Greece Summer 2015


(Fiction, Spring 2013)

Greece has always been on my bucket list. Imagine how thrilling, then, to learn that I could go with not only my husband, Barry Drudge, (a current Spalding MFA candidate) but with our Spalding family.

From the Byron poetry reading at the Temple of Poseidon in front of the block that Byron carved his name into, to our magical visit to the Acropolis in Athens, the trip did not disappoint.

Being there during the historical economic Referendum was also something we will never forget.

Even the tourist areas offered treasures beyond the expected. When we were taken by a hand painted plaque of Apollo, the artist rushed out and offered to touch it up for us and to sign her name on the back. She also invited us in to see the rest of her work, though we didn’t have time to take advantage of it. We think of her every time we glance at her Grecian blue art.

Greek salad for breakfast every day, souvlaki on a stick, Greek honey and croissants, a multitude of olives…the food was amazing and never ending, it seemed.

At Fodele, the all-inclusive resort in Crete, we found time to relax with alums and students in the evenings. The traditional Spalding abroad sing-along was held on the beach this time, the waves competing with the music led by Barry and Atul until the setting sun had long since disappeared.

Surprises popped up as if Greece had been preparing them just for us: I found a highly decorated, ancient chapel on a morning walk hiding on a hillside, just out of sight. I ran back to get Barry and insisted that he and the camera accompany me to it before breakfast.

Even when we weren’t being tourists or students, every time we looked up there was someone who would “get” our obscure joke about the Bloomsbury group or who would gladly accompany us to dinner. Or rescue us when we had been abandoned at the wrong site by our taxi driver. (True story.)

All of this was only sweetened by the insightful, instructive lectures and the impressive readings by both students and staff. We discussed books we had all read (always a luxury) and were even able to ask the authors who were there questions (definitely a luxury) about them.

My journal is overflowing with publishing tidbits, websites and books to check out, traveling ephemera, and page after page of inspiration, ideas, and gratitude for this experience that has not – could not – leave me unchanged. A traditional tour booked through an agency could get you to Greece, but it couldn’t hope to offer all the rest.


For 2016, write like a Roman

MFA alums invited to travel to summer residency, June 29-July 11, 2016

Join the MFA program and our Alumni Association director, Terry Price, as we explore the literature, art, and culture of Rome during our summer residency, June 29-July 11, 2016.

As an alum, you’re included in group meals as well as guided tours to the Forum and Colosseum, the Galleria Borghese, and the ancient Roman city of Ostia Antica. You can also opt to visit to the Vatican, take a walking tour of Rome’s Baroque and Catholic architecture, or enjoy a motorcoach ride along the Appian Way to the charming lake country outside Rome, complete with a stop for wine tasting. Spend your days journaling in a café, sitting in on MFA lectures, or exploring the city with like-minded alums. It’s your trip–dare we say your Roman holiday?

This year we’re partnering with WorldStrides, an acknowledged leader in quality educational travel, to make this the best possible summer residency and alumni trip. For complete details and to register, visit

Sign up for alumni trip to Greece by Feb. 1

Join the MFA in Writing Program as we travel to Greece this summer! The deadline to sign up is Feb. 1.

This year, the MFA in Writing Program will travel to Athens and Crete from June 24 through July 6.The sign-up period to go with us ends Feb. 1! If you’re interested, check out the link here. Or you can email either Katy Yocom or Terry Price if you have questions or need more details!

Also, check out the “essential information” for the trip. Remember…the deadline to sign up is Sunday! And if you can’t make it this year, then plan to join us for Rome in 2016 and Barcelona for 2017.

Here’s to seeing you in Greece!

All about Greece: An invitation from Katy Yocom




Hi there!

Fall residency is over, the holidays are approaching, and it’s mighty quiet here in the MFA office. In this little moment of lull, I’m thinking of you all, my fellow and sister alums.

Nostos is the Greek word for homecoming, as in, returning home from a long journey. It can also mean “Welcome home”–a phrase we’ve all heard many times from Sena on the first day of residency. Nostos is the root word for “nostalgia.”

So consider this an invitation home, since home is where your tribe is, even if that’s in Greece. You’re invited to join the MFA tribe and Alumni Association director Terry Price (and me) on our exploration of Greek literature, art and culture.

