FRONTMATTER

And We're Back: The First Reading of Another Year at VCFA

On Friday the 14th we had our first open reading of the 2018-2019 school year. The evening featured the poetry and prose of the three individuals who lead our program: Associate Director Lizzy Fox, faculty member and Editor of the college’s literary magazine Hunger Mountain Erin Stalcup, and Director Rita Banerjee. Looking back a year ago when I started the program, I remember that the first reading set the tone for the semester to come. This year, as students, faculty, and community…

A Student Reading, Before The Final Farewell

The final reading of the semester—the entire year, really—was held in the Chapel, the night before graduation. It was the perfect opportunity for us to re-familiarize ourselves with our classmates' work. After a year in each other's company, we can identify everyone in our humble cohort by subjects and genres: tennis, addiction, magic realism, speculative fiction, dinosaurs. But the graduating students led hermit-like existences while finishing their theses. And our cohort was divided into…

A Night at the Theater

Just before graduating from the MFA in Writing & Publishing program, Dan Cretaro staged a reading of his thesis, a two-act play entitled "Yet, Not There." In the play, two couples spend a secluded weekend in the woods. They navigate the intricacies of childhood friendships, starting families, careers and the lack thereof, inside jokes, and Nineties wrestling references. It was a play worthy of reflecting the involvement and nuances that a long thesis project takes. Your humble chronicler got…

Boston Bound for Books!

Get on the bus; it's field trip time! Students from the MFA in Writing and Publishing program recently spent the weekend in Boston. We met with editors, publishers, and directors: Sven Birkerts and William Pierce of AGNI, Christina Thompson of the Harvard Review, Janaka Stucky of Black Ocean Press, and Christopher Castellani and Dariel Suarez of GrubStreet. It was illuminating to visit the places where we might pursue publication of our own work. But after a long winter in Vermont, it was also…

Riots, Rattlesnakes, and Rare Beasts

How time flies: we’re already at our last reading of the semester! And for this one, three extremely accomplished guests brought their finest work. First up, Matthew Dickman—Oregon Book Award winner and Guggenheim Fellow, reading from his latest collection of poetry, Wonderland. It is one of the three books you should read before you perish from this earth. It is a collection "charged with raw beauty and heartbreak,” said fellow poet and MFA candidate Jad Yassine, introducing him. “He…

Poem City: Lorca Comes Alive! At Café Anna

Every April, the city of Montpelier magically transforms into Poem City and comes alive with the art of language. Storefronts downtown tape poems on their windows—local poems by poets hailing from Montpelier, Essex, South Burlington, and other Vermont towns. Elementary school children grow a garden of haikus outside of Hunger Mountain Co-op. Local institutions like Bear Pond Books and the Kellogg-Hubbard Library host readings every week. The Vermont College of Fine Arts is a proud Poem City…

This, My Friend, Is Your Life

Julianna Baggott contains a seemingly endless fount of energy when it comes to the art form. She has written over 20 books (not including what she's co-authored), teaches at VCFA and at Florida State University, regularly pitches stories to Hollywood, and is raising four children. Still, she took the time to read with Caitlin Leffel at VCFA’s Café Anna. Before she went in front of the audience, MFA candidate Sarah Leamy introduced her. “She has done so much, and it’s so inspiring,” she said.…

Caitlin Leffel (heart emojis) New York

It may be safe to say that writer and editor Caitlin Leffel has a thing for New York City: she grew up in Manhattan, works as an editor with Rizzoli Press in the Flatiron District, and wrote a book about falling in love in New York. She is also a VCFA alumnus. A few weeks ago, she made the five-hour journey north—or 45 minutes from LaGuardia—back to Montpelier to discuss with our class her fascinating career in publishing. Rizzoli Press specializes in illustrated books, aka “coffee table…

Three New Books From Our Faculty That You Must Read Before You Die

Three of our faculty have either recently introduced books or are releasing them soon. They include a novel about returning home, a heartbreaking memoir of overcoming illness, and a collection of groundbreaking poetry. Why not collect them all? Robin MacArthur, Visiting Faculty in Fiction, introduced her short story collection, Half Wild, in 2016. In January 2018, she released her first novel: Heart Spring Mountain, from which she read just a few weeks ago. Published by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins, Heart…

The Unbearable Lightness of AWP

Earlier this month, the Association of Writers and Publishers hosted its annual conference in Tampa, Florida. For over 15,000 attendees, the AWP Conference & Bookfair is the literary event in America: four straight days of books, book deals, interacting with editors from Big 5 publishing houses and tiny literary magazines alike, networking, lectures, readings, and parties. For the Vermont College of Fine Arts, it was the ideal place to launch Everyday Chimeras, the latest issue of Hunger…