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Creative Writing Program
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Creative Writing Program

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Welcome, prospective students! The application deadline for Fall 2015 admission to our MFA program is December 1, 2014.

For further details and instructions, click here.

We regret that Creative Writing Program faculty and staff are not available to meet one-on-one with prospective applicants. If you have admissions questions that are not addressed by the Frequently Asked Questions section
then please email Holly Vanderhaar or creawrit@umn.edu. Due to the high volume of inquiries we receive, we are unfortunately unable to return long distance phone calls regarding admissions.



The Creative Writing Program is pleased to welcome our newest faculty member, Kim Todd!

Kim Todd photo

Kim is the author of three books: Sparrow (Reaktion, 2012); Chrysalis, Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis (Harcourt, 2007); and Tinkering with Eden, A Natural History of Exotics in America (W.W. Norton, 2001). Her work has appeared in Orion, River Teeth, and Sierra Magazine, among other places, and has received the PEN/Jerard Award and the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award. She will be teaching literary nonfiction.


Creative Writing Program Spring 2014 Newsletter with news on faculty and student publications, current student projects, and more!

2014 Newsletter Cover

Past Newsletters
Creative Writing Program Spring 2013 Newsletter


We are happy to announce our incoming MFA Cohort for 2014!

Please welcome: D. Allen, Jonathan Atkinson, Carolyn Byrne, Jonathan Damery, Megan Gette, Roy Guzman, Jackie Hilgert, Wei Chung Hsu, Veronica Kavass, Matthew Taylor, Jordan Thomas, and Tim Zila.


Student News

Katie Rensch's video essay "A Mind of Winter" was selected for the 2014 MN TV showcase. Her film, in addition to an interview, will appear on public television this winter. Her poem "Apology for the Ladyslipper" is forthcoming in Luna Luna Mag. She is also the founder of SnailBooks Literary Library, set to launch this January.

Hunter Sharpless's first book, Song of the Fool: On the Road with Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers will be out October 30th. He has also had a flash essay, "The Fisherman," published online with Hobart. In addition, he wrote an essay about contemplative prayer and the evangelical church for Ethika Politika.

Elizabeth O'Brien, over the summer of 2014, had poems appear in Josephine Quarterly and Ampersand Review. She also has poems appearing in the new issue of Whiskey Island.

Nicky Tiso has an essay forthcoming in n+1's City by Series about his time spent in Williston, North Dakota for his Graduate Research Partnership Program Grant that he secured last summer. He also has a review of David Wolach's book of poetry, Hospitalogy, that will appear in Issue 7 of Tripwire.


Alumni News

A.T. Grant (2012) has a piece, "The Body," that has been anthologized in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2014. In addition, his multigenre novel, WAKE, will be published by Civil Coping Mechanisms in early 2015. Take a look at the cover!

Emily Bright (2008) has poetry that has recently appeared in Issue 13 (Science Poetry) of Eye to the Telescope with a poem titled "Discoveries" as well as in Issue 23 of Silver Blade Magazine with a poem titled "All worlds meet at Happy Nails." Additionally, she has poetry forthcoming in Weber-The Contemporary West.

Benjamin Doty (2010) has an essay, "The Cause," online at the Flagler Review.

Élreann Lorsung (2006), the founder and co-editor of MIEL Press and its accompanying print journal 111O has succeeded in securing and creating a residency space in Belgium for writers and artists. The residency, called Dickinson House, will be hosting a few persons in October and November and will open for general applications–including for fellowships–in December. They also offer resideinces to those with families. Read Élreann's own article about the residency here.

Zoë Miller (2014) has published a short story, "Wish Sandwiches," with Fields Magazine.

Merie Kirby (1996) has published her first collection of poems, The Dog Runs On, with Finishing Line Press. The collection explores the ways we manage the knowledge of the greater world by way of the harsh facts of an earthworm's life to genocide.


Faculty News

Madelon Sprengnether has two op-eds that have appeared in the Star Tribune, Where Poetry Lives: In Iran and Visiting Ground Zero with my Grandchildren.

