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

Archivist as Gatekeeper: Liisa Freeh (’13) on the MAPH Internship at the Newberry Library


From the Newberry’s CB&Q Collection

My experience in MAPH taught me the relevance of archival work and the way it breathes life into the arguments I want to make in my field. My MAPH internship made me a participant, a gatekeeper, in that archival work. As an intern in the Department of Special Collections at the Newberry Library, I have been working on the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad Collection. My internship coincided with the last few months of the multi-year project of processing this large collection. My primary responsibility was the processing and arrangement of correspondence between land agents, and various parties involved in land transactions. CB&Q land agents wrote to businessmen, firms that sold land to other individuals, lawyers, small businesses, and countless hopeful farmers. These thousands of letters all deal with land transactions, but they also track a living history. In reading and processing these letters, I have been able to form a picture of CB&Q’s part in American corporate growth, as well as the development of countless small towns across the United States.

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MAPH goes to ARTBAR!

ARTBAR logo on white rgb

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

Hyde Park Art Center
(5020 S. Cornell Avenue Chicago, IL 60615).

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 MAPH alum Brook Rosini,
  • 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! 

ARTBAR Club Nutz event


Meet an Alum – Jennifer Harris (MA ’02)

Jennifer Harris, MA '02

Jennifer Harris, MA ’02

Jennifer Harris (MA ’02) is a Development and Communications Consultant. During her MAPH year, Jennifer focused on gender studies. Jennifer graciously took the time to answer my questions about how MAPH life and study intersect with work in development and fundraising, giving a unique perspective on how the humanities permeate what often seems more like a “corporate” world. Check out the interview below!

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Blurred Lines*: A Critical Examination of the Trans/Cis Dichotomy

a guest post by Nicole Rea, MAPH’s 2013 recipient of the Rafael Torch Memorial Fellowship

What makes you interested in transgender issues?” “So then, are you cis or are you trans?” As a woman perceived to be “cis” doing work that centers on issues faced by the transgender community, these are questions that I’m asked regularly. And, while they annoy me at times (okay, nearly all of the times), I understand their impetus. “Trans issues” are still viewed marginally, if at all, as serious problems in American society. Despite continued barriers to healthcare, housing, and legal resources as well as alarmingly high rates of suicide and drug use, America continues to casually misunderstand the term “transgender” and consequentially dismiss individuals who identify as such. Such dismissal has in turn created a dangerously prejudicial and at times outright violent environment in which trans folk are forced to live.  Beyond all of this, I also realized first-hand in a recent medical advocacy training session that transgender persons are often unfortunately pushed to the outskirts of even the LGBTQ purview, as well. Continue reading

Molly Foltyn (’13) on the Browne & Miller Internship: Book People


Browne & Miller is located in the historic and lovely Fine Arts building on Michigan Avenue.

When I was an undergrad, I interned at a production company in Los Angeles.  I answered phones, made sure the coffee pot was always full, battled daily with the copy machine, and was once awarded the great responsibility of driving to Saks Fifth Avenue to pick up not one, but three pairs of pants for Samuel L. Jackson.  I mention this not to brag (although if you’re impressed, who could blame you?), but to demonstrate that what has really distinguished my experience as an intern at Browne & Miller Literary Associates is the fact that my summer here has been more rewarding, informative and valuable than I ever believed was possible in an internship. Continue reading

The Chicago Manual: 2013 MAPH Grads in Newcity

chicago-manual-cover3-283x300Reaching out to the city’s newcomers, this week’s Newcity (“The Chicago Manual”) explores life at UChicago and in the South Side.  The issue features pieces by three 2013 MAPHers: Greg Langen’s reflections on the value of embracing CTA-derived anonymity, Amanda Scotese’s guide to on-campus architecture, and Charlie Puckett’s breakdown of an exciting new Hyde Park establishment. Continue reading