Tuesday, December 20, 2011

LU catalog photos

LU MFA students, Prose Cluster, Fall 2011. Photos by Chris Duggan.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Spring 2012 MFA Class Schedule

Spring registration begins February 27. Email Beth to set or change an appointment time [appt. schedule available HERE]. Spring Quarter begins April 7 and ends June 23.


9-credit in-class CLUSTERS:

Flash Fiction Cluster--Beth Mead--Tuesdays

Adv. Narrative Journalism Cluster--Kelli Allen--Wednesdays

Confessional Poetry Cluster--Julia Gordon-Bramer--Thursdays


Poetry Genres--Eve Jones

Adv. Studies in Craft of Poetry--Catherine Rankovic

Adv. Focused Nonfiction Workshop--Mary Anderson


Flash Fiction Cluster (2 texts)
The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction
Edited by Tara L. Masih
ISBN 978-0-9789848-6-1

New Sudden Fiction
Edited by Robert Shapard & James Thomas
ISBN 978-0-393-32801-1

Adv. Narrative Journalism Cluster (3 texts)
The Art of Fact: A Historical Anthology of Literary Journalism [Paperback]
Kevin Kerrane (Editor), Ben Yagoda (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0684846309

Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers' Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University [Paperback]
Mark Kramer (Editor), Wendy Call (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0452287556

The Fiddler in the Subway: The Story of the World-Class Violinist Who Played for Handouts... And Other Virtuoso Performances by America's Foremost Feature Writer [Paperback]
Gene Weingarten (Author)
ISBN: 978-1439181591

Confessional Poetry Cluster (3 texts)
Ariel: The Restored Edition: A Facsimile of Plath's Manuscript, Reinstating Her Original Selection and Arrangement
Sylvia Plath (author)
Harper Perennial Modern Classics 2005
ISBN: 978-0060732608

Life Studies and For the Union Dead (FSG Classics)
Robert Lowell (author)
Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2007
ISBN: 978-0374530969

The Complete Poems: Anne Sexton
Anne Sexton (author)
Mariner Books 1999
ISBN: 978-0395957769

3-credit Online Poetry Genres (2 texts)
Poetry by Michael Meyer
Bedford/St. Martin's
6th Edition 2009
ISBN: 978-0-312-53919-1

A Book of Luminous Things by Czeslaw Milosz
Mariner Books
Reprint edition 1998
ISBN: 978-0-15-600574-6

3-credit Online Adv. Studies in Craft of Poetry (1 text)
Next Word, Better Word by Stephen Dobyns
Palgrave Macmillan 2011
ISBN: 978-0-230-62180-0

3-credit Online Adv. Focused Nonfiction Workshop
No textbook required

Thursday, December 8, 2011


* Congratulations to LU MFA student Tom Horan on his Pushcart nomination for his essay "Eat the Cake" in Carolina Quarterly.

* Congratulations to LU MFA alum John Cunningham on his Pushcart nomination for his story in Storm Country.

* Congratulations to LU MFA alum Sarah Jones on her nomination for the 2012 Micro Award by Iron Horse Literary Review.

* Congratulations to LU MFA students Rebecca Macbeth, Chris Duggan, and Michelle Sanford on their Intro Journals Project nominations.

* Congratulations to the Pushcart nominees from Issue 1 of The Lindenwood Review : Christopher Linforth, Jenna Devine, Ryan Stone, William Stratton, Angie Chuang, and Irene Mathieu.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New LU MFA Cluster Offerings

To provide a variety of options for our MFA in Writing students, we have restructured our in-class coursework to include the following 9-credit clusters (offered on a rotating basis):

Journal Editing Cluster
IMF 55700 The Literary Journal
IMF 55800 Advanced Studies in Prose
IMF 56000 Advanced Studies in the Literary Journal

Flash Fiction Cluster
IMF 53200 Advanced Focused Fiction Workshop
IMF 54100 Special Topics Focused Workshop
IMF 53900 Advanced Studies Contemporary Fiction

Fiction Cluster
IMF 53500 Fiction Writing Workshop
IMF 53600 Fundamentals of Contemporary Fiction
IMF 53700 Selected Emphases in Fiction

Advanced Fiction Cluster
IMF 51900 Advanced Fiction Genres
IMF 53800 Advanced Fiction Workshop
IMF 55900 Advanced Studies in Prose Collection

Studies in Fiction Cluster
IMF 51600 Fiction Genres
IMF 54000 Advanced Studies in Fiction
IMF 57900 Advanced Studies in Film

Prose Poetry Cluster
IMF 52000 Advanced Poetry Genres
IMF 53000 Advanced Studies in Poetry
IMF 55500 Prose Workshop

Confessional Poetry Cluster
IMF 51700 Poetry Genres
IMF 52100 Focused Poetry Workshop
IMF 53300 Advanced Focused Nonfiction Workshop

Poetry Cluster
IMF 52500 Poetry Writing Workshop
IMF 52600 Craft of Poetry
IMF 52700 Selected Emphases in Poetry

Advanced Poetry Cluster
IMF 52800 Advanced Poetry Workshop
IMF 52900 Advanced Studies Craft of Poetry
IMF 53100 Advanced Focused Poetry Workshop

Creative Nonfiction Cluster
IMF 54500 Creative Nonfiction Workshop
IMF 54600 The Personal Essay & Memoir
IMF 54700 The Lyric Essay

Advanced Creative Nonfiction Cluster
IMF 54800 Advanced Studies in Nonfiction
IMF 54900 Advanced Studies Personal Essay & Memoir
IMF 55000 Advanced Studies in Lyric Essay

Prose Cluster
IMF 52200 Focused Fiction Workshop
IMF 52300 Focused Nonfiction Workshop
IMF 55600 The Prose Collection

Narrative Journalism Cluster
IMF 56500 Writing for Publications
IMF 56600 Narrative Journalism
IMF 56700 Readings in Narrative Journalism

Advanced Journalism Cluster
IMF 56800 Advanced Studies in Journalism
IMF 56900 Advanced Studies in Narrative Journalism
IMF 57000 Advanced Journalism Readings

Scriptwriting Cluster
IMF 57500 Scriptwriting Workshop
IMF 57600 The Narrative Arc in Film
IMF 57700 Script Analysis

Advanced Scriptwriting Cluster
IMF 52400 Focused Scriptwriting Workshop
IMF 53400 Advanced Focused Scriptwriting Workshop
IMF 57800 Advanced Scriptwriting

Writing for the MFA Cluster
IMF 51500 Creative Writing for the MFA
IMF 51800 Advanced Creative Writing
IMF 58000 Advanced Script Analysis

For more information about the MFA in Writing Program at Lindenwood University, click the following links:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

MFA Quarterly Update ~ Fall 2011

Winter registration is now underway. Beth's appointment schedule is available here: http://lumfa.blogspot.com/2011/08/winter-2012-registration-appointment.html. The classes being offered this winter (along with textbook info) are listed here: http://lumfa.blogspot.com/2011/09/mfa-class-schedule-winter-2012.html. If alumni are interested in auditing an online class, please send Beth an email.

