Frontmatter

Did You Know That VCFA Will Review Your Work For Free?

It’s true! Every fall, the faculty of VCFA’s MFA in Writing & Publishing program take the time to review prospective students’ work. Five pages tops, in any genre, free of charge. For those considering an MFA, it’s a helpful glimpse into graduate level critique: a taste of an intensive, workshop-focused MFA writing program. “It’s almost […]

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Breaking Genre Borders with Julianna Baggot

Julianna Baggot is “intense.” The Faculty Director of VCFA’s MFA in Writing & Publishing, she proudly wears that badge, and brings that sort of energy to our Forms class. Sharp, funny, and never one to hold back, what she does best with the cadre of young writers assembled before her is to stress the importance of showing […]

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Our Fourth Reading: Grounded In Place With Sean Prentiss, Jessica Hendry-Nelson

The best art is grounded somewhere. We are all tied to memories of where we grow up, where we settle down, where we spend time in between. At our fourth reading, faculty members Sean Prentiss and Jessica Hendry-Nelson both talked about the value of place and how they ground their work in very precise settings […]

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VCFA Alumnus Tyler Friend Discusses Launching “Francis House,” A Literary Journal

Poet and photographer Tyler Friend is a self-described “apricot/human hybrid,” a characteristically pronoun-averse writer, and someone who’s eager to take on new poetic forms. Friend’s 2014 chapbook, ampersonate was published by Choose The Sword Press (motto: “read a fuckin’ book”), which they describe as a “quasi-autobiography…a collection of insecurities…a topography of my heart.” After graduating from the MFA […]

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Poet and Professor Ruben Quesada Talks To Us About Journals, Translating Cernuda, And Neck Tattoos

On the right side of his neck, just below his ear, poet and professor Ruben Quesada has a tattoo of the Chinese character 晨, which he tells me means, “early light.” Quesada was born on an early morning in a late summer day in August. “I feel that idea of light embodies who I am […]

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An Evening With Ruben Quesada

Visiting poet Ruben Quesada was the star of our third reading, a solo act. He read three poems from his upcoming and still-untitled collection, though they aren’t entirely poems, per se: they are disparate ideas split up into numbered sections that convey themes of religion, desire, and surviving the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. When the collection goes […]

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Hula-Hooping While Reading Is 2017’s Hot New Workout Fad

Multitasking, that’s what it is, really—says Cammie Finch, an avid combination reader and hula-hooper, usually both at the same time. A first-year student at VCFA’s MFA in Writing & Publishing program, she has been frequently sighted outside of the dorms, holding up a (lightweight) book and simultaneously hooping it up. It might seem silly, sure, but […]

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VCFA’s Second Reading: Trinie Dalton, Sherwin Bitsui

We kept our second reading of the year short, and to the point: poet Sherwin Bitsui, reading from his current work as well as a preview of his third book of poetry, joined onstage our very own Trinie Dalton, Faculty in the MFA in Writing & Publishing program. “I’ve kinda been in a mood lately,” said Trinie, just […]

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Sherman Bitsui coming to VCFA

Sherwin Bitsui’s Flood Song, the poet’s second book, is a hike through the desert at sunset when you don’t know where you’re going. It is equal parts disorienting, beautiful, and full of misdirection: surreal and bordering on the nonsensical, but with enough glimmers of the familiar to bring you back. You follow Bitsui to “a […]

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Megascops trichopsis (Whiskered Screech Owl), John Gerrard Keulemans, 1902
Lewis “Buddy” Nordan, “Owls”

Lewis Nordan, whose nickname was “Buddy,” stood in the same Southern Gothic cathedral as Faulkner and O’Connor. Over the course of his life he wrote four novels, three short story collections, and one “fictional memoir” before his death in 2012. Nordan played with expectations in unique ways: his uniqueness was magical realism by way of […]

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