Homecoming, June 1-5, 2016

Getting Your Work Out into the World

#SpaldingMFA

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1

5:30-6:30 Feature Author: Michael White, author of Travels in Vermeer: A Memoir. (College Street Ballroom, 812 S. Second Street – formerly Kosair Building—3rd floor) Book signing to follow. Books provided by Follett.

7:00 p.m. Alumni Dine-Around at a variety of restaurants. Sign up for the dine-around by emailing Katy Yocom at kyocom@spalding.edu by May 25. Participants meet in the Brown’s second-floor lobby to walk to restaurants.

 

THURSDAY, JUNE 2

1:00-1:30 p.m. Registration (Brown Hotel, 2nd floor, Bluegrass Room) Pick up short reading for a Literary Chat on ekphrasis (the description or treatment of a work of art in writing). The chat takes place at 1:00 p.m. Saturday. Also pick up a voucher for $5 off a pre-festival dinner at Sicilian Pizza and Pasta tonight!

1:30-2:00 p.m. Alumni Gathering (Brown Hotel, 2nd floor, Bluegrass Room) Gather, say hello to old friends, and hear a Welcome Home from Sena. Light refreshments.

2:00 p.m. Urban Bourbon Trail (Tour leaves from the Brown Hotel, 2nd floor, Bluegrass Room) Led by Marjetta Geerling. Catch up with us at any point on the trail between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m. Text Marjetta at 305-695-9619 for the group’s current location.

2:00-4:15 p.m. Alumni Workshops

  • Playwriting (Brown Hotel, 3rd floor, Louisville Room, left off elevators)
  • Partial Novel (Brown Hotel, 3rd floor, Board Room, left off elevators)

 

2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Discussion session (Brown Hotel, 2nd floor, Bluegrass Room) “Creative Practice: How Do You Approach the Blank Page?” Moderated by Katy Yocom.

 

5:30-6:45 p.m. Spalding’s Celebration of Recently Published Books by Faculty (Brown Hotel, 16th floor, Gallery Ballroom).

  • Fenton Johnson, The Man Who Loved Birds
  • Robin Lippincott and Julia Watts, Rufus + Syd
  • Crystal Wilkinson, The Birds of Opulence
  • Charlie Schulman, Natural History X

Book signing to follow. Books provided by Carmichael’s Bookstore.

 

7:00-8:00 p.m. Dinner. Use the voucher you picked up at Registration for $5 off a pre-festival dinner at Sicilian Pizza.

 

8:15-9:30 p.m. 10-minute Alumni Play Festival and Film Festival (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Secretariat B). Hosted by Justin Dobring and Laura Morton Mattingly.

 

 

 

FRIDAY, JUNE 3

 

9:00-10:00 a.m. Guest Lecturer (Brown Hotel, 3rd floor, Crystal Ballroom)

Varian Johnson, guest

If It Were Easy, Everyone Would Do It:

Real World Advice for Today’s Working Writer

In this session, Varian Johnson speaks about the vagaries of the writing life from his personal experience.

 

10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Alumni Workshops. (Brown Hotel, 3rd floor, Crystal Ballroom)

  • Playwriting
  • Partial Novel

 

10:15-11:15 a.m. A choice of faculty lectures. (Brown Hotel)

Poetry.

Jeremy Paden, translation faculty

Translating Mestre with Hyperbatons and Popular Wrestling Expressions

(Brown Hotel, 3rd floor, Broadway A)

No language, even ones that have descended from a common tongue, are similar. Each has its own history, distinct rhythms, separate rules. Each also is inflected locally in different ways: the way slang develops, how loan words get used. The task of the writer is to render experience, thought, emotion, music, through the artistic manipulation of language. The job of the translator is to bring this—these words, experience, music, thought, feelings—over into another language with a different music, a separate linguistic and literary history, another set of grammatical rules. Artful translation is not simply the literal transfer of words from one language into another, but it is the attempt offer up an interpretation of the literary text in the first language into a literary, artistic text in the second. While there are always challenges with this attempt, each writer, each text presents its own unique challenges. And though these unique differences between writers and texts are important, what the translator wrestles with is language. The contemporary Spanish poet Juan Carlos Mestre, winner of five of Spain’s most prestigious awards for poetry, presents a set of unique challenges to the translator. The two principal ones we will discuss are 1) his use of high and low language, of literary, poetic expressions, and popular idioms. Indeed, idioms are oftentimes the hardest thing to translate. And, 2) his use of the hyperbaton, or syntactical inversion. While this is a presentation on poetry and translation concentrating on specific challenges Mestre’s poetry sets for the translator, the conversation will focus on language—grammar, syntax, history—and in that sense, be a craft talk that examines those decisions made when translating and their implications.

 

Writing for Children and Young Adults (also prose writers)

Varian Johnson, guest

The Metaphor: So Much More Than a Simple Comparison

(Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Citation)

We all know what metaphors are; we use them all the time. But are we haphazardly sprinkling metaphors into our work, or are we truly using the device in a way that elevates our work from the dull to the spectacular? In this presentation, author Varian Johnson will not only revisit the nuts and bolts of the metaphor, but will also discuss the use of metaphor as a controlling image in a novel. Suggested Pre-reading: Getting the Girl by Markus Zusak, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, and Every Time a Rainbow Dies by Rita Williams-Garcia.

 

Dramatic Writing

Kevin Willmott, guest

The Process of Making the Spike Lee Joint—Chi-Raq

(Brown Hotel, 3rd floor, Broadway C)

Willmott will talk about how the idea of Chi-Raq was developed from the ancient Greek play Lysistrata, including the origins, process, adaptation, and key elements retained from the play and those that changed or were abandoned. In addition, how the ancient play was updated including specifics to the problem of gun violence in Chicago. Finally, Willmott will speak on how this project was different than other films he has worked on in the past.

 

11:30 a.m.-noon. Graduation Lecture in Fiction

Scott O’Connor, “Uncommon Intimacy: Using Unconventional Techniques to Create Meaningful Relationships in Fiction” (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Citation)

Noon-1:30 p.m. Lunch. Alumni have lunch on their own.