November literary events are listed here: http://lumfa.blogspot.com/2011/10/november-literary-readings.html.

AWP Job List: Because our MFA Program is a member of AWP, our students and alumni may view the AWP job list (which is updated regularly). Email Beth for password info.

Facebook users: If you are friends on the Lindenwood Writing-Program account but have not yet clicked LIKE on our separate page, please do so now (https://www.facebook.com/LindenwoodMFAWriting)—from now on, all posts will be made on this official page that is listed on Lindenwood’s website, rather than on the Lindenwood Writing-Program account (so you will not see new posts unless you click LIKE on that page). New students (welcome!), if you use facebook, please like our page: https://www.facebook.com/LindenwoodMFAWriting. Thank you!

Congratulations to alum John Cunningham for his recent publication in Storm Country and current student Dena Molen for her recent publication in Bad Shoe. If I have forgotten to announce any student/alum publications, please let me know. Please continue to send me an email when you have good news to share about publications, teaching or writing-related jobs, etc. Thanks!

Calls for Submissions:http://www.firstinkling.com/
http://www.lindenwood.edu/lindenwoodReview/ (LU alumni may submit to TLR, but current LU students are not eligible to submit, to avoid a conflict of interest since LU MFA students help choose the pieces to publish)

Monday, October 31, 2011

November 2011 Literary Events

November 1: Bad Shoe Issue 7 release party, 7:00p.m. at the Archive Bookstore, 3215 Cherokee Street, featuring readings by Julia Gordon-Bramer, LU MFA student Dena Molen, and others.

November 10: Presentation on Sylvia Plath and the Tarot by Julia Gordon-Bramer at St. Louis Public Library, Schlafly Branch, Lindell and Euclid in the Center West End, 7:00p.m. Free.

November 10-12: Women in the Arts International Conference, UMSL J.C. Penny Conference Center. Keynote speech by fiction writer Mary Troy on Thursday 11/10. Register online at http://www.umslwia.com/.

November 13: Storm Country release party and book signing, 7:00-9:30pm, Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63112. Authors will read from their work and discuss their contributions to the anthology. Readers include Elaine Viets and others. (Congratulations to LU MFA alum John Cunningham, whose work appears in this anthology.) Event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided by the Missouri Writers Guild.

November 17: Poetry Reading by Peter Carlos, Michael Castro, Howard Schwartz, and Glenn Irwin at the LUCC, 6:30pm.

November 28: •chance operations• at Duff's, 7:30pm. Featuring readings by Chris King, Drucilla Wall, and Julia Gordon-Bramer, followed by an open mic.

Lindenwood University MFA in Writing Program—Online or In-Class

Fully Online MFA Program—No Residency Requirement
Visit us at:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Upcoming Literary Opportunities

Literary Events:

Friday, October 15: Jonathan Franzen at St. Louis County Library. More info: www.slcl.org/upcomingauthors.htm#franzen

October 17: River Styx features Erika Meitner and Travis Mossotti, 7:30, $5, 392 North Euclid.

October 23: Elizabeth Bishop and the New Yorker. Sunday, 4-6pm. A reading and reception featuring readings by Mary Jo Bang, Carl Phillips, William Gass, Catherine Rankovic, and Lorin Cuoco. Washington University Wilson Hall, room 214, at Wash U's Danforth Campus. Free. More info: http://www.stlouispoetrycenter.org/

October 25: Poetry at the Point. 7:30, Free, 2720 Sutton Blvd. in Maplewood. More info: http://www.stlouispoetrycenter.org/readings/

October 28: Reading & Craft Lecture by John Gosslee, 7:00-9:00pm, Regional Arts Commission Studio, 6128 Delmar Blvd. Free event with complimentary food and drinks. Presented by the Graduate Writers Association of the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

October 31: •chance operations• "howl"-o-ween celebration at Duff's at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, October 31. Come as your favorite poet or poetic character!

October 31: Poet and Plath scholar Julia Gordon-Bramer will appear on "Great Day St. Louis" at 10:00am on Channel 4 to discuss her Tarot work.

November 1: Bad Shoe Issue 7 release party, 7:00p.m. at the Archive Bookstore, 3215 Cherokee Street, featuring readings by Julia Gordon-Bramer, LU MFA student Dena Molen, and others.

November 10: Presentation on Sylvia Plath and the Tarot by Julia Gordon-Bramer at St. Louis Public Library, Schlafly Branch, Lindell and Euclid in the Center West End, 7:00p.m. Free.

November 10-12: Women in the Arts International Conference, UMSL J.C. Penny Conference Center. Keynote speech by fiction writer Mary Troy on Thursday 11/10. Register online at http://www.umslwia.com/.

November 13: Storm Country release party and book signing, 7:00-9:30pm, Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63112. Authors will read from their work and discuss their contributions to the anthology. Readers include Elaine Viets and others. (Congratulations to LU MFA alum John Cunningham, whose work appears in this anthology.) Event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided by the Missouri Writers Guild.

November 17: Poetry Reading by Peter Carlos, Michael Castro, Howard Schwartz, and Glenn Irwin at the LUCC, 6:30pm.

November 28: •chance operations• at Duff's, 7:30pm. Featuring readings by Chris King, Drucilla Wall, and Julia Gordon-Bramer, followed by an open mic.

Call for Submissions:

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Featured Poem ~ September ~ Jenn Monroe

I Never Want to Stop Looking

Head full of crazy and nothing to show for it. Try to tip
the oasis before desert again—parched tongues touch—fill up
so much, so much. Carousel-horse-vicious, no brass ring
achievement, not so lucky-lucky in…need to make sense, not

count Chinese food, or spin-spin dizzy and look at clouds: a rabbit,
a duck, and in that one a god. Let the dream be the dream free,
mirrored in blue-blue, reflecting back something special, something
unlike anything. I found my truth yesterday—shattered into two
million bits—at the center, reflected, gorgeous like honey.

~ Jenn Monroe

"I Never Want to Stop Looking" appears in Jenn Monroe's new poetry collection, Something More Like Love, which is now available for preorder (ships December 3, 2011) from Finishing Line Press--click here to order. Jenn's work has previously appeared in The Lindenwood Review.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

MFA Class Schedule ~ Winter 2012

Winter Quarter 2012: January 7 - March 24

Winter Registration begins November 14

Beth's winter registration appointment schedule is available here.

