spring 2018 NEWS


NEW WORK BY STUDENTS, ALUMNI & FACULTY ON THE SHELVES AND ONLINE: Lots of work live on the web: Read fiction faculty Mesha Maren’s story “Among” in New York Tyrant, five flash fiction pieces by Elizabeth Gaucher (Nonfiction 2015) in Issue 2 (April 2018) of Drabblez Magazine, Delaney McLemore’s (Nonfiction 2018) review “Lie Like Them: Writing the Unbelievable Parent” on the VIDA site, the poem “Breathmaker” by Jeremy Bryant (Nonfiction 2017) in The New Verse News, and “Mine Your Memory,” a craft piece by Rebecca Elswick (Fiction 2018) in Still: The Journal’s “Still Life” feature on creativity.

And on the shelves: seek out the collaborative poems, “I am Sore Troubled” and “I Hurt All Over,” by Kevin Chesser (Poetry 2015) and poetry faculty Doug Van Gundy in the UK print magazine A Void, and Program Director Jessie van Eerden’s essay “Blessed Is the Impossible Heart” in the current Arts & Letters (Spring 2018).

FORTHCOMING WORK: We have crazy-awesome number of book projects slated for publication! New nonfiction faculty Matt Randal O’Wain’s essay collection was selected by Tobias Wolff for the American Lives Series (University of Nebraska Press); Superman Dam[n] Fool: essays on family, loss, and coming of age in the working class south is forthcoming in 2019. Matt has also just contracted his short story collection Hallelujah and other stories with Autumn House for 2020. Chris Chapman’s (Fiction 2015) story collection Suicidal Gods is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press, an independent press out of Portland and Chicago. Co-editors Lara Lillibridge (Nonfiction 2016) and Andrea Fekete (Fiction 2014) will release Feminine Rising, a collection of true stories of women’s lives in essays and poetry, in 2019 with Cynren Press. The collection features women from over twelve countries and every corner of the US, new voices and award-winners, including Ann Pancake, Marianne Worthington, Llewellyn McKernan, Ellen Bass, Pauletta Hansel, and many others. And Larry Thacker (Poetry 2018) has two poetry collections forthcoming: Feasts of Evasion with Future Cycle Press and Grave Robber Confessional with Main Street Rag.

Lots of work to look for soon in magazines as well: Larry Thacker’s work is slated for The Curlew (Wales), AlbatrossWriters ResistElectric Athenaeum (UK), Deep South Magazine, and Snowy Egret. Kevin Chesser’s “10 Brief Tragedies” is forthcoming on Instant Prose (@instantprose on Instagram), poetry faculty Mark DeFoe has work forthcoming in Laurel Review and Café Review, and Lisa Hayes Minney’s (Nonfiction 2017) essay “New Wounds, Old Scars” will appear in the 2018 issue of Writing for Peace’s journal Dove Tales. Okey Napier (Nonfiction 2019) will have a short story, “Come to Jesus Meeting,” in an Anthology of LGBTQ Literature from Appalachia, edited by Jeff Mann and Julia Watts, forthcoming from Vandalia Press of West Virginia University Press. Phill Provance’s (Poetry 2019) poem “Valediction on Zero: A Postscript” will appear in an upcoming issue of the Heartland Review as a general acceptance after making the semi-finalist round for the Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize; Phill’s nonfiction popular history A Brief History of Woodbridge, New Jersey, will appear in fall 2018 from The History Press; and his scholarly essay “Warring with Whitmania” will appear this summer in “The Poetic Legacy of Whitman, Williams and Ginsberg,” edited by Maria Gillan.

GIGS & ACCOLADES: Congratulations to Vince Trimboli (Poetry 2013) on his new position as JWVG Job Specialist for the College Success Program at Pierpont Community and Technical College; Jobs for West Virginia’s Graduates (JWVG) is an affiliate of Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), the largest and most successful high school dropout prevention program in the nation. Congrats, too, to Andi Fekete whose art installation “Letters to Lara: Letters to My Best Friend on Endometriosis” has been on view through March and April 2018 at Taylor Books in Charleston, WV. Andi was interviewed by WTSQ at the debut of her exhibit, and the show will go up next in Barboursville (more details below). Congrats to Mesha Maren who qualified as an Alternate for the Fulbright Research Grant, and to Jessie van Eerden whose essay “Yoke” won the Denny C. Plattner Award for Nonfiction in Appalachian Heritage and whose essay collection The Long Weeping is currently shortlisted for Foreword Reviews’ Book of the Year Award in Essays. Congrats to to Kevin Chesser whose chapbook manuscript “Love Story in Sixty Seconds” was a semi-finalist for this year’s Black River Chapbook Contest, and to Jessica Spruill (Poetry 2015) whose poem “Summer Break 1993” (published in the Fall 2017 issue of Burnt Pine) was nominated for a Pushcart. And congrats as well to Jeremy Bryant who has just been awarded the 2018 Voice of Inclusion Award by the Office of Equity & Inclusion at Lynchburg College where he teaches and directs the writing center.

On March 23, Doug Van Gundy with WV Poet Laureate Marc Harshman led the generative workshop “Writers’ Café: Landscapes in Peril: Writing About Place in 2018” at the Writing Center of University of Pittsburgh, and April 12-13 Doug traveled as visiting writer to Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. And Joyce Allan (Fiction 2015) led the Third Annual Windy Ridge Writers Retreat on April 27; this event is designed for writers of children’s books, middle grade books, and YA.


May 8: The book launch for Mary Imo-Stike’s (Poetry 2015) chapbook “In and Out of the Horse Latitudes” will be held 6-8 pm at More Than Words, Hidden Creek Mercantile, Hurricane. There will be a reading, book signing, & celebration.

May 31: Andi Fekete’s art installation “Letters to Lara: Letters to My Best Friend on Endometriosis” will go up at Make, the Barboursville Community Art Gallery in Barboursville, WV. Andi will speak on the exhibit and read poetry that evening at 7:30 for the community-wide Art Walk.

July 18-23: Prose faculty Karen Salyer McElmurray will give a reading and lecture for Eastern Kentucky’s MFA Program, Bluegrass Writers Studio.

Jul 23-28: Jessie van Eerden will teach nonfiction and Amanda Jo Slone (Fiction 2017) will curate participant readings at the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop at Hindman Settlement School.

You can keep up with regular MFA news blasts on the HeartWood Blog, co-edited with great enthusiasm & love by Megan Mallory (Nonfiction 2017) & Dee Sydnor (Fiction 2015).