Ray Gonzalez's new book of poetry, Soul Over Lightning, has just been published by the University of Arizona Press. He will read from it at the Minneapolis Central Library on November 8th at 7PM. The reading is part of BookMatch, a new series co-sponsored by the Hennepin County Library and The Loft. A review of Soul Over Lightning appears in the current issue of Booklist. His work is included in the newly released Best American Poetry 2014 (Scribners) and in Poems of the American South, edited by David Biespiel, the latest anthology in the Everyman's Library Pocket Poets series. His artwork is featured in the current issues of Caliban and Map Points. Poems and essays also appear in the new issues of The Drunken Boat, Terrain, Writing Disorder, Tammi, and The Hair Splitter.

Julie Schumacher's new comic novel Dear Committee Members has been published recently with Doubleday. It has been met with rave reviews and was listed on the New York Times bestsellers list. Her essay “Canyon,” published in Brain, Child magazine, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her essay “The Gristmill of Praise” was published by the Chronicle for Higher Education.

Ray Gonzalez's short fiction and poetry appear in three newly released anthologies–New Border Voices, edited by Brandon Shuler (Texas A&M University Press), Short: An International Anthology of Five Centuries of Short Short Stories, Prose Poems, Brief Essays, and Other Short Prose Forms, edited by Alan Zieglar (Persea Books), and 99 Poems for the 99 Percent, edited by Dean Rader (99: The Press, San Francisco). His poetry also appears in the new issues of Mi POesias and The Writing Disorder.


Fall 2014 Readings/Events

Jeff Sharlet
7 pm, Thursday, October 2, Upson Room, Walter Library

Jeff Sharlet writes literary nonfiction about religion and culture in the U.S., notably in the books Sweet Heaven When I Die (2011), The Family (2008), and, with Peter Manseau, Killing the Buddha (2004). His latest work, Radiant Truths (2014), gathers works from American writers on the subject of spirituality.

“This book belongs in the tradition of long-form, narrative nonfiction best exemplified by Joan Didion, John McPhee [and] Norman Mailer. Sharlet deserves a place alongside such masters.” – Washington Post

Stacey D'Erasmo
7 pm, Tuesday, October 14, Weisman Art Museum

Novelist Stacey D’Erasmo is the author most recently of Wonderland (2014), the tale of a fortysomething female rock star on the comeback trail. She has published three other novels. D’Erasmo also wrote a 2013 work of nonfiction, The Art of Intimacy: part of Graywolf Press’s “Art of” series on the craft of writing, edited by Charles Baxter.

“D’Erasmo brings us inside the music and the musician’s psyche in this transfixing song of a self evolving through discovery, loss, and renewal.” – Booklist

John Berryman at 100
October 24-26, Elmer L. Andersen Library, West Bank

A conference celebrating the life and work of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and longtime University of Minnesota professor John Berryman.

A recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, the poet John Berryman taught at the University of Minnesota from 1955 until his death in 1972. While at the U, Berryman published three major poetic works: Homage to Mistress Bradstreet (1956), 77 Dream Songs (1964), and His Toy, His Dream, His Rest (1968). The latter two were republished in 1969 as The Dream Songs, considered one of the most important collections of the 20th century. The conference will include readings featuring local and national poets, a panel discussion with Berryman’s former students, seminars discussing academic papers on Berryman, and more. Co-sponsored by the University Libraries. Free; registration required.

The Seventh Annual Benefit for Hunger, hosted by Charles Baxter and featuring Jess Row
7 pm, Monday, November 3, University Hall, McNamara Alumni Center

Free with suggested $5 donation to benefit Second Harvest Heartland

Guest reader Jess Row joins Creative Writing faculty readers to raise money for Second Harvest Heartland, the Upper Midwest’s largest hunger relief organization. This is the Seventh Annual Hunger Relief Benefit hosted by novelist and professor Charles Baxter and the Creative Writing Program. Row is the author of the new novel Your Face in Mine (Riverhead), which imagines a white American man choosing plastic surgery to appear black. Row has published two story collections.

Jamaal May
7 pm, Wednesday, November 12, Upson Room, Walter Library

Jamaal May won the Beatrice Hawley Award from Alice James Books for his first book, Hum (2013). He’s published two poetry chapbooks: The God Engine and The Whetting of Teeth. He is founding editor of the Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook and Video Series.

“The melancholic hum of May’s tone lends gravity and heart to this debut collection…May’s work is skillful and nuanced in its surprising approach to the nature (and nurture) of identity.” – Los Angeles Review of Books

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