 

1:30-2:15 p.m. Diana M. Raab Professional Development Sessions (Brown Hotel)

  • Publishing Your Poetry: Panel with Priscilla Atkins (moderator), Jerriod Avant, Marci Johnson, Cole Bellamy (Broadway A)
  • “The Social Pitch,” with Marjetta Geerling (Citation Room). We all know to work on our written pitching skills—the query letter, the blurb, the synopsis. But what happens when you’re at a conference or social gathering and an agent or editor asks that dreaded question: “What’re you working on?” How do you sum up years of research, complex characters, hundreds of pages, and countless revisions in a way that is not only cohesive but will also prompt someone, hopefully that agent or editor you’re talking with, to ask to see it? In “The Social Pitch,” we’ll examine tactics for handling a verbal pitch in a conversational way. We’ll also engage in exercises and activities to help you develop a pitch for a project you plan to shop. Although not required, participants are encouraged to bring drafts of pitches, query letters, blurbs, or synopses for a current project.

 

2:30-3:15 p.m. Diana M. Raab Professional Development Sessions (Brown Hotel)

  • Playwrights: Getting Your Work Out into the World. Panel with Amina McIntyre (moderator), Nicole Kearney, Kim Stinson-Hawn, Tommy Trull (Broadway A)
  • “Repurposing the ECE for Conference Presentations,” with Omar Figueras and Eva Gordon (Citation Room)
  • Practice Pitch Sessions, with Vicki Weaver. Vickie plays the role of agent in a session that lets alumni practice pitching their novel or other book-length work. Slots must be reserved in advance by emailing Vickie at dirtyoven@yahoo.com. (Location arranged with Vickie)

3:45-5:00 p.m. Celebration of Recently Published Books by Alumni. All students, alumni, and faculty welcome. Book signing to follow at SPLoveFest book expo. Books provided by Carmichael’s Bookstore. Hosted by Bonnie Johnson. (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Citation Room)

– Kit Alloway (’08, writing for children & young adults), Dreamfever

– Lynda Archer (’05, fiction), Tears in the Grass

– Martha Bourlakas (’12, creative nonfiction), Love Feast: Together at the Table

– Joe Gisondi (’10, creative nonfiction), Monster Trek: The Obsessive Search for Bigfoot

– Vanessa Gonzales (’13, fiction), The Light in the Sound

– Bill Goodman (’12, creative nonfiction), Beans, Biscuits, Family, and Friends

– Juyanne James (’07, fiction), The Persimmon Trail and Other Stories

– Mary Knight (’13, writing for children & young adults), Saving Wonder

– Jill Kelly Koren (’08, poetry), The World of a Body

 

5:00-6:00 p.m. SPLoveFest. Alumni and students display their books, journals, and anthologies and/or bring promotional material regarding artistic endeavors such as plays, movies, podcasts, literary services, blogs, websites, and more. Hors d’oeuvres and cash bar. Alumni Celebration of Recently Published Books readers sign their books. Books provided by Carmichael’s Bookstore. (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Secretariat)

 

6:00-8:30 p.m. Dinner on your own.

 

9:00 p.m. Alumni After-Party Literary Reading and 10-year reunion. The Class of 2006 is hosting a reading. Reading slots open to ALL alums. Everybody welcome! Dance party to follow at Sully’s! Teneice Durrant hosts. (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Citation)

 

 

 

SATURDAY, JUNE 4

 

 

9:00 – 9:45 a.m. Agent talk for alums. (ELC Troutman Lectorium)

Alice Speilburg

Narrative Pull: How to Keep Agents and Editors Reading

Agents and editors request a full manuscript from a very small portion of the submissions they receive. Once they’ve made the request, publishing pros hope that your manuscript will be “the one” as much as you do. The sample you sent drew them in, and they’re looking for that special something to continue throughout the rest of the novel. One big determining factor is narrative pull. In this class we’ll discuss how to maintain a strong narrative pull between the opening and the climax, focusing on atmospheric tension, internal and external conflict, and pacing.

 

10:00-11:15 a.m. Agent session for alums and students. (ELC Troutman Lectorium)

Alice Speilburg

Mastering Your Query

Looking at query letters from a literary agent’s perspective, we will cover the basic structure of a query letter, tips and tricks for improving it, and tactics to avoid. Participants will have a chance to get inside the agent’s head and ask questions about the submission process. At the end of the presentation, each participant will write (or revise) a query letter for their book. If time allows, we’ll have a chance to share and critique a few.

 

11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Brunch Mixer for alumni, Spring 2016 graduates, faculty, and staff. Catered by Jarfi’s Catering. (Mansion Drawing/Dining Room)

 

1:00-2:00 p.m. Literary Chat. The topic for this session is ekphrasis, the description or treatment of a work of art in writing. We’ll read several brief examples of ekphrasis in both prose and poetry. Our discussion will include how art can enliven, structure, and inhabit a work, as well as whatever other aspects of craft or content strike our fancy. (ELC Troutman Lectorium)

 

2:15-3:15 p.m. PGRA reading. (ELC Troutman Lectorium)

– Cory Jackson (’12), fiction, author of If I Lie

– Sandi Hutcheson (’12), creative nonfiction, author of Looks Great Naked

– Shad Farrell (’13), fiction

– Maria Steinmetz (’14), writing for children & young adults

– Kelly Morris (’13), fiction

– Sara Truitt (’15), creative nonfiction

– Teneice Durrant (’06), poetry, author of Night for Weeks

2:15-3:15 p.m. Regional Alumni Breakout Sessions. Alumni meet together, then break out by region to discuss possible regional events. (Start in LIB329. Breakout rooms: 3rd floor lobby; LIB326; LIB327; LIB202; Library Lecture Lounge, lower level)

 

3:30 – 5:30 p.m. Alumni Workshops.

