Tag Archives: Writing

On Creative Writing as a MAPH


The MAPH website has a lot of useful information about the Creative Writing Option, including a list of requirements and video discussions with CRWR faculty. However, I know I had a lot of questions about the Option—and creative writing at UChicago in general—around this time last year, so I’ve tried to compile a list of useful information for those of you considering doing some creative writing this year (whether or not you do the track): Continue reading

We’re Famous!

humbly grateful hedgehog

Bookforum’s Omnivore blog linked to Issue 2 of Colloquium yesterday!  

***UPDATED: “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 Mag. She’s in great company with writers from The Times Literary Supplement, Commentary, Middle East Quarterly, and Moment. Exciting stuff!***


MAPH’s Colloquium Magazine: We Tell You Some Things About It And Why It Is Wonderful

editors-note-issue-1-chicagoWhat is Colloquium?

The short answer? It’s MAPH’s online magazine of awesome stuff.

The longer answer? Well, that takes a bit of explaining…

I remember looking around Social Sciences 122, the grand room that marked my first weeks of lecture* at University of Chicago. I swooned at the elaborate wood-paneled walls, the layered chalkboards sliding up and down, the archaic light fixtures. I remember Professor Wray reciting the Big Names who had lectured in SS122, from Hannah Arendt to Slavoj Žižek. I looked around at a room full of strangers, and I wondered if there was an Arendt or a Žižek among us. Toward the end of my MAPH year, I knew the answer to that question….

*also called Colloquium, leading to frequent casual confusion

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AWP Series: Jessi Haley

Wrapping up our series of AWP posts is this one from Jessi Haley.

jessi haley“AWP is like a music festival,” a friend told me last week.  “You have to have a really solid plan so you can see most of the stuff that you want to.”

Okay, I thought, maybe.  Maybe that is how you do music festivals.  With a plan. I, on the other hand, tend to show up with a vague idea of what is going on when and wait for people and/or circumstances to guide me to the good stuff.

But I took her advice; I pretended like I was at a music festival. I thumbed through the heavy directory, letting my eyes settle on random pages so that the titles of events jumped out at me haphazardly.  I listened to the advice of my fellow MAPH people and sometimes followed them places. I skipped readings and panels that were probably informative or even enlightening.  On Saturday afternoon, I ran over to Charlestown to spend an hour nervously holding my cousin Vicky’s fragile, squirming newborn when I could have been, I don’t know, acquiring more half-priced copies of Tin House? Continue reading

AWP Series: Ariana Nash

Continuing our series of AWP posts this one from Ariana Nash (MAPH ’13)

The Bookfair

 ariana signingMy first AWP, I imagined that someone would ask to read my work, I would meet my future publisher, and maybe there would even be a parade with confetti announcing my presence to the writing world. Or, I didn’t so much imagine this scenario, as find myself surprised when it didn’t happen. Instead, I had a few awkward conversations, bought too many journals I was never going to read, and felt a kind of agony of irrelevance — a stark reminder that I capable of intense egoism and insecurity.

My second AWP, I did a little better. I took home a few journals that helped me find new places to send my work — having not backed away awkwardly from tables or hastily grabbed what someone tried to sell me, but instead stood at their tables reading long enough to decide I liked their journals. I managed to learn a little about book contests, since I was finishing my first manuscript. I also met an editor or two from journals that had published my work. Of course, not to paint too rosy a picture, one editor told me, when I realized I had “introduced myself” without giving my name and belatedly told him who I was, that it didn’t really matter since he wasn’t going to remember my name in a few months anyway. Continue reading

AWP Series: Charlie Puckett

A dispatch on the Boston AWP Conference from Charlie Puckett (MAPH ’13 ) Creative Writing Option

The 2013 AWP Conference & Book Fair is held at John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in the Back Bay streets of Boston. Once most people finish reading the center’s name, they take a nap and then go inside. In the 193,000 sq. ft. building there are 8 billion people and they have all written a book or a poem or frequently have creative ideas. These people walk around many tables that also have books and magazines and ideas on stickers and people who have jobs sit behind these tables and say many nice things to those who do not. UChicago’s MAPH program has a table at Booth 2811 on the second floor and there are very good looking people behind it, which is necessary because there are lines to meet them and less attractive people might not be able to manage the task as well.

On Thursday night at 6:30, the 2013 Keynote Presentation, a conversation between Nobel Laureates Seamus Heaney and Derek Walcott moderated by Rosanna Warren, celebrated the successful opening day of AWP Boston. Warren declared the conversation a draw on the account that no one could understand their accents, though most favored Heaney as the winner due to his ability to make speech sound like a fawn lapping water from a brook in solstice moonlight. Everyone agreed, however, that it’s a good thing both Laureates use the medium of writing for their art and that Walcott had a mustache but Heaney did not. On Friday afternoon, Don DeLillo gave a reading from his work and participated in a conversation with himself because everyone in the audience was very busy whispering: “It’s Don DeLillo, It’s Don DeLillo.” Continue reading

AWP Series: Ariana Nash Signing!

ariana signing

Update from AWP: MAPHer Ariana Nash signing her book of poetry, Instructions for Preparing your Skin. Ariana’s book was published in 2011 by Anhinga Press, and won the Philip Levine Prize for poetry. You can check out her book’s webpage here, where they’ve posted a few samples of her poetry. We also have a short video from Ariana’s signing: see it below!

AWP Series: Carina Schorske

Author Carina Schorske

Current MAPHer and AWPer Carina Schorske

Continuing from the last post, this year MAPH was able to send our creative writing students to the annual Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference in Boston, MA. In return, we’ve asked them to write us each a short piece on their experience at AWP.

Today’s comes from Carina Schorske, a current student in the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities who is focusing on creative writing.



Writers love to hate AWP. I’ve heard one acclaimed poet refer to the conference as “loathsome,” another as “soul-sucking.” Several older writers advised me not to go: stay at home and write, they said. Lock the door.

But it is hard to trust Adam and Eve when they beg you not to eat the fruit. They seem so wise in their fallenness; they are like gods! And then the serpent slips a free plane ticket into your pocket.

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AWP Invasion! John Beisner on flying in to Boston

john and charlie-edit

This year, MAPH and the Graduate Student Administration got together to send our Creative Writing Option students to the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference in Boston from March 6-9th! The AWP conference is a major annual event in the writing world, regularly attended by upwards of 10,000 writers and writing enthusiasts. We have forced asked our attending MAPHers to write us a series of blog posts about their adventures there, which we will be uploading to the blog as they come in.

The first is from John Beisner, current MAPH student, pictured above representing the (Mid)Westside out East in Boston (that is, he’s on the left). His post on flying into Boston is after the cut. Oh, and after the impromptu mouth harp concert of course. Take it away, Charlie!

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