Nancy Reisman’s new novel, Trompe L’Oeil, published

Nancy Reisman has published a new novel entitled Trompe L’Oeil. Reisman’s novel, published by Tin House Books, received an enthusiastic early review in the Sunday New York Times. Reviewer Julie Myerson wrote that she found in Trompe L’Oeil a “sense of newness and possibility, of light and color, of almost reckless narrative daring. Rendered here, you feel, in startling and almost painterly form is life itself.”

Myserson’s verdict was clear. “Genuinely satisfying, heart-shaking novels combine an absolute narrative authority with an apparently effortless style. You question nothing, savor every phrase and nuance, live willingly within their pages from the first word to the last. They can also be slippery things: impossible to wrap up or pin down. Just read it, you urge the uninitiated, already envying them the experience to come. Nancy Reisman’s second novel, “Trompe L’Oeil,” is one such book.”

3 Vanderbilt writers in Best New Poets 2015

Tiana Clark

First year MFA student in poetry, Tiana Clark, and two recent graduates of the Vanderbilt Creative Writing Program, Lisa Dordal (MFA 2011) and Edgar Kunz (MFA 2015) have learned that their work will be included in Best New Poets, an annual anthology edited in 2015 by the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Tracy K. Smith. The anthology includes poems by 50 of the country’s most promising emerging writers, writers who have not yet published a book-length poetry collection.

Smith selected Clark, Dordal, and Kunz’ work from poems 1) nominated by literary magazines and writing programs and 2) submitted in an open internet competition. Professor Kate Daniels, director of the program, observed in response to the news, “We’re busting with pride over here.”

Edgar Kunz

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…