On Extended Wings: Newsletter of the Master of Fine Arts in Writing program at Spalding University.

Vol. 3 No. 6
October 2003

Faculty Book in Common for May 2004

Residency News

Closure Conferences

Student Readings

Life After the MFA

MFA Alumni Trip

Life of a Writer


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August 2004

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Faculty Book in Common for May 2004

Here are the faculty book in common selections for May 2004.

  • Carolyn Crimi, writing for children, Don’t Need Friends
  • Robin Lippincott, fiction, Our Arcadia
  • Elaine Orr, creative nonfiction, Gods of Noonday: A White Girl’s African Life
  • Greg Pape, poetry, Storm Patterns
  • Charles Gaines, screenplay, Indeh-the Dead

The books are available at the Spalding bookstore. The bookstore will extend its hours until 3 p.m. on the first Saturday of the residency.(top)

Graduate Assistantships Awarded

The following students were awarded graduate assistantships for the October 2003 semester. Graduate assistantships result in tuition remission for students who are in the second, third, and fourth semesters.

Congratulations to Cynthia Allar, David Brasfield, Marci Johnson, Richard Newman, Mary O'Malley, Amanda Sledz, Sharon Thomson, and Laverne Zabielski for being awarded assistantships for student editor or student assistant editorof The Louisville Review.

As well, Barbara Hutchsion was awarded an assistantship to be the residency photographer, and Erin Keane will continue as newsletters editor. (Remember to send Erin any Life of a Writer information and any address information changes for the newsletter to keane@iglou.com.)

Openings for graduate assistantships to help in the MFA Office are still available for students who live in commuting distance. These assistantships are offered to students in any semester. If interested, contact Karen Mann at kmann@spalding.edu.

Residency News

Residency Schedule Flip Flops

Most Workshop sessions are scheduled in the afternoons instead of mornings at the October residency. The advantage to this for students and faculty is that the mornings sessions now begin at different times, from as early as 8:30 a.m. to as late as 9:45 a.m.

Only the Thursday Workshop is held in the morning in order for the graduating class to have lunch at Holly Hill Inn in Midway, Kentucky, about an hour from Louisville. The lunch is hosted by Pam Sexton and her daughter and son-in-law Ouita and Chris Michel. The Inn is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the building dates from the early 1800s. Ouita is Chef, and Chris is host and Sommelier. Chris and Ouita are both graduates of the Culinary Institute of America. Faculty and staff who attended the first residency of the MFA Program in October 2001 are to attend also.

Residency Student and Guest Readings

The Graduate Student Readings for the thirty-six graduates are to take place in the evenings. The schedule and location of the readings is available on the MFA home page. Faculty and guest readings are also listed. Michael Ondaatje’s presentation is 7:30 p.m. on Friday, October 17, in the Grand Ballroom of the Seelbach. Seating is limited; please make reservations for any guests that are accompanying you that evening (email mfa@spalding.edu).

Residency Evaluations on the Web; Introduce Yourself Now

In an effort to cut down on postage and copying costs, the Program now offers most evaluations, forms, and other information on the website. Resi-dency evaluation, midsemester, and end-of-the-semester forms are not in the Welcome Packet as they have been in the past. The staff encourages students and faculty to use the web or downloaded forms. For those who do not wish to use the web forms, hardcopies of the evaluations are available to be picked up during the residency in the MFA Office.

The “Introducing Yourself to the Mentor” form is available online and may be filled out onscreen or printed out. The MFA staff suggests students fill out or begin filling out the form before coming to the residency. The form is given to the mentor at the group conference on Tuesday. Forms are located here.

Other information downloadable from this web page includes the MFA Handbook (revised May 2003), suggested reading list, packet mailing schedule, lecture descriptions, faculty statements of introduction, information about the Seelbach, and a faculty book list. Book-in-common information, a list of semester deadlines, and a list of future residency dates are also available through the forms page.

A brief session at the residency is planned to demonstrate to students and faculty how to use the forms page. Check the residency schedule in your Welcome Packet (available on Friday, October 10) for the time and place of this session.

Residency to Offer More Choices for Lunch

While most residency meals are catered by Aramark, the Spalding food services vendor, students and faculty may use their lunch tickets to receive $5 off lunch at selected restaurants within walking distance of campus on Fourth Street. The opportunity is available Monday through Friday.