  • Playwriting (LIB327)
  • Partial Novel (LIB328)

 

6:00 p.m. Graduation. (Brown Hotel, 3rd floor, Crystal Ballroom)

 

7:00 p.m. After-graduation reception. All welcome. (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, J. Graham’s Cafe)

 

7:30 p.m. Champagne Toast and Farewell Dinner. Purchase ticket from Katy to attend. (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Secretariat)

 

 

SUNDAY, JUNE 5

 

Spalding Alumni Day at the Downs. The Spalding University Alumni Association hosts the Day at the Downs for all Spalding alumni. Tickets are $40 and include the following:

  • Admission to Churchill Downs
  • Seating on Millionaire’s Row – Reserved for Spalding only
  • Complimentary racing program
  • Delicious lunch
  • Silent auction
  • Door prizes!

 

Dress is business casual. Lunch is served 11:30a.m. -2:30 p.m., and includes coffee, soft drinks and iced tea. Additional beverages are available at the cash bar.

 

Purchase your ticket at https://spalding.edu/event/2016-alumni-day-at-the-downs/

 

Have a safe trip! Put the next Homecoming on your calendar now: May 31-June 4, 2017.

 

SPEAKER BIOS

Priscilla Atkins received her MFA in May 2008 from Spalding University. She grew up in central Illinois, went to college in Massachusetts, taught in Los Angeles (Studio City) for a year, and at age 22 shipped her car to Hawaii (with no job lined up) where she stayed for ten years. She has published poems in hundreds of journals––from the petite (The Small Pond) to the sublime (Poetry London). She lives in Holland, Michigan and teaches women’s and gender studies. She has a collection, The Café of Our Departure (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015).

H. Jerriod Avant is from Longtown, Mississippi. A graduate of Jackson State University, Jerriod has earned MFA degrees from Spalding University and New York University, where he was a Writers in the Public Schools Fellow. A graduate of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop at Brown University, his poems have appeared in the Mississippi Review, Boston Review, Pinwheel, Louisville Review, The Rumpus, Callaloo and other journals. Jerriod is the recipient of two Pushcart nominations, finalist for the 2015 Mississippi Review Prize, recipient of the Joseph F. McCrindle Online Editorial Fellowship at Poets & Writers, a 2015 Vermont Studio Center residency and a 2015-2016 Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center Fellowship.

Cole Bellamy is a writer and educator from Tampa, Florida. He is the author of three collections of poetry, Lancelot’s Blues, The Mermaid Postcard, and American Museum. His writing has appeared in Penumbra, The Louisville Review, The Sandhill Review, Switched on Gutenberg, and Moonshot. He is the co-founder and organizer of the Tampa Free Skool, and the founder of Lucha Libro Tampa Bay, a live competitive writing series. He teaches poetry at the Morean Arts Center, and teaches English and creative writing at Saint Leo University.

 

Omar Figueras lives in Miami Beach, Florida, and graduated from Spalding University’s MFA Program May 2013, where he served as his class’s Graduation Representative. He has presented papers—including versions of his ECE and Graduation Lecture—for panels and conferences in France, Austria and the UK. Most recently, he was on a panel at AWP Los Angeles titled: “Innocents Abroad: Developing a Successful Creative Writing Study Abroad Program.” Aside from being an adjunct professor at Miami-Dade College where he teaches Composition I and II, Omar is a full-time real estate paralegal for a law firm in downtown Coral Gables.

 

Marjetta Geerling is the author of Fancy White Trash (Viking, 2008), which was selected for American Library Association’s 2009 Best Books for Young Adults and for the 2009 Rainbow List. Marjetta grew up in Southern California and received her BA in Women’s Culture and Creative Expression from the Johnston Center for Integrated Studies at the University of Redlands. She holds an MFA in Writing from Spalding University, and is an assistant professor of English at Broward College. She is currently represented by Nicole Resciniti at The Seymour Agency.

 

Eva Sage Gordon holds an MFA (fiction concentration) from Spalding University and an MA in English from Saint Louis University, Madrid. Her fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry have been published in New Plains Review, The Louisville Review, Prism Review, New Southerner, and elsewhere. Her play, Second Acts, was performed by drama students at the Université de Nice in 2013. She is co-author of The Everything Guide to Writing Children’s Books, 2nd Edition. She currently serves as managing editor for HipLatina.com, and teaches writing at Broward College. She has presented papers at academic and creative writing conferences in Madrid, Istanbul, and London, and looks forward to speaking to fellow Spalding Alums and students about the process of transforming ECEs into successful conference abstracts and presentations.

 

Marci Rae Johnson teaches English at Wheaton College (Illinois). She is also the poetry editor for WordFarm press. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in The Collagist, Quiddity, Hobart, Redivider, Redactions, Books & Culture, The Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Louisville Review, The Christian Century, and 32 Poems, among others. Her first collection of poetry won the Powder Horn Prize and was published by Sage Hill Press in 2013, and her second full length collection was released by Steel Toe Books in early 2016. Her poetry chapbook won the Friends of Poetry chapbook contest for Michigan authors in 2014 and was published by Celery City Chapbooks.

 

Varian Johnson is the author of six novels, including The Great Greene Heist, an ALA Notable Children’s Book Selection, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year, and a Texas Library Association Lonestar List selection. His novels for older readers include My Life as a Rhombus, named to the Texas Library Association Tayshas High School Reading List and the New York Public Library “Stuff for the Teen Age” list, and Saving Maddie, a Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book. Varian was born and raised in Florence, South Carolina, and attended the University of Oklahoma, where he received a BS in Civil Engineering. He later attended the Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Varian now lives outside of Austin, Texas with his family.

 

Nicole Kearney is a writer/producer whose plays have been produced in New York, Louisville, San Francisco, Orlando and Indianapolis. Her streaming series can be seen online on Nicole Kearney Productions Network (NKPN) at youtube.com/nicolekearneyproductions. She has a MFA from Spalding University.

