The Soirée for Scholarships



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FOW Board Member Geoff Kronik and MFA Program Director Deb Allbery at the Soiree for Scholarships

An Interview with Shadab Zeest Hashmi and Alicia Jo Rabins

Posted by on Feb 5, 2016 in Alumni News | 0 comments

An interview with alums Shadab Zeest Hashmi (poetry, ’09) and Alicia Jo Rabins (poetry, ’09) appears on  the San Diego Writers, Ink website:

How does a poem come to you?

Shadab: Poetry casts its net when the unsayable offers itself, often triggered by a collision between a sensory moment and a feeling. It animates the abstract by appearing as a fine gradation of color, sound or scent, a sensation counterpoised against a memory. A poem comes to me as a sudden, partial illumination of the unanswered, perhaps the unanswerable, as experienced in music, or visual images of both the monumental and the intimate. A poem seeks to make its own lexicon, to attempt to define and describe the world as seen through the psyche’s filter.

Alicia: I think I once read a poet who said, when asked about his writing process, that there is always a poem floating past just over his head and he just snips both ends and brings it down. I’ve never been able to find that quote again, but I’ve often thought about it because it so exactly describes my experience of writing. It’s about sitting down to write and dipping into an existing stream.
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“All of the stones all at the same time” by Kevin McIlvoy

Posted by on Feb 4, 2016 in Faculty Updates | 0 comments

“All of the stones all at the same time” by Kevin McIlvoy

A story by faculty member Kevin McIlvoy appears at New World Writing:

The client scratched at paste clot­ted in his hair.

The client was in a car. The client’s car was in a car space
between newly painted golden lines.

A sign: Mini Bob’s Mart.

We are quite lost,” said Deer Food.

The client asked, “Isn’t this Mini Bob’s Mart?”

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“The Change” by Jennifer Givhan

Posted by on Feb 3, 2016 in Alumni News | 0 comments

A poem by alum Jennifer Givhan (poetry, ’15) appears in Hermeneutic Chaos Journal, where it was a finalist for the Jane Lumley Prize ’15:

When I was still small I began growing antlers
as a stag grows antlers, as a girl grows
breasts. My chest remained flat & the blood
didn’t come, but the velvet skin
sprang spongy behind my temples. No one at school
laughed at the antlers like they did when I’d grown
hair under my arms & razor-scraped my shins

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“Cancer (& Other Unforgivable Curses)” by Michelle Collins Anderson

Posted by on Feb 2, 2016 in Alumni News | 0 comments

A story by alum Michelle Collins Anderson (fiction, ’13) appears at Literal Latté:

I got the note in Esmé’s backpack this afternoon: her long black cape has become “a distraction to the class” and she is no longer welcome to wear it to school. There was no mention of the wand. It is difficult to be a wizard among “Muggles” — your average, run-of-the-mill human beings. Just as I am finding it difficult to be human when I would gladly summon magic or pray for miracles. Justin is with the hospice nurse now. She is checking his vital signs, making notes, checking the log of medications — the amounts, the times given — that I keep so meticulously, my letters curling around the white spaces of the chart. Soon she will bathe him, a sponge bath that will clean away the perspiration but will not erase the yellow of his skin. She will let me do the shampooing and the shaving: I insist. Justin was not — is not — a vain man, but he did love his hair. It is thick and black and edged with gray; he liked to keep it just the slightest bit long, which gave him the rumpled professor look I love. He is an artist, a painter, but made his living as the creative director at a local ad agency — overseeing all the words and images that go into ads and commercials and websites. He is what they call a “creative guru,” a “big idea” man: he sees forest, not trees; constellations rather than stars.

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“The Order of Things” by C. Dale Young

Posted by on Feb 1, 2016 in Faculty Updates | 0 comments

UnknownA short story by faculty member C. Dale Young appears at the Asian American Literary Review:

There were many things Alejandro Castillo did not know. For a start, he did not know his given name or the people who were his parents. In this, he was one who embraced mystery not because he had that special talent but because he had no choice. When Father Guillermo Rojas found him on the streets of that small town in Spain, the boy that became Alejandro Castillo could not even speak Spanish. He was dirty and wearing clothes that were filthy and torn. He spoke what people then believed was gibberish. Despite this, the boy had smart eyes, intelligent eyes, and a persistence in his demeanor. Father Guillermo Rojas took in the boy and raised him as his own child. Castillo, because the boy was sitting in front of the old mayor’s dilapidated house that the locals in their mean-spiritedness called “the castle,” and Alejandro, because Father Rojas had been reading a history of Pope Alexander VI. The boy looked like a gypsy, a gypsy who had been abandoned by gypsies. But Alejandro Castillo was, as Father Guillermo Rojas deduced, a clever child. He learned Spanish easily and spoke properly within a year. By the age of six, one would never have known Spanish wasn’t the boy’s original language.