We’ll be staying in Athens and on the island of Crete, June 24-July 6. Alums are included in all the residency activities: group meals, guided tours, visits to the Acropolis and the Palace of Knossos, and more. There are options for a day trip to Delphi and a sunset excursion to Cape Sounion, overlooking the Aegean Sea. With no lecture reports to fill out and no critiques to write up, you can choose to spend your days journaling in a taverna, sitting in on MFA lectures, hanging out poolside at our all-inclusive resort in Crete, or exploring the local sights with like-minded alums.

Did I mention there are no lecture reports?

I hope you’ll join us on this little adventure. For a day-by-day itinerary, pricing information (including a $200 alum discount), and comments from travelers on previous alumni trips, visit . Enrollment is open until Feb. 1.

Feel free to drop me a line if you have questions. I’m always, always happy to hear from you, and we’d love to have you as part of the fun!

Before we travel, I’m going to teach Sena how to say “Nostos.” Wait–what am I saying; I’m sure she already knows.



Sign up for Summer 2015 writing in Greece

Dear MFA alums,

You’re invited to join MFA faculty and students and Alumni Association director Terry Price as we explore the literature, art and culture of Greece.

Our itinerary takes us to Athens and the island of Crete, June 24-July 6. As an alum, you’re included in all the residency activities: group meals, guided tours, visits to the Acropolis and the Palace of Knossos, and more. You can opt to take part in a day trip to Delphi or a sunset excursion to Cape Sounion, overlooking the Aegean Sea. You might choose to spend your days journaling in a taverna, sitting in on MFA lectures, lounging poolside at our all-inclusive resort in Crete, or exploring the sights with like-minded alums. It’s your trip!

For a day-by-day itinerary, pricing information (including a $200 alum discount), and comments from travelers on previous alumni trips, visit . Enrollment is open until February 1.

Feel free to drop me agreece line at if you have questions. I’m always happy to hear from you.

I hope you’ll join us as we explore the classical antiquities and stunning natural beauty of Greece. We’d love to have you as part of the trip!

2014: Snapshots of Prague and Berlin

By Cindy Corpier

Vacláv Havel Airport Prague: After a painless stop at immigration, met our EF Tour guides, Matt and Ildiko, British and Hungarian, respectively. Made a necessary purchase with Czech koruna: cappuccino. Too tired to try out my only Czech phrase, děkuji (thank you).

Opening dinner at the Café Imperial: Stunning dining room with pillars and walls covered in ceramic tile mosaics. My first (and last) traditional Czech dumpling. Toasts, hellos, hugs and laughter with 70+ writers & guests.

Walking Tour of The Castle Quarter: Perfect summer day. St. Vitus Cathedral, built between 1344 and 1929, contains a carved-wood relief of Prague, circa 1620 and an Art Nouveau window by Alfons Mucha. Learned the story of St. Ludmila, grandmother of St. Wenceslas, murdered in 921 AD. Choked with her own veil by her daughter-in-law’s henchmen—then canonized shortly thereafter. Among other things, she is patron saint of “troubles with in-laws.” Made our way past Starbuck’s to the Golden Lane, a narrow street of shops and reconstructions portraying medieval life. Franz Kafka lived for a time in #22, now painted lavender with green trim. The cannon tower at the bottom of the street, formerly a prison, holds grisly examples of torture equipment that make water boarding seem humane.
Charles Bridge & Old Town Square: Thronged with visitors, vendors and pigeons. The Vltava River busy with tourist boats curls around the city. Onward toward Old Town Square and the hourly chiming of Prague’s 15th century astronomical clock that begins with Death (white skeleton) ringing the bell and ends with the crow of the golden rooster. The skyline is a feast of architectural styles: Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Art Nouveau. A memorial to Jan Hus, the 14th century Czech priest and church reformer who was burned as a heretic, commands the square’s center. Crossing the square we dodged food stands, snake charmers, two 6-foot tall furry blue sharks and a gold ballerina holding third position.

Spalding Publishing Panel: Sena Jeter Naslund, Rebecca Walker, Maureen Morehead and Katy Yocom. Sena told us how she analyzed the journals she wanted to publish in and found they were taking stories with a “zany” voice. By writing against her grain, outside her comfort zone, she found something new and got published. Maureen advised us to aim high and not to take rejection personally. She looks for poems showing the writer has knowledge of history and literature and that move the reader. Rebecca spoke about editing creative nonfiction anthologies and advised writers to collaborate with editors whose goal is to help them write the best possible story. Katy gave us the inside view of fiction editing at The Louisville Review. She chose writing that was fresh and original with a strong voice and heart, stories that kept giving.

