Tag Archives: Alumni

Bart Pushaw (’13) on Fulbright in Estonia



Below is an update from recent MAPH Alum Bart Pushaw (’13) on his Fulbright in Estonia. For graduate students interested in applying for Fulbright, the deadline for the 2014-15 year is September 30th, 2013. You can find more information on the University of Chicago’s Graduate Affairs website

In his book Estonia: A Ramble Through the Periphery, Alexander Theroux devotes an entire chapter to why he abhors the small Baltic country. The first two pages of the last chapter are filled exclusively with sentences beginning with, “I hated…” While his disgust for Estonia, accrued while accompanying his wife during her Fulbright fellowship in Tallinn, treats banal facets of quotidian life in the country, it is all too easy to fall into his trap and blindly agree with him. Estonia is obscure, the proper names are strange in comparison with Anglo-American standards (take, for example, the names Tiit, Ene, Aat, Epp, etc.), and beating your naked self with birch branches in a 80°C (172°F)  sauna before rolling (your still naked body) in the snow to only jump in a freezing lake might seem a little extreme. But, such a nation would be obscure to Americans growing up in the Cold War era, where Estonia did not exist until it emerged among a plethora of so-called “random” post-Soviet states in 1991 (actually, the Republic of Estonia was also sovereign entity from 1918-1940). And Estonian names are, in fact, normal to Finns—of course a result of Estonians and Finns descent from a singular ancient Finno-Ugric, and notably non-Indo-European, culture. Besides, beating yourself in a sauna is something that really should be experienced before it is written off!

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The Odyssey Project’s In Medias Res: New Issue!

Cover Page

The Odyssey Project‘s summer class just released the new issue of In Medias Res. Filled with original content by Odyssey Project students and alumni, the new issue features artist profiles, original fiction, restaurant reviews, interviews, poetry, photography and more. All work was produced during this summer’s seminar, In Media Res: Arts & Literary Publications,  led by Greg Langen (MAPH ’13). Continue reading

The Taming of the Shrew, Directed by Jemma Alex Levy (’06)

taming of shrewYou can still catch Muse of Fire Theatre Company’s production of The Taming of the Shrew this weekend in Evanston!  Directed by MAPH alum Jemma Alix Levy, the show goes on in Ingraham Park on Saturday and Sunday at 3:00 pm.  Both performances are free, no reservations are required, and seating is free & unlimited. For more information, please visit www.museoffire.org.

A Day in the Life: An Externship at the Hyde Park Art Center

Here is a post from Keri Asma, MA ’13,on her recent externship to the Hyde Park Art Center. Keri is also one of the MAPH mentors for the upcoming year, so you’ll probably be hearing from her fairly often.

Externships are opportunities for recently graduated or current Master’s and PhD students to shadow alumni in various careers for a day. Rather like extended informational interviews, externships provide students with a chance to explore a particular profession, no prior experience necessary. If you are interested in learning more about externships through the University of Chicago, visit the CAPS website here: https://careeradvancement.uchicago.edu/jobs-internships-research/graduate-student-externships.


The Hyde Park Art Center is, as many of you probably know, a perfect example of the possible intersections between art, community, education, and humanistic inquiry. My externship at the center this summer not only gave me a sense of the individual work of MAPH Alumnae Kate Lorenz and Brook Rosini, but also provided a holistic picture of how their work contributes to a much larger project—one which like MAPH is centered on creating a community which can engage critically, passionately, and excitedly with the arts.

This post will be something between an introduction/plug for the HPAC, a reflection on what I learned, and an encouragement for doing externships. This is just one account of engaging with alumni, with the community, with the arts; there are probably lots more out there.*

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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.

Alumni Bump! Wikipedia Webseries

Wikipedia-logoIf you have a few minutes today, check out MAPH ’08 alum Kristin Fitzsimmons’ webseries What Did You Look Up on Wikipedia? 

Kristin writes:

After graduating from the University of Minnesota’s MFA in Creative Writing Program, my friend Sally and I started a web series called What Did You Look Up on Wikipedia?, an homage to everybody’s favorite light research tool and the many strange tangents it takes you on.  Each week, we get together, drink an adult beverage and talk for two hours about what we looked up on Wikipedia. It all gets edited down to 5 or so minutes and posted online. It’s pretty much the most fun unpaid thing we’ve ever done and think it might be right up the alley of students and alums of the University of Chicago. What Did You Look Up on Wikipedia? can be found on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also email us with your suggestions of what to look up.