9-Credit Clusters--St. Charles:

Fiction ~ David Hollingsworth ~ Thursdays

Poetry ~ Michael Castro ~ Wednesdays

Journal Editing ~ Beth Mead ~ Tuesdays

3-Credit Online Classes:

Magical Realism (fiction) ~ Eve Jones

Personal Essay Workshop ~ Mary Anderson

Craft of Poetry ~ Eve Jones


By Cunning & Craft/Selgin and Best New American Voices 2010/Shapiro

20th Century American Poetry and 20th Century American Poetics/both by Gioia, Mason, and Schoerke

Journal Editing:
Materials available from instructor

Online Magical Realism:
Magical Realist Fiction/Young, Hollaman and One Hundred Years of Solitude/Marquez, Rabassa

Online Personal Essay Workshop:
Writing About Your Life/William Zinsser (ISBN 9781569243794)

Online Craft of Poetry:
Poet's Companion/Addonizio and Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry/McClatchy

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

MFA in Writing Thesis Guidelines

NOTE: Students enrolled in the thesis as of Spring Quarter 2012 will follow the revised guidelines detailed HERE

MFA Thesis Guidelines
Revised August 2011

The final three credit hours of the MFA program are devoted to completion of a graduate thesis. Final page count will range from 60 to 100 depending on the student's chosen genre. The thesis may be a collection of poetry, short fiction, or creative nonfiction/personal essays; a novella; or a memoir. Students may also choose to combine genres (for example, a thesis may include both poetry and short fiction); however, all components should be linked thematically. Up to 50% of the thesis may include revisions of pieces that have been workshopped during the program; at least 50% should be new work written while enrolled in the thesis. The final thesis should be publishable work.

Students enrolled in the thesis will log into Blackboard once each week during the quarter and click on the appropriate week’s folder. Some weeks require a journal entry, while others remind students to continue writing with upcoming deadlines in mind.

The thesis is intended to be a time of independent writing for the student. At the beginning of the quarter, a student enrolled in the thesis will complete a journal entry in Blackboard explaining the concept for his or her thesis, along with attachments of any previously workshopped pieces that the student intends to revise for the thesis. The student will then write independently for the first half of the quarter, continuing to log into Blackboard each week to check the weekly folder for journal assignments and due dates.

At midterm, the student will email the Program Director at least 75% of the thesis (the specific due date will be listed in Blackboard). The Director will forward this work to the midterm reader for feedback. The Director will then forward the midterm reader’s comments to the student. The student will spend the remainder of the quarter revising (drawing from the reader’s comments), developing, and completing the thesis.

The completed thesis will be emailed to the Director toward the end of the quarter for final approval (the specific due date will be listed in Blackboard). If the thesis requires revision at this point, the Director may suggest that the student enroll in the Thesis Extension. The cost of the extension is $150, and it gives students an additional quarter to revise and complete the thesis.

Placement of the completed, bound thesis in Butler Library is optional. Students who wish to have the thesis shelved in the library must follow all guidelines for front material and formatting; they also must print two copies of the thesis and deliver it to the library according to specified guidelines (listed below). Students will receive one bound copy of the thesis; the other will be placed in the library.

Students who wish to focus only on creative content will have their final thesis saved electronically in the MFA office.

After final thesis approval from the Director, students who wish to have the thesis placed in Butler Library have additional requirements (including an abstract and an introductory essay, along with other front material) for placement in Lindenwood University's Butler Library. Sample thesis front material is available from the Program Director.

The order of all thesis front material is as follows: * The first page of the thesis is the abstract cover page.
* The second page is the abstract itself, which should briefly summarize the theme and content of the thesis.
* The third page is the thesis title page.
* The fourth page is the committee page, which lists the name and title of the thesis readers.
* Following the committee page, students may choose to include a dedication page and/or an acknowledgement page (optional).
* The next page contains the table of contents for your thesis.
* An introductory essay of approximately 10 pages follows the table of contents. This essay serves as an introduction to the writer and the work contained in the thesis. Literary and life experiences that have shaped his or her development as a writer should be explored, and the work that follows should be introduced. Any literary references should be supported by a Works Cited page at the end of the thesis (MLA format).
* Following the introductory essay, the body of the thesis begins.

Format guidelines: MARGINS: The top and bottom margins are set at one inch. The left margin is set at two inches (the wide left margin is needed for binding purposes). The right margin is set at one inch. Right-justification is not used (text should only be left-aligned).

SPACING: Double spacing is used throughout the project except on the title page and Works Cited page (if a Works Cited is included). On the thesis title page, the title is set two inches from the top of the page, while the name of the author is five and one-half inches from the top.

TYPE FONT: Font size and type should be comparable to Times New Roman 12. The same type font should be used throughout the text.

NUMBERING: The abstract title page and the thesis title page are not numbered. All other thesis front material is numbered bottom center with lower-case Roman numerals. The body of your thesis (creative content) is numbered beginning on its first page with Arabic numerals in the upper right corner of the page.

HELP WITH PAGE NUMBERING FORMAT: See the video linked below for step-by-step instruction.

Final Library Thesis Submission: When a student's final thesis has been approved by the Director, the student will submit an electronic copy of the final formatted thesis to both the Program Director and the Technical Services Librarian (Word document or pdf). The thesis will not be searchable online (so there is no danger of literary journals considering the work already published--you are free to submit any thesis work for publication elsewhere); the electronic copy will simply be kept on file at Butler Library.

Additionally, students will submit two hard copies of the thesis to Butler Library, with the following specifications: The copies should be made on good-quality paper, with four blank pages of paper placed before and after each copy of the thesis; the copies must then be placed in a box with a sheet of colored paper separating each copy. On top, include a cover sheet that contains your name, phone number, address, and email address, so that the Technical Services Librarian can contact you when your bound copy is ready. The library must receive both the electronic and paper copies of the thesis.

One bound hard copy will be returned to the student and one bound hard copy will be cataloged and placed on the shelf at Butler Library.

If you have any questions about the thesis process, please contact the Director.


The first four and a half minutes of this video show the steps for changing the page number format from Roman to Arabic in a single document in Word 2007 (Roman for front material and Arabic for creative content):

Thursday, August 11, 2011

LU MFA Quarterly Update ~ Summer 2011

* For new students (welcome!), information about the quarterly colloquium requirement is available here and here and here. Contact Beth with any questions.
* The Teaching College Writing Colloquium was well-attended by students and alumni, so I will hold a longer version of that colloquium again next year—I’ll include more hands-on work with CVs and composition class activities/assignments. The information packet from this week’s colloquium is available here. I wouldn’t recommend printing the whole thing (it’s 31 pages long)—just scroll through it to find any information that might be helpful to you.
* An upcoming colloquium opportunity is on Thur. August 25 at 5pm at the Belleville campus (on Sylvia Plath’s Ariel--more info here). If you would like to attend this event, you can meet in the Cultural Center parking lot at 3:45, and we will caravan to the Belleville campus (in Illinois).
* A roundtable reading will be held in October, and more roundtable readings will be held in future quarters, as a more casual and intimate alternative to the formal auditorium/microphone/spotlight literary readings that our program also offers. These roundtable readings will include discussion/Q&A sessions. More information about the October reading appears here.
* A fall or winter reading will be held in our auditorium when renovations are completed; it will include readings from Issue 1 of The Lindenwood Review as well as readings from LU MFA graduates and soon-to-be graduates. More information will be available in the fall quarterly update email; if you would be interested in reading at this event (if you will have completed your degree by December), please email Beth.