The Jewish Quarter (Josefov): Our group met at the Jan Hus Memorial and wound toward this compact quarter for a two-hour tour that should have lasted two days. Heartbreak and inspiration intertwined.

Last night in Prague: We signed on for the Prague By Night tour that left at 8:30 pm, well before sunset. The bus took us outside the city’s center to the mostly abandoned grounds of the 1891 World Exposition for an outdoor performance of “Swan Lake.” The dancing Krizikova Fountain, a 19th century precursor to the Bellagio fountains, was not only backdrop but another character in the ballet. Perfect for the city of Kafka.

Goodbye Prague, hello Dresden: The “Florence of the Elbe” is another place deserving more than two hours. Rebuilt after the horrendous firebombing of 1945 in an approximation of its former glory, the city is pristine. A 305 ft Meissen porcelain mural, “Procession of the Princes,” covers a building with the rulers of Saxony. A golden butterfly posed with tourists outside the Dresden Cathedral.

Drive from Dresden to Berlin: Thanks to Katy Yocum both coaches became theaters showing “The Lives of Others,” 2006 Academy Award Winner for Best Foreign Language film. Set in East Germany during the 1980s, this riveting film shows the lives of the Stasi and those they monitored and was timed perfectly for our introduction to Berlin.

Berlin: Where Prague is compressed, Berlin sprawls. We arrived during unusually warm weather to be reminded that Berlin is German for swamp. Our hotel is a ten-minute walk from the Brandenburg Gate and Potsdamer Platz. The first night we witness a small political protest of Senegalese immigrants that garnered a large Polizei response. Around the corner a banner congratulating Germany on the World Cup win hung from the U. S. Embassy. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe honors the dead through light, geometry and silence, while the East Side Wall Gallery celebrates freedom through exuberant color.

Timewitnesses: The climax of this trip. An East German and West German, moderated by our guide Ildiko, discussed life before and after the Wall fell in 1989.
East German: “We could see West Berlin, but it was as unreal as the moon.” The people were consumed with thinking about consumer items—chocolate, pens. The morning after the announcement he went to the closest checkpoint and told the guard he wanted to cross. “You’re not the first,” the guard said. Over the bridge, the smell changed. Beautiful gardens. Modern buses like art. His first purchase: Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation.”
West German: The news was incredible, the “notions of two worlds smashed.” Remembered “their faces” and their amazement at having oranges. Resentment remains in the West with some saying the Wall shouldn’t have come down. Surprised by the emancipation of East German women who worked and were fully equal. The dream for the future is a Germany that embraces the weakness and horror of the Third Reich, but is lighter and more open.

Pergamon Museum and Neues Museum: The Pergamon was built to house the cobalt blue Ishtar Gate and the Pergamon Alter with its mythological frieze, both huge relics of antiquity. Worth the 40-minute wait on a hot day. Islamic prayer niches of mind-blowing geometric complexity, tablets of the earliest writing from Uruk in Mesopotamia—from the 4th millennium BC. Next door at the Neues Museum, Nefertiti’s head is the big draw, but far from the only amazement.

Cabaret: In German, at a cabaret on the edge of the Tiergarten. Fabelhaft. That’s German for fabulous. Midnight dinner with my husband at a restaurant close to our hotel where an Indian waiter asked in German for our order of Mexican food.

Berlin Architectural Tour: Culminated in a 10 pm visit to the Reichstag and its modern glass dome with interior walkway spiraling up to the peak. An art installation in film and colored light visible from the terrace. Cool air blew as we watched film clips of German history, including, yes, images from the visits of JFK and Ronald Reagan.

Spalding Summer Graduation 2014: Clear afternoon light filled the room as our Spalding faculty and friends marched in. My heart felt full remembering last May’s joy and gratitude. Congratulations Joe Baillargeon, Karen Chronister, Alice Jennings, Christi Kelly, April Larson, Liza Mattison, Amy Miller, Nikki-Nicole Peoples, and Nicole Underwood. To quote Neil Gaiman, “Make good art.”

Want to be a PGRA at fall residency? Apply by Aug. 15

The Spalding MFA in Writing program is seeking PGRAs (post-graduate residency assistants) for the Fall 2014 residency (November 14-23).

