Category Archives: News

General Announcements of the “Hey look at this!” variety

Meet an Alum- Alissa Smith (MA ’12)


Check out this interview with Alissa Smith, who graduated from MAPH in 2012. Since MAPH, Alissa has worked in the nonprofit sector and speaks about her experiences in MAPH and how they lead her to her current position.

What is your current job?

I currently serve as the Corporate and Foundation Relations Manager for City Year Denver. City Year is a nonprofit organization with 25 sites across the country and three international affiliates.  While the title is relatively self-explanatory, it essentially means that I build and cultivate relationships between City Year and its work in schools and corporate and foundation partners in the community.

How does your job relate to MAPH? Do you see connections between MAPH and where you are now?

SO MUCH of my current role relates back to the work I did with MAPH…surprising since my MAPH focus was actually in Philosophy! City Year is one of the premier organizations working in the education space – AmeriCorps members between the ages of 17 and 24 commit an entire year to working full-time in underresourced, underperforming public schools, supporting teachers and administrators as tutors and mentors to ensure students reach graduation on-track and on-time. Continue reading

“The Nervous Writer” by Steven Flores (MAPH ’10) in Contrary


A guest post by Jeff McMahon, MAPH Writing Advisor (MAPH ‘ 02)

S.W. (Steven) Flores (MAPH ’10) has a story in the current issue of Contrary that satirizes creative writing workshops at their less than optimum. Flores is a second-year MFA student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.nervous writer

His story is in no way reflective of the UW-Madison MFA, he says, which he “loves to death!”, or of workshops at Chicago, but the story may be influenced by some other workshops he’s experienced.

“And, really, it’s just fiction.”

Oh, but is fiction ever just fiction? Continue reading

Stephen Tapert (MAPH ’02) Announces Book and Exhibition at The Museo Nazionale del Cinema in Turin

Tapert_CoverFilm historian, writer, and filmmaker Stephen Tapert, who earned his M.A. from The University of Chicago in 2002 and later worked at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is set to curate his first exhibition at the world’s largest film museum: The Museo Nazionale del Cinema in Turin, Italy. Continue reading

AWP 2014: On Giving/Getting Permission

“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)

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.

MAPH on the march!

MAPH on the march!

I felt this way last year when I attended the conference as a student, and I feel it even more this year as an alum: what AWP does best is a lot like what MAPH does best. Continue reading

Greg Langen on The Odyssey Project Internship: Freedom and its Discontents

Cover Page

The cover page for In Medias Res, the Odyssey Project’s publication.

Check out MAPH Alumnus Greg Langen’s (’13) reflections on his internship at the Odyssey Project. Also be sure to see the Odyssey Project’s latest issue of In Medias Res, edited by Greg Langen. 


A liberal arts education is, on the graduation speech level, freedom granting. With the powers of critical thinking and a strong (passable) handle on the English language, no area of culture is barred to those with BAs and the like. MAPH free since June ‘13, I know this notion well. As a humanities masters student I am free to read, free to write, free to deconstruct the laden societal assumptions perpetuated by YouTube commercials, free to know that my notion of the obviousness of my liberal subjecthood is much more complicated than I know or can escape (Althusser fans?), free to alienate nearly everyone around me at one (multiple) point(s) in our relationship (Feel free to skip this section). However, a thing that nobody tells you while you are in the process of freeing your mind (but that all creatures of institutions secretly know) is that freedom can be suffocating. I discovered this on my first day at the Odyssey Project when my boss, the lovely and impassioned Amy Thomas Elder, sat down with me to talk about my class for the upcoming summer. “You are free to do whatever you want,” she told me. “I don’t want to get in your way.” Continue reading

MAPH Writers!

MAPH Books

Curious where MAPH writers are now? Wondering what new publications have come out? Check out the recently updated MAPH Writers page on our website. There you’ll find a list of alumni, links to novels, essays, poems, and blogs, and what writers are working on now.

Don’t see your published work there? Please let us know! We would love to feature you and your work on the website.

Colloquium Buzz

Issue 2 of Colloquium was featured on Bookforum’s Omnivore blog yesterday!

Also! “The Serpent, Subtle and Brazen: Idolatory, Imagemaking, and the Hebrew Bible,” an essay from Issue 2 by Carina Del Valle Schorske (MAPH ’13) was one of today’s Editor’s Picks over at Mosaic Magazine. She’s in great company with writers from The Times Literary Supplement, Commentary, Middle East Quarterly, and Moment.

Exciting stuff!