Fall Schedule & Registration
* Fall registration will take place from August 22 through September 16; fall quarter begins on Saturday, October 1. The fall class schedule is available here (including textbooks).
* If you have not yet set an appointment, or if you need to change your appointment time, my schedule can be viewed here. Available appointment times are marked as OPEN.
* Information about the new online option for the MFA program is now available here. If you know of any writers who may be interested in our MFA program but may not be available to take evening classes, please let them know that our degree can now be taken entirely online. For each 3-credit class, students are required to log in three times per week; we will offer workshop classes as well as classes on craft and literature. This is also a good option for in-class students who may have more than one conflict during a quarter (due to work travel, etc.) but do not want to sit out from classes.
* Alumni may audit online classes for 50% tuition—several alumni have done this, and it’s a wonderful way to keep writing after graduation and to stay involved in a community of writers.

Featured Prose ~ August 2011

Our featured work for August is an excerpt from the story "Naked" by Jenna Devine. Read the excerpt here. Purchase Issue 1 of The Lindenwood Review to read the full story here (order online, $7, free shipping). You won't regret it. This is one of those stories that stayed with me, that I wished I'd written.

Jenna Devine is a junior English major at Princeton University, where she was awarded the Ward Mathis Prize for Best Undergraduate Short Story in 2009. Jenna has studied creative writing with Jeffrey Eugenides and Joyce Carol Oates. This is her first non-Princeton publication.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fall Schedule

Registration for Fall Quarter 2011 will begin August 22. Fall Quarter begins on October 1.

Fall 9-Credit Clusters--St. Charles Cultural Center:

Prose Poetry -- Andrew Pryor -- Thursdays
(Text: Great American Prose Poems, David Lehman, ISBN 978-0743243506)

Prose (fiction & creative nonfiction) -- Beth Mead --Tuesdays
(Texts: Tobias Wolff's Our Story Begins and This Boy's Life)

Scriptwriting -- Peter Carlos -- Mondays
(Texts: Writing Screenplays that Sell, Michael Hauge, ISBN 978-0-06-272500-4 and Using Myth to Power Your Story-CDs, Vogler, ISBN 978-1-880717-55-4)

Fall 3-credit Online Classes:

Focused Poetry Workshop -- Eve Jones (No Required Textbook)

Focused Fiction Workshop -- Scott Berzon (No Required Textbook)

Creative Nonfiction Workshop -- Catherine Rankovic
(Text: Creative Nonfiction, Vivian Pollack, ISBN 978-1-4282-3105-4)


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Info Packet from Teaching College Writing Colloquium

The packet of information from the Teaching College Writing Colloquium can now be downloaded HERE under Other Resources (31 pages--includes helpful links, notes from the colloquium presentation, sample emails and cover letter, sample CVs, 5 Things Freshman Comp Students Need to Learn, and many sample teaching handouts).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In Tribute to Bob Lockhart

Bob Lockhart, MFA student and wonderful member of our writing community, passed away this week. Bob was a good, kind man, talented and humble. He will be dearly missed.

As a tribute to Bob, to celebrate his work and the positive impact his life has had on so many, I would like to share Bob's final writing assignment from our recent flash fiction class. Bob's story below was written in response to an in-class writing exercise that asked the students to play with big leaps in time, to show a lifetime in a small space. I remember Bob reading this piece out loud in class, his deep, rolling voice filling the room, moving us all.

by Bob Lockhart

Crouching low in the underbrush beside the shallow creek beneath the huge green canopy, Billy held his breath. He could feel a jaguar approaching, although he didn’t hear it. The bottom of the nearly dry creek bed would afford him a better field of view to spot the approaching jaguar, but he knew the creek was used by anacondas to traverse this area of the Amazon basin. Despite the dangers, Billy felt good about his chances—to defend himself, he had his ten-inch Buck knife, and his wits. Billy did survive that day and many more spent in the Amazon Basin, and in the jungles of Vietnam, and in the rain forests of the Congo. Of fertile imagination, Billy was eleven years old, and he was in the twenty-acre tract of woods on his grandfather’s farm. Oh, there was a creek, and there was a canopy, this one created by huge old hardwoods—oak, hickory, and walnut. Billy so loved those woods.

Beaming, Bill strode out of Simmons’ Appliances and threw his briefcase on the passenger seat. He’d just sold six washer-dryer combos and four refrigerators to Fred Ellis Simmons, owner and proprieter. During his presentation, Bill had referred to them as “ice boxes” and “warshers” because that’s how they talked in Cairo, Illinois. Bill was proud of his adaptability; he could converse comfortably with both department store buyers and rural retailers. Ironically, when his wife divorced him, one reason given was “inability to communicate.” There was, of course, much more to it; she’d quickly sold the house and left with daughter in tow. She left one thing, a terse directive not to search for them. It hurt. But he still had his job.

It was a Thursday, he thought; it didn’t matter if it was or even which one it was, if it was. He sat on the veranda—that’s what the apartment manager called it, a “veranda”—Bill called it a 12 by 15 concrete slab encircled by black wrought iron. There was an identical “veranda” on his left, and on his right, and three more directly overhead. The apartment was comfortable, but it wasn’t a home. Forced to retire at 66 (they wanted young tech-savvy bucks in the field), he was alone. He stared out at the acre of woods beyond the picnic tables behind the apartment complex. He’d walked through it several times. There was a slight gravel-lined depression right in the middle of the woods. It almost resembled a creek bed.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Colloquium Opportunities for Summer & Fall

EVENT: Teaching College Writing
DATE: Wed. July 27
TIME: 5:00pm-5:45pm
LOCATION: LU Cultural Center Room 15 (lower level in the back corner)
OVERVIEW: Beth Mead will provide information for those who plan to teach college composition classes, including how to get a job (CV/applying/interviewing) and what to teach once you have the job (basics of teaching frosh comp/writing as a process/essay structure/common errors/sample assignments). Also scheduled to appear is LU MFA alum Sarah Jones, who will discuss Adjuncts Unite, her helpful online resource for adjunct instructors.

EVENT: Fiction Reading--John Dalton
DATE: Thur. August 4
TIME: 8:30pm-10pm
LOCATION: LU Cultural Center Room 303
OVERVIEW: John Dalton is the author of the novel, Heaven Lake (Scribner), winner of the Barnes and Noble 2004 Discover Award in fiction and the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. John’s second novel, The Inverted Forest (Scribner), will be published in July 2011. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has held fellowships at The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and The MacDowell Colony. Starting in August 2011, John will direct the UM-St. Louis MFA program.

