March 6th, 2014 § § permalink
Disclaimer: Chris gave me permission to point out that this is “fiction.” No MAPH students were chained to the UChicago booth during AWP 2014. 2013, well, that’s in the past…
While I was sitting at booth 411 of the AWP Book Fair, smiling scribers would pass by from far-off conference center rooms, glinting with the secrets they had just learned of the craft, mumbling things like “the open ending” or “linked story collections” over and over to themselves. I would sigh, try to catch one of their eyes, and turn their attention towards our program. “Why don’t you try that open ending here, at U Chicago?” I would say. Or, “We like linked stories too.” But, really, this was my way of trying to penetrate those golden orbs of knowledge they possessed now from the panels. What was it like to attend an AWP panel, I thought? What sort of person would I be if I had attended one? Yes, something in them seemed to coronate these people who now glided through the aisles of booths, breezily calling themselves “writers.” The black iron clamp around my foot jiggled the chain that linked it to our table as I sat down and began imagining my own panels and the treasures they would hold: » Read the rest of this entry «
March 6th, 2014 § § permalink
A five-day excursion to (surprisingly) sunny Seattle with friends and colleagues left me with a myriad of stories. Where do I begin summing up my experience at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference? From my first time in a hostel, to drinking “Unicorn Jizz” at a psychedelic Victorian bar, to witnessing first readings and being surrounded by thousands of people all in a writerly state of mind, it’s hard to pick my favorite part. So instead, I’ll focus on what impacted me the most.
The topics and discussions of women as writers. » Read the rest of this entry «
March 5th, 2014 § § permalink
Are you a poet? Do you seek to expand your audience through readings and interviews? Well, if you’re an uncharismatic reader of your own work, don’t expect a slot at the Texas Book Festival, at least not while Steph Opitz is the Literary Director. » Read the rest of this entry «
March 5th, 2014 § § permalink
Seattle, home of AWP ’14 and better weather than Chicago
1. Know What to Wear
I arrived at the conference about 90 minutes after getting off my flight. I’m a nervous traveler, so the t-shirt and jeans I was wearing were a bit sweaty and anxiety ridden. My jeans and shoes looked fairly presentable, but my bright blue Hound of the Baskervilles t-shirt visually alerted every one of my newbie status the moment I stepped inside the convention center. There were other people in jeans and t-shirts (and sports jerseys?), but I didn’t want to be lumped with that crowd, if you catch my drift. I wanted to be lumped with the buttoned-down men and business-casually dressed women. The other students from my program were all dressed within these categories, and I’m not at all sure how I missed the memo. When I left the conference to get lunch at Jimmy John’s (all of their sandwiches are .74¢ cheaper in Seattle!) I raided the clearance rack at a nearby Old Navy to buy a $10 button down. I even tucked it in, which is far cry from my typical untucked, half-buttoned flannel getup. I usually avoid tucking in shirts of any kind for fear of looking like a young dad about to play golf, but as I held the shirt over my body in a mirror at Old Navy I thought I looked like a young writer who was not quite professional. Yet.
2. Know If You’ll be Giving a Reading » Read the rest of this entry «
March 3rd, 2014 § § permalink
In case you missed Jessi’s excellent post on AWP on AfterMAPH, MAPH’s Alumni blog, check out some highlights of AWP 2014 below:
“Find the place that scares you most and run to it.” — Eric McMillan (MAPH ‘10) on writing and, well, life
Talking Craft: (from left) Evan Stoner (’14), Hao Guang Tse (’14), Andy Tybout (’14), Chris Robinson (’14), Joel Calahan (’05, current preceptor), Eric McMillan (’10), Hilary Dobel (’09)
Last night, while leading eight current MAPH creative writers on an uphill March from the Seattle’s Washington State Convention Center to Von Trapp’s in Capitol Hill, I was marveling (aloud, perhaps unfortunately for my companions) about what going to the AWP conference can do for an aspiring writer. We were on our way to the second-ever MAPH/UChicago Alumni offsite reading at AWP. Earlier that morning, my colleague A-J Aronstein and I had stopped by a panel featuring the poet and teacher—and reader at last year’s offsite event—Shaindel Beers(MAPH ‘00) entitled the “Art of Difficulty.” Using beautiful language, Shaindel described teaching poetry students in prisons, schools, etc. as finding a way of “giving permission.” To write, one has to believe that they have something worth saying, a voice worth hearing. To Shaindel, it is a writing teacher’s job to nurture that belief, to create a space for it to thrive.
» Read the rest of this entry «
January 27th, 2014 § § permalink
You’ve mastered survival of the polar vortex, you’re well on your way to producing a real live thesis proposal and awkward prom-date-style asking an adviser, and you’ve got a cheering squad of MAPH staff to support you as Winter Quarter kicks in.
That said, Winter Quarter can really SUCK. It’s dark, cold, and you’re being asked to do an INSANE amount of reading/papers/job stuff/general being human type things. While it’s easy to feel like you have time for absolutely nothing besides thesis and school, it is essential this quarter to stay healthy and balanced.
