Fall 2017 news


NEW WORK BY STUDENTS, ALUMNI & FACULTY ON THE SHELVES AND ONLINE: Our alumni literary magazine HeartWood launched Issue #4 in October and released the second annual HeartWood Broadside: “Willow” by Catherine Stearns. Congratulations to Larry Thacker (Poetry 2018) whose first full-length poetry collection Drifting in Awe has just been released with Finishing Line Press! And lots of other great work to read this fall: Read prose faculty Richard Schmitt’s story “Motion Sickness” in the September 2017 issue of Adelaide Magazine, two new stories by Chris Chapman (Fiction 2015)—“Signs” and “Various Acts of Rage or Despair”—in Unlikely Stories, and a new poem by Jeremy Bryant (Nonfiction 2017) in The New Verse News. Read “Clutch,” a short story by Jeff Webb (Fiction 2015), in Scarlet Leaf Review, and check out Jeff’s recent article “Celebrating Freedom Means Celebrating Defiance” on the website for Teaching Tolerance. Nonfiction faculty Katie Fallon has eight short essays in Penn State University’s “Creek Journals,” a Long-term Ecological Reflections Project; three of these essays have been selected for Penn State University Press’s “Best of the Creek Journals” anthology in spring 2018, so keep an eye out for that collection! Read the essay “Why We Build” by David Evans (Nonfiction 2018), which took Judge’s Choice in the nonfiction contest hosted by Still, and the story “The Hard Thing” by Larry Thacker which has been nominated for a Pushcart by Cowboy Jamboree Magazine for their Harry Crews Tribute issue.

FORTHCOMING WORK: Congratulations to Richard Schmitt on his eagerly-awaited short story collection Living Among Strangers, scheduled to release with Adelaide Books in November, and also to Marilyn Stearns (Poetry 2015) on her poetry collection slated for summer 2018 with Red Dashboard Publications of Princeton, NJ. Keep an eye out for the poem “Birth/Butchery” by Jessica Spruill (Poetry 2015) in Burnt Pine, two poems by poetry faculty Doug Van Gundy in Kestrel, an essay about the podcast “S-Town” by Delaney McLemore (Nonfiction 2018) in Entropy Mag, and stories by Velicia Darquenne (Fiction 2018) in Pretty Owl Poetry and Saw Palm. Several wondrous essays are forthcoming from prose faculty Karen Salyer McElmurray: “Hurricane” in an anthology from University Press of Florida, In Season: Stories of Discovery, Loss, Home, and Places in Between; “Speaking Freely” in South Dakota Review; and “Vertige” in Texas Review. Also, Karen’s “Attics,” along with “Yoke,” an essay by Program Director Jessie van Eerden, will soon appear in Appalachian Heritage. And look for recent or forthcoming work from Larry Thacker in Town Creek PoetryLeaping Clear JournalMagnolia ReviewOTHER MagazineStill, and Grotesque Quarterly.

GIGS & ACCOLADES: Congratulations to Phill Provance (Poetry 2019) whose narrative poetry sequence, “Hours,” “My Old Man,” and “Given the Day,” placed first in the Sheila-na-gig Fall Poetry contest, and to Delaney McLemore who was accepted to the 2017 Writer’s for Peace Online Summit with her essay “On the Radio.” Congrats also to Still’s contest finalists—in nonfiction: Shauna Jones (Nonfiction 2013) for “Physical Graffiti”; and in poetry: Larry Thacker for “Porches: A Death.” Poetry Song returned in September to Writer House in Charlottesville, VA with special guest Jeremy Bryant (Nonfiction 2017) who presented on the Beats & ritual music in the Buddhist practice. Doug Van Gundy was visiting writer at Bridgewater College, along with WV Poet Laureate & former residency guest Marc Harshman, in September; Doug and Marc performed their multi-genre show (poetry, storytelling, music), Running with Whiskey, and also performed the show as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy. In October, Vicki Phillips (Fiction 2018) also partnered with Marc Harshman in leading the spiritual autobiography retreat “Telling Our Stories” at Sandscrest in Wheeling, WV, sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia. Megan Mallory (Nonfiction 2017) presented to the Mercersburg Academy literary journal staff on workshop critiquing based on her experiences in the MFA program. In other teaching news, James Siders (Fiction 2015) has begun a full-time lecturer position this fall at Ohio State University, and Elizabeth Hawkins (Fiction 2017) heads to Washington DC in late November for the month-long CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching) Program at the Teaching House where she will take classes and teach ESL. Wordstock Wednesday—the monthly reading serious curated by Jessica Spruill in Philippi, WV—featured Jess’s own work in October, and brings to the Funkhouser Auditorium on the Alderson Broaddus University campus Amanda Jo Slone (Fiction 2017) on November 8!

You can keep up with regular MFA news blasts on the HeartWood Blog, co-edited by Megan Mallory & Dee Sydnor (Fiction 2015).


summer 2017 news


NEW WORK BY STUDENTS, ALUMNI & FACULTY ON THE SHELVES AND ONLINE: Nonfiction faculty Katie Fallon’s Look, See the Bird! was released in July by Hatherleigh Press; it’s for preschool to second grade, but people of any age will enjoy the beautiful hand-drawn illustrations and the story of bird migration. Unbroken Circle: Stories of Cultural Diversity in the South, an anthology edited by Julia Watts and Larry Smith and released by Bottom Dog Press in May, features an essay by Okey Napier (Nonfiction 2019). You can listen to Delaney McLemore’s (Nonfiction 2018) first podcast review, now live, and read essays from Lara Lillibridge (Nonfiction 2016): “An Atheist Talks to Her Children About Death” in Crab Fat Magazine and “Dragonflies: A Discourse on Anxiety” in AZURE. Read work by faculty Laura Long and Doug Van Gundy, along with Rachel Hicks (Poetry 2016) and Amanda Jo Slone (Fiction 2017) in the summer issue of Still: The Journal, and three poems by poetry faculty Mark DeFoe in the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of Valparaiso Poetry Review in which he’s the featured poet. Also live online: “Let Obamacare Fail,” a poem by Jeremy Bryant (Nonfiction 2017), in The New Verse News; “Coming KingdomJeremy’s essay in EOAGH: A Journal of the Arts; and two new poems by Vince Trimboli (Poetry 2013) in the San Diego Reader. On the shelves you’ll find a poem by Phill Provance (Poetry 2018), “Woman Hips, Woman Lips, Woman Spine,” translated by Khe Iem for the Spring 2017 issue of Poetry Journal in Print (it originally appeared in Noctua in 2014), and you can now order the 2017 edition of Mountain Ink—a print literary journal featuring WV writers—from publisher Lisa Hayes Minney (Nonfiction 2017).

