--CWP Director Daniel Torday's novella The Sensualist was recently named SPD Books' Staff Pick for the month of September. The book was published in spring 2012 by Nouvella Books. You can find interviews with Torday, about the book, here and here. Also, here.
--With great sadness, the Creative Writing Program learned this week that Florence "Flossie" Trefethen (BMC '43) has passed away. Flossie was a great champion of the arts, and of poetry in particular, at Bryn Mawr in the years after she graduated, and in the past decade made it possible for the CWP to offer a unique series of Poetry Master Classes. Her generosity and energy allowed a distinguished group of poets-- including Frank Bidart, Cornelius Eady, Marilyn Hacker, Yusef Komunyakaa, JD McClatchy, Paul Muldoon, Carol Muske-Dukes, Marie Ponsot, Mary Jo Salter, Sonia Sanchez and Gerald Stern-- to teach at Bryn Mawr. A professor of English at Tufts University, she was also the editor of two influential anthologies, The Little Brown Reader and Fairbank Remembered. Flossie's contribution to the literary life on Bryn Mawr's campus will not be forgotten. --The CWP
--Creative Writing Program professor Elizabeth Mosier's novella The Playgroup published as part of Gemma Open Door Series. Mosier gave a reading to a packed audience in Bryn Mawr's Goodhart Music Room on March 14.
Literary Contest Results, 2012
Academy of American Poets Prize
Co-Winner: Mowie Freeman (‘14), for a sequence of poems comprising: “greenhouse,” “on digging,” “I take this wanting by the tail,” “untitled,” “what river takes”
Co-Winner: Zebbie Watson (‘12), for a sequence of poems comprising: "Hole,” “Stopped Body,” “Elverson, Mid-Winter,” “Articulation,” “Sow Belly Trail””
Honorable Mention: Jessika Rieck (‘12), for a sequence of poems comprising: “Following Directions,” “aftermath,” “Gone Fishing,” “a long way from home,” “Living Spaces,” “ i’ve been gathering stones”
Honorable Mention: Mattie Wechsler (’14), for a sequence of poems comprising: “Pygmalion’s Wife,” “Unda Gravet Pennas,” “Figitur”
Bain-Swiggett Poetry Prize
Winner: Lillie Estelle Williams (‘14) for “The Enigma of Isidore Ducasse”
Honorable Mention: Zebbie Watson (‘12) for “Hole”
Honorable Mention: Emily Gaudette (‘12) for “Back Seat in Ballygran”
Alexandra Peschka Prize
Winner: Hema Surendranathan (’14) for “Some Fires” (short story)
Honorable Mention: Hayley Burke (’15) for “The Party” (short story)
Honorable Mention: Mattie Wechsler (’14) for “Open Mind” (short story)
Anne Kirschbaum Winkelman Literary Prize
Winner: Hema Surendranathan (’14) for “Petunias”
Honorable Mention: Emily Gaudette (’12) for “Things I Haven’t Told the Guy I’ve Been Seeing”
Honorable Mention: Rose Heithoff (’12) for “Collision”
Katherine Fullerton Gerould Award
Winner: Zebbie Watson (’12) for “The Haircut” (short story)
Honorable Mention : Maria Aghazarian (’12), for “Redemption” (short story)
Honorable Mention : Lauren Smith (’12), for “The Sleeping Porch” (short story)
Honorable Mention : Hayley Burke (’15), for “Just Go” (short story)
Seymour Adelman Poetry Award
Winner: Emily Gaudette (’12), for a two-tiered project in which the poet leads a series of community workshops encouraging teens to use poetry as “a door-to-the-self,” then completes a chapbook of poems inspired by her relationship with the teens.
Honorable Mention: Brianna Nelson (’12) for an interdisciplinary project of poems and photographs written during a cross-country road trip resulting in the writer producing multiple copies of a handset, hand-bound artist’s book.
Richard Lattimore Prize for Poetic Translation
Winner: Gillian Diffenderfer
Winner: Molly Murry
Bryn Mawr’s Creative Writing Program is excited to announce short story writer and novelist Karen Russell will join its faculty for the Fall 2011 semester as the college’s Distinguished Visiting Writer. This past summer Russell was named one of The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40, and she recently received a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her first novel, Swamplandia!, was published this winter to universal acclaim, and was a New York Times bestseller. She is a graduate of the Columbia MFA program, and was named one of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35. Her stories have appeared in Granta, Zoetrope, Oxford American, Conjunctions, and The New Yorker, and have appeared three times in the Best American Short Stories anthologies.
