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Thursday, May 23, 2013
5:15-6:15 p.m. Spalding’s Festival of Contemporary Writing. Open to the public. (Brown Hotel, 16th floor, Gallery)
• Leslie Daniels (fiction), Cleaning Nabokov’s House
• Pete Duval (fiction), Rear View: Stories
• Maureen Morehead (poetry), Late August Blues: The Daylily Poems
• John Pipkin (fiction), Woodsburner
• Helena Kriel (screenwriting), Skin
6:30-7:30 p.m. Plenary session: Featured guest Diana M. Raab Distinguished Writer in Residence Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried. Welcome and introduction by Sena Jeter Naslund. This event is open to the public. Book signing to follow. Books provided by Carmichael’s Bookstore. (Brown Hotel, 16th floor, Gallery)
Friday, May 24, 2013
9:00-9:45 a.m. Q&A session with Diana M. Raab Distinguished Writer in Residence Tim O’Brien. This session is for MFA students, faculty, and alums only. Time is allotted at the end of this session for O=Brien to sign books. (ELC Lectorium)
10:00 a.m.-noon. Alumni Workshops
Noon-1:00 p.m. Lunch (The ELC deli now serves subs, pizza, and salads.)
1:00-2:00 p.m. Faculty guest Helena Kriel. (MFA students invited.) (ELC Lectorium)
The Writer’s Life Is Its Own Reward
We all want to be published and produced, applauded, awarded. Sometimes this comes easily and sometimes it does not. However, being in the writer’s head, sitting in the writer=’s chair, seeing through the writer’s eyes, communicating with the writer’s compassion is in the end its own reward. The world is entirely different when seen through the writer’s eyes. This lecture will contemplate all the ways that we become more human by being writers. It will look at spiritual paradigms that mystics point to and show how being a writer achieves what the mystics strive for. And the rest awards, money, applause – is gravy.
2:15-3:15 p.m. Panel on Community Service. MFA alumni talk about how they give service in the area of creative writing in their home communities. At the end of this session, MFAers have time to talk about ways they serve their communities or to ask questions. (ELC Lectorium)
• Sonja de Vries (P ’09)
• Kathryn Eastburn (CNF ’06)
• Anne Eskridge (PW ’08)
• Diana Raab (CNF ’03)
• Barbara Sabol (P ’10)
• Bob Sachs (F ’09)
• Julie Stewart (F ’10)
• AshleyRose Sullivan (F ’10)
3:30-4:15 p.m. Smorgasbord of Faculty Lectures.
• Fiction. Kenny Cook (ELC Lectorium). Shakespeare for Writers. Shakespeare belongs to everyone, of course—groundlings and sophisticates, actors and scholars, elementary school drama clubs and theatre snobs, popular and experimental filmmakers, English-speaking cultures and the rest of the world, Harold Bloom, and you. But what specifically does the study of Shakespeare’s plays and poetry have to teach contemporary writers about craft and aesthetics—about, for example, the choice and handling of subject matter, about the creation and depiction of indelible characters, about thematic obsession, about dramatic design and narrative strategy, about the use and subversion of genre, about the interplay between language, plot, character, and theme? And, more generally, what does his career teach writers about apprenticeship, ambition, and artistic development and sustainability? In this lecture, I’ll examine some of these questions. Even if you secretly despise or are afraid of Shakespeare, come anyway, and let me see if I can change your mind.
• Poetry. Jeanie Thompson (Mansion Building 301). How to Organize a Book of Poems: More than Going with the Flow. In this lecture I’ll examine rationales for assembling a book of poems that reads well from the time it lands in an editor’s hands to the moment a potential buy pulls it from a bookstore shelf (whether real or virtual). We’ll discuss basics such as organizing principles, how to choose an effective title, use of other elements such as epigrams and notes, and how to research the dizzying number of poetry collections in print. Because feedback is essential in this process, I will touch on how to solicit and incorporate readers’ comments on a book-length work. Finally, I will draw on my recent experience organizing a collection of mostly autobiographical poems (The Seasons Bear Us) as compared to shaping an historical persona poem sequence (The Myth of Water: Poems from the Adult Life of Helen Keller).
• Screenwriting. Brad Riddell (Mansion Building 302). The Art of the Pitch. As writers—no matter in what media or genre—we must be salespeople. We must be constantly selling our ideas, our voice, our stories and ourselves to anyone who will read or listen. When you finally get in the room (or on the phone) with agents and editors who must be sold, or producers and actors who must be convinced—what do you do? What do you say? How do you prepare? “Pitching” has long been a necessary skill for screenwriters, but it should be an important tool for all writers. In this lecture, you will receive strategies to prepare for and deliver that killer pitch when it’s selling time—whether in an elevator, a taxi, or a high-rise corner office.
4:45-6:00 p.m. Celebration of Recently Published Books by Alumni. All students, alumni, and faculty welcome. Book signing to follow. Books provided by Carmichael’s Bookstore. Cash bar and SPLoveFest after the event. Everyone who attends the Celebration receives a free drink ticket for use at the bar during SPLoveFest. (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Citation)
• Chris Mattingly (P ’10), Scuffletown
• Sandi Hutcheson (F ’12), Looks Great Naked (Grace Adams)
• Charlotte Rains Dixon (F ’03), Emma Jean’s Bad Behavior
• David Harrity (P ’07), Making Manifest: On Faith, Creativity, and the Kingdom at Hand
• Brittany K Fonte (F ’07), Fighting Gravity
• Ann Eskridge (F ’08), The Raven
• Loreen Niewenhuis (CNF ’09), 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk
6:00-7:00 p.m. SPLoveFest. Alumni and students display their books, journals, and anthologies and/or bring promotional material regarding any artistic endeavor such as plays, movies, podcasts, literary services, blogs, websites, and more. Hors d’oeuvres and cash bar. (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Secretariat)
9:30 p.m. Alumni After-Party Literary Reading (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Secretariat B)
Saturday, May 25, 2013
9:15-10:15 a.m. Breakfast Mixer for alumni, Spring 2013 graduates, faculty and staff. Music by Quinn Driskell. Catered by Jarfi’s. (Mansion Drawing/Dining Room)
10:30 a.m.-? Un-conference. (Spalding Library, room 329)
10:30 a.m. – Vickie Weaver to work with alumni on agent pitches. (Mansion)
2:00-2:45 p.m. Regional Alumni Breakout Sessions. The MFA Alumni Association is piloting alumni get-togethers by region. Alumni meet together, then breakout by region. (MB203)
3:00-5:00 p.m. Alumni Workshops.
3:00-4:00 p.m. PGRA/MFA Staff Reading. PGRAs and MFA staff read from works-in-progress. (ELC Lectorium)
♦ Barry George (P =09), Wrecking Ball and Other Urban Haiku
♦ Marjetta Geerling (W4C&YA =11), Fancy White Trash
♦ Dan Nowak (P =07), Of a Bed Frame
♦ Katerina Stoykova-Klemer (P =09), The Porcupine of Mind
♦ Terry Price (F =06), Alumni Association Director
♦ Ellyn Lichvar (P =07), MFA staff
♦ Gayle Hanratty (F =06), MFA staff
6:00 p.m. Graduation. (Brown Hotel, 16th floor, Gallery)
After-graduation reception. All welcome. (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Citation)
7:30 p.m. Champagne Toast and Farewell Dinner. (Purchase ticket from Katy to attend.) (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Secretariat)
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Have a safe trip! Put the next Homecoming on your calendar now. May 29-June 1, 2014.