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).