Life of a Writer: Late Summer Edition




CUT, PASTE, REPEAT: Collage Writing

By Dianne Aprile, Spalding MFA Creative Nonfiction Faculty

Gordian Knot by Larry Calkins

…the collage form encourages us to write in a distilled, imagistic, unconsciously meaningful way…

A few years ago, I started thinking about teaching writing classes at an art center near where we live on the east side of Seattle. At first, I thought I’d like to lead ekphrastic writing classes, making use of the art exhibited at the Kirkland Arts Center, which draws to its gallery the work of artists from all over the country—and beyond.  Continue reading “CUT, PASTE, REPEAT: Collage Writing”

Join Spalding at the Southern Festival of Books, Nashville, Oct. 12-14

By Karen Leslie (Chronister), Spalding MFA Alumni

SFB Print 24x36 with bleed FINAL downsized for web

In the current era where arts and humanities programs are threatened with a hard shove to the sidelines, The Southern Festival of Books: A Celebration of the Written Word is a bold and bright voice booming atop the Nashville landscape. For three days in October, the SFB gathers together book lovers and the nation’s and region’s prominent writers, offering dozens of panels on the writing arts in downtown Nashville. Spalding will debut a booth this year with program advocacy and honoring our writers in mind, including faculty member Silas House and his recent novel, Southernmost, and alum Charles Dodd White with In the House of Wilderness, both featured on the main program, as well as faculty member Jeanie Thompson and alum Juyanne James, who are featured in panel sessions. Continue reading “Join Spalding at the Southern Festival of Books, Nashville, Oct. 12-14”

MFA Fall Residency to visit the Abbey of Gethsemani

By Katy Yocom, Spalding MFA Associate Director



The Fall 2018 residency features a road trip to the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani, located an hour south of Louisville near Bardstown, Kentucky. There, we’ll hear Brother Paul Quenon, O.C.S.O., read from his new memoir In Praise of the Useless Life: A Monk’s Memoir. Quenon served as a novice under Thomas Merton, who encouraged Brother Paul to write. His memoir details meetings with Gethsemani visitors over the years, including Sister Helen Prejean, Pico Iyer, and Seamus Heaney. Continue reading “MFA Fall Residency to visit the Abbey of Gethsemani”

A Spalding MFA lesson pays off in the workplace

By Lia Eastep, Spalding University Low-Residency MFA Alum


I make my living as a full-time senior copywriter in the marketing department (think internal ad agency) of a large educational publisher. About a year ago in a weekly team meeting, our videographer shared a video he’d recently completed. The discussion that followed surprised me. Continue reading “A Spalding MFA lesson pays off in the workplace”

Book Reviewing 101

By Lynnell Edwards, Associate Program Director at Spalding Low-Residency MFA

Lynnell Edwards

[Photo Credit:  John Nation]

At the Spring 2018 residency I gave a plenary lecture about a subject that is near and dear to my heart as a writer: book reviewing.  Though the critical and creative impulses might seem at odds with one another, and emerging writers scraping for any free time they can find to write might not see the value in using some of that hard-earned time to write a book review, I’d like to argue in a greatly abbreviated version of that talk that writing book reviews will make you a better reader, a better writer, and a better literary citizen.  Continue reading “Book Reviewing 101”

Whitman, Borges, and Ironic Detachment

By Jeremy Paden, Spalding Low-Residency MFA Poetry & Translation Faculty


At residency this past May, I lectured on the tradition of response poems to Walt Whitman. The briefest of overviews concerning literary imitation was provided; and, we discussed how the response poem to Whitman seems to be unique in the history of literature. Not only are there a large number of poems that address Whitman as literary predecessor, countless poets write in a vein they consider to be Whitmanic. Continue reading “Whitman, Borges, and Ironic Detachment”

What Cross-Genre Exploration looks like for Spalding MFA Students

By Katy Yocom, Spalding MFA Associate Director


Cross-genre exploration has been a hallmark of the Spalding low-residency MFA in Writing curriculum since the program was launched in 2001. But while many students arrive eager to explore across genres, others aren’t so sure. “I want to be able to focus on my own area,” they’ll say.

Fear not, trepidatious writers. You absolutely will. You can spend every single residency and independent study in your own area, if you want. Continue reading “What Cross-Genre Exploration looks like for Spalding MFA Students”