Tag Archives: College of Saint Rose

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.

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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.

Daniel Nester on W. Bliem Kern: Check it out!

Just up on Poetry Foundation’s website is Daniel Nester’s appreciation of Meditations, W. Bliem Kern’s sound poetry book/cassette collection from 1974.
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If you want to read (and see/hear) more about Daniel Nester’s interest in W. Bliem Kern – check out his blog post!

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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Congrats to MFA student Juliet Barney! Plus an interview!

Congratulations to MFA student Juliet Barney for receiving a graduate research grant.  Juliet plans to use the grant money for traveling expenses to Lake Placid to research the setting for her thesis novel.  To celebrate her accomplishment we decided to do an interview with her to get more information on the grant and the writing process!

First, congrats on receiving a graduate research grant!  What do you plan on doing with the grant? 

One of the main issues I’ve faced while working through my thesis is differentiating it from other realistic young adult novels. Capturing the essence of teenagers is a difficult task and for my novel, I’m aiming to portray a realistic view of the modern teenager growing up in a small town–specifically, Lake Placid–where I grew up. But, I’m seven years removed from that specific lifestyle and I’m going to use the grant to conduct hands-on research with current students.

I’m working with English teachers at the high school, coordinating dates and times where I will go in and guest teach classes – introduce creative writing, share my experience with writing, and conducting interviews with students about their current experiences. I’ll be simultaneously gathering information to personalize my novel to the small town experience while spreading the knowledge I’ve gained during my time at Saint Rose.

You have been working on your thesis this semester.  Now that the semester is coming to a close do you have any advice for students on time management, the process of writing the thesis, or any other helpful hints that they might use when facing this big task toward graduation?

The process of writing my thesis has been a completely eye-opening experience. It’s not like I’m writing a paper for class that will go into an electronic file, never to be seen again. This is something that I will, hopefully, publish once I’m finished. So, it’s less like school work, and more like a glimpse of what post-grad life will be like. As a result, I was forced to abandon my usual dance of procrastination and figure out what time management even meant.

I set a strict schedule, like it was a real job. I woke up every morning at 7am, made a cup of coffee, and forced myself to write three pages a day until I reached my page goal. Now, I follow the same schedule, but instead of adding three pages, I revise a scene every day.

Creating a set schedule was my saving grace. It forced me to move forward at a steady rate allowing me an enormous amount of time for revisions. Otherwise, I would still be writing in circles, playing catch up.

Now that you have been entrenched in the thesis writing process have you found any new authors or books that helped you in your research of the young adult novel?

Researching young adult novels has proven rather difficult. Essentially, my only resource is current YA fiction. The status of YA lit is widely debated. Many critics don’t believe it should be considered a literary genre, because it’s not worthy of criticism. So there isn’t a lot of of scholarly texts specific to writing YA lit. It’s forced me to get a little creative in which books to read and what fiction techniques work for YA, which is why hands-on research is so important for the creation of my novel. The research grant will really help in this aspect.

What are your post-graduation plans? 

I want to write and write and write until I’ve said everything I’ve ever wanted to say. 

What do you think you will miss the most from your experiences at the College of Saint Rose?

I’ll miss the relationships. I’ll miss my professors and their willingness to help me work through any professional woes. I’ll miss my classmates with whom I’ve formed lifetime bonds with and I’ll miss the barista at Starbucks who has memorized my order.

It’s not that these relationships will disintegrate when I walk across the stage, but I won’t be able to experience the daily community atmosphere. I spent seven years at Saint Rose working towards this ultimate goal and I’ll miss the community that helped me get to this point.

MFA Student Juliet Barney

MFA Student Juliet Barney

Event Announcement: “The Colored American Project: African American Print, Materiality and Digital Archives”

“The Colored American Project: African American Print, Materiality and Digital Archives”

Join CREST as Dr. Eurie Dahn and Dr. Brian Sweeney, both from the Department of English and CREST Residential Fellows, 2014-2015; present their joint digital humanities project about how they are creating a curated digital archive of the Colored American periodical.

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March 30, 2015

5:00 PM

Free

Location: Carondelet Symposium, Lally School of Education, 1009 Madison Ave.

Brian Sweeney’s Bio and Research Statement

Eurie Dahn’s Bio and Research Statement

Upcoming Event: MFA student Sarah Sherman reading

College of Saint Rose student Sarah Michelle Sherman will read from her work at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany on Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 7:30PM.

Sarah Michelle Sherman is a writer, teacher, bartender, graduate student pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at The College of Saint Rose, and managing editor of Pine Hills Review. Her work has appeared in Nailed MagazinePloughshares OnlineThe Helix, and Decades Review. She is also a contributing writer for Albany’s alternative newspaper, Metroland.

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.