 

Amina S. McIntyre is an Atlanta, Georgia based playwright and creative worship artist. Her production/reading credits include: Working Title Playwrights at OnStage Atlanta, TipMyCup Productions at the Roy Arias Theater in New York, Wabash College, Colby College, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Spalding University, Indiana Theater Association ITWorks 2008, Sabrina McKenzie Ministries’ EPIC Women’s Conference, Hickory Museum of Art and Fort Wayne Fringe Festival and Atlanta One Minute Play Festival (invited playwright three consecutive years). Amina was the 2011 Visiting Playwright in Residence at Lenoir-Rhyne University and recipient of local awards including 2015 -2016 Working Title Playwrights’ Ethel Woolsen Lab and 2014 Office of Cultural Affairs Emerging Artist of the Year. Amina received a BA in Anthropology at Colby College, an MA in African American and African Diaspora Studies from Indiana University, Bloomington and an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. She is an ordained minister, author of 30 Days of Peace and Praise, a book of inspirations, and currently pursuing her Masters of Theological Studies degree program at Emory University. Amina is managing director of Karibu Performing Arts, LLC/Songs of Karibu and the Atlanta Region Young Ambassador for the Dramatists Guild.

 

Jeremy Paden (Spalding MFA translation faculty) is the author of one chapbook of poems, Broken Tulips (Accents Publishing, 2013). His poems have appeared such places as Adirondack ReviewAtlanta ReviewBeloit Poetry JournalCalifornia Quarterly, Cortland ReviewLouisville ReviewRattle, and other journals and anthologies. He has been nominated for a Pushcart and was a 2013 finalist of the Nazim Hikmet poetry competition. His translations of poems from the Spanish have appeared in Words Without Borders and are forthcoming in other magazines and journals. His articles on Latin American and Spanish literature have appeared in Calíope: Journal for Renaissance and Baroque Hispanic PoetryColonial Latin American ReviewReview of International American StudiesRomance Quarterly, and other journals and books of collected essays. He received his Ph.D. in Spanish and Latin American literature from Emory University. And he is an associate professor of Spanish at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, where he teaches classes on, among other topics, Latin American poetry and literary translation. In spring of 2015 he was awarded a Bingham Teaching Excellence Award, Transylvania’s highest honor for teaching.

Alice Speilburg is a literary agent at Speilburg Literary Agency and has worked in publishing since 2008. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators, and she is a board member of Louisville Literary Arts. Alice is currently building her client list and is looking for books in the following categories: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mainstream fiction, Middle-Grade, Young Adult, Biography, Food, Gender Issues, Health, History, Literary Journalism, Music, Pop Culture, Relationships, Science, and Travel. For more information, please visit her website: http://speilburgliterary.com or connect with her on Twitter @AliceNicoleH.

 

Kim Stinson is the North Carolina Regional Representative of The Dramatists Guild of America. She holds an MFA in playwriting from Spalding University, an MA in theatre from Miami University, and a BFA in technical theatre from UNC School of the Arts. Stinson currently runs the theatre program at Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) in Hickory, North Carolina. In April 2015, she won the CVCC Excellence in Teaching Award. Stinson and her students write original works for the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Department of Humanities, as well as run simulations with EMS and nursing departments on campus. Stinson’s plays, Courageous Paths, Appalachian Geisha, and “Santa Lost His GPS” have received productions. Two of her short plays placed in the Appalachian Writers Association Josefina Niggli Award for Playwriting. Stinson also received a grant from the United Arts Council of Catawba County to write a play about Catawba County women. Stinson’s monologue, “Dance it Out,” appears in the monologue anthology interJACtions: Monologues at the Heart of Human Nature. “Post Partum Blue,” a one-act play, was published in the spring 2008 issue of The Louisville Review. More recently, in November 2015, her short play “Plasticity” was published in The Louisville Review.

 

Tommy Trull‘s plays have been produced all over the country, including recent productions in NYC, Chicago, LA, and DC. His pop-culture drama The 27 Club was selected as a “Best of the Fringe” for the NY International Fringe Festival, and was published by Indie Theatre Now. His play Honeyboy won the Southeastern Theatre Conference’s New Play Award, and was featured in Southern Theatre magazine. Additionally, he is a three-time winner of the Mark Gilbert New Play Award. His plays, poems, and short stories have been published in several literary magazines, including The Louisville Review and Border Crossings. Tommy received his MFA in dramatic writing from Spalding University, and teaches theatre at Greensboro College.

 

Michael White was educated at the University of Missouri and the University of Utah, where he received his PhD in English and Creative Writing in 1993. His poetry books are The Island, Palma Cathedral (winner of the Colorado Prize), Re-entry (winner of the Vassar Miller Prize), and Vermeer in Hell (winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky Editors’ Prize). His memoir, Travels in Vermeer, was longlisted for the 2015 National Book Award. He has published poetry and prose in The Paris Review, The New Republic, The Kenyon Review, The Best American Poetry, and elsewhere. White is currently chair of the Department of Creative Writing at UNCW.

Kevin Willmott is an award winning filmmaker who has written and directed six feature films. They include: Ninth Street, CSA—Confederate States of America, The Only Good Indian, The Battle for Bunker Hill, Destination Planet Negro!, and Jayhawkers. He has also worked as a screenwriter for 20th Century Fox, NBC, and director Oliver Stone, among others. Most recently he co-wrote and serves as co-executive producer of Chi-Raq directed by Spike Lee. He is a published playwright and has worked as an activist for peace and civil rights issues. He is a graduate of Marymount College of Kansas and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is an associate professor at the University of Kansas.

The Absolutely Most Up-to-Date Homecoming Schedule

This promises to be one of the most amazing homecoming weekends!

Here is the absolutely most up-to-date homecoming schedule!

Homecoming, May 27-31, 2015

WEDNESDAY, MAY 27

5:15-6:30 p.m. Diana M. Raab Distinguished Writer in Residence: John Patrick Shanley, author of Doubt. (Brown Hotel, 16th floor, Gallery Ballroom)

THURSDAY, MAY 28

1:00-1:30 p.m. Registration. (Brown Hotel, 2nd floor, Bluegrass Room)

Pick up short reading for Literary Chat, which takes place at 11:30 a.m. Friday

1:30-2:00 p.m. Alumni Gathering (Brown Hotel, 2nd floor, Bluegrass Room)

Gather, say hello to old friends, and hear a Welcome Home from Sena. Light refreshments.