EVENT: Presentation: Re-Interpreting Sylvia Plath's poem "Daddy" as a tale of Freud, King Brutus, and Conrad's Heart of Darkness
DATE: Thur. August 25
TIME: 5pm-6pm
LOCATION: LU Belleville Campus, Room M205 (located in the main building of the Lindenwood-Belleville campus, directly behind the Lindenwood sign)
OVERVIEW: Plath scholar Julia Gordon-Bramer will present on the mystical structure upon which this poem, and every poem in Ariel, is based--opening up exciting new interpretations for all of Plath's work.

EVENT: Roundtable Reading & Discussion
DATE: Tues. October 25
TIME: 7:00pm-8:30pm
LOCATION: LU Cultural Center Conference Room (main level, across from the auditorium)
OVERVIEW: Published poets who are active in the St. Louis writing community will read from their work and discuss writing, publishing, and local readings. Scheduled to appear: Kelli Allen, Dawn Dupler, and Julia Gordon-Bramer.

All events are free and open to the public.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

5 Things Freshman Comp Students Need to Learn

Five Things Freshman Composition Students Need to Learn
Beth Mead

Many MFA students plan to teach writing at the college level, but being a good writer does not necessarily mean you know how to teach a freshman composition class (the class you will most likely be scheduled to teach as a new instructor)—especially since, as a strong writer, you may have tested out of freshman composition when you were an undergrad. In case you need some guidance as you begin to plan your classes, here are five important things that your students need to learn:

1. Writing is a process. On the first day of class, ask your students about their past experiences with writing assignments—have they had teachers who simply gave them a due date for a paper, with little direction about how to write it? Did they have teachers who marked up their essays so much that the paper seemed to be bleeding red ink? Did they have to write on topics they cared nothing about? (These things won’t happen in your class—they will learn how to write an essay; you will note patterns of errors on their essays as opposed to marking every single error; you will allow them to find a topic for each writing assignment that interests them in some way.) Finally, ask them what the hardest part of writing is. They may have many things to say (or nothing at all to say)—but the hardest thing for many students (and many writers) is just getting started.

Let them know that approaching writing as a process, rather than as a final product, makes getting started much easier. Tell them—or better yet, ask them, since some may know—what the steps of the writing process are:

Brainstorming / Freewriting / Prewriting / Drafting / Peer Response / Revision

The writing process is not necessarily one straight line; when you get stuck and run out of things to say in your draft, go back to freewriting. After you’ve revised, you can ask a peer to read your paper again.

Emphasize these things to your students:

* The steps of the writing process may seem like more work than “just” writing a paper all at once, but they actually make it easier—when you freewrite on your essay topic in class, you’ll go home armed with notes you can type up, move around, and expand upon, which is much easier than staring at a blank computer screen, wondering how to begin.

* Procrastinating does not make you a bad writer. It makes you a writer. Share a story of your own—vacuuming at 2am when a paper was due the next morning—to let them know you understand that weight, that dread you carry around knowing you have to write an essay. Then remind them that the best cure for procrastination is freewriting. Just sit down and start to write (or type). No expectations, no corrections—just let the writing be a form of thinking.

* Find what works best for you—maybe rather than freewriting, you prefer listing or clustering. Maybe you need complete silence while you write; maybe you need to have music in the background. Find your favorite place to sit, your best time of day to write, your favorite pen; curl up with your laptop, or sit up straight in the school computer lab—whatever feels right to you and helps you get started.

* Editing for grammar, spelling, and punctuation comes later in the process. At the prewriting phase, focus on content, getting your thoughts on the page. Once you have a draft to work with, then it’s time to spell-check and line-edit. If you focus on mechanics in the early stages of your essay—rewriting sentences as you go, worrying if you spelled something correctly—then you’re interrupting the flow of thought that will allow you to get your content on the page. Just write down everything you can think of about the topic first. The cleaning-up, revising, and editing will come later to polish all the good thoughts you’re sharing in your essay.

Have your students freewrite for five minutes at the very first class meeting. Give them a specific topic (for the first class, it may be to describe themselves; other freewrites should be directed toward their essay topics—and even that first freewrite can be useful for more than introductions if you assign a narrative essay). Tell them to relax their shoulders and hands, to write at a normal pace, and to write without stopping, without trying to think things out first or make corrections along the way. They may dread doing this at first, but eventually they will get used to freewriting every class, and they will see how their freewrites can be very useful as they draft their essays.

2. Every student has something worthwhile to say. Ask your students how many of them hate writing. Almost certainly you will see some hands go up. Others may want to raise their hands but are afraid to admit their dread of writing to a teacher. Remember that Freshman Composition is required for all majors—you may have students who are brilliant at math but struggle with writing. You may have students for whom English is a second language; perhaps they can express themselves eloquently in their first language, and they may be extremely frustrated that they are not yet able to do so in English. Students need to understand why this class is worthwhile for them, beyond fulfilling a general education requirement. Along with assurance that they will learn communication skills that will help them in a future career (and in life), possibly the most important thing you can teach your students is that they have a unique perspective on the world around them—you are the only person who sees things exactly the way you do—and by simply being who they are, they have something worthwhile to say through their writing.

Sharing writing in class—each student reading a few lines from an in-class freewrite, for example—can be a wonderful way to prove this to students. While they may be reluctant to read their work aloud, often they will get a good response from the class (laughter at a funny line, agreement on a point of view, or at least acknowledgment from the teacher that a good point was made or that something was phrased in an interesting way). This lets students know they are being heard, that they are saying something that matters.

Freewrites allow students to write in their own natural voice. While some of this must be adjusted as essays are polished—revising overly-conversational phrasing, for example—it’s important that students realize that this unique voice should remain a part of their final essay. Their essay should sound like them—just the best version of them, the most polished and clear version of their voice.

3. Essay structure: You may have students who never learned the basics of essay structure. Maybe their high school English classes focused mainly on literature rather than writing; maybe they never paid attention in class; maybe they learned it at some point but need a review. Teaching essay structure is an essential part of teaching a freshman composition class. Engage the students as you discuss the parts of an essay—ask them what the first paragraph is called, what a thesis statement is. Write on the board or display on a screen or give a handout with these basic reminders:

INTRODUCTION: The first paragraph should draw in the reader (perhaps by describing an interesting example related to the essay topic) and should include a THESIS STATEMENT that makes the focus of the essay clear.

BODY PARAGRAPHS: Each body paragraph should have a main point—a topic sentence—and all the sentences in that paragraph should give details and specific examples that fully develop that point (and tie back to the essay's thesis statement). Transitions between sentences and between paragraphs should help the essay flow smoothly—give them a list of transitional phrases for reference. An essay should have at least three body paragraphs to fully support and develop the essay’s thesis statement.

