Division of Interdisciplinary Inquiry: Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
Professional Title: MFA 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:· Life Science: The Autobiographical Essays of Loren Eiseley· Prose by Poem
Education: B.A., English Literature: Colby College; M.F.A in Poetry: Warren Wilson College
Representative List of Recent Publications / Exhibitions: Books: Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light (2010)Clearing Land: Legacies of the American Farm (2005)Essays: “The Geography of Silence” for More Magazine, “Illuminating Texts” for the Boston Sunday Globe, and “Artificial Light” for The Independent
Teaching Philosophy: Creative nonfiction is a wonderfully open genre, which also possesses ongoing questions of its own: What are the responsibilities of writing from one's life? Of writing of another's life, “What is "the truth"? How might a writer best negotiate the complex relationship between truth and memory? There may be no definitive answers to these questions, but I think that any writer who is serious about the genre must live with their complexities.
As much as an apprenticeship in nonfiction involves grappling with these questions, no less essential is a thorough attention to craft - shape and syntax, image and metaphor, voice and structure. I believe students gain their greatest understanding of craft by learning to read as a writer, and that exploring the literary tradition - nonfiction, fiction, and poetry – as well as contemporary works is essential to a writer's education.
The one-on-one structure of a low-residency program is ideal in that it allows for both the support and the solitude essential to developing one's voice. I value most of all the way it allows me, as an advisor, to tailor the work and reading to the needs of each individual student.
Awards: Guggenheim Fellowship, New England Book Award for nonfiction; the L.L. Winship/PEN New England award; finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award; National Endowment for the Arts fellowship; and two Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowships.
Past Affiliations: Harvard University; Harvard Extension School.
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