FORTHCOMING WORK: Keep a keen eye out for In and Out of the Horse Latitudes, the debut chapbook by Mary Imo Stike (Poetry 2015), set for a March 2018 release with Finishing Line Press. And Mary’s poem “Perfect Kernel” has been selected for the forthcoming anthology WAVES: A Confluence of Women’s Voices, edited by poetry faculty Diane Gilliam for A Room of Her Own Foundation. The collection will also feature “Aura” by Ginny Rachel (Fiction 2015) and “Shushed” by Rebecca Roth (Poetry 2013). Watch for essays from prose faculty Karen Salyer McElmurray: “Now and Then,” in the anthology Unity: Voices for Troubled Times (Mountain State Press); “How We Know,” in a special issue (33.1) of a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, devoted to Judith Ortiz Cofer; and “Heartwood,” in Piano in a Sycamore: Writing Lessons from the Appalachian Writer’s Workshop; and for poems from Mark DeFoe in Common Ground and Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel. Larry Thacker (Poetry 2018) has poetry and fiction forthcoming in Cowboy Jamboree Mag, Grotesque Quarterly, Ginosko Literary Journal, Poets Reading the News, Riverbabble 31, Bloodroot, Visitant, Crux Magazine, and Town Creek Poetry. And later in the fall, Program Director Jessie van Eerden’s essay collection The Long Weeping is scheduled for release with Orison Books in November and is now available for pre-order.

GIGS & ACCOLADES: A big round of applause for our community’s recent awards! Amber Milstead (Fiction 2018) won the Pearl S. Buck Writing Contest in May; David Evans (Nonfiction 2018) won second prize for “Chasing Threads” in the WV Fiction Competition, as selected by the Appalachian Heritage Writer for 2017, Wiley Cash (the piece will appear in Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Volume XLarry Thacker’s “The Work” took second in the James Still Prize at the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival. In this year’s WV Writers contests, Okey Napier’s essay “Dave” received honorable mention in nonfiction; Sheryl Browne’s (Fiction 2015) story “The Bus Driver” received honorable mention in fiction; Lisa Hayes Minney’s “Old Scars, New Wounds” took second in nonfiction. Lisa also received a letter of commendation and a bonus from the Gilmer Public Library Board of Advisors for her work curating the nonfiction collection, and her Two-Lane Livin’ Magazine celebrates a tenth anniversary this year—look for regular columns from Lara Lillibridge, Larry Thacker, and Scottie Westfall (Nonfiction 2019). Sheryl Browne’s short play “First Contact” won second place in FestivALL’s Location, Location play writing contest and was produced, along with the first-place play, June 24 at the Appalachia Power Park; and one of Sheryl’s plays from last year’s contest, “Doggone It,” was produced for the Rotary Club this spring.

Phill Provance presented the essay “Warring with Whitmania: ‘Second Wave New Formalism’ as a Theoretically and Practically Coherent Curative to Free Verse Absolutism” at the 2017 Whitman, Williams, Ginsberg Conference in June; the essay will be published in a volume of critical essays titled The Poetic Legacy of Whitman, Williams and GinsbergPhill’s poem “St. Petersburg Has Many Churches” has been selected as part of a 10 year retrospective of Asian Cha in Voice and Verse; his poem “Triangle” was shortlisted for the 4th Fortnight Prize from Eyewear Press; his poem “Why the Coyote Doesn’t Just Order Chinese” placed eighth for the 2017 Shadow Award by Molotov Cocktail; and his poem “The Stenographer’s Union” was selected by Diane Seuss as a finalist for the 2017 Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize and will appear in the fall issue of Crab Creek ReviewVince Trimboli’sConsidering That Tobosa-Grass Will Grow After A Fire” was named Entropy Magazine’s Reader Poem of the Month, and his second book other milkweed diners was selected to be a part of a summer exhibit at The 25th Annual Poets House Showcase in NYC as well as become cataloged as part of their permanent collection. Vince also read on August 21 at Empire Books & News with Andi Fekete (Fiction 2014). And Diane Gilliam has just finished a reading tour with Dreadful Wind & Rain at Annenberg Beach House, Santa Monica, CA; the Wheeling Poetry Series; and Bryant Park Reading Series, NYC.

Other gigs & events: Delaney McLemore led a workshop at Girls Rock! Rochester, a non-profit music camp for teens, titled “Where I’m From: Writing About Home,” using the work of George Ella Lyon and Diane Gilliam. Elizabeth Gaucher’s (Nonfiction 2015) online litmag Longridge Review has a call for submissions from August 20 to September 23. Mary Imo Stike will continue to organize and present the monthly literary event “More Than Words” with Cat Pleska this year. Crystal Good (Poetry 2016) will be playing Poland and the Berlin Jazz festival with Heroes Are Gang Leaders in November. In July Heroes Are Gang Leaders performed in Washington, DC at The Kennedy Center, then gave two shows at the Bowery in NYC. (Here’s Crystal at HAGL sound check). Crystal is also teaching two classes at University Of Charleston. Other teaching appointments this fall: Danielle Kelly (Fiction 2015) just began as an Instructor of English at WVU Parkersburg teaching composition and literature courses, and Lisa Hayes Minney—having recently been certified in Blackboard Learn and having completed another 9 continuing education hours offered by the Idaho Commission for Libraries—has been asked to develop an online speech class for Glenville State College.


