Spring has returned to Chicago, and with it a bounty of new publications by MAPH alumni. Leila Wilson (AM ’03) and Gregory Lawless (AM ’04) each have a volume of poetry out in which the authors examine their complex relationships with the landscapes of their past and present. Read on for more information in the authors’ own words.
Leila Wilson, The Hundred Grasses (Milkweed Editions, 2013)
Leila on The Hundred Grasses:
My poems are rooted in the flatlands and lowlands: the Midwestern lawns, lakes, fields, and creeks of my childhood, and the Dutch farms, canals, and seascapes near my family’s home in Holland. Much of my poetry focuses on those instances when a space exerts itself beyond recognition, when it seems to estrange itself so that it may be renegotiated. For me this is a process of embedding my examination in the musicality of language and paying close attention to the breath of a line.
…Foreclosure compares to any book of poetry that hovers nervously in the vicinity of the fraught pastoral, simultaneously wary of and lured by it. Many contemporary pastoral poems regard themselves as anti-pastorals, or post-pastorals—they imagine that the pastoral is impossible because it’s terminally problematic, and, thus, they fret in the wake of that “fact.” The poems in Foreclosure fret differently, I guess—not by abandoning convention or reference altogether, but by manifesting what I call critical ambivalence toward them—at times embracing, and at times rejecting these things, as the poems demand. But ultimately this is a book born of familiarity with a place.
Eric McMillan’s unit, capturing an arms cache in Iraq (2007)
In response to Nick Fox’s (MAPH 2011) thoughts about military service in the wake of 9/11 Eric McMillan (MAPH 2010) offers a guest reflection on life after combat. Eric was honorably discharged from the US Army having attained the rank of Captain and is working on a book about the life of a soldier. He lives with his wife in Seattle.
Walking from my apartment to campus was like planning a patrol. First, I determined a route I would take. Then I planned an alternate route, a contingency route, an emergency route. I could never get over how many kids I saw walking around listening to iPods instead of paying attention to their surroundings. Every morning, I laid out my packing list and prepared as if I were going outside the wire. As I walked, I watched people’s hands, classified them as “threat/ no threat,” peered around every alleyway before crossing them, watched windows on the second stories of the street. I did this all year in the sun and the rain and snow. It was habit. It was survival. It was what I knew. » Read the rest of this entry «
MAPH Alums from the inaugural Class of 1997 have been checking in over the past week. I’ll be talking with Adam Richardson, based in San Francisco–where he is Strategy Director for Marketing at Frog Design–tomorrow. In what must be a copious amount of spare time, Adam blogs about design at Amphibious Blog. This very morning, he published a short piece on Failure (no matter what you might hear, Failure is Failure)on the Harvard Business Review‘s blog. And in the video above, find him talking about “misfits,” Space Tourism, and software at the 2010 TEDx Taipei.
(Oh, just by the way, he also wrote Innovation X: Why a Company’s Toughest Problems are Also its Greatest Advantages).
It kind of makes me want to go for a run, or do some pushups, or at least think in a sustained way about something for more than five seconds.
Archaia’s beautiful edition of Andrew Rostan’s (MAPH 2010) “An Elegy for Amelia Johnson”
A quick Google search for Andrew Rostan will produce a video of the 2010 MAPH alum dominating on Jeopardy! in 2007. But his run as one of the top 10 all-time winningest contestants is almost old news as of March 8, 2011. Today’s the day that Rostan’s anticipated (and already well reviewed) graphic novel An Elegy for Amelia Johnsonhits shelves.
Rostan is spending his AfterMAPH time working on a project that tracks the life of Anthony Trollope. He is also employed, and working in the Rag and Bone shop of the heart in his spare time.
We at AfterMAPH congratulate Andrew on the publication of his first Graphic Novel, and look forward to more in the future.
Kiki Petrosino (MAPH 04) introduced a new limited-edition chapbook, The Dark is Here at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference in Washington D.C. The chapbook is published by Forklift, Ink. Petrosino is also the author of Fort Red Border (Sarabande, 2009).
Anna Piepmeyer graduated from MAPH in 2007. She thought she had a pretty clear idea of what came after the Program. “Like most people, I had assumed it was a PhD and that I’d be an English professor,” she told me during a phone conversation. Anna spent the first half of the year thinking “I was going further on.”
Today, you’ll find Anna working as the Program Director for Open Books, a Chicago-based non-profit organization. She characterized the group as “a business-minded non-profit.” Open Books uses proceeds from its retail bookstore in conjunction with donations and a network of volunteers to provide literacy programming for Chicago school children.
In her current role, Anna oversees four different programs under the Open Books umbrella–all centered on the provision of one-on-one attention for students in various areas of reading and writing. In the “Adventures in Creative Writing” program, for example, students are encouraged to write from their own experiences. “We’re all about students exploring their own lives,” Piepmeyer said. Characterizing the scope of these experiences, she added that stories range in content from ” Six Flags to gang violence.” Programs take place on-site, and according to Anna, over 3,000 students have been to Open Books on field trips this year. The organization also sends volunteers to eleven area schools to give students the opportunity to work closely on their literacy skills.
Speaking of how to decide what to do after MAPH, Anna said, “There are a lot of other things you can do using your degree in interesting ways.” She highlighted that networking and starting early are keys to being successful in getting a job after graduation.
Anna encourages current MAPH students and alums to check out Open Books. The store has 50,000 used books, and proceeds go toward funding the organization. More information can be found at Open Books’ Website.
Contrary Magazine was named in the Writer’s Digest list of the Top 50 Online Literary Journals in their new November-December issue. Contrary is the online literary journal founded by MAPH alumni in 20o3 and many MAPH alumni have been published in Contrary.
Who could resist this image from childhood? Joking aside, we are proud of everyone involved at Contrary!
MAPH writing advisor, Jeff McMahon, is quoted in the article. Congratulations to Contrary and all involved in editing and creating the online journal. Be sure to check out the article in Writer’s Digest on newsstands.
If you haven’t read Contrary in a while be sure look at the current literary offerings online. If you are interested in submissions to Contrary you can look at the Submissions page.
This news is a bit delayed, but is nonetheless exciting. Kiki Petrosino, poet and 2004 MAPH graduate, published her first book of poetry, Ford Red Border, in 2009. Fort Red Border has been reviewed in The Believer and Rain Taxi, and was shortlisted for the Forward Book of the Year Award in Poetry. Most recently, the Poetry Foundation has honored Petrosino’s book by including it in a list of the top five small press books of poems. You can read the article here. Petrosino has also been profiled in Poets and Writers as part of the 2010 Dubut Poets Roundup. She currently teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Louisville.