Two recent MFA grads are Finishing Line Press authors

A poetry chapbook by Melissa Cundieff-Pexa, MFA 2013, is to be published by Finishing Line Press this spring.  The chapbook, entitled Futures with Your Ghost, will be available in May 2014.

Pexa joins 2011 MFA grad, Lisa Dordal, also a Finishing Line Press author, whose chapbook, Commemoration, was published last year.  

Critical response to Dordal’s book:

Commemoration moves from elegiac poems that respond to a mother’s alcoholism, death, and the heartbreaking ‘process of separating’ to those that chronicle ‘falling out of hiding’ into sexual awareness and fulfillment. Every poem in this collection is finely made, with quartz-like clarity and complexity; in sequence, they gain the undeniable urgency and inevitability of ‘atoms, quarks, and auras / and all the love that lies between.’ This is a wise and powerful collection.” Claudia Emerson,  winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Late Wife

Recent MFA grads receive Pushcart Prize special mentions

Short stories by two recent MFA graduates, Claire Burgess (MFA 2011) and Matt Baker (MFA 2012), received special mention in the 2014 Pushcart Prize anthology; Burgess’ “Upper Middle Class Houses,” originally appeared in Third Coast, and Baker’s  “A Cruel Gap-Toothed Boy,” in Missouri Review.

Three recent MFA grads in Best American series

Three recent graduates–Matt Baker (MFA 2012), Claire Burgess (MFA 2011), Jill Schepmann (MFA 2012)–have received notable citations in the 2013 Best American series published by Harcourt Brace: Matt Baker in Best American Short Stories, Claire Burgess in Best American Nonrequired Reading, and Jill Schepmann in Best American Essays.  These collections in the Best American series are the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest short fiction and nonfiction.

Matt Baker’s stories have appeared in American Short Fiction, New England Review, The Missouri Review, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Kenyon Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Best Of The Net, among others. He has held fellowships through the Fulbright Commission, the MacDowell Colony, the Ragdale Foundation, the Sante Fe Art Institute, the Blue Mountain Center, and Prairie Center for the Arts. A founding editor of Nashville Review, he has a novel forthcoming from Little, Brown.

Claire Burgess’s short stories have appeared in journals such as Hunger Mountain, Third Coast, Redivider, PANK, and Annalemma, and have been recognized as notable in Best American Short Stories 2012 and Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012 and 2013. She was a founding editor of Nashville Review. Originally from Alabama, Claire now lives in Pittsburgh, PA, where she is finishing her first short story collection.

Jill Schepmann’s work has appeared in Parcel, Midwestern Gothic, Afro-Hispanic Review, and has been read on NPR’s All Things Considered. A native Kansan, Schepmann received her MFA in 2012 and now lives and writes in San Francisco

Student prizes & third year fellowships in Creative Writing announced

Graduate student prizes in creative writing

First year MFA student, Edgar Kunz has won first prize in the 2013 Academy of American Poets contest.  Miriam Mimms in the MLAS program received Honorable Mention.  Poet Thomas Lux judged.

Second year MFA student Chris Adamson received the 2013 Sedberry Prize for Poetry and first year MFA student Lee Conell received the 2013 Guy Goffe Means Prize for Fiction.

The Writing Studio MFA Graduate Consultant Prize went to first year MFA student in poetry Anne Charlton.

Undergraduate student prizes in creative writing

Graduating senior Elizabeth Furlow received the 2013 Merrill Moore Prize for Fiction and graduating senior Cathy Zhang received the  2013 Merrill Moore Prize for Poetry.

Third year graduate fellowships

Second year MFA student in fiction Claire Jimenez has been appointed Curb Creative Writing Fellow for 2013-14.   Second year MFA student in poetry Cara Dees and and second year MFA student in fiction Marysa LaRowe have received third year fellowships in Creative Writing for the 2013-14 academic year.  And graduating MFA student in fiction, Janet Thielke, received a post-MFA Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Creative Writing.

Recent MFA grad Carrie Causey’s poetry chapbook published

Ear to the Wall, by Carrie CauseyRecent MFA graduate Carrie Causey’s chapbook, Ear to the Wall, has just been published by Ampersand Press.  Causey is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she now teaches Literature, Composition, and Humanities at Baton Rouge Community College.   Praise for the collection:

“Carrie Causey’s Ear to the Wall introduces us to a refreshingly genuine lyrical intelligence that is sure-footed, sprinter-quick, and ready to bewitch. We are led through the dreamscapes of Causey’s childhood—the bayous and waterways of the Atchafalaya Swamp—and there encounter its many restless spirits, including women ‘spell-locked in walls, still trying to get out.’ The collection’s cumulative power is due in no small part to Causey’s formidable empathic gifts. Even when one speaker becomes ‘bright with the terror of too many gods,’ Causey still manages to take us to a place ‘that makes everything sacred’ where we, her fortunate readers, become ‘the bemused witness[es] to grace/working its cold sacrament.’ This is a stunning collection, immensely powerful, dream-haunted and river-wise.” – Rick Hilles, author of Brother Salvage and Map of the Lost World.

“Open that door just a crack, peek inside: trouble and enchantment await. You will find, I believe, Ms. Causey’s work is at once precise and expansive, meticulous and loose in the best possible way. The plain-spoken surrealism of her images strikes the balance one hopes for and so rarely finds. She’s one to be reckoned with.” — Daniel Lawless, editor of Plume Poetry.