PGRAs prepare for and participate in a workshop by submitting their own work and participating in the discussion, assist in the MFA Office, and perform other duties such as recording lectures or hosting residency guests or prospective students.

PGRAs are included in residency meals and events, receive a $250 stipend, a double room at the Brown hotel, and up to $300 in transportation costs. Those interested should email Katy at by Aug. 15.

The aerial view of Prague




If you’re looking ahead to summer travel, this is just a quick reminder that you have until Jan. 10 to sign up for the Prague-Berlin alumni trip with the Spalding MFA in Writing program and receive a $250 early-bird discount. After that, registration for the trip remains open till Feb. 1.

For a day-by-day itinerary, pricing information (including more discounts), and all the details, go here.

Feel free to drop a line to Katy Yocom at If you have questions. she is always happy to hear from you.

The dates of the Prague and Berlin trip are July 10-22.

Events at November 2013 fall residency

At the November 2013 fall residency, a few events are open to the public, and MFA in Writing alumni are invited to attend.

At 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, our Celebration of Recently Published Books by Faculty will feature work by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Julie Brickman, Helena Kriel, Eleanor Morse, Sena Jeter Naslund, and Greg Pape. Book signing to follow with books provided by Follett Books.(ELC Lectorium).

At 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, Molly Peacock, our featured author, speaks about our Program Book in Common The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life’s Work at 72. (Brown Hotel, 3rd floor, Crystal Ballroom).

All about Prague-Berlin 2014 summer residency for alums

Join MFA Program faculty, staff, and students and Alumni Association director Terry Price in July as we travel to Prague and Berlin. Sign up by January 10 for an alumni-only early-bird discount!


The Summer Residency in Prague and Berlin, July 10-22, 2014

Considered one of Europe’s most romantic cities, Prague is steeped in time, untouched by the bombs of the world wars. Built on seven hills, the city offers not just beautiful views, the world’s largest castle, and the best beer in Europe, but also a chance to experience old-school Europe when you pay for your purchases in the traditional currency, the Czech crown (koruna).

Our EF Tour Directors travel with us for the entire trip to answer questions, provide cultural insights, and keep our travels flowing smoothly. They’ll lead us on a walking tour to explore Prague’s Old Town, including the atmospheric Charles Bridge, and visit its castle, the largest in the world. We’ll visit the important Jewish Quarter on a walking tour that focuses on Franz Kafka, one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century.

We’ll take in an evening performance at one of the city’s iconic Black Light theatres, which mix mime and modern dance to create a multimedia, avant-garde theatre experience found only in Prague. An optional “Prague by Night” tour offers the chance to see the city by boat after dark, from the Vltava River.

From Prague, we travel by motorcoach north to Berlin, which has emerged as a vibrant metropolis since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. We’ll tour the city by bus to see the major sights, passing by the Brandenburg Gate, and visit the Checkpoint Charlie Museum. We’ll visit the world-famous Pergamon Museum, with its classical antiquities and Islamic art. In the evenings, you might opt to take in a cabaret or join a walking tour of Berlin’s justly famous modern architecture.

The MFA group shares meals on arrival day and on the last night of residency. In between, most evenings are free, giving you time to explore the cities as you wish.

Classroom Sessions

Alums are invited to join MFA students and faculty at our opening session and Program Book in Common discussion, when Sena leads a discussion about Franz Kafka’s surrealist novel The Castle. Many other lecture sessions are open to alums who’d like to attend. Alums interested in participating in workshop should check with Katy about joining the trip as a residency-only student.

Day-by-Day Itinerary

For alums, residency includes plenty of free time to spend as you will, with opportunities to socialize as well as to enjoy solo explorations and writing time. Our EF Tour Directors can give you tips and insights as you plan your days. In addition to the events on our itinerary, Alumni Association director Terry Price puts together optional dinners, readings, and other events for alums who’d enjoy the company.

Day 1 – July 10

Board your overnight flight to Prague.

Day 2 – July 11

We arrive in Prague, meet up at the airport, and proceed to our hotel in the heart of the city center. Join our EF Tour Director for an orientation walking tour of our neighborhood, and learn where to eat, drink, and find wi-fi. The entire group sits down together for a welcome dinner.

