Video of Natasha Trethewey reading at Vanderbilt

Image result for natasha tretheweyWatch and listen to a reading given by former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey on March 19. Trethewey starts to read about five and a half minutes into the video after an introduction by MFA grad student in poetry Alicia Brandewie.

MFA graduate Matt Baker publishes novel with Little Brown


Matthew Baker, MFA 2012, has published If You Find This with Little Brown.  Called “lively, entertaining and satisfying” by Kirkus Reviews, the book, marketed for children from 8 to 12 years old, is Baker’s first novel.   Baker, who came to Vanderbilt with the MFA class of 2011, held a Third Year Fiction Fellowship in 2011-2012.  He was a Fulbright Fellow in Ireland in the year after graduation.

“Smugglers caves, graveyards, ghost houses, seances, and…maps come together to make an intriguing mystery for the group to solve as the characters wrestle with their past selves in hopes of a better future. The story is enhanced with musical and mathematical notations (terms like “forte” and “piano” appear as subscript throughout, modifying actions and dialogue), giving readers a glimpse into Nicholas’s impressive brain and adding an unusual layer of interest and beauty to debut author Baker’s storytelling.”

Publishers Weekly

New poetry collection, Do Not Rise, published by Beth Bachmann

Vanderbilt faculty member Beth Bachmann has released a new collection of poetry.  The book, Do Not Rise, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press, won the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award.  To read early reviews, click this link.

A review by Lisa Russ Spaar in the L.A. Review of Books observes:

Swerving among a range of expository, interrogative, and imperative modes, the effect of which, as John Cage put it, is to “demilitarize” and at the same time agitate the text, and sampling from a range of army manuals, war poems and letters, wilderness manuals, and (pop) cultural sources like Garden and Gun: Soul of the South magazine and Pierre Laszlo’s Citrus: A History, these edgy, elusive, disturbing poems seem created out of the umbral depths of war’s perpetual shadow (“the day breaks not; it is my heart”). In their fragmented, telegraphic utterances, the poems seem to want to be more than “about” post-traumatic stress; they want to create in words an experience of it….In the case of the poems in Do Not Rise, Bachmann seems to want to train the eye to work like a mind ruptured by violence…

Lorrie Moore’s new collection, Bark, finalist for The Story Prize for 2014

Lorrie Moore’s new story collection, Bark, has been named one of three finalists for The Story Prize for 2014.  Selected from among a record number of books–129 in total–published by 85 different publishers or imprints, Bark, published by Alfred A. Knopf, joins The Other Language by Francesca Marciano (Pantheon) and Thunderstruck by Elizabeth McCracken (The Dial Press) in vying for the final award on Wednesday, March 4.

Bark “consists of eight stories set mostly in Middle America, about people in or approaching midlife and facing the tension between speaking their minds and protecting their emotions by forming a hard, shell around themselves.”

Previous winners include George Saunders, Mary Gordon, Anthony Doerr, Edwidge Danticat, and Tobias Wolff.

Bark by Lorrie Moore

Tony Earley’s new collection, Mr. Tall, on Washington Post’s Top 50 Fiction Books

The Washington Post has placed Tony Earley’s recently published book, Mr. Tall, on its Top Fiction Books for 2014.  Critic Michael Lindgren wrote that the collection, published by Little, Brown, “is topped by a novella-length tale that’s a rollicking experimentalist riff on ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ — featuring a contemptuous talking dog, a pair of post-feminist maidens and an equally forlorn Tom Dooley, who laments that his famous murder ballad ‘ain’t done much good since Burl Ives died.’”