August 25: Rebecca Elswick (Fiction 2018) will read at 6:30 pm at the Appalachian Artisan Center, 30 W Main St., Hindman, KY, in a celebration of the first edition of Voices in which her essay “Missed Spring” appears.

August 26: Jeremy Bryant will perform poetry at 7:30 pm for poet Jessica Brophy’s book signing of The Paper Girl at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Lynchburg.

September 1: Katie Fallon, hosted by Lisa Hayes Minney, will visit and present at Gilmer Public Library at 4 pm.

September 2 is the official launch of The Debutante Ball for 2017-2018 for which Lara Lillibridge has been selected—this ball (from the website) “is a group blog for authors making their debut in the literary world” now in its “eleventh season of celebrating up-and-coming authors.”

September 8-10: At HippoCamp 2017 in Lancaster, PA, Lara Lillibridge will present her Graduate Seminar, “The Genre Blender: An exploration of the Hybrid Form and How it Can Be Used to Evoke Emotional Resonance” for the Debut Author Panel, and Delaney McLemore will be tabling for the program.

September 14-15: Karen Salyer McElmurray will offer a reading/lecture at the University of South Dakota.

Summer 2017 VISITING WRITERS SERIES, July 8-15


WV Wesleyan’s MFA will host a Visiting Writers Series during the program’s Summer 2017 Residency. These events are free and open to the public. The writers will be reading from their original work, and copies of their books will be available for sale. Readings will be held on Wesleyan’s campus in the Library (see #7 on the campus map (PDF) and click here for directions to campus), or in the Old Brick Playhouse in Elkins, WV, as noted below.

Jason Howard, July 8 at 7 pm, WVWC Library

JASON HOWARD is the author of A Few Honest Words and coauthor of Something’s Rising. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, The Louisville Review, Utne Reader, and on NPR. Howard serves as editor of Appalachian Heritage, a literary quarterly based at Berea College, where he also teaches.

Yuri Herrera, July 9 at 7 pm, WVWC Library

YURI HERRERA (Actopan, México) is the author of three novels, all of them translated into several languages: Trabajos del reino, Señales que precederán al fin del mundo, and La transmigración de los cuerpos (English translations published by And Other Stories). He is an assistant professor at the University of Tulane in New Orleans.

Rahul Mehta & Rachael Peckham, July 10 at 7 pm, WVWC Library

RAHUL MEHTA is the author of the novel No Other World (Harper, 2017) and the short story collection Quarantine (HarperPerennial, 2011), which won a Lambda Literary Award and the Asian American Literary Award for Fiction. His work has appeared in the Kenyon Review, the Sun, the New York Times Magazine and elsewhere.

RACHAEL PECKHAM is an associate professor of English at Marshall University, where she teaches creative nonfiction. She is the 2016 winner of the Indiana Review ½ K Prize, the Orison Anthology Nonfiction Award, and the Crab Orchard Review Special Feature Literary Nonfiction Award. Her chapbook of prose poems, “Muck Fire,” appeared at Spring Garden Press in 2011.

Mesha Maren, Katie Fallon, & Mary Carroll-Hackett, July 12 at 7 pm, WVWC Library

MESHA MAREN’s debut novel Sugar Run is forthcoming from Algonquin Books in Fall 2018. Her short stories and essays appear in Tin House, Oxford American, Hobart, The Barcelona Review, and Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial, and she has been the recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Ucross Foundation.

KATIE FALLON is the author of Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird (2017), Cerulean Blues (2011), and a book for children, Look, See The Bird! (2017). Her nonfiction has appeared in River TeethFourth GenreEcotone, and elsewhere, and she has taught writing at Virginia Tech and West Virginia University.

MARY CARROLL-HACKETT is the author of six poetry collections, most recently The Night I Heard Everything (2015), Trailer Park Oracle (2016), and A Little Blood, A Little Rain (2016). Death for Beginners is forthcoming from Kelsey Books in September 2017. She teaches Creative Writing at Longwood University in Virginia.

Jonathan Corcoran & Kim Dana Kupperman, July 13 at 7pm, WVWC Library

JONATHAN CORCORAN is the author of the story collection, The Rope Swing, which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards and long-listed for The Story Prize. He received a BA in Literary Arts from Brown University and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Rutgers University-Newark, where he teaches writing.

KIM DANA KUPPERMAN is the author of The Last of Her (2016) and I Just Lately Started Buying Wings: Missives from the Other Side of Silence (2010). She is the lead editor of You: An Anthology of Essays Devoted to the Second Person (2013), and publisher of Essaying the Essay (2014). She is the founder of Welcome Table Press.

Rodney Jones, July 15 at 7 pm, Old Brick Playhouse, Elkins, WV

RODNEY JONES is the author of eleven books of poems, most recently Village Prodigies (2017). His many honors include the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Harper Lee Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Award, and he has been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the Griffin International Poetry Prize, and the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in New Orleans and teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Warren Wilson College.

For more information about the readings, contact MFA Director Jessie van Eerden: vaneerden@wvwc.edu, 304.473.8329.

This project is being presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Spring 2017 news


NEW WORK BY STUDENTS, ALUMNI & FACULTY ON THE SHELVES AND ONLINE: Congratulations to the HeartWood editors (program alums) for the launch of Issue 3, and to poetry faculty Diane Gilliam on Dreadful Wind & Rain, her verse narrative now available from Red Hen Press! Read work from Kevin Chesser (Poetry 2015) and Chris Chapman (Fiction 2015), along with fiction faculty Marie Manilla, in the live issue of Still: The Journal; two new poems by Vince Trimboli (Poetry 2015) in Entropy: “Misanthropia” and “In her eyes, were I a boat”; and “Memory Dissection: A Statue, My Father, and a Camera,” an essay by Lara Lillibridge (Nonfiction 2016) at Roar. Check out the first blog post by Jeff Webb (Fiction 2015) on Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and an interview with Elizabeth Gaucher (Nonfiction 2015) by the Burlington Writers Workshop. WV Wesleyan’s own Vandalia is hot off the presses, featuring work by Shauna Jones (Nonfiction 2013), Megan Mallory Martin (Nonfiction 2017), Larry Thacker (Poetry 2018), and Scottie Westfall (Nonfiction 2019); and Poetry Journal in Print recently featured a poem by Phill Provance (Poetry 2018): “Too Funny,” translated into Vietnamese.