Day 3 – July 12

A walking tour today begins at the Prague Castle. In the castle’s courtyard, we’ll visit the magnificent St. Vitus Cathedral, which took over 600 years to complete. We’ll stroll through the quaint, cobbled streets of the Mala Strana, the backdrop for Milos Forman’s Amadeus. We’ll cross the Charles Bridge to the 13th-century Old Town (Stare Mesto), where we’ll see Market Square, famous for its 15th-century astronomical clock.

Day 4 – July 13

Today is open for you to explore Prague on your own, or perhaps even rent a car for a day trip into the Czech countryside.

Day 5 – July 14

Today is open for exploration and writing. This evening, we attend a Black Light Theatre performance, a type of theatre found only in Prague. Known for its beauty and visual artistry, Black Light Theatre combines dance, music, and nonverbal performance into one memorable show.

Day 6 – July 15

Today, our tour director leads us on a stroll through Josefov, Prague’s Jewish Quarter. For centuries Jews were forced to live separately and were then purged under Nazi occupation in World War II. Today Josefov stands in loving memory of Judaism in Central Europe. We’ll visit the unique Old Jewish Cemetery, the Jewish Museum, the Old-New Synagogue, and the Spanish Synagogue. Afterward, we’ll stop by the Kafka Museum, located in Franz Kafka’s former home.

Day 7 – July 16

Our final day in Prague is at your leisure. Perhaps you’d like to visit St. Agnes of Bohemia Convent, one of the oldest Gothic buildings in Prague, which houses an exhibition of medieval and Renaissance art. This evening, join in an optional “Prague by Night” sightseeing trip to view the city lights by boat from the Vltava River.

Day 8 – July 17

Today we travel by motorcoach to Berlin, stopping in Dresden for lunch along the way. This afternoon, we visit the world-famous Pergamon Museum, which houses antiquities including the Pergamon Altar and the Ishtar Gate. The building also houses the Museum of Islamic Art and the Near Eastern Museum.

Day 9 – July 18

This afternoon, we take a motorcoach tour of Berlin. We’ll ride past the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche (left unrestored as a reminder of the ravages of war) and down the glittery Kurfürstendamm, Berlin’s liveliest street. We’ll arrive at the Brandenburg Gate, once the symbol of the Cold War, where East and West Berliners danced atop the crumbling Berlin Wall in November 1989. On the site where Checkpoint Charlie once guarded the border between East and West Germany, we’ll visit a museum devoted to the era of the Berlin Wall.

Day 10 – July 19

Today you’re free to explore Berlin as you like. Perhaps take a bike tour of the city, visit the Bauhaus Museum, or just hang out in funky East Berlin. This evening, you might opt to take in a performance at one of Berlin’s famous cabarets.

Day 11 – July 20

After a free day for writing and exploration, join in on an optional evening walking tour of Berlin’s justly famous modern architecture.

Day 12 – July 21

Today is open for exploration—or perhaps you’d like to sit in on our final day of classroom activities, including our interrelatedness-of-the-arts discussion, a journal reading session, graduation readings, and the graduation ceremony itself. The residency wraps up tonight with a farewell dinner.

Day 13 – July 22

Auf Wiedersehen, Berlin! We fly out of Berlin, arriving back home in the States.

Travel Costs and Discounts

A land-only package, which includes housing, breakfasts, two dinners, museum and theatre entrances, walking tours, motorcoach transportation between Prague and Berlin, travel insurance, and tips, costs $2,730. A complete package, which includes all of the above, plus air travel from Louisville and ground transportation to/from the airports, costs $4,090. If you’re flying from an airport other than Louisville, contact EF College Study Tours to see how your costs are affected. Additional meals, optional activities, and free-time activities are not included in the trip price.

Essential information for alums

Discount: Alums and guests receive a special $290 rebate from EF College Study Tours, credited to your account in April.

And another discount: The MFA Program is offering an alums-only early-bird discount of $250 to alumni who sign up by January 10. This discount, available only to alumni of the Spalding MFA program, is credited after you sign up for the trip.

Yet another discount: Repeat travelers with EF College Study Tours receive a $100 credit after signing up with EF.

Total savings available to alums is $640!

Enroll by February 1!

Before you sign up for the trip…

Check out the day-to-day itinerary.

Read essential information about flights, payment options, guests, and more.


When you’re ready to sign up…

To sign up for the Prague/Berlin residency, click or call the toll-free phone number, 1-877-485-4184. Enrollment deadline for alums and their guests is February 1. Sign up by January 10 for the $250 early-bird discount!