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Archives: MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College

Arisen from the Sickbed: Photos from the Winter 2014 Residency

I really was sick as dog for the entire residency.   And I really do only have two outfits.  Photos by the amazing Alissa Whelan.


Welcome to Our Lawn

Welcome to Our Lawn

While I was sick as a Ricky Gervais joke during the January 2014 residency for the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College (I have NEVER been more invisible) I was able to rise from my bed to deliver a class I called “Would You Like to See My Cat Mammy?  Looking at Other People and Their Stuff.”

Here is a description of that class:

Somewhere in the Mid-Twenties


The number of residencies I’ve served at the Warren Wilson MFA Program.  Above is a photo of the graduation ceremony for the class of Summer 2013.  Pictured are a number of colleagues, friends, and former advisees.  I feel enormously privileged to be part of this extraordinary community.  It’s work that I enjoy doing, and the ten days in Swannanoa are always one of the highlights of my summer–regardless of the snark of some of the FOTS staff.

(But people, really, the doors!)

Other People’s Meltdowns


I have two recurring nightmares.  In the first, I’m on a campus (which over the years has morphed from Macalester College into SMU) and it’s sometime late in my senior year and I realize I have neglected to check my mailbox.  Since Freshman year. I always wake up in the middle of the mad dash to the student union, never to discover the details contained in all those missed weekly bulletins.  This is clearly a pre-digital age dream.  I’m sure my undergrads wake up screaming about the lack of wi-fi. 


Time Selector

Time Selector (Photo credit: Telstar Logistics)

I started my January class at the MFA Program by offering the “least restrictive alternative” rule for narrative organization.  Setting aside the borrowing of that name from special education (and the fact that there’s little that is analogous between my rule and school policy), the idea is that unless you have a very good reason for doing so, it’s a good idea to start at beginning of the story and tell it to the end without changing the sequence of events.

I Have Been Paying Attention in the Poetry Lectures

Carrot Loaf

Carrot Loaf (Photo credit: jazzijava)

Ode to a Terrine

Oh, carrot loaf

You beckon seductive

Yet almost whole

Your secrets key to your lingering loneliness

Steamed from below, ogled from above

Ultimately passed by for your

Saucier, beanier neighbor

It is your density that repels

How your surface aggressively occludes what you possibly might be,

And whoever thought you were a good idea in the first place.

What color is that anyway and why does it not recur in nature?

That green shit, sprinkled: what’s up with that?

Perhaps, instead, it is the mystery of your origin that compels the chunks in my throat,

This morning’s biscuits and gravy, to rise at your similar visage

Or is it the violence of your conception

Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays side dish, ground, shredded,

Dismembered in the Cuisinart’s indifferent maw

Tongs clenched in an overfed fist

Reach for you, tentative

Reflected by your shiny glazed blanket

Mayo and cream

Glassy as placenta

Step away from the buffet, porky

I order myself

Get your ass back to the elliptical

It is day nine of the residency and I need a laxative.

I, Too, Am Pleased


That the McKnight Foundations again recognizes the important work of New Rivers Press.  Here’s what they said in the letter that accompanied this year’s check.

Thank you for your report on the activities and accomplishments of New Rivers Press of Minnesota State University Moorhead during the past year. The list of authors published continues to be impressive–New Rivers is important to the careers of those authors. . . . We are pleased to continue to support your important work and thank you for your commitment to Minnesota’s writers.


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