FORTHCOMING WORK: The summer edition of Still: The Journal will feature three poems by fiction faculty Laura Long, along with poems by Rachel Hicks (Poetry 2016); Rachel, along with Jeff Webb, will also have poems in the 2017 edition of The Pikeville Review, edited by Amanda Jo Runyon (Fiction 2017). You can look for poems forthcoming from Larry Thacker in The Lake (UK), Black Market Re-View (UK), The Ibis Head Review, The Quail Bell Magazine, The Wild Word, Space and Time Magazine, Ofi Press, Matador Review, Trailer Park Quarterly, and Spillway: A Poetry Magazine. And Lara Lillibridge’s memoir Girlish: Growing Up in a Lesbian Home, due out in November with Skyhorse, is now available for pre-order!

GIGS & ACCOLADES: Congrats to Delaney McLemore (Nonfiction 2018) now serving as freelance essayist for Gurl.com and podcast reviewer for entropymag.org. In February, Lisa Hayes Minney (Nonfiction 2017) started a writer’s group that meets on the first Thursday of every month at the Gilmer County Public Library, and Lisa has also completed 11.5 continuing-education training hours in library science—kudos! In early March Megan Mallory Martin spoke on a panel for Mercersburg Academy’s Writing Center Fellows (students who serve as mentors in the Writing Center) on “Writing in the Real World,” and Kevin Chesser read and gave a workshop at Lamplight Gallery in Thomas, WV. Kevin also read April 5 at the last reading of the season for Wordstock Wednesday—a monthly reading series curated by Jessica Spruill (Poetry 2015) at The Market Place in Philippi, WV. Several from the MFA community presented this year at the Appalachian Studies Association in Blacksburg (March 9-12): Ginny Rachel, Danielle Kelly, Rebecca Elswick, Amanda Jo Runyon, Jessie van Eerden, Dee Sydnor, Vince Trimboli, Phill Provance, and Laura Long. And nonfiction faculty Katie Fallon launched her new book in Blacksburg that weekend—Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird. On April 8, prose faculty Karen Salyer McElmurray gave a reading at Mercer University; and Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods: Fiction and Poetry from West Virginia, the anthology co-edited by faculty Doug Van Gundy and Laura Long, launched in March/April with a reception at WVU and readings at Blackbear Club and WV Wesleyan.


April 17 @ 7pm, Doug Van Gundy and program director Jessie van Eerden read at Empire Books, Huntington, WV.

April 22, 3-6 pm, Contributors to Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods, including Andi Fekete (Fiction 2014), read at The Blennerhassett Hotel in Parkersburg, WV.

April 27, Joyce Allan (Fiction 2015) hosts the second annual Windy Ridge Writers Retreat for children’s and YA writers.

April 28 @ 10 am, Doug Van Gundy reads at the CityLit Festival in Baltimore, MD.

April 28 @ 7 pm, Doug Van Gundy and WV Poet Laureate Marc Harshman read together at the Randolph County Community Arts Center in Elkins, WV. They will also perform in England and Wales during the first week of June.

May 3 & 4, Doug Van Gundy reads at BridgeValley Community and Technical College.

May 12 @ 7 pm, Contributors to Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods, including Doug Van Gundy, read at Taylor Books, Charleston, WV.

May 13 @ 7 pm, Contributors to Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods, including Andi Fekete and Marie Manilla, read at Empire Books, Huntington, WV.

June: Kevin Chesser goes on tour with the Travelin’ Appalachians Revue, hitting about ten stops all around West Virginia (for info, go to travelinappalachiansrevue.org).

July 8-15, Karen Salyer McElmurray and fiction faculty Gail Galloway Adams teach at Wildacres Writers Workshop.

July 23, Chris Chapman represents the MFA program on a professional panel at the WV Writers Workshop in Morgantown, WV.

October 7 Lisa Hayes Minney hosts the annual Heritage Village Writer’s Workshop (registration now open).

You can keep up with regular MFA news blasts at: www.heartwoodlitmag.com/wvwcmfa/

winter 2017 news


NEW WORK BY STUDENTS, ALUMNI & FACULTY ON THE SHELVES AND ONLINE: Nonfiction faculty Kim Dana Kupperman’s The Last of Her: A Forensic Memoir garnered a lovely review at the Portland Press Herald and is now available in print, and prose faculty Richard Schmitt’s story “Breathing,” read recently at Beer & Bards, is live in Shenandoah; Richard’s essay “Until the Morning Comes” appears in the current 34th Parallel. Read the poem “Tending” by Jeremy Bryant (Nonfiction 2017) in The New Verse News and work by Lara Lillibridge (Nonfiction 2016) in Door is a Jar Magazine, and Drunken Llama: “Cicadas” and “The Thesaurus Might Make Me Someone to Yearn for.” Check out poetry by Larry Thacker (Poetry 2018) in The Bookends ReviewThe Woven Tale PressEunoia ReviewGlasgow Review of BooksThird Wednesday Literary & Arts JournalThe Hungry ChimeraThree Drops from a Cauldron Best of Anthology 2017, and Forage Poetry Journal; and read the poem “Your Last Chance to Read This” by Phill Provance (Poetry 2018) in the November 16, 2016 issue of the Rock River Times—you can also find Phill’s review of Joseph Farley’s Labor Day in the New Haven Review online edition. And don’t miss prose faculty Karen Salyer McElmurray’sHand-Me-Down”—shared at the Winter 2017 Residency & awarded the New Southerner Award for Creative Nonfiction.