It can be incredibly helpful to talk to someone who is not also immersed in thesising. Looking for a way to get something off your chest, or not sure if it would be useful to talk to someone on a regular basis? Student Counseling offers a Let’s Talk program, which offers walk-in meetings with a counselor. Student Counseling also has resources for academic struggles like procrastination or developing speed-reading skills.
And as always, if you feel like you need to see another human, are looking for someone to complain with, or just want to say hi, come by the MAPH office anytime.
2. Cozy up! (But in a new place)
At this point in the year, leaving Hyde Park (or even leaving the library!) can feel like a mini-vacation. Last year I set myself the goal of getting out of Hyde Park once a week, even if it was just to study in a new place. And while it may sound silly, those trips to distant coffee shops felt INCREDIBLE. It was like I realized that there was a great big world out there that wasn’t all thinking about (and possibly criticizing) my academic work. Also, Chicago is full of awesome places – it’s so worth your time to go check them out.
Some quick recommendations from Keri for coffee (at this point last year, I was consuming on average 6 caffeinated beverages a day, so I was starting to get picky): The Bourgeouis Pig (tip: they have a limit on Wifi, so bring your reading), Filter or The Wormhole (nerdy!) in Wicker Park, and for those who can’t leave Hyde Park, Bridgeport Coffee has a location in the Hyde Park Art Center
3. Sunshine (from the indoors!)
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real thing, although I’m not totally sure if I have it. Regardless, staying inside all the time in the dark makes me sad, but there’s no way I’m getting outside for a jog when it’s -5 out. Luckily, there are ways to get sunshine (and a healthy dose of Mother Nature) while staying indoors:
-Garfield Park Conservatory - conveniently, MAPH is taking a trip to this lush and verdant (and free) place on 2/7
-Lincoln Park Conservatory – this slightly smaller conservatory is right next to the zoo (and is also free)
-and of course, the giant space dome / egg library that is Mansueto – less plants, more work, but very sunny regardless
4. Bring balance to the force (or to your own life)
You may have already discovered this, but it’s pretty much impossible to do all the reading for classes AND work on your thesis AND sleep AND be an actual human AND maintain friendships AND look for a job. And that is OKAY. It is more important to maintain your mental (and physical!) health than to finish all the readings. Do enough of your work to participate well in class, and then TAKE A BREAK.
While you’re at it, put a ban on guilt: set a (reasonable) to-do list, and once it’s done, allow yourself a guilt-free work-free break. Exercise, knit, spend time with friends, meditate, go to Tea & Pipes, watch TV, read a book that is actually not useful in any way toward your academic work, do whatever you need to in order to give your brain time off from school.
You got this.
November 25th, 2013 § § permalink
On Friday, December 6th, from 6:00 – 8:00 pm,
join MAPH students and alumni for ARTBAR, an evening of socializing, drinks, live performance, and art activities at the
The evening will include:
- Hands on art-making in 2 of the following media: clay, screenprinting, and photography,
- An improv, pop-up, interactive comedy club performance put on by artists exhibiting work in the Michelle Grabner-curated “A Study in Midwestern Appropriation,”
- Drinks, snacks, and socializing, in the spirit of MAPH Social Hour,
- An introduction to the Hyde Park Art Center and its programs for MAPH alumni and students by the Art Center’s Marketing & Communications Manager and our very own MAPH alumna Brook Rosini (AM ’05),
- DJ and open mic,
- and time to explore the art galleries!
MAPH has covered all the costs for MAPH students and alumni, but please feel free to make additional donations to the Art Center!
Totally lost on how to get there from campus after precept? The East Shuttle from the library will get you straight there if you’re not up to walking!
October 2nd, 2013 § § permalink
Inside Rockefeller Chapel.
You’ve probably heard the MAPH advice (rant) on the importance of taking breaks, being healthy, and leaving Hyde Park at least once by now. But you may be wondering: how can you possible fit in a luxurious escape from Hyde Park to dinner/a movie/shopping/escapades when you live off of student loans and have an endless number of impending papers? Sometimes, you just can’t. But that doesn’t mean you can stop taking breaks!
Fact: It is possible to get some stress relief in with very little time and absolutely no money, with no more than about a hundred yards of walking. Where is this mysterious place, you ask? Rockefeller Chapel, but a few brief steps from the MAPH office.
Here are a few of their excellent, brief, and relaxing programs:
» Read the rest of this entry «
September 13th, 2013 § § permalink
So schnazzy. This could be you, socializing away, making conversation, the usual.
In the past, MAPH has put on some legendary gatherings: whether the open mic nights featuring hidden (or not-so-hidden) MAPH talents, prom in the Logan Center penthouse, trips to Second City, Top Chef social hour, or the annual Halloween party, MAPH has been rife with fantastic social events.*
The Logan Center is very tall.
Now it’s up to you, new MAPHs! All of these (and more) social events are planned by our student-run Social Committee. » Read the rest of this entry «
September 9th, 2013 § § permalink
Hullo, MAPH ’14. Welcome to Chicago! We presume that most of you are here or about to be here by now, so we’ve created two Google maps that we hope you will find handy as you settle in. On one of these you will find information about on-campus points of interest like cafes, ATMs, and, significantly, Colloquium/Core event locations. The other highlights » Read the rest of this entry «