So You’re Going to Chile… An Incomplete List of Writers to Know Part 1: Memoir and Travel Writing

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

Biblioteca Nacional de Chile (National Library of Chile in Santiago)

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?

Continue reading “So You’re Going to Chile… An Incomplete List of Writers to Know Part 1: Memoir and Travel Writing”
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CUT, PASTE, REPEAT: Collage Writing

By Dianne Aprile, Spalding MFA Creative Nonfiction Faculty

GordianKnot

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”

Writing with Art

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”

NO EXIT: When Endings Disappoint

 

By Dianne Aprile
Spalding MFA faculty, Creative Nonfiction

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”

REFLECTIONS ON TRAVEL WRITING

by Roy Hoffman
Spalding MFA faculty, fiction & creative nonfiction

Roy_BlogImageWhen 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”

GEORGE GETSCHOW SCHOLARSHIP FOR MAYBORN CONFERENCE BENEFITS SPALDING MFA STUDENTS, ALUMS

For Spalding MFAers who write creative nonfiction, the George Getschow Scholarship provides funding to attend the 2017 Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, July 21-23, in Grapevine, Texas.

The $800 scholarship is available to Spalding MFA students and alums, regardless of area of concentration. The scholarship is made possible by the MFA program and a generous donation from an anonymous MFA alum. Others are welcome to make a tax-deductible donation to the fund. Continue reading “GEORGE GETSCHOW SCHOLARSHIP FOR MAYBORN CONFERENCE BENEFITS SPALDING MFA STUDENTS, ALUMS”

GROWING UP WRITING

By Nancy McCabe
Spalding MFA Faculty, Creative Nonfiction

“…reminiscing about my origins as a writer is not just a nostalgic act, but one that helps me to keep sight of the reasons why I write.”

I’m surprised by people who think of writing as drudgery, an onerous task we take on to punish ourselves only because of our unforgiving work ethics. For me, the need to write goes back to my childhood, when writing was just another game, like playacting or drawing. Writing, when I was young, was a pleasure, a refuge, solace, a chance to play, with no need to demand perfection from myself, and writing as an adult, is, much of the time, an attempt to recapture that experience. Continue reading “GROWING UP WRITING”