2:00 p.m. Urban Bourbon Trail (tour leaves from the Brown Hotel, 2nd floor, Bluegrass Room)

Led by Marjetta Geerling and Omar Figueras. Catch up with us at any point on the trail between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Text Marjetta at 305-695-9619 for the group’s current location.

2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Uncorking the Mystery of Publishing across Genres (Brown Hotel, 2nd floor, Bluegrass Room)

An informal conversation about the experience of placing your work. Share how your work ended up in the hands of agents and editors, and learn from the experiences of other alums.

5:15-6:30 p.m. Spalding’s Festival of Contemporary Writing. (Brown Hotel, 16th floor, Gallery Ballroom)

–     Crystal Wilkinson (fiction), Water Street

–     K.L. Cook (fiction), Love Songs for the Quarantined

–     Helena Kriel (screenwriting), Skin

–     Edie Hemingway (writing for children & young adults), Road to Tater Hill

–     Silas House (fiction), Same Sun Here; The Coal Tattoo

–     Kathleen Driskell (poetry), Peck and Pock: A Graphic Poem

–     Sena Jeter Naslund (fiction), The Fountain of St. James Court; or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman

7:30-9:30 p.m. Alumni Play Festival and Film Festival (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Secretariat B)

Hosted by Justin Dobring and Laura Morton Mattingly.

FRIDAY, MAY 29

9:00-11:15 a.m. Alumni Workshops.

Fiction: Short Story (LIB328)

Fiction: Partial Novel (LIB329)

Poetry (LIB327)

Playwriting/Screenwriting (LIB202)

11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. A Literary Chat*, facilitated by Nancy Long. (LIB329)

We’ll be discussing three wonderful (and short!) pieces that each have elements of both poetry and prose: a haibun (prose and haiku), a prose poem, and a work of zuihitsu, which is a genre of Japanese literature that generally consists of a series of loosely connected, fragmented essays, ideas, word pictures, and/or poems. We’ll talk about whatever aspects of craft or content strike our fancy and explore each of the styles/genre a bit, to see if it might be something we’d want to try on our own.

*Readings to be distributed at Homecoming Registration.

12:15-1:15 p.m. Lunch. Alumni have lunch on their own. The ELC deli, a.k.a. the “Pelican POD,” serves subs, pizza, and salads. (Students are attending a catered lunch on campus.)

1:30-2:15 p.m. Alumni Faculty Lecture. (ELC Lectorium)

Silas House. “The Transformation of Beauty Into Action.”

“I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken…even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood,” Audre Lorde once wrote. This lecture will expand on that notion and explore the ways that writing must seek to transform and be activist in its many ways, by telling one’s truth, by standing up for what one believes in, by observing and preserving. We will look at examples from writers like Marilynne Robinson, Larry Brown, Zora Neale Hurston, and others.

2:30-3:15 p.m. Guest Lecture: Magazine Publishing. (ELC Lectorium)

Cathy Medwick. “What Happened to My Essay?: How to Survive Writing for Magazines.”

You pitch an essay to a magazine editor and you get a rejection by return email. Or you hear nothing for months. Or ever. Or, hallelujah, your idea is accepted, you turn in the piece . . . and the edit barely resembles what you wrote. This lecture will explore the not-unbridgeable chasm between your artistic goals and the more pragmatic goals of the magazine: what to expect from the editing process, how to constructively interact with your editor, how to cut your losses when necessary, and how to predict whether the result will be worth the effort.

 

3:45-5:00 p.m. Celebration of Recently Published Books by Alumni. All students, alumni, and faculty welcome. Book signing to follow at SPLoveFest book expo. Books provided by Carmichael’s Bookstore. (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Citation Room)

–     Priscilla Atkins (’08), The Café of Our Departure

–     Sherry Palmer (’12), Life with Charley: A Memoir of Down Syndrome Adoption

–     Aimee Zaring (’05), Flavors from Home: Refugees in Kentucky Share Their Stories and Comfort Foods

–     Colleen Wells (’10), Dinner with Doppelgangers: A True Story of Madness and Recovery

–     Karen George (’09), Swim Your Way Back

–     Barry George (’09), The One That Flies Back

–     Foust (’08), The Sins of Omission

–     Marci Johnson (’05), The Eyes of the Window

–     Kit (Willihnganz) Alloway (’08), Dreamfire

–     Darlyn Finch Kuhn (’09), Sewing Holes

–     Rosemary Rhodes Royston (’09), Splitting the Soil

5:00-6:00 p.m. SPLoveFest. Alumni and students display their books, journals, and anthologies and/or bring promotional material regarding artistics endeavor such as plays, movies, podcasts, literary services, blogs, websites, and more. Hors d’oeuvres and cash bar. (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Secretariat)

6:00-7:00 p.m. The Flame: MFA Storytelling Open Mic. Oral storytelling by students. Alumni welcome. (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Citation)

9:00 p.m. Alumni After-Party Literary Reading. A slate of alumni read from their work. (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Citation)

Teneice Durrant hosts.

SATURDAY, MAY 30

9:00-10:15 a.m. Breakfast Mixer for alumni, Spring 2015 graduates, faculty, and staff. (Mansion Drawing/Dining Room)

10:30-11:30 a.m. Regional Alumni Breakout Sessions. Alumni meet together, then breakout by region to discuss possible regional events. (Gather in the 3rd floor lobby of the library. Breakout rooms: LIB327, LIB328, LIB329, and LIB202)

11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Diana M. Raab Professional Development Sessions.

