Pamela Petro

MFA in Creative Writing Faculty

faculty-pamela-petro

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.  I direct the Dylan Thomas International Summer School in Creative Writing at The University of Wales Trinity St David, in Lampeter, Wales. Lesley MFA students have been attending for credit each year since the program began in 2014, and I can't recommend the experience too highly!

Work


Books

The Slow Breath of Old Stone: A Romanesque Love Story (2005)
Sitting up with the Dead: A Storied Journey through the American South (2001, 2002, 2017) 
Travels in an Old Tongue (1997)

Artist's Books

AfterShadows: A Grand Canyon Narrative (2014)
Under Paradise Valley: A Play for Epitaphs (2015)
 

Essays

"Longing for Dylan," The Swansea Review, 2014
"Dreaming in Welsh," The Paris Review, 2012
"Jim Magee's Hill," Granta, 2009

Word and Image Essays

"The Dusk Series," The Lampeter Review, 2016
"Erosion," Lumina, 2015
"Flow," Slab, 2014

Awards

Bedford Pace Award for Writing on Britain; Black Rock Arts Fellow; Artist in Residence at the Grand Canyon; MacDowell Fellow; Writer in Residence, Spring Creek Project; Honorary Fellow, University of Wales

Current Affiliations

Smith College; The University of Wales, Trinity St David (Director, The Dylan Thomas Summer School in Creative Writing)

Past Affiliations

Brown University Learning Community; New York Public Library.

Pamela  is also a photographer visual artist who creates environmental installations of "petrographs" (silver gelatin images printed on stone).

Connect with Pamela on her website at www.pamelapetro.com, or her blog.

Education

M.A., “The World and the Visual Imagination” (English Department) at the University of Wales
B.A., Brown University, Independent Honors Concentration in Writing and Illustration
Sweet 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