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”


By Michael Roberts, Visiting Spalding MFA Low-Residency Dramatic Arts Faculty

Michael Roberts (1)

My mother called last week.  That was typical.  She complained about pain in her hip.  Sadly, that was typical, too.  She complained about one of the other retired ladies she would meet Monday afternoons and Thursday evenings for mahjong–also typical (It seems that it takes the better part of a lifetime to become expert about which kind of pound cake one should serve at a mahjong game.  And, according to my mother, the previous evening’s host never achieved that level of expertise.  She expounded on the subject for another twelve minutes. I was counting.)

Then she got to the good stuff.

poundcake 035

Continue reading “Appetite”


By Kathleen Driskell, Program Director, Poetry Faculty Member


To date I’ve published four full-length books of poetry, and while it’s thrilling to hold one of my new books in my hands, one of my truly favorite moments happens when I realize my heap of new poems is high enough to begin thinking about how they should be collected into a manuscript. Continue reading “SPALDING MFA OFFERS BOOK-LENGTH POETRY MANUSCRIPT WORKSHOP AT THE FALL 2018 RESIDENCY, NOV 9-18”

My Enrichment Semester, or How I Escaped My Comfort Zone and Finally Found Work-Life Balance

By Marjetta Geerling, Spalding MFA Alumni (W4CYA ’11)

Marjetta Geerling

When I graduated from the Spalding MFA program in 2011, I knew at some point I’d be back for an enrichment semester. It’s no secret how much I love the Spalding program, and the enrichment semester provides the opportunity to do a post-graduate semester, an experience I definitely wanted but wasn’t sure how I’d squeeze into my teaching life. Continue reading “My Enrichment Semester, or How I Escaped My Comfort Zone and Finally Found Work-Life Balance”