The MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College is delighted to introduce Elana Roseberry as our new MFA Project Manager: Academic Affairs. Elana holds a BA in Sociology and Communications from Hollins and a Master of Divinity from Union Presbyterian Seminary. She has served as an Assistant Director of Admissions at Hollins and as Director of College Placement at Christchurch School. Her first day will be August 3. Welcome, Elana!read more
A story by alum Peg Alford Pursell (fiction, ’96) appears at Permafrost:
My own words woke me up the way it sometimes happens. Manny sat on the edge of the bed, shaving crème stripped away in swaths on his left cheek, razor still in hand. The water still trickled into the sink basin and the fluorescent light glowed miserably over the mirror. I turned away toward the windows. Between the crack in the motel’s heavy drapes the day was bright sunny.
“Active night,” Manny said. The mattress jounced when he stood and returned to shaving. “It sounded like your dad had a harem or something.”
I wasn’t sure I understood what he said, his words were garbled from the way he stretched the skin over his face to hold it taut. I rolled back over, and his eyes in the mirror contacted mine before flicking back to his own face, watching the razor move close to his mouth. Damp hair clung to his nape, a towel wrapped around his beautiful torso. He adjusted the water, rinsed the razor, and finished.
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• Submissions: 40 pages fiction or 20 pages poetry plus brief project proposal. Via Submittable, with $25 entry fee.
• Applications open 8/1-11/1 2015. Full guidelines will be posted with the application August 1. Judges will be announced with the winning manuscripts.
• Questions? Email Levis@friendsofwriters.org.
* The Levis Prizes are named in honor of award-winning poet and beloved MFA Program for Writers faculty member Larry Levis (1946-1996). He was cherished for both his incisive mind and the care and attention he gave his students.
Friends of Writers is pleased to share three poems by alum Beverley Bie Brahic (poetry, ’06) originally published by Poetry Ireland.
‘Oval like a Mirror’
Oval like a mirror Chardin’s painting
holds a sideboard chock-full of objects,
some almost transparent—
others stubbornly opaque.
The woman has stepped out for a moment:
to fetch the missing ingredient
or respond to the cry of a child?
The mystery of her absence is compounded
by the pair of wine glasses: one hardly touched
but behind it and darker
like a mirror image, the second drained;
and the teacups, white porcelain. Steam climbs
from the near one and a teaspoon’s handle.
In the mirror—if there’s a mirror—the other’s pristine.
The Good Wife
Odysseus, so the story goes, took a long trip, from Ithaca to Ithaca.
And she stayed home weaving the tapestry of her fidelity.
She was never tempted, they say, by apples, pomegranates, or any other telltale signs of woman’s frailty.
Now Odysseus is back. Once again Penelope demonstrates her resourcefulness.
Question: if she’s so smart, why didn’t she rid herself of the suitors?
It’s the sort of question too literal children ask. Why did Goldilocks? Why didn’t Snow White?
And the parents say—It’s only a story, it’s time to turn out the light, it’s late and
we’ve got dishes to do.
. . .
Even once he dispensed with the suitors,
showered and tossed his clothes in the wash,
Penelope feared a god
was hoodwinking her.
Odysseus seethes. ‘Find me some bedding,’
he instructs the nurse, ‘I’ll sleep downstairs.’
‘Prepare him the bed he built,’
‘take it to the hall. Heap it with fleeces
and the coverlets we weave on our looms.’
‘What!’ Odysseus bleats
—‘the bedstead I carved
from an olive tree, whose slender leaves
quake like a virgin on her wedding night—
who the hell cut
my marriage bed from its root?’
. . .
So it is Odysseus, thinks Penelope.
After all these years.
She will miss her suitors. She looks
at Odysseus, she looks at her wools
frilly and green like the vine stock in spring,
black like mildewy grapes
left after the pickers have passed: fermented,
sunsweet, almost wine.
What will she do now, without her suitors?
. . .
Penelope looks at Odysseus; looks at her unfinished tapestry.
Perhaps, she thinks, a touch more carmine in the top right corner.
Near Knossos, A Borrowed House
Over the party wall, voices
arguing. There’s the old man, the
young man, an ingénue’s treble—
grizzled patriarch; downy boy
whose lip’s stained with a mustache; girl
who is marriageable
some god has his eye on.
Day and night: it never stops.
No parting shot with its seal
of blood; no slammed door, boots
stomping off. Not even the long
interrupted silence of Amen, So-be-it.
I suppose they’ve been at it
centuries, like gods and the mortals.
A story by alum Christine Fadden (fiction, ’09) appears at Atticus Review:
Grandmom knew more about baseball and the men who played than I did, but I knew more about mean girls. There were girls in the summer league who would call out those of us who weren’t local, no matter how far back our blood ran through town. Jackie Murray was the meanest local and she didn’t hesitate to rally for a “shoobs-only” team—which would have made about four of us. I didn’t like the term “shoob,” because certainly nobody in my family had ever worn shoes to the beach!
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