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Three Poems by Justin Bigos

Posted by on Jan 31, 2016 in Alumni News | 0 comments

Three poems by alum Justin Bigos (poetry, ’08) appear in diode poetry journal:

Another Story About the Body

            after Robert Hass

The child keeps screaming in its highchair. The mother has examined its fingers, its fingernails, just beginning to form into something that can be called nails, the lips, mouth, tongue, back of the tongue, pink nub of tonsil, the child’s breath split pea soup and infant rage, or fear, the father thinks it’s fear, has looked around the kitchen for any sign of danger, black cat under the table, bear in the window, boogey man

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“The Other Self” by Mary Jo Thompson

Posted by on Jan 30, 2016 in Alumni News | 0 comments

A poem by alum Mary Jo Thompson (poetry, ’09) appears in The Missouri Review:

I was the one who kept on speaking
while the iron pole of winter
was stuck to her tongue.

I watched her pry at the dish of her mouth,
her fingers bent like tines.
The wind cuffed at her, helped her decide
to pull away.

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The Winter 2016 Lectures are Now Available!

Posted by on Jan 29, 2016 in From the MFA Program | 0 comments

Go to the MFA Program for Writers store to find great lectures from the Winter 2016 Residency Faculty, including Dean Bakopoulus, Maud Casey and Heather McHugh.

You’ll find the MFA Store at this link:  THE MFA STORE

A Poem and an Essay by Rebecca Foust

Posted by on Jan 29, 2016 in Alumni News | 0 comments

A Poem and an Essay by Rebecca Foust

While our email was down, we missed a poem by Rebecca Foust (poetry, ’10) titled “Abeyance,” published in the American Academy of Poets’ Poem-A-Day series:

                               letter to my transgender daughter

I made soup tonight, with cabbage, chard
and thyme picked outside our back door.
For this moment the room is warm and light,
and I can presume you safe somewhere.

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Find an essay on W.B. Yeats’ poem “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death” by Rebecca at Poetry Daily:’%20Picks%202015/0421_Foust.html

Quarterly Digest of Awards and Books

Posted by on Jan 28, 2016 in Alumni News | 0 comments

Mr. Splitfoot Samantha HuntAlum Samantha Hunt’s (fiction, ’99) novel MR. SPLITFOOT was published in January by Houghton Mifflin.


Alum Nan Cuba (fiction, ’89) won the 2016 Jesse H. Jones Memorial Fellowship from the Texas Institute of Letters. She will live for six months on J. Frank Dobie’s 250-acre Paisano ranch outside Austin and receive an $18,000 award.


Alum Beverly Bie Brahic (poetry, ’06) has one poem, “Black Box,” in the current (fall 2015) issue of Field (available in print).


Alum Patricia Corbus’s (poetry, ’96) collection of poems Finestra’s Window has been published Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 8.54.10 PMby Off the Grid Press. Finestra’s Window is the 2015 prize winner of this press’s nationwide contest.

Finestra’s Window begins with the line, “Open the sky-box, Uncle,” and the poems which follow refuse to sit still. In Tony Hoagland’s words, “Finestra’s Window is a collection full of mortal daring and formal bravado. Corbus’s work amazes and delights me, as it will any reader of poetry.”

Finestra’s Window can be purchased online at:


Alum Bob Oldshue (fiction, ’05) won the 2016 Iowa Short Fiction Award for his short story collection titled November Storm. Judge Bennett Sims says: “Robert Oldshue writes stories that are as rich and self-complicating as novels. Set mostly in Boston, November Storm explores that city—like Stuart Dybek’s Chicago or Edward P. Jones’s D.C.—through the layers of its characters’ memories. Whether he’s writing from the point of view of a haunted psychiatrist, a gay prostitute weathering the AIDS epidemic, or a night watchman at a cemetery, Oldshue proceeds by patiently excavating the past from every place, unearthing a character’s associations and experiences—often in long, spiraling, masterful sentences—until what feels like an entire life has been disclosed. Here a twenty-page story seems deeper—more densely sedimented with consciousness and retrospection—than most two-hundred-page books. This is a sensitive and accomplished collection.”


Alum Diana Lambert’s (fiction, ’01) short story, “That Your Reality Is The Only Reality,” was the third place winner in Glimmer Train’s September 2015 Family Matters Contest.


Alum Elisabeth Hamilton (fiction, ’13) has a short story, “Grown-up Behaviors” published in the  Winter 2015 issue of The Cincinnati Review (available in print).

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