  • Alumni panel. “Living the Writing Life,” with Justin Dobring, Teneice Durrant, Katrina Kittle, Terry Price, Julie Stewart, and Katerina Stoykova-Klemer. Alumni reflect on the many ways they keep writing alive in their day-to-day lives. (ELC Troutman Lectorium)
  • Dan Distasio. “Creature from the E-lagoon: Navigating the Murky Science and Fiction of Online Teaching” (LIB329)

According to the Babson Survey Research Group, about 7.1 million college students take online classes. Good news for writers seeking faculty positions that offer flexibility, income and time to write. Sounds great? Not so fast. Online schools are big business, and traditional schools are following the money trail. Whether you teach for a private liberal arts school or a mega for-profit institution, online teaching is a demanding, challenging and frustrating endeavor. This session will examine the different schools and options available to potential online instructors, and the expectations, exaggerations, and exasperations related to online teaching. Welcome to the E-lagoon!

  • Vickie Weaver. One-on-one agent pItch sessions. Reservation required. (Mansion)

2:30-3:30 p.m. PGRA and staff reading. (ELC Troutman Lectorium)

  • Margaret Harrington (’13)
  • Maria Steinmetz (’14)
  • Mark Vorenkamp (’14)
  •  Ashley Cook (’14)
  • Mary Knight (’13)
  • Ellyn Lichvar (’07)
  • Katy Yocom (’03)

3:45-5:45 p.m. Alumni Workshops.

Fiction: Short Story (LIB328)

Fiction: Partial Novel (LIB329)

Poetry (LIB327)

Playwriting/Screenwriting (LIB202)

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 Room)

SUNDAY, MAY 31

Have a safe trip! Put the next Homecoming on your calendar now: June 2-5, 2016.

Register for alumni workshop by March 31

The Spalding MFA in Writing Alumni Association is pleased to announce that workshops will be offered at Homecoming 2015 (May 27 to May 31). All participants must sign up for workshops no later than March 31, 2015. These free workshops will have no more than four or five participants.

Homecoming Workshops have been assigned to the dates and times below: (Room Assignments will be posted later)

Fri. May 29 – 9 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

Sat. May 30 – 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

As we did last year, writers must submit their piece at the time they commit to the workshop. We are also recruiting workshop leaders.

 If you’d like to participate in a workshop kindly read the directions below and submit your work along with:

1.      YOUR NAME

2.      EMAIL

3.      WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE A WORKSHOP LEADER?

4.      GENRE:

A.    Fiction short story (up to 20 pages)

B.     Short CNF (up to 20 pages)

C.     Partial book length Fiction (up to 100 pages)

D.    Partial book length CNF (up to 100 pages)

E.      W4C&YA

F.       Poetry (3 to 5 poems no more than 10 pages)

G.    Screenwriting

H.     Playwriting

5. Would you consider leading a workshop?

Please send the above information to me at: bilodeau19@comcast.net No later than March 31, 2015. I will make every effort to get materials to participants by April 15, 2015.

If you are interested in workshop participation, please keep in mind the following:

1.       You must read all materials and come prepared to give verbal and written feedback to participants in your workshop. Participants must submit 1-3 type written pages of critique to each workshop participant as well as verbal feedback. All written feedback must be distributed at the time of the workshop.

2.      Once you commit to a workshop please keep in mind that some participants purchase airline tickets and pay for hotel stays in advance. Only commit if you are sure you can attend.

3.      Each workshop will be assigned a leader. The leader will review all workshop materials in advance of the workshop for suitability.

4.      During workshop we will follow the rules set forth by the MFA program. Verbal critiques should be focused on the strength of the submission followed by weaknesses and suggestions for improvement.

5.      Though the purpose of the workshop is to provide critique, conversation about craft points and craft books is encouraged, keeping in mind time allotments.

 

Register for Homecoming 2015 on The Spalding Alumni MFA in Writing website pages and the Homecoming 2015 schedule.   

We look forward to seeing you at Homecoming 2015.

Alumni Workshops at Homecoming 2015

The Spalding MFA in Writing Alumni Association is pleased to announce that workshops will be offered at Homecoming 2015 (May 27 to May 31)

 The Homecoming 2015 schedule is available. There is an exciting list of events planned and if you haven’t already, now is the time to register. A registration link is available on that page. More information about Homecoming events will follow.

Homecoming Workshops have been assigned to the dates and times below: (Room Assignments will be posted later)

Fri. May 29 – 9 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

Sat. May 30 – 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

All workshops will have no more than 4 or 5 participants.

As we did last year, we are asking everyone to submit their writing at the time they commit to the workshop. We are also recruiting Workshop Leaders.

If you’d like to participate in a workshop kindly read the directions below and submit your work along with:

 YOUR NAME

  1. EMAIL
  2. WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE A WORKSHOP LEADER?
  3. GENRE:
  4. Fiction short story (up to 20 pages)
  5. Short CNF (up to 20 pages)
  6. Partial book length Fiction (up to 100 pages)
  7. Partial book length CNF (up to 100 pages)
  8. W4C&YA
  9. Poetry (3 to 5 poems no more than 10 pages)
  10. Screenwriting
  11. Playwriting

Please send the above information to me at: bilodeau19@comcast.net No later than March 31, 2015. I will make every effort to get materials to participants by April 15, 2015.

 If you are interested in workshop participation, please keep in mind the following:

 You must read all materials and come prepared to give verbal and written feedback to participants in your workshop. Participants must submit 1-3 type written pages of critique to each workshop participant as well as verbal feedback. All written feedback must be distributed at the time of the workshop.

  1. Once you commit to a workshop please keep in mind that some participants purchase airline tickets and pay for hotel stays in advance. Only commit if you are sure you can attend.
  2. Each workshop will be assigned a leader. The leader will review all workshop materials in advance of the workshop for suitability.
  3. During workshop we will follow the rules set forth by the MFA program. Verbal critiques should be focused on the strength of the submission followed by weaknesses and suggestions for improvement.
  4. Though the purpose of the workshop is to provide critique, conversation about craft points and craft books is encouraged, keeping in mind time allotments.

