Division of Interdisciplinary Inquiry: Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
Professional Title: M.F.A. Creative Writing Faculty
Areas of Academic Focus and Expertise: Nonfiction
Representative List of Recent Courses Taught: Distance-Learning Courses:• Creative Writing I-IV • Craft and Reflection I-III• Graduating Seminar Preparation• Creative ThesisResidency Seminars:• Escape from Chronology! Narrative Structures in Nonfiction
Education: BA, Brown University, Independent Honors Concentration in Writing and IllustrationM.A., “The World and the Visual Imagination” (English Department) at the University of WalesSweet Briar Junior Year Abroad Program at Université de Paris, (I, IV) and the Ecole du Louvre, France. Courses in French Language and Literature and Art History
Representative List of Recent Publications / Exhibitions: Books: The Slow Breath of Old Stone: A Romanesque Love Story (2011)Sitting up with the Dead: A Storied Journey through the American South (2002) Travels in an Old Tongue (1998)Guest Blogger, Visit Wales, March-June, 2011. 14-part weekly series of posts called “Hiraeth for Beginners”
Teaching Philosophy: I view the mentoring relationship as a dialogue rather than a traditional, hierarchal teaching experience. I often learn as much from my students as they do from me. Because I see non-fiction as the great Renaissance-person's field - it incorporates all fields of knowledge, spans everything from memoir to science writing to biography, and uses craft techniques available to writers across genres - I encourage my students to experiment. If they've been writing memoir, I might ask them to look at their subject matter as if they're writing a travel piece or a personal profile. And I encourage them to think in a global sense when it comes to their writing; we create genres in order to tidy the teaching experience, but the imagination is far less tidy. Inspiration may begin as poetry and wind up as narrative non-fiction, which is why I encourage students to experiment, read widely across genres, and always view literary expression as a sliding scale.
As I'm also a visual artist, I have a special interest in graphic novels/memoirs and word-and-image pairings (my MA is in Word and Image Studies). I also speak Welsh and often write about Wales and Welsh literature, and have a background in travel writing.
Awards: Bedford Pace Award for Writing on Britain; Black Rock Arts Fellow; Artist in Residence at the Grand Canyon.
Current Affiliations: Smith College; Ty Newydd, the National Writer's Center for Wales.Past Affiliations: Brown University Learning Community; New York Public Library.
Pamela Petro is also a visual artist who creates environmental installations of "petrographs" (silver gelatin images printed on stone).
MFA in Creative Writing
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