CONCLUSION: The final paragraph should wrap up the essay in an interesting way—perhaps circling back to an image or phrase from the introduction paragraph—and should restate the thesis. It can briefly tie together the essay’s main points. The last sentence should clearly feel like the end of the essay.

Remind your students that while a freewrite can be in first person, an academic essay should be in third person. The final essay is still the student’s perspective and uses the student’s voice, but the points are stated objectively (for example, instead of writing I think smoking should be illegal in all restaurants, write Smoking should be illegal in all restaurants).

4. Common errors in punctuation and grammar: Writing mechanics—punctuation, spelling, grammar—can be daunting for someone who never really learned these rules, who has habits that can be hard to break. A good way to initially approach mechanics in the freshman comp classroom is to focus on common errors. Give them a handout with interesting or funny examples of errors—comma splices, fragments, apostrophe errors, common misspellings, etc.—and discuss them in class. Why are these usages wrong? How do we fix them? Have your students look for these errors out in the world (billboards, magazine articles, store signs, online) and bring examples to class. Give your students a sheet with several sentences containing these kinds of errors and have them make corrections in pairs or in groups. Once they are used to catching these errors, they’ll be more likely to find and correct them in their own essays as they revise.

5. The more you write, the better you get. This is why you have your students write at every class meeting. This is why there is hope for every student, even if he or she enters freshman comp without having learned the basics of writing an essay in high school. When students write consistently, with focus, with helpful guidelines, on the lookout for their own habitual errors, and convinced that they have something worthwhile to say, they will get better and better. They will be stronger writers at the end of your class than when they began it. They will communicate their point of view more clearly. They will become more confident, they will find the act of sitting down to write less daunting, and they will be armed with the knowledge of exactly what an academic essay should be. Assure them of this: if they keep writing, they will get better.

Handouts from the Teaching College Writing Colloquium are available HERE under Other Resources. 

For more teaching tips and helpful information, visit LU MFA alum Sarah Jones' site https://sites.google.com/site/adjunctsunite/

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Featured Poem ~ July 2011

Our featured poem for July is "I Feel In Your Absence All Rain" by Jenn Monroe, which appears in Issue 1 of The Lindenwood Review.

I Feel In Your Absence All Rain

Dali’s frame looms stories above my inattention. I don’t know what to do
about the clocks, never did, so instead I make my heart malleable, float
its shadow over our entire landscape, one part in, one part out. We dabble,
brushstroke to brushstroke, do this and this and this, become something
other, then do that and that and that until we evolve again. But you took
all of yourself today, your thin ghost, and my parting breath.

Jenn Monroe is an assistant professor of writing and literature at Chester College of New England. Her work has recently been published in Danse Macabre, Sakura Review, and The Chamber Four Literary Magazine, and earned second place in the Borges Poetry & Prose Contest sponsored by Caper Literary Journal.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Featured Poem ~ June 2011 ~ William Stratton

Our featured poem for June is "Face Down Days" by William Stratton, which appears in Issue 1 of The Lindenwood Review -- http://www.lindenwood.edu/lindenwoodReview/issue1_2011/FaceDownDays.pdf

William Stratton currently lives and writes in Newmarket, NH, where he is pursuing an MFA at UNH. His poems have previously been published and are forthcoming in The Cortland Review.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Students talk about the LU MFA in Writing Program on LUTV

Terry St. Clair, Patricia Feeney, and Tom Horan discussed Lindenwood's MFA Program on an episode of Topics in Education on LUTV:

Spring 11 Reading Photos & Video Clips

Jennifer Hollandsworth, Dawn Dupler, Pyra Colemire,
Fred Venturini, Alex Crossman, Tim Layton, Todd Woodruff

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

MFA News & Notes ~ Spring 2011

* MFA Reading May 27
* Summer Registration begins May 31
* Publication News
* Issue 1 of The Lindenwood Review is now available

MFA READINGOur annual MFA Reading will be held on Friday, May 27, at 7pm in the Cultural Center auditorium. Students who will complete their degree by June 2011 are eligible to read from their work at this event (this includes alumni who have not yet read at Lindenwood). Now that the date has been set, please contact Beth as soon as possible if you would like to take part in the reading. Graduating students are not required to read, but it is a wonderful culmination of your work in the program, as well as an opportunity for family and friends to hear your work. All MFA students and alumni are encouraged to attend the reading to support the readers and the program. The Lindenwood Review will be available for purchase at the reading at a reduced rate of $5.00 per copy. Cookies and refreshments will be provided.
UPDATE WITH READERS: http://lumfa.blogspot.com/2011/05/spring-mfa-reading.html

Current students who plan to enroll in coursework this summer should contact Beth to set a registration appointment. Registration begins May 31; summer quarter runs from July 9 through September 24. The summer class schedule is available on our blog: http://lumfa.blogspot.com/2011/04/mfa-class-schedule-summer-quarter-2011.html. If you plan to take a vacation during the summer and are worried about missing classes, consider taking one or more online classes over the summer instead of a cluster.

PUBLICATION NEWSCongratulations to the following students and alumni on their recent publications:
o Lisa Kang: Poem accepted by Hayden’s Ferry Reviewo Dawn Dupler: Poems accepted by Natural Bridge and Chiron Review (available here: http://lumfa.blogspot.com/2011/03/featured-poem-april-2011.html)
o Tom Horan: Essay accepted by Carolina Quarterlyo Daron Kappauff: Poem accepted by Mid Rivers Reviewo Erik Smetana: Piece accepted by Bluestem Magazineo Sarah Jones: Story accepted by Summerset Reviewo Todd Woodruff: Recently published his second chapbook
o Amanda Bramley: Story accepted by BlazeVox (available here: http://www.blazevox.org/spring11/Amanda%20Bramley%20Spring%2011.pdf)

THE LINDENWOOD REVIEWIssue 1 of Lindenwood’s new literary journal, produced by the MFA in Writing Program, is now available. Copies can be purchased at the MFA Reading, or you can order by mail (details: http://thelindenwoodreview.blogspot.com/2011/03/subscription-rates.html). In the near future, copies will also be available through Amazon and the LU Spirit Shoppe. A poem from Issue 1 can be read here: http://lumfa.blogspot.com/2011/04/featured-poem-may-2011-kelli-allen.html. The Editor’s Notes can be read here: http://thelindenwoodreview.blogspot.com/2011/03/from-editor-lindenwood-review-issue-1.html. We’re very proud of the journal and hope you enjoy it.

Prospective student info 
Online option 
The Lindenwood Review 
Program blog 
Program Facebook page 
(also on Facebook as Lindenwood Writing-Program)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spring MFA Reading

Join us on Friday, May 27, from 7:00 to 8:30pm, in the Lindenwood University Cultural Center, for our Spring MFA Reading. Graduates of the Lindenwood MFA Program will read their work, cookies and light refreshments will be served, and Issue 1 of The Lindenwood Review will be available to purchase for $5.00.