 

We look forward to seeing you at Homecoming 2015

 

Best Regards,

 

Linda

Homecoming 2015 – May 27-31

Here’s the information about the Spalding MFA in Writing homecoming celebration May 27-31, 2015. Register here.
Below is the schedule, which will be updated when the program announces the writer in residence.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 27
5:15-6:30 p.m. Diana M. Raab Distinguished Writer in Residence (Brown Hotel, 16th floor, Gallery Ballroom)

THURSDAY, MAY 28

1:00-1:30 p.m. Registration.  (Brown Hotel, 2nd floor, Bluegrass Room) 

• Pick up short reading for Literary Chat


1:30 – 2:00 p.m. Alumni Gathering, Brown Hotel, 2nd floor, Bluegrass Room
Gather, say hello to old friends, and receive an official “Welcome Home”  from Sena Jeter Naslund 

2:00 p.m. Afternoon programming

• Urban Bourbon trail, led by Marjetta Geerling

Catch up with us at any point on the trail between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Text Marjetta at 305-695-9619 for the group’s current location.

• Another option, to be determined


5:15-6:15 p.m. Spalding’s Festival of Contemporary Writing. Readings by MFA Faculty, including program directors Sena Jeter Naslund and Kathleen Driskell (Brown Hotel, 16th floor, Gallery Ballroom) 

7:30-9:30 p.m.  Alumni Film Festival (hosted by Laura Morton Mattingly) and Alumni Play Festival (hosted by Justin Dobring) (Brown Hotel, Secretariat B)

FRIDAY, MAY 29

9 a.m.-11:15. Alumni Workshops.

11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. A Literary Chat. Alumni gather to discuss a close reading of short pieces of work. Facilitated by Nancy Long. Readings to be distributed at Homecoming Registration. 

12:15- 1: 15 p.m. Lunch. (The ELC deli now serves subs, pizza, and salads.)

1:30-2:15 p.m. Alumni Faculty Lecture. (ELC Lectorium) Silas House. The Transformation of Beauty Into Action

“I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken…even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood,” Audre Lorde once wrote.  This lecture will expand on that notion and explore the ways that writing must seek to transform and be activist in its many ways, by telling one’s truth, by standing up for what one believes in, by observing and preserving. We will look at examples from writers like Marilynne Robinson, Larry Brown, Zora Neale Hurston, and others.

2:30-3:15 p.m. Cathy Medwick, magazine publishing. (ELC Lectorium) 

3:45-5:00 p.m. Celebration of Recently Published Books by Alumni. All students, alumni, and faculty welcome. (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Citation Room) Book signing with Celebration authors to follow at SPLoveFest book expo. 

5:00-6:00 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)

6:00-7:00 p.m. MFA Moth: oral storytelling by students (cross-genre follow-up session). Alumni welcome. (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Citation)

9:00 p.m. Alumni After-Party Literary Reading (hosted by Teneice Durrant) A slate of alumni will be reading from their work. (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Citation)

SATURDAY, MAY 30

9:00-10:15 a.m. Breakfast Mixer for alumni, Spring 2015/Fall 2015 graduates, faculty and staff. (Mansion Drawing/Dining Room)

10:30-11:30 a.m.  Regional Alumni Breakout Sessions. Alumni meet together, then breakout by region to discuss possible regional events. 3rd floor, Library 

11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.  Concurrent Panel, Presentation, and Agent Pitch 

• Living the Writing Life Alumni Panel with Teneice Durrant, Katrina Kittle, Terry Price, Julie Stewart, Justin Dobring, and Katerina Stoykova-Klemer. Alumni reflect on the many ways they keep writing alive in their day-to-day lives, including: inspiration and caring for your art in the midst of “real life,” ways that writing intersects with your life and other endeavors, and ways to use your MFA in addition to teaching. Each panelist will speak briefly then there will be a time for questions and lots of discussion.
• Dan Distasio: Creature from the E-lagoon: Navigating the Murky Science and Fiction of Online Teaching

According to the Babson Survey Research Group, about 7.1 million college students take online classes (Chronicle of Higher Education, 2015).  Good news for writers seeking faculty positions that offer flexibility, income and time to write. Sounds great? Not so fast.  Online schools are big business, and traditional schools are following the money trail.  Whether you teach for a private liberal arts school, or a mega for-profit institution, online teaching is a demanding, challenging and frustrating endeavor.   This session will examine the different schools and options available to potential online instructors, and the expectations, exaggerations, and exasperations related to online teaching.  Welcome to the E-lagoon!

• Agent Pitches with Vickie Weaver – If you’re ready to pitch your work to an agent, Vickie will give you a one-on-one opportunity to present to her and then she will give you feedback and ideas to improve your chances of getting an agent that’s right for you. This opportunity must be scheduled in advance of Homecoming with Vickie personally so that you can be prepared and there will be time for each presentation. Spots are limited and it’s first come, first serve. Email Vickie at dirtyoven@yahoo.com


2:15-3:15 p.m. Spalding’s Festival of Contemporary Writing. PGRAs read from works-in-progress. (ELC Lectorium)

3:30-5:30 p.m. Alumni Workshops.

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 Room.

SUNDAY, JUNE 1

Have a safe trip! Put the next Homecoming on your calendar now. June 2-5, 2016.

Welcome to SPLoveFest

For the 2014 SPLoveFest, we want to celebrate Spalding Writers At Work. SPLoveFest takes place from 6 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 30, in the Secretariat Room of the Brown Hotel. There will be a table set up for you to display any chapbooks, anthologies, literary journals, etc. in which your work has appeared. The purpose is to support you and to encourage all Spalding writers. If you would like to participate, please bring one copy of the publication in which your work has appeared or of your book. It will be displayed on our Spalding Writers At Work table. Here are a few guidelines for you:
1. No books or publications will be sold at this table.
2. Please put your name and contact information in the publication or on a piece of paper attached to the publication.
3. No one will be staffing the table. We ask that you pick up your publication at the end of Splovefest (7 p.m.) Any materials not picked up will be donated to the Spalding Library.
4. Spalding, the MFA Alumni Association and volunteers are not responsible for the loss of, damage to, or return of any publication.
5. All publications should be left at the designated Spalding Writers at Work table in the Secretariat Room of the Brown Hotel between 4:30 and 4:45 p.m. on Friday, May 30.
We hope you will enjoy getting your work noticed and that seeing your work will inspire other writers to keep at it. Please contact Mary Lou Northern at marylnorthern@gmail.com if you have any questions.
Thanks! We’re all so happy that we’ll be seeing you soon!

