MFA Residency Public Lecture and Reading Schedule – Friday, January 12

Public Lectures: Friday, January 12

In Canon Lounge, Gladfelter

Friday, January 12                                                  MAURICE MANNING: How to Build a Haunted
10:00 AM  Fellowship Hall                         House: Or, Tell Me a Story About Farming, Ceremony, and Poetry in Motion         
Longer, ambitious poems, while stunning in their presentation and apparent singularity, are nevertheless composed of smaller elements.  These smaller elements, whether the metrical line, a conventional stanza, a free-verse arrangement of lines, or simply an accumulation of lines followed by open space on the page, constitute poetic form, in general terms.  A sonnet or a villanelle is a specific form.  This lecture is interested in discussing poetic form more broadly, and implies the notion that form is not simply an arrangement of material, but is, in fact, a living thing, a generative feature of the poem itself.  To make elements of a poem consciously formal is a ceremonial act, it sets them apart and signals their importance.  The formal elements of a poem are not merely stately, however; they become vital, and are therefore always in motion, shifting and hovering and resonating beyond the static meaning of words.  There is a vibrant living thing below or above the poem, in other words, and this lecture is an attempt to articulate that fact!  This poetic fact finds a kindred spirit in farming, namely, the pasturing of livestock and the required motions of a healthy farm.  Farmers and farm-familiar poets will be invoked.  Our primary text will be Robert Penn Warren’s long poem, Audubon: A Vision.  Those attending this lecture will be invited to read this poem in advance, but relevant sections of it, and the complete versions of other poems discussed will be provided.

Public Graduating Student Readings
Friday, January 12—4:30 PM, Fellowship Hall; followed by graduation ceremony

Sonya Larson, Carlos Andres Bates-Gómez, Kristin Hewitt, Meghan Williams

MFA Residency Public Lecture and Reading Schedule -Thursday, January 11

Public Lectures: Thursday, January 11
In Canon Lounge, Gladfelter

Thursday, January 11                                CHRISTINE KITANO:  Where the Persona Poem
9:30 AM                                                         Meets Research: Aesthetic and Historical Demands                                                           

In this lecture, we’ll consider how to balance both historical and aesthetic demands when writing persona poems, particularly when those personae are historically marginalized speakers. Such poems fuse both the personal and political. How does the poet utilize historical research to shape such a voice? How does the poet balance the necessities of presenting the historical contexts with creating a dramatic arc? How does the poet, in the span of a brief lyric or narrative sequence, create a full and responsive voice? Reference points will include Rita Dove’s Thomas and Beulah, Lee Ann Roripaugh’s Beyond Heart Mountain, and notes from Carl Dennis’s Poetry as Persuasion. Handouts will be provided.

 Thursday, January 11                                LESLEY NNEKA ARIMAH:  The Outcast as Central
10:45 AM                                                      Character: How Characters Who Break the Rules Become a Prism into Your World  

In this lecture we will explore the power of the outcast to fully render your world, whether that world is realistic or fantastic (but especially fantastic). The term “outcast” as deployed here can take many forms, from characters excluded for minor social flubs to characters fighting to bring down entire systems. The character’s goal isn’t the point, but the manner in which they move through their world to accomplish it. Most likely texts: “Somebody’s Baby” by Diane Cook. Borne by Jeff VanderMeer, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

Public Readings by Graduating Students

Thursday, January 11—Fellowship Hall, behind Ransom Chapel, 8:15 p.m.
Kate Kaplan, Robin Rosen Chang, Kate Lister Campbell, Shannon Winston

Request for Volunteers at AWP 2018

Request for Volunteers at AWP 2018

The MFA Program for Writers will once again have a table at the AWP Conference. This year’s gathering will be held in Tampa, Florida. The Bookfair is open Thursday, March 7 to Saturday, March 10, from 9:00 to 5:00. We seek volunteers in one- or two-hour shifts, to answer questions from prospective students and to talk about their experience in the MFA program.

If you’re coming to AWP and are able to donate some time toward staffing our table, please contact alumna Alison Powell (Fiction, 2010;, or via FaceBook), February 20 with specifics about your availability. Allison will coordinate the schedule and will be back in touch with you to confirm.

Our thanks in advance for your assistance. As one of our recent print ads stated, “Our graduates are our best advertisement.” Your many successes—and your abiding enthusiasm for our program—provide impressive evidence of what the Warren Wilson MFA yields and makes possible for our lives as writers.