Readers: Fred Venturini, Pyra Colemire, Todd Woodruff, Jennifer Hollandsworth, Alex Crossman, Tim Layton, Dawn Dupler


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Online Option Update

Beginning July 2011, the GRE will only be required for online students who are unable to meet in person with Admissions or the Director upon admission to the program (for identity verification purposes).

Any new student who wishes to enroll in online classes and is able to meet with an Admissions counselor or the Director of the MFA Program before beginning coursework is no longer required to take the GRE. Admission to the program will be based on the writing sample and brief statement of purpose submitted to the Director.

Click here for more information about the Online Option for the MFA in Writing Program.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Featured Poem ~ May 2011 ~ Kelli Allen


Intention is one wing.
The nest will always be
too distant from the ground--
         there is no going back
or up. Falling is our book
of nights, letters to cousins
written on someone else's fur.

Stories we sing
to each other shade
and creep around
the intricate margins, sometimes
infectious, sometimes running
         loose, all wildness
         and teeth. I am
         nine syllables
         from my knees
and I cannot do
what you do.

-Kelli Allen


"Evolving" appears in Issue 1 of The Lindenwood Review.

Kelli Allen is an award-winning poet and scholar. She is the Managing Editor of Natural Bridge, a journal of contemporary literature.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Featured Poem ~ April 2011 ~ Dawn Dupler

Aborted Landing
by Dawn Dupler

A dart pierced my gut but I rolled onto my left side and waited for the cramp to stop. You unlace your shoes and place them with your keys in a plastic tray. I spot then run for the door. A man with a name tag examines one person then another then another. A woman’s voice announces flights and someone tells me I’m next as soon as I sign papers. You set your seat straight and thumb through a Vanity Fair while an unknown figure says, “relax,” and puts my legs up. Would you like a pillow? You ask for a Bloody Mary and I pray for blood to stop. If you soak more than four pads in an hour come back soon and have a safe trip wherever your journey takes you. The pilot aborts the first pass at a landing as easily as does my second pulse. Some people arrive safely while others barely make it home, shed their clothes like they are on fire, scream and expel a bloodied fist that lands on the carpet. You return at night with your bag knowing what you need to know. You unpack. My plastic bag will be examined in the morning and till then it sits in the refrigerator where I will never go again.


"Aborted Landing" appears in the spring 2011 issue of Chiron Review and is reprinted here with the author's permission. Visit Chiron Review at www.chironreview.com.

Dawn Dupler
is a prize winner of Missouri’s Big River Writing Contest. Her poetry and fiction can be found or are forthcoming in Chiron Review, Cuivre River Anthology V, Whiskey Island Magazine, Bad Shoe, Blue Earth Review, and others. She earned her MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University. She teaches Composition at Vatterott College.

Also available at http://lumfa.webs.com/featuredpoem.htm.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Featured Poem ~ March 2011

Ryan Werner

And of All the Boys, Your Best Bet Was Me
For Bob Bucko

There's only one button on the clock: sleep. How many times
do you have to punch it before it believes you? Of all you've taken,
the river's hurt you most. It lodged itself between your skull and skin
like the uneasy lull of a rolling tongue. You go through your eyes
to pull it out, but the river works you flat against the ground,
drops you to your knees and then your belly, ear in the dirt,
moving water up your arm until you see your hands sink and disappear.

I hear that lull. I hear it spin and burn and get stuck on a note
that sounds like you. Stuck on a note that sounds like you.
You throw microphones to the ground and the crowd jumps back.
It's not the volume. It's the feel of fingers gripping palms, the pop
of static in our throat when we see that, yes, this is how you say goodbye.


Ryan Werner runs the music/literature project Our Band Could Be Your Lit, where he writes short short stories based on songs submitted by writers and musicians from around the world.

This poem is posted with permission from the author.

Also available at: http://lumfa.webs.com/featuredpoem.htm


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Notes on the UMSL Publisher Panel

On February 11, I attended the publisher panel at UMSL featuring Alex Schwartz from Switch Grass, Ben Furnish from BkMk, and Jon Tribble from Crab Orchard. I didn’t take notes during the talk, but below are the things that stayed with me, the good bits of information that we were given—and hopefully these notes are helpful to those who were unable to attend the event (although I am proud to say that the Lindenwood writing community had a wonderful showing—I counted 17 LU MFA students/teachers/friends & family, which is quite impressive for a Friday night at 6pm). Many thanks to UMSL MFA Program Director Mary Troy for hosting this event, for opening it to the public, and for asking all the right questions to ensure we got the good information below.

Alex Schwartz from Switch Grass (accepts full novel manuscripts only, set in the midwest, written by midwest writers): Make sure the first few pages of your manuscript are the best writing of your life. In your cover letter, be sure you can explain clearly in a paragraph or two exactly what your novel is about (and obviously but importantly, be a careful writer—address the letter to the correct person and make sure the writing in your letter is good and doesn’t contain errors).

Ben Furnish from Bkmk (publishes collections of short stories, poetry collections, and some novels--and he was willing to hear a pitch for a good essay collection): Don’t send them a manuscript if you haven’t had individual pieces published. Get your work in journals first. When you’ve had a number of poems or stories published in literary journals, then you’re ready to submit a manuscript. (Ben also gave us many funny and wonderful analogies, saying he feels like a matchmaker when pitching a book to his fellow editors, and comparing a love for writing or editing to malaria, how it gets inside you and never leaves.)

Jon Tribble from Crab Orchard (holds contests for publication of full poetry manuscripts, and separate from that is their literary journal, Crab Orchard Review, which publishes short fiction, poetry, and essays): Agents do read their literary journal and will sometimes contact authors, asking if you have more work like that, which may possibly lead to representation and perhaps a book deal. For poetry manuscripts: it must feel like a book. It doesn’t need to have an obvious connecting theme or concept, but the voice of the pieces and their order needs to feel like a single work, that surprises you along the way, that takes you on a journey. (The poetry contests offer $2500 or $3500 depending on the contest--see their website for more information.)

All three said that when they read submissions, they are looking to be surprised, to read something exceptional and pure. They want to find that one great story/poem/novel, that one writer—they’ll know it when they see it, and it’s why they do this job.

On publishing with university presses: A real advantage is that these three editors were clearly all about the writing. They want to publish extraordinary literature. They know, and their universities know, that these kind of books are not going to make big money, are often lucky to break even. But they will publish and support your good literary work. Though it wasn’t mentioned specifically, a helpful point to take away from their discussion is that the fear many new writers have now, the fear that when they publish with small independent presses they are still going to be responsible for all the marketing of their book, for selling a certain number of copies, does not seem to be a concern with these university-based presses. They are not requiring their authors to be responsible for this aspect—they don’t say you have to pay for or sell a certain number of books at readings in order to be published by them. This is good information for writers who are considering self-publishing, worried that a small press would not support them. A university press (and these three in particular) would be an ideal place to submit your first book for publication.

