Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New Poetry Books from AU Faculty & Staff

Ashland University MFA Program faculty and staff have had an active year with many new publications announced.  Four new poetry books by AU faculty and staff have been published in 2012.

Morning, Winter Solstice
Deborah Fleming

"Winter solstice marks the annual moment of the earth's turn from loss and darkness and its slow, incrememntal re-dedication to light and life. Similarly the poems in Deborah Fleming's Morning, Winter Solstice acknowledge the often devastating impact man has had on the landscape while they crystallize those instances of nature's steadfast reclamation. The act of naming preserves and transforms; names of plants, birds, places encode whole histories and mythologies. In these poems of witness and warning, Deborah Fleming names with specificity that is itself an act of restoration and an affirmation of vitality and place." - Christine M. Gelineau

"Deborah Fleming's poems evoke through nuanced detail the disasters - familial, racial, colonial, ecological - that represent our pernicious heritage, and, simultaneously, the pioneering courage and the natural burgeoning that are equally our birthright. Despite the wreck we've made of things, Fleming reminds us that the earth restores itself and in its exquisite dailiness restores us to ourselves. The stain and the redemption: Deborah Fleming's poems bear clear-eyed witness to both." - Nathalie F. Anderson

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The Last Sacred Place in North America
Stephen Haven, Director

T. R. Hummer says that "Stephen Haven is a poet of incisive discipline deployed in the service of a passionate humanistic ethos. Every word in this collection reflects concern: concern for humanity, and concern for language, humanity's best hope. Global in vision, this worried book is unflinching, yet hopeful, yielding up a world in which 'Your own caesurae, / Your own circumference, / Is the shell of a missing animal. / You pull it tight around you like a cloak. . . . '"
 
"Stephen Haven's The Last Sacred Place in North America celebrates human experience as an ongoing act of translation: between silence and language, inner and outer space, child and adult, life and death, Beijing and Heartland. Like the forbearers he invokes - Ishmael and Henry Adams - the speaker of these poems embarks on an 'errand into the wilderness' only to find himself exploring the thickets within. Haven's poems movingly evoke our shared 'sheared experience' as they delineate the landscape of the human heart: our 'last sacred place.'" - Angie Estes
 
 
 
Miraculum
Ruth L. Schwartz
 
"Ruth L. Schwartz has reached a level of poetic maturity that we’re used to seeing only in the best of our American poetry… reaching after and trying to understand the natural world and her place therein, and modulating her poems with a subtle, ghostly music which has the capacity to lull us into understanding more about ourselves and about the wonderful ambiguities of living life most fully." – Bruce Weigl
 
"This numinous, deep-hearted collection explores the redemptive quality of love – and its ability to hold even the hardest facts of physical life, disability and death in its enormous arms. These are generous poems. They deliver that most amazing of gifts: a faith that can be trusted, because it is not blind." – Alison Luterman
 
 
 
Pruning Burning Bushes
Sarah M. Wells, Administrative Director
 
"Wells has been granted—and she knows it—the grace to eat life right down to the seed, where the joy of the mystery lies, and the peace that passes understanding. Deft and inventive with strict form, with ambitious narrative, and with the poignant perspective that, when called for, comes of becoming a small child, Wells equally thrives on the merest simplisms of faith, on the densest meditation, and above all on her experience of full humanity, turning all to stunningly cogent advantage." - Sydney Lea

"Where Suburbans 'honk and veer' behind a neighbor's combine and Jesus walks into a bar to play pool with farmers, the poems of Sarah Wells study those juxtapositions of the urban and the rural, the wild and the agrarian which we live with in this country often without noticing. She notices and responds with the empathy of Theodore Roethke for the vulnerable non-human world and the visionary understanding of St. John of Patmos who knew a sign when he saw one. It is a pleasure to read a book of poetry dedicated to 'spirits reckless with praise and the need to be filled.'" - Mark Jarman
 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Calls for Submissions - June 2012

Each month, the Ashland MFA Program receives calls for submissions and contest deadlines, which it publicizes in its monthly newsletter. Listed below are this month's calls for submissions.

J.C. Hallman, Post-Thesis Instructor 2012

Ashland welcomes J.C. Hallman this summer as one of two creative nonfiction post-thesis instructors.

Photo by Laura Migliorino
J.C. Hallman grew up in Southern California on a street called Utopia Road. He studied creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh, the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Hallman’s MFA thesis was titled “Utopia Road,” which was the name of a story later published in Hallman’s short story collection, The Hospital for Bad Poets.

Hallman’s nonfiction combines memoir, history, journalism, and travelogue, and has been compared to Alain de Botton and Bruce Chatwin. His first book, The Chess Artist, tells the story of Hallman’s friendship with chess player Glenn Umstead. His second, The Devil is a Gentleman, is an intellectual apprenticeship with philosopher William James. Hallman eventually realized that “Utopia Road” had exhausted neither his utopian heritage nor his interest and he wrote his third book of nonfiction, In Utopia, which explores the history of utopian thought and literature in the context of visits to six modern utopias in various stages of realization.
Hallman has also edited an anthology, The Story About the Story, which proposes a new school of literary response – “creative criticism.”

For more information about J.C. Hallman, visit his website: http://jchallman.com

Friday, June 8, 2012

Announcing the 2013 Summer Residency Visiting Writers

The MFA Program is thrilled to announce its 2013 visiting writers: in poetry, Linda Gregerson and Alicia Ostriker, and in creative nonfiction, Brian Doyle and Cheryl Strayed.  Brian Doyle is an award-winning author, essayist, and editor of Portland Magazine.  Linda Gregerson is the author of four poetry collections, a National Book Award finalist and winner of the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Alicia Ostriker has written fourteen volumes of poetry and has twice been a finalist for the National Book Award. Cheryl Strayed is the New York Times bestselling author of the memoir Wild, which has been picked up by Oprah's Book Club 2.0 and has been optioned for film. For more about these esteemed writers, read on after the jump.