The 40th Anniversary Reading Podcast!

 

Episode 150: 40th Anniversary Reading from the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College

(Warren Wilson MFA Faculty and Alumni) Founded in 1976 by Ellen Bryant Voigt as the nation’s first low-residency program, the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College has counted some of the country’s finest poets and fiction writers among its faculty and graduates. Continuing a tradition started by the program at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, NC—The Fastest Reading in the World—hour readers will be joined by other Warren Wilson MFA faculty and alumni in attendance to celebrate four decades of literary achievement.

Recorded in Los Angeles, April 1, 2016

Published Date: July 19, 2017

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Short bios of our faculty and alumni readers:

(Pronunciation guide available upon request!)(jk/lol)

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Graduation Remarks by Alan Shapiro

  Warren Wilson Commencement Address   7/14/17

To our amazing class of graduates, and to their devoted, forbearing, patient and generous parents, children, spouses and friends, I want to begin by saying how privileged I am to be up here to officially congratulate you all on this happy day of celebration. This achievement surely belongs to all of you. Think back, beloved graduates, to the day you announced to your families your intention to pursue an MFA, or even further back when you revealed to them your passion for writing. In my case, I was sixteen years old when I let slip to my parents that I intended to make my way in the world as a poet. I come from a long line of MD’s, not doctors, but meat dealers. You can imagine how my parents took the news. My father said, “A what?” as if I’d just announced plans to become a shepherd or a male belly dancer. “A poet.” I said. I want to write poetry for a living. Was I joking? Was I trying to disprove the stereotype that all Jews make money? Didn’t I realize I wouldn’t make enough to buy a pair of slippers. I said something to the effect that making enough isn’t what I want from life. My dad shot back, “Then be a lawyer for god’s sake, you’ll make more than enough!” Your families, I’m sure, weren’t quite as nonplussed as mine. For here they all are, today, not just to applaud your achievement, how far you’ve come, how hard you’ve worked, but to give you hope and courage for the marathon you’re about to run.

The undeniable and irreducibly unique abilities that got you accepted to this program in the first place have now been challenged, cajoled, goaded, and “annotated” into what I think of as the two ingredients indispensable to a writer’s life: humility and arrogance, humility that acknowledges the need to never stop learning, and the arrogance that assumes you’ll always be smart enough to learn anything that someone else is smart enough to teach you. Above and beyond refinements of craft, this program has taught you that writing is itself a life long non-degree conferring program from which there is no graduation, and that the longer you work at the art we love, the more of a beginner you become. As graduates of Warren Wilson, you have now officially entered the Ground Hog Day Academy of the writing world, in which everyone’s a permanent freshman and every day’s the first day of class.

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Library of Congress, “Life of a Poet: Dana Levin”

Poetry faculty Dana Levin appears in The Life of a Poet series from The Library of Congress.

 

To watch on the Library of Congress YouTube channel, click here.

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“Tandem Ride” by Goldie Goldbloom (fiction, ’11)

A story from Goldie Goldbloom (fiction, ’11) appears in Ploughshares:

 

Tandem Ride

 

Gneshel liked Rabbi Spitz right from the start. He reminded her of a frog. Though he was eight inches shorter than her, had a lazy eye and a metastasizing bald patch, she liked him. Experience had taught her that he was unlikely to reciprocate the feeling. Orange juice and autumn leaves should taste the same, valentines and blood. She thought it was probably her frizzy hair or her missing fingers or her obscene posture that had put people off until now, but she was quietly confident that a day would come when she would be loved.

She didn’t bother with mirrors and suspected that they talked to one another, passing along warnings: “Pull yourself together, honey! Old Ugly-guts is on her way.” [. . . continue reading here.]

 

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Congratulations, Class of July, 2017!

The MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College

Class of July 2017:

Mark Elber (poetry)

Esme Franklin (poetry)

Sarah Gauch (fiction)

Amy Lin (fiction)

Leigh Lucas (poetry)

Trish Marshall (poetry)

Micah Matthews (fiction)

Amanda Newell (poetry)

Tiana Nobile (poetry)

Laura Otis (fiction)

Andrew Peterson (fiction)

Maya Phillips (poetry)

Blake Reemstma (poetry)

Susan Jo Russell (poetry)

David Saltzman (fiction)

Nomi Stone (poetry)

Peter Schireson (poetry)

CONGRATULATIONS, WRITERS!

 

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