Cleary these three editors want to publish high-quality literature, and they care about the writers and their work. Jon Tribble mentioned one writer who would have won his Editor’s Prize, but the writer had just heard from W.W. Norton that his book was very close to being accepted for publication there. Jon—although he would have loved to publish that book—told the writer to go with Norton because such a big house could do things for him that a smaller press with limited funds would be unable to do. And Jon looked at it as having two positive outcomes: the book that would have won got published and out in the world, and a second book by a different writer was able to win the Crab Orchard contest and be published.

This focus on the writing and support of the author was refreshing to hear and encouraging for writers, especially those who are trying to publish their first book. I think all of us left the event wanting to get to work, to write, to submit, to have hope.

- Beth Mead

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Winter 2011 Quarterly LU MFA Update

Three online classes will be offered each quarter beginning this spring, so current students now have the option of taking three separate online classes instead of an in-class cluster. (Students can also take one online class along with a cluster, or for a lighter load, you can take one or two online classes by themselves.) Any interested alumni can audit online classes for 50% tuition (and current students can also audit online classes if they want to take them as extra learning opportunities). Students who began the MFA Program in January 2011 or later must submit GRE scores to Graduate Admissions before enrolling in an online course. Please note that essayist Catherine Rankovic will be teaching the online Creative Nonfiction workshop for us for the first time this spring—I hope that any students interested in writing creative nonfiction will not miss this opportunity.

o Alum Erik Smetana has had an article accepted for publication in the summer issue of The Missouri Review. Erik also has a piece that will appear in the winter issue of BLIP.
o Student Chris Duggan has had an essay and pictures accepted for publication in the spring issue of Stymie.
o Student Doug Wallace has had an essay accepted by marathonguide.com.

o Blank Slate Press (who is publishing a novel by LU MFA alum Fred Venturini) is accepting applications for new writers through March 1: http://www.blankslatepress.com/writerapp.html
o Colloquium opportunity: Poet/performance artist Shirley LeFlore will read accompanied by multi-instrumentalist David A.N. Jackson on Tuesday, February 15, at 7:30 in the Lindenwood Cultural Center.

The AWP Experience by Charlene Engleking

Guest blogger Charlene Engleking reflects on her experience at the 2011 AWP Conference:

As anyone who has attended writing conferences can confirm, such conclaves are a weird mix of enthusiasm and arrogance. AWP probably amplifies the vibe because of the number of attendees. One speaker announced that more than 2,300 scholarships were awarded to students wanting to attend. Of course, that prompted me to start looking at the shoes and purses of the students to see how many seemed well funded, quite a few actually. Established writers (true members of the Canon), writers whose names are vaguely familiar, writers whose names may become familiar, and writers whose mothers will continue to be their only fans all rushed through the lobby, laughed in groups waiting for elevators, and filled nearby restaurants. The Journal Editors (uppercase identification required) were mostly accessible and clearly aware of their power.

I was both inspired and annoyed by the various programs. One panel discussion was so energizing I wanted only to find a corner to start revising a current project. Another, pedagogical in focus, was a waste of time as three panelists read from their essays (I can buy the book thank you) and a fourth announced that she had prepared her presentation that morning on her iPhone. I think her fellow panelists shared my annoyance.

Jhumpa Lahiri and Junot Diaz were perfect counterpoints on Thursday and Friday nights respectively. Each writes of growing up as The Other and each spoke of how that has informed their writing. Both spoke of the need for connection – person and surroundings (alien in both cases)/child and parent/writer and reader.

Lahiri spoke specifically about “writing as an act of willfulness” as a means of identifying and claiming the self. Her soft spoken presentation compelled the auditorium to listen carefully to engage in her process. Her professed “leap from listening to saying listen to me” was particularly meaningful as the audience experienced that leap with her.

Diaz blew in Friday night and owned the room. While Lahiri was polite and gentle, Diaz was profane and animated. I was sorry that I couldn’t see the interpreter signing the presentation. How does one sign “An ass that could throw the moon out of gravity?” Is there a sign for the F-word combined with mother? Diaz read a new piece that he introduced as, “At that stage where it works, but it ain’t effing cute…the literary equivalent of a snuggy.” Of course, he didn’t use “effing”.

Saturday night’s Center Ring speaker was Kay Ryan. I know a lot of poets don’t consider her worthy of Poet Laureate status, but I like accessible poetry. Slam me with an obscure unrhymed set of words if it makes you feel better. I’ll probably like that poem too. As a speaker, Ryan was accessible. She spoke of being out of sync as a rhyming poet. She also noted that with no references to any body fluids she was surprised that she ever found a publisher. Her best speaking technique? She repeated several of her poems. How many poetry readings have I attended that I would have loved for a rerun of a poem to better savor it?

Would I recommend attending AWP next year in Chicago? Probably. I would also recommend attending with friends. It is a weirdly cliquish gathering that annoyed as well as inspired me; but, now when I write the cover letter for a submission, I will add, “It was such a pleasure to meet you at AWP” which I was assured during one panel would enhance the likelihood of publication.

-Charlene Engleking

Monday, January 24, 2011

Spring 2011 MFA Class Schedule

Registration for Spring Quarter will be held from Feb. 28 through March 25.

9-credit clusters:
  • Advanced Fiction--Mondays--Beth Mead
  • Fiction--Tuesdays--Andrew Pryor
  • Poetry--Wednesdays--Michael Castro
  • Creative Writing for the MFA (fiction & poetry)--Thursdays--Scott Berzon

3-credit online classes:
  • Creative Nonfiction Workshop--Catherine Rankovic
  • Poetry Writing Workshop--Eve Jones
  • Fiction Genres (literature)--Mary Anderson

Monday, January 17, 2011

colloquium opportunities at umsl

The following colloquium opportunities are at the University of Missouri-St. Louis:

Friday, February 11, 6 pm, Lucas Hall 200--The UMSL MFA Program presents a panel of publishers from independent presses that specialize in books of literary fiction and poetry. Alex Schwartz from Switch Grass, Ben Furnish from BkMk, and Jon Tribble from Crab Orchard will discuss and answer questions about what they look for in manuscripts, how to submit, what to expect, and more. Free and open to the public. Call 516-6845 for more information.

Wednesday, March 16th, 7 PM, Gallery 210. Eric Pankey. Free and open to the public, sponsored by the UMSL MFA Program, the Center for the Humanities, and the law firm of Simmons, Browder, Gianaris, Angelides & Barnerd LLC. Eric Pankey is the author of eight collections of poetry, most recently THE PEAR AS ONE EXAMPLE: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS 1984-2008. His work has been awarded numerous honors, including fellowships from the Ingram Merrill Foundation, The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the National Endowment for the arts.