Tuesday, April 12, 7:30 p.m.
NEW VENUE: Goodhart Music Room
Karl Kirchwey is the author of six books of poems, including The Engrafted Word, The Happiness of This World: Poetry and Prose and, forthcoming in the spring of 2011, Mount Lebanon. Also forthcoming is his translation of French poet Paul Verlaine’s first book, as Poems Under Saturn. His reviews and essays have appeared in Parnassus, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere. Professor of the Arts at Bryn Mawr College, he is the Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome for 2010-13.
This program has been made possible with the support of the Jane Flanders Fund.
CWP Faculty in Print
--Poet Karl Kirchwey's poem "Body and Mask" appears in the November 10, 2010 issue of The New Republic
--Playwright Amy Herzog's play After the Revolution receives a rave review from New Yorker theater critic John Lahr
--Fiction writer Daniel Torday's short story "Bubi Grynszpan Dreams Assassination Dreams" appears serialized this week on FiveChapters.com
A play by Amy Herzog, who teaches playwriting in the Bryn Mawr College Creative Writing Program, has earned an enthusiastic review from The New York Times‘ Charles Isherwood. After the Revolution, the chronicle of a proud family of Marxists that faces new revelations about its revered patriarch, is a “smart, engrossing play,” in Isherwood’s estimation.
“Just keeping track of the various branches on the family tree might seem daunting, but Ms. Herzog elucidates the personal history of three generations of Josephs with impressive ease, in scenes that crackle with lively, natural dialogue,” Isherwood writes.
The play’s run at Playwrights Horizons’ Peter Jay Sharp Theater has been extended through Dec. 12 after earning raves from Variety, The New York Daily News, and New York magazine, and others, in addition to the Times‘ thumbs-up.
Daniel Torday, the director of the Bryn Mawr College Creative Writing Program, has recently been named book review editor of the Kenyon Review, one of the nation’s oldest and most venerable literary magazines. Torday, along with the poet Zach Savich, will begin to assign reviews regularly for the Kenyon Review Online, the magazine’s increasingly popular website, as well as for the print publication. Torday has regularly published work in the Review for several years.
This summer Bryn Mawr and Haverford Creative Writing students completed internships at many impressive magazines, book publishers and agencies. Current students and recent alumni have held internships, editorships and worked in publicity at Esquire Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, and Glamour; the publishing houses Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Doubleday, Viking, Random House and Princeton University Press; and the literary agency Sterling Lord. Below, reports from recent summer internships:
People keep asking what it was like. It was a lot like Bryn Mawr. Except mostly men instead of women. And it’s higher up — the 21st floor. The building is glass and you can see every skyscraper in Midtown. I interviewed celebrities and experts about things that men and women want to know about; Feline High-Rise Syndrome, black bears, dirty hotel beds, omelets, prostitution. Every week or so I talked to Top Chef judge Eric Ripert, who is very French and very nice. I emailed with that guy Bear Grylls who did that Man vs. Wild show. David Blaine strode right into the office and bent my quarter in half. I spent time hunting for PR directors of obscure espresso machines. Sometimes it was like that, interning at a magazine like Esquire.
Writers there have crazy ideas. Ideas that make you question the boundaries of fiction and nonfiction and journalism; how to use verbs, how to interview, ideas that make you say, “Can you do that?” John H. Richardson wrote a story about the abortion doctor who replaced George Tiller after his murder. It’ll make you cry. I got to watch journalists think and write, helped them get their thoughts down. I never got coffee for anyone but me. Instead I got to do things like interviews, blogging, and eating pasta with David Granger, Esquire’s Editor-in-Chief. And all the features editors, just to talk about stories. That shocked me. I mean they really care about their stories. They’re professional listeners, shrinks who write, and it’s the most important way to be; at once you feel like somebody very important, and nobody at all. I’ve never witnessed such a beautiful process.