Two evening meals are to take place at the Seelbach Hotel—Tuesday and the last Saturday evening. Several evening receptions are also to take place at the Seelbach.(top)

Closure Conferences

Early in the residency, each returning student approaches his or her most recent mentor to schedule a 20-30 minute closure conference. This conference offers the opportunity for the student to discuss the semester’s work and to say goodbye to the mentor. At the closure conference, the student may wish to mention what was especially challenging about the semester and what accomplishments gave particular satisfaction. The student may ask the mentor in what general areas he or she needs to continue to improve. The student and mentor may wish to compare notes on what each considers to be the most successful piece of the semester. It is suggested the closure conferences take place during lunch times on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday or at another time that is mutually convenient for the student and mentor.

If a mentor or student does not return to the residency, the closure conference occurs by telephone and is directly scheduled between student and mentor, not through the MFA Office.(top)

Student Readings

Because there are so many Graduate Student Readings at the October residency, we have a limited amount of time for other student readings. As in May, sign ups for student readings are taken by seniority. The sign-up clipboard is in the MFA Office; if the office is closed, the clipboard is in the box outside the MFA Office door. Here is the schedule to sign up.

  • Fourth semester students: Friday, October 10
  • Third semester students: Saturday, October 11
  • Second semester students: Sunday, October 12
  • First semester students: Monday, October 13

Tuesday evening is a planned “late-night” student reading. The reading is to begin after that evening’s Graduate Student Readings. Snacks, coffee, and tea are available for the attendees.

Student readings are five minutes. It is customary to practice the material beforehand, getting familiar with it and checking the time. Remember to bring the material to the residency. At the readings, moderators introduce the readers, and a timer gives a one-minute warning and indicates when time is up. Readers are asked to acknowledge the timer’s signals with a nod and to finish quickly after the final signal.(top)

Life After the MFA

We want to stay in touch with graduates and encourage them to keep us informed of address/telephone/email changes. Various opportunities are offered for graduates to continue as part of the MFA family.

Post-Graduate Semester

Graduates may enroll for a post-graduate semester in the area of concentration they have studied or may apply to study in a different area of concentration. (Some of you may remember Nikki Louis, who took a post-graduate semester in fiction with Robin Lippincott in May 2002.) Post-graduate semesters are identical in structure, style, and content to ENG610; that is, the post-graduate student fulfills all requirements of ENG610, which includes attending the residency and participating as a student, being paired with a mentor, and studying by correspondence throughout the semester. The cost for a post-graduate semester is the same as tuition for ENG610 (which is currently $5,040). For infomation on enrollment in a post-graduate semester, contact Karen Mann.

Post-Graduate Residents

Students who have graduated from the Program may apply for a position as a Post-Graduate Resident. Post-Graduate Residents attend the residency; prepare for and assist in a Workshop by participating in the discussion; assist in the MFA Office, as needed; and may do other things such as taping lectures or hosting residency guests or prospective students. Graduates may feel such a position would be beneficial on their vitaes.

Post-Graduate Residents receive $50 in compensation and are included in residency meals and events. Meals or events not included as part of the group experience are the Post-Graduate Resident’s responsibility. Post-Graduate Residents are provided a single room at the Spalding dormitory or $150 toward incurred housing costs (a receipt must be provided for reimbursement). Post-Graduate Residents may request up to $300 in transportation costs toward coach airfare or reimbursement at $.36 a mile for a round trip between home and Spalding.

To apply, graduates send a letter to Kathleen Driskell stating the desire to be a Post-Graduate Resident and the area of concentration. The letter may be mailed or emailed. The deadline is July 1 for the fall semesters or February 1 for the spring semester. Faculty members in the area of concentration rank the applicants and state whether they are willing to have the applicant assist in their Workshop. Up to eight Post-Graduate Residents are chosen per residency. Post-graduate Residents are offered the position six weeks before the residency.

Alumni Trips

Beginning in June 2004, the MFA Program will offer a series of Alumni trips. As previously announced, the trip for June 2004 is to Ireland. The trips are open to alumni, their guests, and MFA students and faculty.

Trips will have a literary emphasis and provide a continuation of the interrelatedness-of-the-arts discussions. Other destinations being considered are New Orleans/cruise to Mexico, Prague, a New York and/or London theater trip, the Humana Festival in Louisville, Vienna/Paris, Italy, and a Scandinavian and Baltic Sea cruise. The expectation is that one to two trips are to be offered each year.

Post Graduate Writers Conference

Beginning in summer of 2005, the Program will offer a week-long writers conference for graduates of MFA programs. The conference will include workshops, lectures, readings, and guests in the fields of writing, publishing, and editing.