Mark Your Calendar: Homecoming 2014 is May 29-June 1

MFA alums are invited back to campus for MFA Homecoming, May 29–June 1, featuring an expanded schedule, a host of new events, and a very special rate on rooms at the Brown Hotel!

The Homecoming line-up includes:

• a 10-minute play festival (new this year!)

• alumni workshops

• a lecture by alum Loreen Niewenhuis (F ’07) on “How to connect your work with a targeted audience, and still honor the creative bubble”

• the featured author presentation with Frank W. Walker (P ’03)

• A Celebration of Recently Published Books by Alumni

• SPLoveFest book expo, which showcases alumni books, literary journals, and other writing and art projects

• an after-party literary reading

• a lecture for alums by a Spalding faculty member

• a smorgasbord of faculty lectures

• a breakfast mixer with MFA faculty, alums, and new grads

• a regional breakout session for those who want to stay connected with other alums in their area

• social activities, including a guided walk along the Urban Bourbon Trail, hosted by Omar Figueras (F/CNF ’13)

The Homecoming Committee is exploring the possibility of hosting a film festival, as well.

Homecoming has been expanded to four days this year to better accommodate out-of-town travelers. For the first time, alums can book their rooms at the Brown Hotel through the MFA Office for $99 a night. Look for more details in the coming weeks.

Alumni interested in participating in the Celebration of Recently Published Books should contact Bonnie Johnson at BonnieOmer@aol.com. To reserve a table at the SPLoveFest book expo, contact Mary Lou Northern at marynorthern@yahoo.com. To participate in an alumni workshop, contact Linda Bilodeau at bilodeau19@comcast.net.

Spring 2013: A Record-Breaking Homecoming

More than 100 Spalding MFA in Writing alums converged in Louisville, Ky., from points as far-flung as British Columbia and Florida for the Spring 2013 MFA homecoming, led by MFA alumni association director Terry Price (F ’06). The homecoming broke all previous attendance records and offered more programming than any before.

Alums began to gather on Thursday evening before Tim O’Brien‘s presentation in the Brown Hotel’s Crystal Ballroom (more on that topic in the article above). The next day featured a full slate of activities, beginning with O’Brien’s Q&A session.

Small-group alumni workshops, organized by Marjetta Geerling (W4CYA ’11), convened with about 30 alumni participants. Screenwriting faculty member Helena Kriel spoke to alums about the inherent rewards of the writing life. And a panel of seven alumni spoke about the ways they have used writing as an avenue to serve their communities-teaching poetry, memoir, and journaling in prisons, substance abuse centers, psychiatric hospitals, and memory care facilities; giving young people a safe space to create art; making a documentary about grief; founding a playwriting organization; and more. Serving on the panel were Sonja de Vries (P ’09), Kathryn Eastburn (CNF ’06), Ann Eskridge (PW ’08), Diana Raab (CNF ’03), Barbara Sabol (P ’10), Bob Sachs (F ’09), and Julie Stewart (F ’10).

Later that afternoon, the Celebration of Recently Published Books by Alumni featured readings by Chris Mattingly (P ’10), from his poetry collection Scuffletown; Dave Harrity (P ’07), from his book of meditations and spiritual exercises, Making Manifest: On Faith, Creativity, and the Kingdom at Hand ; Sandi Hutcheson (CNF ’12), from her nonfiction book Looks Great Naked (published as Grace Adams); Charlotte Rains Dixon (F ’03), from her novel Emma Jean’s Bad Behavior; Loreen Niewenhuis (F ’07), from her nonfiction narrative A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk; and Ann Eskridge, from The Raven, a work of historical fiction.

SPLoveFest book fair took place next, a lively mix-and-mingle event featuring 16 student and alum exhibitors showing and selling their books and literary journals. Carmichael’s Bookstore sold books by the Celebration readers. After a break for dinner, an open-mic alum reading hosted by Teneice Delgado (P ’06) concluded the evening.

Saturday’s events included a breakfast mixer for alumni, new graduates, faculty and staff, followed by the second annual Un-Conference, led by Erin Keane (P ’04) and Teneice Delgado; one-on-one practice sessions for pitching to agents, led by Vickie Weaver (F ’05); regional breakout sessions; alumni workshops; and a reading by PGRAs Marjetta Geerling, Barry George (P ’09), Dan Nowak (P ’07), Katerina Stoykova-Klemer (P ’09); Terry Price, and MFA alumni and staff members Gayle Hanratty (F ’06) and Ellyn Lichvar (P ’07). At the graduation ceremony that followed, 32 new graduates joined the ranks of alumni, and class representative Omar Figueras (F) offered remarks on behalf of his graduating class.

Spring 2013 Homecoming: Tim O’Brien, Story Truth, and Beginnings

Acclaimed Vietnam War author Tim O’Brien visited the Spring 2013 Homecoming as the Diana M. Raab Distinguished Writer in Residence.

On Thursday, May 23, 2013, at the Brown Hotel, he spoke to a standing-room-only crowd of MFAers and members of the community about the power of story, the (often superior) relationship of story-truth to happening-truth, and the tragedies of war.

“A bullet can kill an enemy,” O’Brien said. “But a bullet can also make an enemy.”

O’Brien spoke against war in general, saying his stance was neither liberal nor conservative but instead opposed the hypocrisy of those who advocate war-making yet leave the fighting to others.

The next morning, O’Brien answered questions during a private session for MFA students, faculty, and alumni and offered further revelations about the story-truth and happening-truth of several stories in the Program Book in Common, The Things They Carried.