A clip from Brooks Haxton’s lecture at the summer 2012 residency, “Images, Figures and Levels of Meaning”:

Brooks is the author of They Lift Their Wings to Cry (2008, Knopf).  Visit the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers website to purchase past lectures on compact disc or by instant download.

Friends of Writers would like to remind MFA program alumni of the Reading Series project.  Through this project, Friends of Writers offers small grants of $100 to alumni to support already-planned readings to promote new publications.


  • Grants of $100 will be made to alumni to support already-planned readings to promote new books
  • Because the spirit of this project is to share resources with as many alumni as possible, each alum is eligible for one mini-grant per publication
  • A publication is defined as a chapbook or book
  • Within one week after the event, recipients must submit an Event Report (template provided)
  • As possible FoW board members will attend readings
  • FoW will give out 15 grants in the first 6 months of the grant year and 15 in the second half
  • When FoW sends you a check, we’ll also be sending materials about the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson and about FoW’s work (e.g. the Holden Scholarship)

Friends of Writers requests that:

  • You list FoW as a co-host of the reading
  • You create a space at the reading to share information about the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson and about FoW, including – if possible – a laptop open to our website
  • You share a list of attendees with us so we can tell them more about FoW’s work to support students and alumni of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson.

Questions or comments or to get an application: contact [email protected]

The Joan Beebe Graduate Teaching Fellowship Application Guidelines

Applications are now being accepted for the 2013/2014 Joan Beebe Graduate Teaching Fellowship. The Beebe Fellowship is available to all alumni of the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers, including those who received the degree during the years the program was at Goddard College. Some teaching experience is required. This year’s Beebe Fellow will have a concentration in poetry and will teach the equivalent of five four-credit undergraduate courses in composition and creative writing, including the mixed-genre advanced MFA Residency/Workshop course, which is tied to the MFA Program’s winter residency. He or she will also have the option of co-supervising the undergraduate literary journal. The fellow will work under the supervision of the Director of the Creative Writing Program and will receive a stipend of $33,500 and full faculty benefits. On-campus housing for the fellow is available at a modest rental rate. Relocation assistance is also available.

An applicant should submit the following:

  • a letter of application which discusses
  • teaching philosophy, especially in relation to a work college’s undergraduates
  • relevant teaching experience
  • areas of expertise and interest in writing and literature, including experience and confidence teaching in multiple genres
  • a sketch of a possible semester-long writing course in the applicant’s genre
  • the relationship the applicant sees between his or her creative work and teaching
  • current writing projects
  • a current CV
  • a writing sample of no more than 25 pages

An applicant must also have three letters of recommendation addressing his or her experience/ potential as a teacher sent directly to the Program office. Letters of recommendation may not be submitted by members of the MFA Program’s Academic Board, which includes Joan Aleshire, Debra Allbery, Marianne Boruch, Robert Boswell, Liam Callanan, Reginald Gibbons, Jennifer Grotz, David Haynes, C.J. Hribal, Kevin McIlvoy, Debra Spark, Peter Turchi, Ellen Bryant Voigt, and C. Dale Young.

While the fellowship may be received only once, previous applicants are encouraged to apply. Applications will be reviewed and finalists chosen by the Academic Board; advancing candidates will be interviewed by phone and/or brought to campus for interviews and a teaching demonstration. The final decision will be made by a committee of the Undergraduate Writing Program, with the approval of the Dean of the College.

Applications for the 2012/2013 academic year must be received by February 1, 2013. All application materials should sent to (electronic submissions are encouraged): [email protected] , indicating Beebe Fellowship Application in the subject line, or to Beebe Graduate Teaching Fellowship; c/o Debra Allbery, Director; MFA Program for Writers; PO Box 9000; Warren Wilson College; Asheville, NC 28815-9000.

A clip from Robert Cohen’s lecture at the summer 2012 residency, “Refer Madness: Writing in an Age of Allusion”:

Robert is the author of the novel Amateur Barbarians (2009, Scribner).  Visit the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers website to purchase past lectures on compact disc or by instant download.

From alumni Patrick Donnelly (poetry, ’03):
It’s that time of year again: we’ll be adding updates to the Alumni Bibliography, so please email me about any recent book publications.
Include, in this order please:
(1) your full name
(2) the name of your book
(3) the name of your publisher
(4) year of publication, and
(5) specify poems, novel, short fiction, nonfiction, etc. (You may also include books such as anthologies that you have edited.)
(6) the year and genre in which you graduated.
Please send updates to me at [email protected], and put ALUMNI BIBLIOGRAPHY in the subject line. If you know of publications by alumni who are not on the list, please encourage them to get in touch with me, or send me what information you have.
The alumni bibliography (currently updated twice a year) is accessible from a link on the WWC MFA website:
If you are unsure whether your new publication is included in the bibliography, please check it before sending me the information.
Thanking you in advance,

To the class of summer of 2012 for their generous donation of $20,090.  This record-setting class gift, presented at the summer 2012 graduation ceremony of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson, will help Friends of Writers sustain and extend its work in support of the students, faculty and alumni of the program.

Speaking on behalf of the class of Summer ’12, Ellen McCulloch-Lovell pledged that the class will continue to add to this outstanding contribution.  Join them in this important work by clicking on the “DONATE” button at the top of this page.