FORTHCOMING WORK: Big congratulations to Lara Lillibridge on her contract with Skyhorse Publishing for Girl: A Memoir on Being Raised by Lesbians, scheduled for release in Fall, 2017. Also to Larry Thacker and poetry faculty Mark DeFoe on the selection of their work for Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Volume 9. Mark will have work included in two more upcoming anthologies—Forgotten Women (Grayson Books) and a collection on fast food in America (Main Street Rag Press)—along with poems forthcoming in Kestrel, Allegro, and Valparaiso Poetry Review, in which he will be the featured poet of the spring 2017 issue. Keep an eye out for fiction faculty Marie Manilla’s stories forthcoming in Solstice Literary Magazine and The New Engagement and Program Director Jessie van Eerden’s essay “Sunday Morning Coming Down” in the winter issue of Willow Springs, along with essays by Elizabeth Gaucher (Nonfiction 2015) in a spring 2017 Chop Suey Books anthology—the first for the online writing project Life in 10 Minutes—and in the Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2017 out of Burlington, VT. Also look for Richard Schmitt’s story “Living Among Strangers” in Sequestrum, Karen Salyer McElmurray’s essay “Outside the Outside” in the forthcoming anthology Guardians of Mediocrity (Foiled Crown Books), and Phill Provance’s poems “The Poem Is” and “Now” in Issue #19 of Vine Leaves.

ACCOLADES: Congrats to 2016’s Pushcart Prize nominees: Danielle Kelly (Fiction 2015) for her essay in r.kv.r.yMary Imo Stike (Poetry 2015) for her poem in Picaroon, and Elizabeth Gaucher for her essay in Still: The JournalStill also awarded poetry faculty Doug Van Gundy the 2016 Poetry Prize for “Last Thoughts on Electronic Voice Projection.” More kudos also to Lara Lillibridge whose “Essay Notes on Attachment Disorder” won The American Literary Review Contest in Nonfiction.

GIGS: Have a listen to BBC’s radio show The Response featuring “America’s Story” which includes thoughts from Vince Trimboli (Poetry 2013) who was interviewed in response to his flash essay on America/Appalachia’s response to the election of Donald Trump. Get these upcoming events on your February calendar: Marie Manilla will be the guest author at the literary series “More than Words,” the brainchild of Mary Imo Stike and memoirist Cat Pleska, on February 14 at Books & Brews, 2759 Main Street, Hurricane, WV, 6-7:30 pm. “More Than Words” launched with a reading by WV Poet Laureate Marc Harshman in January, and Mary Imo Stike was also featured with poet Haley Haugen in Empire Books’ Writers Read Series in December. Kevin Chesser (Poetry 2015) will be reading at the launch party for Keegan Lester’s new book this shouldn’t be beautiful, but it was & it’s all I had, so I drew it on February 18 at 123 Pleasant Street, Morgantown, WV. Chris Chapman’s (Fiction 2015) Music & Blood book release (chapbook published by nonfiction faculty Eric Waggoner’s Latham House Press) is set for February 21 at Beer & Bards at 8 pm at the 88 Restaurant & Lounge in Buckhannon, and Chris will also read on March 18 for the Black Bear Club at 123 Pleasant Street. Upcoming in County Cork, Ireland, Susan (Krakoff) Good (Nonfiction 2015) be teaching a ten-week creative writing course for an adult education program! And looking forward to the fall, Lara Lillibridge will present her WVWC MFA graduate seminar, “The Genre Blender: An Exploration of the Hybrid Form and How It Can Be Used to Evoke Emotional Resonance,” in September at HippoCamp 2017 where she will also give a reading and participate in the New Authors Panel.


You can find us throughout the conference at AWP Bookfair Table #313-T!


10:30-11:45 am. “Four Indigenous Writers, Not Just Simple Indian Stereotypes: A Reading” (Susan Deer Cloud, Monty Campbell, Jr., Mary Carroll-Hackett, Meta Commerse)

12-2 pm. Co-editors Doug Van Gundy and Laura Long signing for Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods: Fiction and Poetry from West Virginia, West Virginia University Press/Vandalia Press (Bookfair Table #436)

1:30-2:45 pm. “Triggered Writing/Creative Warnings: Trauma and Trigger Warnings in Creative Writing Classrooms and Communities” (Lee Ann Roripaugh, Karen Salyer McElmurray, Natanya Pulley, Lori Horvitz)

4:30-5:45 pm. United Artists: Creative Writers in the Trenches of the American Education System” (Paula Whyman , Ellen Hagan, David Mura, Parneshia Jones)

5-7 pm. WV Wesleyan MFA Open House. A meet-and-greet with students, alums & faculty of WV Wesleyan’s low-res MFA. Come and enjoy conversation, free food, & a low-key reading from faculty if noise-level allows. All are welcome! Teaism Penn Quarter, 400 8th St. NW, Washington DC, 20004


1-4 pm. Kim Dana Kupperman signing for The Last of Her: A Forensic Memoir, Jaded Ibis Press (Bookfair Table #745-T, shared with Kim’s Welcome Table Press)

4:30-5:45 pm.Place as Wellspring: Reimagining Local Fiction” (Laura Long, Pinckney Benedict, Jonathan Corcoran, Ann Pancake, Natalie Sypolt)


9-10:15 am. “Parenting the Poems and the Babies” (Ellen Hagan, Matthew Shenoda, Maya Pindyck, Mitchell L. H. Douglas, Kelly Norman Ellis)

9-10:15 am. “Opening the Doors to Discovery: The Generative Writing Workshop” (Rachel Basch, Baron Wormser, Rebecca McClanahan, Dustin Beall Smith, Kim Dana Kupperman)

12-1:15 pm.Essaying the Body Electric: A Reading & Conversation” (Kim Dana Kupperman, Therése Halscheid, Sheryl St. Germain, Thomas Gibbs, Colin Hosten)

3-4:15 pm.Mother Lode, Mother Load: Writing Difficult Mothers and Others” (Janice Gary, Lisa Chavez, Luisa Igloria, Karen McElmurray, Sue William Silverman)

You can keep up with regular MFA news blasts at: www.heartwoodlitmag.com/wvwcmfa/




WV Wesleyan’s MFA will host a Visiting Writers Series during the program’s Winter 2017 Residency. These events are free and open to the public. The writers will be reading from their original work, and copies of their books will be available for sale. All readings will be held on Wesleyan’s campus in Loar Auditorium in Loar Hall of Music (see #15 on the campus map (PDF) and click here for directions to campus).

