By Jeremy Paden, Spalding Low-Residency MFA Poetry (Translation) Faculty
When readers and writers travel to another country, the question is always one of triaging the reading: what to read before, what to take with you? Do you, like Paul Theroux in Old Patagonian Express, take mostly reading unrelated to your travels, supplemented by a generically famous Latin American poet? Do you, like a historian friend of mine, refuse to read travel literature about the country you are visiting because you want to see the world with fresh eyes? If, instead, you are one who wants to read up on a country, where do you start? When considering the classics, do you focus on Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral, the two Nobel Prize-winning poets from Chile? When considering contemporary writers, do you go with the recently deceased critical darling, the novelist Roberto Bolaño, or someone less well-celebrated?
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”→
By Roy Hoffman, Spalding MFA Fiction & Creative Nonfiction Faculty
With art nearby when I write – from our Georgia O’Keefe kitchen calendar to the paintings, sculpture, and ceramics, many by friends, throughout our house – I find myself inspired, as a word person, by the color, shape, and texture of the visual. From the time as a college freshman I taped up a poster of Henri Rousseau’s “The Sleeping Gypsy” on my dorm wall, to trips to New York where, ritually, I visit the Metropolitan Museum’s Rembrandt room to gaze into portraits where time creases faces, I find, in art, places to lose myself, to dream, to learn, ever more clearly, to see. Continue reading “Writing with Art”→
I’m a big fan of ambiguous endings. I have no problem with being left in the middle of things in the last scene. In fact, I find pleasure in lingering with a range of possibilities after the final page is turned. I have no quarrel with a novel or memoir that closes with its main character teetering on the brink of change—rather than safely ensconced on the other side of it. Continue reading “NO EXIT: When Endings Disappoint”→
By Katy Yocom Spalding MFA Associate Administrative Director
The Spalding low-residency MFA in Writing program is gearing up for its spring residency, May 26-June 4 in Louisville, Kentucky. The residency features dozens of special events and sessions, acclaimed guest speakers, faculty craft lectures, and a special performance by the nationally acclaimed Louisville Leopard Percussionists.
In addition, the MFA program is pleased to welcome a new faculty member in writing for children and young adults, as well as a special guest workshop leader in poetry.
When you pack your bags for your next trip, whether a few hours from home or as far away, to an American traveler, as Buenos Aires, Rome, or Edinburgh, take along your travel writer’s sensibility. You’ll already have the tools in place—pen and paper, laptop and camera—so making a record of where you go, what you see, eat, and learn, is not a practical but perceptual challenge. Our senses become heightened by the excitement of travel, the allure of different landscapes, languages and foods. As writers we note it all in colorful detail in our journals and e-mails home. But how can we shape this material into articles or personal essays for a larger audience? Here are some tips—and questions—to keep in mind. Continue reading “REFLECTIONS ON TRAVEL WRITING”→