation-of-our-deepe

 

“Through our senses and our minds, our loves, needs, and desires, we are implicated, without possibility of evasion, in this world of matter and of men, of things and of persons, which not only affect us and change our lives, but are also affected and changed by us …”

Continue reading “Community/Creativity”