Tag Archives: M.F.A.

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

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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.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Writers: An Interview with M.F.A. Student Jacqueline Kirkpatrick

Welcome to another installment of WWTA.  Over the course of the semester, we’re going to be interviewing the writers who make up the first class of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

This week we talk to Jacqueline Kirkpatrick over email.  She received her B.A. in English from SUNY Albany in 2004.  Jacqueline was raised in “South of Albany” in a small town that “needs no mention as it’s any small town anywhere.”  She describes herself as “a student, writer, reader and mother.” Jacqueline writes a lot of poetry, short fiction, and creative non-fiction and is obsessed with the Beats. She can’t write unless she’s listening to music. “I love Coltrane, Ottis Redding, Sam  & Dave, and my favorite music to write to is the Grateful Dead. Oh, and I still use a typewriter.”

What drew you to the MFA program?

I have been stalking MFA programs for years.  I was afraid to commit and found a million reasons not to, but the biggest reason was that there was nothing near me.  I could do a low-res in VT or commute over an hour but neither of those options would work as I have a child, a full time job, and I like my schooling “in person”.  When Saint Rose announced their program I couldn’t help but jump at the chance. Continue reading

Graduate Course Descriptions Spring 2013

ENG 532 – Love & Marriage in 18th C. Comedy
Butler
Thursday 6:15-8:30
Readings in representative writers of the period, including Swift, Pope, Johnson, Sheridan, Radcliffe. Some discussion of historical contexts.

ENG 541 – Native American Literature
Rice
Monday 6:15-8:55
Critical reading and discussion of a variety of Native American texts from oral and written traditions. Readings will be situated in a variety of cultural contexts, ranging from Columbian contact to contemporary popular culture. Applicable critical lenses may be employed in student reading and research, including postcolonial, poststructural and emerging Native American critical theory. Writers studied will vary and may include transcriptions of oral texts as well as twentieth- century writers like Zitkala-Sa, McNickle, Momaday, Silko, Young Bear, Erdrich, Ortiz, Harjo, and Alexie. Fulfills a theory requirement.

Continue reading

What We Talk About When We Talk About Writers: An Interview With M.F.A. Student Sarah Sherman

Welcome to another installment of WWTA.  Over the course of the semester, we’re going to be interviewing the writers who make up the first class of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

This week we talk to Sarah Sherman over email. She currently is a server/bartender.  She loves her family and admits she doesn’t eat very healthy, “or exercise enough (at all)?” She also really likes Italian cookies, wishes she could travel more, and thinks her golden doodle Layla is cuter than any other dog in the world.

What drew you to the MFA program?

Since graduating from Ithaca College in 2008, I’ve thought about a few different MFA programs, but never felt a significant pull toward one or the other. I needed to be around the Albany area for family reasons and planned to take the next year to decide on where I wanted to go back to school. When I heard that Saint Rose was starting an MFA, I felt that pull. After meeting with Professor Nester and learning about the program, I knew it was where I needed to be. Continue reading

What We Talk About When We Talk About Writers: An Interview With MFA Student Alyssa Craig

Welcome to another weekly installment of WWTA. Over the course of the semester, we’re going to be interviewing the writers who make up the first class of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. This week we corresponded with Alyssa Craig through email. Alyssa graduated with her MA from Saint Rose in 2006. She lives in Schenectady with her husband and three dopey cats in a house that used to be a model-railroad shop. In addition to being a student, Alyssa is also an adjunct teacher, a credit union teller, a liquor store cashier (at her family’s store), a wine brand ambassador, a landlord, and a backup singer in a folk-rock-country-funk band.

With a schedule like hers, it’s a wonder she has time to write at all. She enjoys reading “non-alien” sci-fi and historical fiction.  Alyssa writes fiction because she “thoroughly enjoys making things up.” She once “accidently” trash-talked Lady Gaga in front of her band on the plane ride home from the U.K. She also tells terrible jokes.

 What drew you to the MFA program?

Honestly I’ve wanted to go for my MFA since I started grad school in 2003, but was “geographically” limited, so figured it wasn’t in the cards. Then I had this dream one night this past spring where I was looking for a book on my shelf and I saw a message scratched into its cover. It read: write it out write it out write it out write it out. A few days later I saw that the MFA program at Saint Rose had been approved. It just felt like I was meant to be here doing this. Continue reading

What We Talk About When We Talk About Writers: An Interview With M.F.A. Student Carol Jewell

Welcome to another installment of WWTA. Over the course of the semester, we’re going to be interviewing the writers who make up the first class of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. This week we corresponded with Carol H. Jewell over email. Carol received her B.A. in Russian Language and Literature. She has two masters degrees in Teaching English as a Second Language and in Information Science. She has worked at the University of Albany University Libraries since 1985.

What drew you to the MFA program?

I have been writing poetry forever, but was not encouraged to pursue this interest when I was growing up. I have other interests: languages, music, art, reading, which I’ve persued, but I’ve wanted to become a better poet, and the low-residency MFA programs turned out to be inconvenient for me. When St. Rose announced their new program, I applied immediately. Continue reading