See their latest episode below:


From Spanish Celtic to Heavy Metal: Documentaries by MAPH Alum Biliana Grozdanova

From MAPH ’11 alum Biliana Grozdanova, co-founder of El Jinete Films:

After living all over the world, from Australia’s east coast to America’s west coast and pretty much everywhere in between, the Grozdanova sisters found themselves on the premises of the University of Chicago campus about to embark on their most creative venture to date. In 2012, Biliana and Marina Grozdanova founded El Jinete Films – a documentary production company with a mission to create inspiring documentaries featuring music from all around the globe. Their first film, however, would be a tale about rock n’ roll from their very own streets of Chicago… Currently in production, “The Last Kamikazis of Heavy Metal” is a documentary about the Chicago-based band Hessler, with which the Grozdanova sisters have been on two national tours, filming their every move. A first cut of the film premiered this spring at the Bare Bones International Film and Music Festival and received the Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary. The final version of the film will be released in the national and international festival circuit in 2014.

Marina is a graduating senior in the college, majoring in International Studies. Biliana is a 2011 MAPH-er and wrote her thesis on rock n’ roll and the music documentary. This summer, the sisters return to Spain (their second home) to premiere their parallel project, “Ortigueira: Echoes at Land’s End,” a film about an international Celtic music festival on Galicia’s northern shores. Interestingly enough, what began as another crazy trip and film venture, the Ortigueira experience inspired Marina to write her B.A. thesis on this music festival, and it has been nominated for the Adlai Stevenson International Studies Thesis Prize.

In 1926, Scottish documentarian John Grierson coined the term “documentary” while studying at the University of Chicago… Who would have thought that this fact, along with the birth of Mick Jagger, 16mm film cameras, and two little girls in ex-communist Bulgaria, would lead to the epic apparition of El Jinete Films on the UChicago campus almost a century later? Indeed, the rock doc is a genre very much ALIVE and WELL, and the Grozdanova sisters plan to feed it for decades to come!

Check out the trailer for Kamikazes above, and be sure to look out for its premiere and the premiere of Ortigueira. Do you know of a MAPH alum doing exciting creative work? Let us know!

MAPHers featured in latest issue of Tableau—twice!

The people and projects of MAPH are profiled in two articles in the latest issue of Tableau, the Humanities Division of UChicago’s biyearly magazine.

Joanna MacKenzie (AM’02) of Browne & Miller Literary Agency is profiled in the latest issue of Tableau.

Come Together” profiles Colloquium, MAPH’s new online journal that features exemplary, wide-ranging work by MAPH students, alumni and staff. This is not the first mention of Colloquium in other publications—if you’re itching for more meta on the magazine, check out this interview with its founders in The University of Chicago MagazineThe Tableau article has come out just in time for the journal’s second issue, which is set to launch on Friday! Don’t miss it!

Publish and Flourish,” an article on UChicago Humanities alumni who work in the publishing industry, features three MAPH grads who are making it in publishing. Ellen Grafton (AM’11), Allison Wright (AM’08), and Joanna MacKenzie (AM’02) offer their practiced advice on how to get hired and succeed in book publishing. Ellen and Allison moved to New York to get into the business—Ellen is now Assistant Managing Editor of the children’s division at Simon and Schuster, and Allison is the US Dictionaries Editor at Oxford University Press. Joanna put down roots in Chicago, and she works as a literary agent at Browne and Miller Literary Associates—the same company where MAPH provides a paid summer internship for one current student every year.

Those are just two of the publications that are profiling MAPH alumni and projects. Know of other places MAPH alumni are popping up? Contact us!

Pastoral Ambivalence: Recent Poetry by MAPH Grads

leila wilson hundred grassesSpring 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.

Leila will be reading from The Hundred Grasses at the Seminary CoOp on 5/21, and at the Chicago Cultural Center on 5/23. More information about her upcoming readings is available at the publisher’s website

You can purchase The Hundred Grasses from the publisher’s website or from Amazon.

Greg Lawless ForeclosureGregory Lawless, Foreclosures (Back Pages Books, 2013)

Greg’s one-sentence synopsis of his newest volume of poetry is, “Voyeuristic pastoralist suffers ecopoetical ravings in Ambivalence, PA.”

In an interview on his blog, Greg goes on to write:

…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.

You can purchase Foreclosure from the publisher’s website.


If you know of other recent publications by MAPH graduates that you think should be profiled, email us!