Category Archives: M.F.A. in Creative Writing

In the News: Jacqueline Kirkpatrick

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Jacqueline Kirkpatrick (MFA 2015) has news for us:

Hobart http://www.hobartpulp.com/ just informed me that my creative nonfiction piece “Alive” will be published in the next two weeks!

Be sure to look for Jacqueline’s piece and leave a comment if you enjoyed it.

Have you got news to share with the English Department community? Use the form to share your updates about publications, jobs, fellowships, awards etc.

 

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In the News: Jessie Serfilippi

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Jessie Serfilippi (BA English 2015, MFA Creative Writing, December 2018) has some news for us:

I’m excited to share news of my upcoming publication. My essay, “Under the Cover of Breeches and Bayonet,” is being published this November in the forthcoming anthology, FIERCE: ESSAYS BY AND ABOUT DAUNTLESS WOMEN, published by Nauset Press. I will be taking part in a reading for the anthology on December 15th at Soho20 Gallery in Brooklyn, from 2-4pm.

Nauset Press: https://www.nausetpress.com/
Soho20 Gallery: http://soho20gallery.com/

Have you got news for us? Be sure to let us toot your horn by using the form here on the website! We want to know what our students, faculty and alumni are doing.

In the News: Ryan Gangemi

Ryan Gangemi (MFA 2008)

Since leaving St. Rose, Ryan Gangemi has become an English Professor in his own right, working at Adirondack Community College, where he teaches courses in creative writing, and at Schenectady County Community College. Even more exciting, he’s recently become a filmmaker, directing his first film, which he also wrote, one year ago. “The Second Loss” tells the story of a married couple struggling to understand the new parameters of their relationship when their young daughter is left comatose in a household accident. The film has been accepted into The Long Island International Film Expo, The Niagara Falls International Film Festival, Albany’s New York State International Film Festival, and won “Best in Fest” at Glens Falls’ first ever GEM Film Festival. Gangemi has just begun work on his fourth film, “Imperfect Goddesses”, which he hopes will be making the Festival Circuit early next year.

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Congratulations to Jackie Craven!

A member of our MFA family, Jackie Craven, has been chosen as the Omnidawn 2014 Fabulist Fiction Prize Winner! Her winning manuscript, Our Lives Became Unmanageable, was selected by Kate Bernheimer, and will be published in fall of 2016. Congratulations, Jackie!

Barbara Ungar Reading May 21

College of Saint Rose English Professor Barbara Ungar will read from her work at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany on Thursday, May 21 at 7:30PM.

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Barbara Ungar has published four books of poetry, most recently Immortal Medusa and Charlotte Brontë, You Ruined My Life, both Hilary Tham selections from The Word Works. Her prior books are Thrift and The Origin of the Milky Way, which won the Gival Press Poetry Award, a silver Independent Publishers award, a Hoffer award, and the Adirondack Center for Writing poetry award. She is also the author of several chapbooks and Haiku in English. She has published poems in Salmagundi, Rattle, The Nervous Breakdown, and many other journals. A professor of English at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, she coordinates their new MFA program. For more information, please see Barbaraungar.net.

The event also includes an open mic.

Sign-up starts at 7:00PM, with the reading beginning at 7:30.

The suggested donation is $3.00.

Interview: Samson Dikeman on Gregory Pardlo

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Gregory Pardlo (left) with Samson Dikeman (M.F.A. ’15).

In spring 2014 poet Gregory Pardlo was a visiting writer on campus teaching a graduate class in poetry.  This spring we celebrate Pardlo winning the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

As graduation approaches, we interview M.F.A. graduate Samson Dikeman.  Samson not only took the class, but he also was able to have Pardlo as one of the readers for his thesis in poetry.

Gregory Pardlo was a visiting writer at The College of Saint Rose and you took his class. How do you think his insight and teaching techniques affected or changed your work?  

Greg Pardlo was a wonderful teacher to have.  I think the thing I took away from his class more than anything else is the realization that you must challenge yourself on every word in your poem.  You have to ask if the word is right for for the poem and if not, replace it.  It helped me cut out a lot of fluff in my poems.

What made you choose Pardlo to be one of your readers for your thesis?  

I chose Pardlo as one of my readers because of his expertise.  You get the sense when you work with him that he has a tremendous gift for reading poetry and identifying what is making it tick.  He knows the right questions to ask and I felt like I needed that for my thesis project.

How did the news of Pardlo receiving the Pulitzer affect you?  How did you feel? What were your thoughts?

When I found out that Pardlo won the Pulitzer, I was like a giddy schoolgirl (If that’s still PC); it was amazing.  I went around and started telling everyone about it.  It’s such a great honor for him.  Digest is a wonderful book; I’m very happy for him.

Do you have any poems of Pardlo’s that you would recommend a reader check out?

As far as poems to read, definitely check out Digest from Four Way Books .  As far as individual poems, I love “Problema 4” from Digest and “Written By Himself,” which was published in Best American Poetry 2010 and can be read online.

Notes from Minneapolis – An AWP Interview

Welcome back students and faculty from your trip to the 2015 AWP Conference held in Minneapolis, Minnesota!  Thanks so much for representing our department and The College of Saint Rose!

