FRONTMATTER

Pursuing Those Emotional Questions

On Friday, November 9th, we welcomed a trio of writers to campus for another reading. This time, James Scott, faculty member and author of The Kept, Sean Prentiss, faculty member and author of Finding Abbey: A Search for Edward Abbey and His Hidden Desert Grave, and Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, author of The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir each read us excerpts of their work. A surprise snow shower started just before our evening began. Through the windows of Café Anna, we could see…

Mining Interiority & the "Everybody Test"

Because the campus has been hopping with various events and other residencies lately, our normal Friday night reading venue, Café Anna, was suspended this week, and we relocated to the Chapel on the second floor of College Hall. Framed by the giant pipe organ and ornate finished wood accents, our reading took on an oddly reverent feel. This is not to imply that we do not revere our visiting writers normally—quite the contrary. But, as you may imagine, the juxtaposition of discussing the poetic…

Musicality & Mistaken Identity: An Evening With Justin Bigos and Matthew Olzmann

This past Friday, we had the pleasure of hosting two poets for our reading series in Café Anna: Justin Bigos, current faculty member here at VCFA, author of Mad River and chapbook Twenty Thousand Pigeons and co-founder of Waxwing Literary magazine, and Dartmouth poet Matthew Olzmann, author of Mezzanines and Contradictions in the Design. After mingling with the other attendees over drinks and hors d'oeuvres (pro tip: look out for the double-chocolate cookies—they are positively sinful) introductions…

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.…