MFA Program Director Debra Allbery’s opening remarks from the summer 2012 residency:

[The talk opens with the first two verses of “Swannanoa Tunnel,” as performed by Bascom Lamar Lunsford. A sample is available here.]


“Swannanoa Tunnel,” also known as “Asheville Junction,” has a mixed ancestry: the local grafted onto the mythic. Cecil Sharp, a British folksong collector, documented it when he traveled through Buncombe and Madison counties in 1916-18.  The isolation of these mountains made the area a rich repository of songs handed down from English and Scots-Irish ancestors—indeed, Sharp initially thought he’d happened upon a lost tribe of Elizabethans—and so he believed the song was an old English tune, mishearing the western North Carolina accent and transcribing Tunnel as Town-O, and hoot-owl as hoodow.  But it was, of course, a work song, a collaborative and communal blues ballad—a John Henry variant with new verses layered onto its nine-pound hammer base, composed by the convict labor that spent two years digging the Swannanoa Tunnel in the late 1870s.  At 1822 feet, this tunnel was the longest of seven struck by hand through these mountains to connect Asheville by railway with the outside world. Between 150 and 300 men died in the process; it’s thought that the particular cave-in referred to in the song happened in 1879, when 27 of the workers were killed.

Bascom Lamar Lunsford was a teacher, a country lawyer, a seller of fruit trees, a festival impresario, and ballad collector with a prodigious memory.  He was born in 1882 near Turkey Creek, NC –what is now Leicester, just north of Asheville, and as a young man he traveled around western North Carolina, and later into Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia, gathering the old ballads and their attendant stories.  In 1949 the Library of Congress brought him to Washington to record over 300 songs and his stories of their provenance from his “Memory Collection”—the largest single collection drawn from any individual for their American folksong archive.

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Hey Everyone,

A final shout-out, and then you won’t have me kicking you around any more: Final drop-dead end-of-the-line you’ll-be-sorry-if-you-don’t deadline to register for this year’s Goddard/Warren Wilson Post-MFA Writing Conference is this Friday, June 29. No late fee.

You’ve heard it all — the nightly readings, the good friends, the new friends, the new *readers,* the time to write, the workshops, Fiction Roundtable, Poetry Manuscript Reviews (yes, there are two of them this year), the dance, and so far it looks like: a caucus titled “The Writer who Loves Printed Books in the Digital Age,” a panel on doing (historical and other) research for fiction/non-fiction/poetry, classes “Creative Nonfiction: Boundaries and Ethics,” “Merry Christmas to Me: the Decision to Self-Publish,” one on Midwestern Gothic in poetry, and Marcia Pelletiere will be offering “more of an Experiment than a Class…I’ve worked with a group dream process for over 25 years, and it has occurred to me that some aspects of that process might provide an interesting way to work with imagery in a collaborative setting.” Have an image or character or setting you’re working on currently? Bring it on down to the rest of us, “Something like opening a window in a stuffy room….” And more in the works.

Don’t kick yourself for waiting till next year; email your intentions to [email protected] and then register and pay, electronically or by snail-mail.  Info and links at:

Friends of Writers: Conference Info

Teach a class, take a nap, write a poem, get up too early and go bird watching, take another nap and then write another poem. And Dance, if you like.

See you there.

Peter Klank
Fiction ’85

From Peter Klank (fiction, ’85), 2012 Post-MFA Conference coordinator:

Hi everyone,

As I hope you’ve all seen, we’ve got a fantastic group coming to the conference this year, with several more signed up since I sent out the list. However, we really hope to get a few more attendees (we’re at 33 right now), so I’m happy to announce that the Conference Committee has voted to waive the $100 late fee for this year. In addition, the drop-dead deadline of June 23 has been extended to (postmarked) Friday, June 29.

You know you’ve wanted to come; take the plunge. Where else are you going to get the kind of time, focus, and attention to your work that you’ll get here? We’ve got people signed up for Fiction and Poetry Workshops and Manuscript Review (longer poetry collections) and Fiction Roundtable (longer fiction works). Or just hang out with a bunch of writers, a bunch of Wallys, as a matter of fact.

Click here for more information about the conference.

If you think you’ll be signing up, it would be great if you’d drop me a line at [email protected].

Really, are you seriously still sitting on the fence?

Good writing; see you in August.

The Summer 2012 MFA residency is almost here!  We’ll be posting public reading and lecture schedules soon.  In the meantime here’s Program Director Debra Allbery’s opening remarks from last January, which may just inspire you to revisit that lonely piece which has been languishing in your ‘drafts’ folder, waiting for your kind attention:


This talk begins with a stairway in Florence, in the Laurentian library which Giulio d’Medici commissioned Michelangelo to build in 1525.  He worked on the library’s vestibule and reading room for about ten years before he left for Rome.  Although Michelangelo himself wasn’t involved the stairway’s actual construction, it was built according to his specific written instructions and a clay model he’d made.  It was a marvel both in its reintroduction of architectural elements from the past, as well as in its originality and innovation. Giorgio Vasari, who not only chronicled the lives of the artists of the time but was one of those who built the stairway, wrote, “He made such strange breaks in the design of the steps and he departed in so many details and so widely from normal practice that everyone was astonished” (680).

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