Diane Gilliam & Katie Fallon, January 1 at 7 pm

DIANE GILLIAM is the author of four poetry collections—Dreadful Wind & Rain (Red Hen, 2017), Kettle Bottom, One of Everything, and Recipe for Blackberry Cake. She has won the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing, a Pushcart Prize, and the Ohioana Library Association Poetry Book of the Year Award for Kettle Bottom. She is the most recent recipient of the Gift of Freedom from A Room of Her Own Foundation.

KATIE FALLON is the author of Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird (Univ. Press of New England, forthcoming March 2017) and Cerulean Blues (Ruka Press, 2011). Her first book for children, Look, See The Bird!, is forthcoming from Hatherleigh Press in June 2017. Her nonfiction has appeared in River Teeth, Fourth Genre, Ecotone, and elsewhere, and she has taught writing at Virginia Tech and West Virginia University.

Nickole Brown, January 3 at 7 pm

NICKOLE BROWN received her MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, studied literature at Oxford University, and was the editorial assistant for the late Hunter S. Thompson. Her first collection, Sister, was a novel-in-poems, and Fanny Says is a biography of her grandmother from Kentucky. She was an Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for four years until she gave up her beloved time in the classroom in hope of writing full time. Currently, she is the Editor for the Marie Alexander Poetry Series and lives with her wife, poet Jessica Jacobs, in Asheville, NC.

Jaimy Gordon, January 4 at 7 pm

JAIMY GORDON is author of the novel Lord of Misrule, winner of the 2010 National Book Award for Fiction. She is also the author of the novels Bogeywoman and She Drove Without Stopping, the novella, Circumspections from an Equestrian Statue, and the fantasy classic novel Shamp of the City-Solo.

For more information about the readings, contact MFA Director Jessie van Eerden: vaneerden@wvwc.edu, 304.473.8329.

This project is being presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.


fall 2016 news


LOTS OF NEW WORK BY STUDENTS, ALUMNI & FACULTY ON THE SHELVES AND ONLINE: Congrats to the alumni editors on the second issue of HeartWood which just went live—this issue also features the magazine’s first broadside series contest winner! Congrats also to nonfiction faculty Eric Waggoner who wrote the official press release and album bio for Wilco’s new album Schmilco, released on September 9. Read poetry by Mary Imo Stike (Poetry 2015), along with an interview, in Connotation Press, and look up the inaugural issue of Mountain Ink, a literary journal for WV writers launched by Lisa Hayes-Minney (Nonfiction 2017, Stumptown Publishing LLC), featuring more work by Mary Imo Stike: the two poems “I Found Honeysuckle” and “Cabbage Roses.” Look for poetry by Crystal Good (Poetry 2016) in the special flood edition of Goldenseal; order the second Ghost City Press chapbook by Vince Trimboli (Poetry 2013), other milkweed diners, now hot off the presses; and look up “Sentry” by fiction faculty Marie Manilla in H.O.W. Journal (Issue 12). Round out your reading with poetry from Larry Thacker (Poetry 2018) live in Five 2 One Journal, Madness Muse MagLife in 10 Minutes, and Yellow Chair Review.

FORTHCOMING WORK: Look forward to fiction faculty Marie Manilla’s essay “Sixth Avenue Hōs” forthcoming in Word Riot, prose faculty Richard Schmitt’s piece “Until the Morning Comes” in 34th Parallel, and Program Director Jessie van Eerden’s essay “Without” in Cimarron Review. “Report on the Strange Case of Lt. Henry Harper” by Chris Chapman (Fiction 2015) will appear in Floyd County Moonshine, and a full poetry collection by Larry Thacker, Drifting in Awe, is due out from Finishing Line Press, along with poems in Blue Mountain Review, Dead King Mag, Paper Plane Pilots, and Kaaterskill Basin Literary JournalElizabeth Gaucher (Nonfiction 2015) will have a short story in the anthology Between the Lines published by Seventh Star Press in Lexington, KY and edited by Bram Stoker Award winning writer and editor Michael Knost; SSP will release the anthology at Imaginarium Convention in Louisville, KY October 7-9. Fiction faculty Laura Long’s poem “November Song” will appear in the upcoming fall issue of Still: The Journal, and nonfiction faculty Kim Dana Kupperman’s essay, “Memorial Daze (It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry),” in Aster(ix) Journal’s fall 2016 What We Love print anthology.

Along with poetry faculty Devon McNamara’s much-anticipated poetry collection Driving (due out this year with Salmon Press), other faculty books on the horizon include Kim Dana Kupperman’s The Last of Her: A Forensic Memoir, scheduled for release in November from Jaded Ibis Press, and Jessie van Eerden’s collection of portrait essays, The Long Weeping, forthcoming in 2017 from Orison Books.

