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: Fiction
Representative List of Recent Courses Taught: Distance-Learning Courses:· Creative Writing I-IV · Craft and Reflection I-III· Graduating Seminar Preparation· Creative ThesisResidency Seminars:· The Sentimental Trap
Education: B.A., Anthropology, Barnard College
Representative List of Recent Publications / Exhibitions: Books:Unravished (Forthcoming2014)This is Your Last Swim (2013)The Tell (2013)The Edge of Marriage (short story collection, 2010) Kinship Theory (2002)Stories have appeared in: Mt. Hope, Agni, Glimmertrain, Salamander, Ploughshares, Southwest Review, and Story, among others, and in anthologies including The Best American Short Stories series.
Teaching Philosophy: My most valuable teaching tool is the work itself, whether it's a piece of student writing, or the published work of a seasoned author. I'm interested in how and why a piece of fiction engages the reader, and I ask my students to consider what elements make a story and lead them feel a certain way. I ask them where the engagement is happening on the page, and what dynamic is taking place between the reader and the words. This search is often where the student, transferring this consideration to his own work, discovers what his story is really about. This exploration, if we take a risk and allow it to, will lead the writer to discover the truth in and about his own writing.
I stress revision as the time when a piece of work finds its form and meaning, and when all the elements of fiction we talk about in seminars and workshops and submissions come together to serve the story. Revision - that process of chipping away, fine-tuning, and rethinking - is also about looking at the language and considering the cadence and the music of the writing. It's during revision that we feel ourselves itching to leave the work and run away, but it's those drops of sweat, that racing heart, that lets us know we're about to get to the true and genuine stuff.
I love teaching in Lesley's program and find my students enormously inspiring.Awards: Salamander Fiction Award, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Merit Award; McGinnis Ritchie Award for Nonfiction; National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for 2007-08; Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction; Writer's Community/YMCA Writer-in-Residence Award; Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Fellowship Current Affiliation: Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT.Past Affiliation: Rhode Island School of Design.
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