Public Event Schedule

10:00 AM
Ransom Fellowship Hall
JANE HAMILTON: Turning Gold into More Gold: How the Master Guides the Student

This lecture takes a look at the student/master dynamic in the stories “White Angel”, by Michael Cunningham, and Cheever’s “Goodbye, My Brother.” I aim to explore the matter of being the

student in the glare of, or with the guidance of the master. What do we hope for when we speak to an avowed masterpiece? Are we propelled by courage or idiocy or both? How do these particular stories vary in their judgment, their vision? (What exactly did Flannery O’Connor mean when she talked about “the testing point of the eye”?) I’ll also touch upon Persuasion and Gone Girl, and, not least, Harriet the Spy.


11:00 AM
Ransom Fellowship Hall

Which is not quite a matter of tone, not a gymnast’s trick or even a legit ambition probably, but what? Is it crucial to memorable writing? That’s the triggering question and concern of this lecture. Charm as scary dark or sudden light, charm as willed or simply wished for, or outright rejected, distained; charm as accident, a thing haunted in the side vision, a delight or semi-toxic in poems and beyond; charm as not a complete sentence. Perhaps cast also into this net will be metaphor (what is it really?), heavy-handed thuds, unforeseen turns, flying babies, distant views, choral thinking, centuries of brain-washed bedazzled snakes, the first person to write poems in English (that would be the dreaming Caedmon), an insect in an ear, a cello lesson and other mysteries. Along the way, we might put an eyeglass to poems by James Tate, Charles Simic, Kathleen Peirce, Russell Edson, Louis MacNiece and possibly others. And what about the making and remaking, process and progression having something to with charm? If there’s time and the right segue (plus the machine-gods willing), you might hear part of a recorded interview about this last idea, zeroing in on The Doors and their method (and if not, I will give you the web address for a close listen although charm–not exactly the first quality one considers when that wily, unnerving and visionary 60s band is mentioned).

Handouts provided. Meanwhile, be thinking about charm and the graceful, sometimes dysfunctional angels who dance on the head of that pin–and how such spirits aid and derail your own writing.

(Full audio for all residency lectures will be available in the MFA Store in February:


Then join us at 4:30pm in Ransom Fellowship Hall for a reading featuring graduating students:

Fay Dillof

Avra Elliott

Jennifer Steinorth

Kevin Wheeler

The Graduation Ceremony will follow these readings.

For more information, including a full schedule of public events, please visit the program website at

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