This summer, I was privileged to have the opportunity to intern at Redbook Magazine in New York City. I worked as an editorial intern in the beauty department, which is led by a Bryn Mawr alumna. My weekly jobs included attending update meetings with the editorial staff, brainstorming ideas for features with the beauty editors, researching upcoming pieces, and maintaining the beauty closet. I learned about the lengthy process of completing a story, from the first proposal up to its printing.
I was also asked to attend industry-related events outside of the office. It was exciting to meet other people in publishing. Networking is a major component of the world of print media. These events gave me the chance to make connections with people who were once in my shoes. The most rewarding aspect of my internship was being asked to write some pieces that are currently published on Redbook’s website, as well as some small sidebar items that were printed in a recent issue.
This internship allowed me to obtain a first-hand understanding of what it is like to work at a national magazine. I am looking forward to adding to this experience through a Praxis course this semester, which will provide me with an academic-based knowledge of magazine publishing.
This summer I spent time working closely with George Nicholson, an agent at Sterling Lord Literistic (SLL), an independent literary agency located in Manhattan. He specializes in juvenile and YA fiction. Nicholson represents many authors, including Patricia Reilly Giff, Lois Duncan and the estates of Lois Lenski and Don Freeman, author of Corduroy. I had neither prior experience nor initial interest in children’s / YA literature, but after observing Nicholson’s passion and devotion for the industry, and I came to truly appreciate the work of these authors.
Before this internship, I thought that after Bryn Mawr I wanted to venture into publishing. After witnessing the inner workings of an agency, I realized that I value the writers and agents most in this business. Every agent at SLL does his or her best to believe fully in his or her clients’ dreams. SLL strives to send out the best work possible—as agent Sterling Lord once did with Jack Kerouac, as agent Peter Matson did with John Irving, and as the other top-notch agents and assistants there do every day. The role of the agent in the current market is, as I see it, absolutely essential. And, if you’re really lucky, you’ll have an agent from Sterling Lord Literistic behind you to make things happen.
As one of twenty editorial interns at Philadelphia Weekly this summer I didn’t want to get lost in the crowd. So to distinguish myself from what one of my editors called the alternative weekly “hoi polloi,” I became very enthusiastic. I pitched dozens of events for the weekly calendar in the hopes one would stick. I learned to convince editors that not only were my article ideas good but that I was the person to write them. I was willing to go anywhere—anywhere not 21-and-over—and write anything. I made my own opportunities.
I was sent on “flyer hunting” expeditions in South Philly in 102-degree weather with a borrowed TransPass and instructions on how to avoid heat stroke. I fact-checked until my eyes crossed and bothered deadbeat PR people until they nearly blocked my cell phone number. I wrote style blog posts, concert reviews, or band profile (as I told my parents: “one-seventh of the cover story!”), and an 800-word article for the Back to School Issue. By the end of my eight-week internship I’d distinguished myself enough to secure a long-term place on the Arts & Culture pitch list. Bryn Mawr’s Creative Writing classes have given me a great grounding in writing, but my experience at Philadelphia Weekly taught me the practical side of journalism—and how to stand out in a crowd.
After my first week at Philebrity, a Philly news, culture and politics blog, I realized there was no shame in working in new media. I learned a new set of journalistic skills. Each morning I'd scour the web for Philly news stories that Philebrity readers would like. I'd also tackle stories about Philly politics—with the task of making them, as my boss called it, "sexy." How to make Harrisburg's budget discussions sexy? No easy feat.
I learned to write in Philebrity's casual, slangy, snarky tone-- something I wasn't used to. I had my first experience covering breaking news—July's duck boat crash. Philebrity brought me backstage at Diplo's Mad Decent Block Party. When a staffer gave me my VIP pass, I asked him, "What does this mean?" "Nothing," he said. Ten minutes later I found myself in Diplo's studio with a whole slew of his label's artists. I went to a prominent Philly chef's restaurant opening—I had written the restaurant's preview piece for Philebrity's food blog, Phoodie, and felt incredibly important when the chef remembered me, shook my hand and told me to leave him my contact info.
In my Creative Nonfiction course we discussed the importance of audience— knowing yours, engaging them. Interning at Philebrity was an exercise in exactly that. Philebrity readers love to be enraged at the blog. They'd leave acid comments bemoaning the "smug editorializing,” then confess they would always come back for more. When the biting comments kept coming, I knew I had settled into Philebrity just fine.