The Story outside the Story in Totem: America*

By Debra Kang Dean, Spalding Low-Residency MFA Poetry Faculty
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Paul Gauguin – “Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?”

When the Hawaiian Renaissance, a cultural revitalization movement, began in 1970 in my home state, I was a sophomore at a large public high school attended by students from the University district of Manoa Valley and two others between which I lived: the largely middle-class Asian district of Pauoa Valley and Papakolea, an area referred to as Hawaiian “homestead land.” A few months into the school year, I found myself in the company of an ethnically diverse group brought together by a common interest: track and field. Outside the schoolyard, Japanese investment and tourism were on the rise, and, a couple of years later, Ferdinand Marcos would declare martial law in the Philippines, which would bring an influx of Filipinos. I understood only in retrospect how this confluence of events had knocked me out of my comfort zone in the Islands. Continue reading “The Story outside the Story in Totem: America*”

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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”

Being a Writer

By Jason Hill, Spalding MFA Coordinator of Student Services & Marketing

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This past winter I led a pair of workshops at the Carnegie Center for Literacy & Learning in Lexington, Kentucky. It’s a great place, full of people who come to learn and look for someone to help guide them. When I proposed the two workshops (one of which I co-led with my wife, Kelly) I did so thinking it would be good experience and could open the door for other workshops or similar opportunities. But as I prepared and then held the workshops, I realized something else: This too is something writers do. Continue reading “Being a Writer”

Writing Rooms

By Maureen Morehead, Spalding MFA Poetry Faculty
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George Bernard Shaw’s Writing Shed

 

For twenty years I have written in the first floor family room of my house. I have an office on the second. It’s a spacious room with manila-colored walls, a vaulted ceiling, a large palladium window, an antique desk, a trestle table with baskets and writing magazines, a magnifying mirror I use for putting on makeup, two red chairs, a filing cabinet, a printer, and a black three-drawer bow-front dresser in which I store paper and envelopes, folders, paper clips, staples, rubber bands—the stuff of a writer. Continue reading “Writing Rooms”

Why Write? Bearing the Weight of Fear in the World.

By Eleanor Morse, Spalding Low-Residency MFA Fiction Faculty
Burdened Children 1930 by Paul Klee 1879-1940

Burdened Children (1930), Paul Klee

Last week, the day after seventeen students were killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, I received an anguished email from one of my students, which began like this: “Yesterday was a day of terrible loss…and writing or creating feels pointless to me, at this time. I’m just reaching out…How do you keep going on days like this? I am struggling…the lofty notions of making the world a better place through storytelling are just falling flat today.” Continue reading “Why Write? Bearing the Weight of Fear in the World.”