Category: mfa

  • Final Residency—Final day

    It’s a day of lasts for me. My last seminar, Rick Moody and Susan Minot discussing John Cheever (although I have to say that I’m finding a lot of Cheever to be a bit of a mixed bag, with more duds than successes to my mind, but I did rather enjoy the convoluted storytelling of […]

  • Final Residency—Days 7 & 8

    Day 7 The morning opened with Rick Chase’s seminar. He began with a bit of “buddhist” meditation. I use quotes and lowercase since I’m not entirely sure if that’s how he views it, although the mindfulness of it does seem very much in that vein. He expanded from this into some poetic writing exercises. Our […]

  • Final Residency—Days 5 and 6

    Monday was another short day. After lunch we had Mikhail Iossel giving a seminar on close reading, which was a repeat of a seminar from an earlier residency.  Then we had the final round of readings from the graduates. I really enjoyed the stories from Jared Silvia and Benjamin Tier, although all were good. The […]

  • Final Residency—Day 4

    The day began with a seminar led by Benjamin Percy and his deep voice of doom. He spoke a bit about genre “barriers” remarking, “So much of what AWP is about is taxonomy… Rather than genre barricades, perhaps we should distinguish literature on the basis of ‘good’ and ‘not good’.” The afternoon was composed of […]

  • Final Residency—Day 3

    We began the day with another fiction workshop, this time led by Jessica Anthony, who answered the question of how do we compete with all the multitudinous inputs of contemporary life? Her answer: Surrealism! We did a few surrealist exercises: First was the two minute conversation: Two  eople speak to each other for two minutes continuously […]

  • Final residency—Days 1 and 2

    Day 1 In a near-replay of last January’s travel difficulties, I arrived at the hotel at 4a. Despite a mere three hours of sleep, I managed to make it to the opening session on time and even have a bit of prep time in the morning. After the initial orientation, we had a breakdown by […]

  • Residency day 9

    And the last day of my penultimate residency. One of these kind of open days. A morning residency with Beth Ann Fennelly and Tom Franklin which, it turns out, was not so much about collaboration (although they did talk about writing The Tilted World towards the end of their time and more about writing very short […]

  • Residency day 8

    We’re in the final stretch on the residency. Our morning residency was Hal Hartley talking nominally about dialogue but as much talking about how his writing process builds on the standard three-act 64-scene screenplay format but then is willing to move beyond that. After workshop and lunch, we then had a panel on “Literary Professionalism,” […]

  • Residency day 7

    We began with a fiction workshop on revision from Corinna Vallianatos. She began with her top ten on revision, with the #1 position comprised of suggestions from the class: 10. Put your classmates’ response letters away. Read them, but don’t keep them handy. 9. Be impatient. Be impatient with your own preciousness. Revision is like […]

  • Residency day 6

    Our morning seminar was Jason Ockert on writing idiosyncratic characters. How does one go about moving a reader? Balance between writing familiar and  distinctive. That which is relatable and that which is somehow unfamiliar. Who cares about idiosyncratic characters? For Ockert it’s rudimentary. He has a terrible memory: the great thing about literature is the stuff […]