GIGS & ACCOLADES: Big congratulations to Rebecca Elswick (Fiction 2018) who won second place for “Missed Spring” in the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival’s Emma Bell Miles contest, to Kevin Chesser (Poetry 2015) whose poem “Queen of the Cornfields” was a finalist for the Hungry Poets contest in Morgantown, WV; and to Lara Lillibridge (Nonfiction 2016) whose essay “39 Lashes: Just Write Something About Your Mother” was a finalist for the Black Warrior Review essay contest and was selected as the winner of the Slippery Elm 2016 Prose Contest (the prize includes $1000 and publication in the 2017 issue). Congratulations also to Crystal Good who will be featured on the album “Flukum” by Heroes Are Gang Leaders, known as HAGL—HAGL is an experimental musical ensemble that mines the history of progressive Black art, music, and literary movements, fusing it all with contemporary swagger! And kudos to prose faculty Karen Salyer McElmurray whose essay “Elixir,” originally published in The South Dakota Review, has been included as a Notable Essay in the 2016 Best American Essays; Karen also just returned from teaching and giving a reading at the First Annual James Agee Conference at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville.

In August, Devon McNamara read in Dublin on Ireland’s major public radio station for RTE 1 Arts, along with other Salmon poets, and was part of an interview with poet and editor Jessie Lendennie whose anthology, Even the Daybreak: 35 Years of Salmon Poetry enjoys a review here, with a nod to Devon’s poem in the collection. This past summer also saw our third and perhaps richest Ireland MFA Residency, which included workshops with Irish writers Dermot Bolger and Nicholas McLachlan—keep 2018 on your radar for credit or audit! Also in August, Mary Imo Stike and her husband hosted a “Poetry House Concert” in their home, featuring a reading by poetry faculty Mary Carroll-Hackett and music by string band trio, The Wild Hares. In early October, Lisa Hayes-Minney hosted a Back in Time Writer’s Workshop at a reconstructed historical village in Calhoun County; Lisa is also currently teaching a Developmental English course for Glenville State College and will take on two speech classes in Spring 2017; she was also recently hired as assistant librarian at Gilmer Public Library, where she is in charge of the nonfiction section and where she has launched a writing group. And, looking ahead this month, on October 28 of the WV Book Festival, 9-11 am, MFA faculty Laura Long, Marie Manilla, Jessie van Eerden, and Doug Van Gundy, along with fellow Vandalia Press author Jonathan Corcoran, will co-lead a workshop on “Creating Vibrant Characters”—the MFA program will also have a table in the Festival Marketplace, so come see us!

Congratulations to all for these contributions to the wider literary community!

You can keep up with regular MFA news blasts at: www.heartwoodlitmag.com/wvwcmfa/


summer 2016 news


NEW WORK BY STUDENTS, ALUMNI & FACULTY ON THE SHELVES AND ONLINE: Read the essay “What to Do on a Day Like This” by Danielle Kelly (Fiction 2015) live in r.k.v.r.y quarterly. Order & devour the chapbook “Chance to Win” by Kevin Chesser (Poetry 2015)—a homemade zine-style book in the spirit of classic DIY/punk publications; to order, contact Kevin through Facebook or his website. Listen to and read “The Unimaginable,” a story by Chris Chapman (Fiction 2015) in Dime Show Review. Read three poems by poetry faculty Doug Van Gundy in Still, and five essays featured in “Essaying the Body Electric” at Welcome Table Press, launched by nonfiction faculty Kim Dana Kupperman. Read poems by Aaron Morris (Poetry 2018) in Unbroken (“The Hat Horizon”) and Jet Fuel Review (“Traumatized, Traumatizing”), and look for Aaron’s poem “Kanawha County, West Virginia, 2014” in Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel: Volume 19: Appalachia Under Thirty forthcoming in October. Read work by Larry Thacker (Poetry 2017) in Dime Show ReviewHIV Here and Now ProjectAvantAppal(achia)Fifty Word Stories, and Sick Lit Magazine. More poems from Larry forthcoming in Dauntless: A Devotional for Ares and Mars and Appalachian Nature Writing and Ecocriticism Anthology.

MORE FORTHCOMING WORK: Look for “Dead Flies,” an essay by Lara Lillibridge (Nonfiction 2016), in Luna Luna Magazine‘s forthcoming Mental Health/Disability/Chronic illness issue, Lara’s flash piece “Medium” in Pure Slush‘s print anthology, “Tall-ish: Pure Slush Vol. 11,” and Lara’s essay “The Right Tap” in the September 2016 edition of Hippocampus. A condensed version of Amanda Jo Runyon’s (Fiction 2017) Critical Essay “Robbing the Headlines: Repurposing True Events in Fiction” will appear in a forthcoming issue of Appalachian Heritage, and Chris Chapman’s story “Signs” will appear in Cactus + Elbow.

Two chapbooks by alums are set to be released this September: other milkweed diners, a second chapbook by Vince Trimboli (Poetry 2013) will be released with Ghost City Press, and Music & Blood, a collection of short fiction from Chris Chapman, will be the second chapbook release from Latham House Press, founded by MFA core faculty Dr. Eric Waggoner. See lathamhousepress.com, and follow Latham House Press on Facebook and Twitter, for pre-order announcements.

Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods, an anthology of writing from West Virginia, co-edited by Laura Long and Doug Van Gundy, will be published by West Virginia University Press in February 2017 and will include WVWC MFA visiting writers and faculty including program founder Irene McKinney, visiting writers and faculty Jayne Anne Phillips, Maggie Anderson, Ann Pancake, Marc Harshman, Scott McClanahan, Mesha Maren, Gail Galloway Adams, Pinckney Benedict, Marie Manilla, Scott McClanahan, Mary Ann Samyn, Sara Pritchard, Aaron Smith, Erin Veith and co-editor Laura Long. Recent Wesleyan MFA graduates Vince Trimboli, Crystal Good (Poetry 2016), and Andi Fekete (Fiction 2014), and core faculty Mark DeFoe, Devon McNamara, Jessie van Eerden and Doug Van Gundy will also have work included. The book will debut at AWP 2017 in Washington, DC this February.

