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UPDATE: MFA Program Public Schedule

Updated schedule
As stated, the schedule is subject to change. However, Amy Grimm, of Warren Wilson College, just e-mailed me an updated schedule for the next two weeks.

I'll post something about last night's reading later today.

The MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College
Public Schedule – Winter 2007

The public is welcome to attend the morning lectures and evening readings in fiction and poetry offered during the Warren Wilson College Master of Fine Arts Program for Writers’ winter residency. Events last approximately one hour. Admission is free. For more information, call the MFA Office:
(828) 771-3715.

Readings will begin at 8:15 pm in the Fellowship Hall behind the Chapel unless indicated otherwise.

The schedule is subject to change.

READINGS – 8:15pm
by MFA faculty and graduating students

Friday, January 5
Jennifer Grotz, Kevin McIlvoy, Brooks Haxton, Danzy Senna

Saturday, January 6
Victor LaValle, Betty Adcock, Megan Staffel, Steve Orlen

Sunday, January 7—in Gladfelter, Canon Lounge
Rick Barot, Adria Bernardi, Marianne Boruch, Robert Boswell

Monday, January 8, 5:30-7:00pm
Reception and faculty reading at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood Street, Asheville

Tuesday, January 9
Charles D’Ambrosio, Tony Hoagland, David Haynes, Ellen Bryant Voigt

Wednesday, January 10
Maurice Manning, Debra Spark, Martha Rhodes, Peter Turchi

Thursday, January 11
Graduating student readings: Leslie Blanco, Thad Logan, Anna Clark, Kathy Alma Peterson,
Jason Githens

Friday, January 12 (4:30pm, followed by Graduation Ceremony)
Graduating student readings: Jeneva Stone, Catherine Brown, Catherine Williamson, Bora Reed

Faculty Lectures – Winter 2007
The MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College
In the Fellowship Hall behind the College Chapel unless indicated otherwise.

Friday, January 5, 10:30am
DEBRA SPARK: Size Matters

Feel like you’re writing little stories—domestic dramas or workingman’s woes—when you should be attempting something…ahem…bigger? Something more in keeping with your political outrage and general horror when you read the daily newspaper? After all, isn’t the great fiction of our day about the great crises of our day? Or shouldn’t it be? Well, holy Mrs. Dalloway, maybe the problem isn’t your lack of ambition, but how you’re thinking about size. This will be a lecture on magnitude in fiction, on three, maybe four, novels in which the principal characters intersect with something significantly larger than their selves, and not in the way that all fiction does this—the individual as a representative of the whole, the world globbing itself in a drop of dew—but through a true intersection. How do the novels incorporate the big world and its big concerns, while avoiding the obvious pitfalls of a historical or overtly political novel?

Saturday, January 6, 10:30 am
ELEANOR WILNER: "Like a piece of ice on a hot stove,
a poem must ride on its own melting…." (Frost)

A talk about the crucible of the imagination, its transforming powers, how a poem finds its own way as it goes, and the different ways that poets may conceive of that “melting.”

Sunday, January 7, 10:30am
KEVIN McILVOY: Making, Masking, and
Gladfelter Hall, Canon Lounge Unmasking “God” in Fiction

In this lecture we’ll take up the uniquely challenging methods of portraying “God” as a figure in fiction. Leo Tolstoy’s “Master and Man” will be our primary focus, but we will also refer to “The Death of Ivan Ilyich.”

Tuesday, January 9, 10:30am
RICK BAROT: The First Herbert

At the January 2006 residency, Jen Grotz presented a wonderful primer on Zbigniew Herbert and his poetry of “stratagems” and “crimes.” In this lecture, I’ll discuss the work of George Herbert—the ingenious formal stratagems which are signatory of his poems, and the passionate crimes of doubt that is the subject of those poems. Herbert lived from 1593 to 1633, deep in the metaphysical current of English Poetry. He has often been thought of as the minor poet among the metaphysicals. He is not minor. The poems are feats of engineering, as inventively modern as microchips. And they seem modern, too, in their unruly interiorities. The believer in the full flush of his belief feels a “strong regard and awe,” Herbert says. We’ll look at how that “strong regard” led to Herbert’s rigorous, beautiful poems.

Wednesday, January 10, 10:30am
BROOKS HAXTON: Else Lasker-Schüler

This lecture will locate the German Jewish poet, Else Lasker-Schüler in her time and place, present details of her biography, in its cultural and political context, discuss her vision, and offer new translations of a number of her poems.

Thursday, January 11, 10:30am
STEPHEN DOBYNS: The Nature of Metaphor

Friday, January 12, 9:30am
JENNIFER GROTZ: Flung Speech

Emily Dickinson wrote: Prayer is the little implement
Through which men reach
Where presence is denied them.
They fling their speech

By means of it in God’s ear;
If then He hear,
This sums the apparatus
Comprised in prayer.

“If then He doesn’t hear,” one could add, “This sums the apparatus /Comprised in poetry.”
My lecture will consider some similarities in the construction of poetry and prayer. There is no advanced reading required; a handout will be provided.


Friday, January 12, 10:45am
ADRIA BERNARDI: The China Night-Light and the Bottle-Tree: Visual Image and Noise in Eudora Welty

“. . . I know equally well that the bottle-tree appearing in the story is a projection from my imagination; it isn’t the real one except in that it is corrected by reality. The fictional eye sees in, through and around what is really there.”
“Finding a Voice,” in One Writer’s Beginnings

The movement between the inner and the outer, and the primacy of the visual image, are central to the poetics of Eudora Welty. The title of her collection of essays, The Eye of the Story, places the visual image and the act of seeing centrally to her creative process.

I’ve been considering Welty stories in terms of this progression from a Rilke poem, “And I would like to listen in and listen out into you, into the world, into the woods.” The progression, from “To Say Before Going to Sleep,” involves movement from the internal to the external on the behalf of the other. In the case of Welty’s stories, the progression involves a narrator looking into a character, looking out through that character, into the world, or into the metaphorical woods of that character. Rapidly, sometimes in the course a single paragraph, the reader will listen into the depths, only to then shift into or perceive an active world: maybe little gestures of kindness or bravery, more likely pettiness, half-truths, lies, mockery, cowardliness, cruelty—variations of behavior by, as Katherine Anne Porter called them, “Miss Welty’s ‘little human monsters.’” With another quick shift, the story may then enter that same character’s metaphorical woods. Welty’s narrators see and listen into in all of these four places on behalf of a wide spectrum of others.

I’ll be considering the visual images at the transition points where the point of view or level of consciousness shifts. I’m exploring whether the Rilke progression may be useful in considering one’s own work, and how it is that the visual image offers the opportunity to move into another way of seeing, thus finding another place within the story. I’ll be talking about the sensory images of sound in the Welty stories, specifically, those that relate to noise. As in the Rilke poem, visual and aural images sometimes occur together in the stories at key points. Primarily, I’ll be talking about “Death of a Traveling Salesman.” I’ll also refer to “No Place for You, My Love,” “A Memory,” “June Recital,” “Where is the Voice Coming From?” and her essay, “Place in Fiction.”

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