“On Extended Wings”

Alumni continue to receive the Program newsletter and are encouraged to send entries for the “Life of a Writer” column to the newsletter editor.

Online Chat Room

By 2004, the Program plans to have on online chat forum available for MFA-ers, past and present. Online chats around topics of interest to writers are to be scheduled and hosted by faculty, staff, or graduates.

Louisville Writers Group

For graduates of MFA Program within driving distance of Spalding, the Program is to begin a weekly or bi-weekly writers group. The group is to be multi-genre. Students interested in this group are to meet during the October residency at 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday, October 14, to discuss the time and day of the group meeting. The group is to meet in room 207 of the Administration Building. (top)


MFA Alumni Trip

A Literary Tour of Ireland 2004: July 8 through July 17

More details are available concerning the first Spalding MFA in Writing Program Alumni Trip. The Spalding group will depart on July 8 and travel in high season to Dublin for a three-day visit, which includes sightseeing tours of the Bloomsday Walk, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Trinity College to see the Book of Kells, and University College, the alma mater of Joyce, Nuala O’Faolain, and Marina Carr. Spalding alumni will visit the Dublin’s Writers Museum with exhibits on Synge, Yeats, Shaw, and Wilde. The group also tours areas of Dublin associated with modern and contemporary writers, including O’Faolain, Carr, and Roddy Doyle, with opportunities to visit the Abbey or Peacock Theatres at night.

After the Dublin, the tour heads northwest through the heart of Ireland, past the famous hill of Tara and the Boyne valley, to Yeats’s homeland Sligo and grave at Drumcliffe. Then the group travels to County Mayo, Galway, and County Clare, the home county of Edna O’Brien. From Limerick, the setting for Frank McCourt’s work, the tour takes Spalding alumni through County Cork, Ireland’s second city and the home of an important Film Festival and a major source for the settings of the work of Frank O’Connor and Sean O’Faolain.

A visit to the Blarney Castle—where kissing the Blarney stone is said to confer the gift of eloquence—is followed by a visit of the Queenstown Heritage Centre, a monument to the great number of Irish emigrants to North America.

The tour returns to Dublin, through the rugged countryside of theWicklow mountains, for a farewell group dinner and then departs from Dublin on Saturday, July 17.

The nine-day tour for Spalding alumni and guests features round-trip airfare, first class hotel accommodations, a full Irish breakfast daily, five dinners, luxury air-conditioned motorcoach travel arrangements, a tour manager and driver, local guides in Dublin and Cork, admissions to various museums and monuments, porterage of luggage, sightseeing and touring, hotel taxes and service charges, and all gratuities to driver, guide and hotel bell staff.

The price per person (based on double occupancy—single supplement $300) is $2999, rate of exchange figured on the Eurodollar. A deposit of $250 is required upon registration with the final payment due May 1, 2004. Check payments are preferred. Add 4% for Visa, MC, or American Express payments.

Reading for the tour could include Nuala O’Faolain’s Are You Somebody: The Accidental Memoir of a Dublin Woman and My Dream of You; Yeats’s Collected Poems; Wilde’s The Important of Being Earnest; Roddy Doyle’s The Woman Who Walked into Doors or Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha; Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; The Oxford Book of Irish Short Stories, ed. William Trevor; Edna O’Brien’s The Country Girls and Mother Ireland; Folktales of Ireland, ed. Sean O’Sullivan.

All Spalding alumni and guests are encouraged to keep travel journals.

Please direct all inquiries to Kathleen Driskell, Associate Program Director, Spalding’s MFA in Writing Program, 851 S. Fourth Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40203 or (502) 585-9911 ext. 2231 or kdriskell@spalding.edu. (top)

Life of a Writer


John DeSimone’s novel, Leonardo’s Chair, is forthcoming in spring 2005 from River Oak Publishers.

Linda Busby Parker signed a contract with Southeast Missouri University Press for her novel, Seven Laurels, forthcoming in spring 2004. An excerpt from the novel was published in the summer issue of Provincetown Arts. (top)


Roy Hoffman continues to write profiles of Alabama natives in the Mobile Register, including one on our own Sena Jeter Naslund about her new novel, Four Spirits. His essay “Two Tons of Morality” was published on the New York Times op/ed page in August.

Elaine Orr’s memoir, Gods of Noonday: A White Girl's African Life, is a BookSense pick for the best ten books of the fall by university presses. Her essay, “Dieting in Africa,” was published in The Missouri Review.(top)



Our heartfelt sympathy to Jasmine Grimmet on the death of her father-in-law, Ossie Stanford Grimmet, who passed away in September.(top)