GIGS & ACCOLADES: Andi Fekete was selected as a fully funded 2016 Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Creative Fellow for residency at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Kevin Chesser read poems with the Travelin’ Appalachians Revue at their stop in Thomas, WV in June; the Revue also published four of Kevin’s poems in the print companion to the 2016 tour, and a recording of the show was featured on the Dr. Doctor podcast. A proposal by Phill Provance (Poetry 2018), “Warring with Whitmania: Second Wave Neo-formalism as a Theoretically and Practically Coherent Curative to Free Verse Absolutism,” has been accepted for the “Celebrating the Poetic Legacy of Whitman, Williams, and Ginsberg” Conference to be held on June 3, 2017 at the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College in Paterson, New Jersey. “Parasite” by Amanda Jo Runyon was awarded the Gurney Norman Prose Prize from the Kudzu Literary Journal; the prize comes with a $100 honorarium. Sheryl Browne (Fiction 2015) won both first AND second place in Charleston, WV’s FestivALL playwriting contest, winning a one hundred and fifty dollar prize and having the plays produced—first place for “Justifiable Homicide” and second for “Doggone It.” Delaney McLemore (Nonfiction 2018) is serving as a counselor and workshop leader for Girls Rock! Rochester, a chapter of the Girls Rock! Camps that started in Portland, Oregon; Delaney is teaching a workshop to more than fifty girls and gender non-conforming people called “Rage in Writing.” Benjamin B. Bolger (Nonfiction 2016) has recently been appointed to the Board of Directors of Red Hen Press. Based in California, Red Hen Press is a nonprofit literary organization that aims to publish high quality literature that is impactful to society and its readers. Benjamin encourages students and other interested authors to consider Red Hen Press as a useful resource as their literary careers unfold. In April, Doug Van Gundy read in Frostburg, MD for the 4th annual Rock and Read fundraiser for the Frostburg State University Center for Literary Arts, along with Gerry LaFemina, Christina Stroud and four rock bands. In May, Joyce Allan (Fiction 2015) hosted the first annual Windy Ridge Writers’ Retreat, a celebration of children’s literature. And in June, Pathlight Magazine of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, edited by Megan Mallory (Nonfiction 2017), received a Bronze EXCEL publication awardDavid Evans (Nonfiction 2018) recently taught a class on publishing for James Madison University’s Lifelong Learning Institute; the class was organized around Jane Friedman’s “Publishing 101.” Lara Lillibridge has been enlisted as a reader for Weirderary.com, which has also published Lara’s review of Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Chronology of Water.

Congratulations to all! You can keep up with regular MFA news blasts at: www.heartwoodlitmag.com/wcwvmfa/




Summer 2016 Visiting Writers Series, July 2-7


WV Wesleyan’s MFA will host a Visiting Writers Series during the program’s Summer 2016 Residency. These events are free and open to the public. The writers will be reading from their original work, and copies of their books will be available for sale. All readings will be held on Wesleyan’s campus in the Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts or the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library, as indicated below (see #4 and #7 on the campus map (PDF) and click here for directions to campus).

Nikky Finney, July 2, 7 pm, Performing Arts Center

NIKKY FINNEY is author of four books of poetry: Head Off & Split (2011, winner of the National Book Award); The World Is Round (2003); Rice (1995); and On Wings Made of Gauze (1985). The John H. Bennett, Jr. Chair in Creative Writing and Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina, Finney also authored Heartwood (1997), edited The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (2007), and co-founded the Affrilachian Poets.

Pinckney Benedict, July 3, 7 pm, Performing Arts Center

PINCKNEY BENEDICT grew up on his family’s dairy farm in West Virginia. He has published four volumes of fiction, the most recent of which is Miracle Boy and Other Stories. His work has been published in Esquire, the O. Henry Award series, the Pushcart Prize series, the Best New Stories from the South series, and The Oxford Book of the American Short Story.

Vince Trimboli & Mesha Maren, July 5, 3:15 pm, Upshur Reading Room (Library)

VINCE TRIMBOLI is a native of Elkins, WV and an alumnus of WV Wesleyan’s MFA Program. His poetry chapbook Condominium Morte was released with Ghost City Press in April 2016. Vince teaches Writing and Literature at Davis & Elkins College and is the Appalachian Arts Editor for HeartWood Literary Magazine.

MESHA MAREN’s debut novel Sugar Run is forthcoming from Algonquin Books in 2017. Her short stories and essays appear in Tin House, Oxford American, Hobart, The Barcelona Review, and Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial and she has been the recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Ucross Foundation.

Sarah Einstein & Mary Carroll-Hackett, July 6,        7 pm, Upshur Reading Room (Library)

SARAH EINSTEIN is the author of Mot: A Memoir and numerous essays and short stories. Her work has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, a Best of the Net, and the AWP Prize in Creative Nonfiction. She is a professor of Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

MARY CARROLL-HACKETT is the author of six titles: The Real Politics of Lipstick (Slipstream Press 2010), Animal Soul (Kattywompus Press 2013), If We Could Know Our Bones (A-Minor Press 2014), The Night I Heard Everything (FutureCycle Press 2015), Trailer Park Oracle (Kelsey Books 2016), and most recently, A Little Blood, A Little Rain (FutureCycle Press 2016). She teaches Creative Writing at Longwood University in Virginia.

Jacinda Townsend & Kim Dana Kupperman, July 7, 7 pm, Upshur Reading Room (Library)

JACINDA TOWNSEND is the author of Saint Monkey (Norton, 2014), which is set in 1950’s Eastern Kentucky and won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for historical fiction, and was the 2015 Honor Book of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Jacinda teaches in the Creative Writing program at University of California, Davis, and is mom to two beautiful children who amaze her daily.

KIM DANA KUPPERMAN is the author of The Last of Her (forthcoming 2016) and I Just Lately Started Buying Wings: Missives from the Other Side of Silence (2010). She is the lead editor of You: An Anthology of Essays Devoted to the Second Person (2013), and publisher of Essaying the Essay (2014). She is the founder of Welcome Table Press.

For more information about the readings, contact MFA Director Jessie van Eerden: vaneerden@wvwc.edu, 304.473.8329.

This project is being co-sponsored by the WV Governor’s School for the Arts and is being presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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