We asked students about conference, and here are some fun facts, photos, and thoughts from the trip!
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What was your favorite part about AWP? 

Sarah Sherman: The Write Bloody Super Poetry Party Showcase of Sweetness. Specifically, hearing Sarah Kay.

Amber O’Sullivan: The poetry readings and getting to talk to the poets after and get better acquainted with their work and writing process and selves.

Alyssa Cohorn: So many samples of literary magazines to take home! Not only are they great for airplane reading material, but you can really get a sense of where your writing could fit in and where it definitely doesn’t.

Samson Dikeman: The bookfair and the chaos of it.  I love that people will jump out at you and offer you free books and pens.

What was your least favorite part about AWP?

Sarah Sherman: Hearing uncontrollable laughter from a writer when she was told my thesis was a collection of essays written in the second person. (This was also a great moment, too, because it gave me a needed push to show people that maybe I can do this…and do it well. But, in reality, I’m sensitive, and it scared me.)

Amber O’Sullivan: Too much happening. Panels, booths, ahhh writers!

Alyssa Cohorn: Bar tabs.

Samson Dikeman: The weather.  It got much better, but a few of us walked to the conference in the rain one day.  It snowed another day.

Did you get to meet any authors that have inspired you?

Sarah Sherman: I met Sarah Kay, a poet, who is inspiring as a female writer.

Amber O’Sullivan: Yes! I met Joy Harjo and Simon Ortiz and got their autographs while my heart exploded a little from the inside out.

Alyssa Cohorn: Several. And I met some new authors that are now great inspirations.

Samson Dikeman: I got to hear some really amazing poets at the Write Bloody reading.

What were some of the panels you attended?  Thoughts on those?

Sarah Sherman: The most helpful panel I went to was called “Yes, Writing Is a Job: People Who Get Paid to Write.” It opened my eyes to different opportunities after getting an MFA and panelists provided helpful resources for finding these jobs.

Amber O’Sullivan: I went to “Character IS Plot, Plot IS Character” which was okay. The writers had a lot of varying advice that was sometimes contradicting though. I went to Post MFA tips as well which was worse since it was basically four people saying that you won’t have anything post MFA unless you get a residency, grant or fellowship. Thanks guys.

Alyssa Cohorn: I attended one on what to do after getting your MFA, and it amounted to an extended infomercial for people’s grants or weird artist colonies. I suggest finding out where your inspirations are talking and going from there.

Samson Dikeman: I made it through 14 minutes of one panel which was a record for me.  I don’t know what it is about the panels but I have a tough time staying focused while I’m there.

Favorite booth/journal?  Why?

Sarah Sherman: No Tokens Journal.  They were my favorite because they engaged with me the most. I got to speak with the nonfiction editor and asked her specific questions about my own work, which was encouraging. I plan to submit to them asap.

Amber O’Sullivan: Write Bloody because they were super fun to chill with and visit and they publish some of my favorite poets.

Alyssa Cohorn: Barrelhouse  was really cool and gave me a tiny plastic monkey.

Samson Dikeman: My favorite booth was the Write Bloody/University of Hell press booth.  I really enjoy the authors they put out.

What are your thoughts on Minneapolis?

Sarah Sherman: Unlike some of the others I traveled with, I wasn’t too impressed with Minneapolis. I’m sure a lot of it had to do with the day after day grayness in the sky (we got sun on our final days, thank God.) I always enjoy traveling to new places, though, so I don’t regret coming. I did have some tasty meals, so I guess that’s a plus.

Amber O’Sullivan: I love this city. Friendly, happy, interesting people, lots of dogs, weather is wild, fun bars, great restaurants, loving it.

Alyssa Cohorn: I LOVE THIS CITY. It’s weird, the weather is bizarre, and I’m still not sure I understand what a light rail is, but it was a good time and the people are overly friendly.

Samson Dikeman: Minneapolis is an interesting city with a seemingly inordinate amount of sex shops.  Other than that observation, I found it to be a charming city with some extremely kind and generous people.

Any tips or tricks about surviving a 3 day conference filled with writers and publishers?

Sarah Sherman: Be brave. Don’t let the intimidation of being around 11,000 people trying to do the same thing you are stop you from enjoying yourself.

Amber O’Sullivan: Deep breaths, network your ass off. Talk about your writing to these people, make an impression, and talk to these writers about writing!

Alyssa Cohorn: Bring comfy shoes; get ready to ask the same questions a lot, and pack enough concealer to hide your exhaustion.

Samson Dikeman: You have to take breaks and give yourself space in order to survive AWP.  There is so much energy (creative and otherwise) that you’ll get worn out if you don’t take naps.

Lee Geiselmann: Take it really slow. Don’t try to do everything in one day. Only go to 2 panels a day, but have a few backup panels to attend in case the ones you want to go to aren’t really what you want to see. Go to the readings at night.

Describe AWP in one word.

Sarah Sherman: Overwhelming

Alyssa Cohorn: Overwhelming.

Samson Dikeman: Dynamic.

Lee Geiselmann: Inspiring.

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