A conversation with Amanda Coplin

Amanda Coplin, who graduated from our MFA program in 2006, has seen stunning success in recent years. Coplin's 2012 novel The Orchardist was a New York Times bestseller, a Publishers Weekly top 10 pick, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, a top 10 for fall '12 O Magazine selection, and a winner of the Barnes & Noble "Discover" Award for Fiction. Coplin also won a Whiting Writers Award, a $50,000 prize given annually to 10 writers emerging writers. She was a 2008-2009 Provincetown Arts Center Fellow in fiction, and in 2013 she was named one of the National Book Awards' "5 under 35."

Coplin chatted with the Creative Writing Program about craft, process, and the writing life.

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CWP: First of all, congratulations on the Whiting Award! Did you see that coming?

AC: Thank you! No, I did not see it coming at all! A total surprise!


CWP: How does it feel to publish a first book that's so successful?

AC: The professional attention has been wonderful, of course, but what's even more rewarding is hearing from individuals, either at readings or via letters or e-mail, how the book has moved them personally. That is the greatest success: that the book matters to people.


CWP: Are you working on anything right now that you'd like to talk about?

AC: I am engaged in a writing project, but would rather not talk about it. It's too new!


CWP: What was your writing process like for The Orchardist? How much of the book did you complete while in the MFA program?

AC: It took me eight years to write the novel. I started writing it the summer after my first year in the MFA program. I had originally wanted to compose a short story collection, but really became captivated with the novel form after reading Faulkner's Light In August. My writing process consisted of reading and falling in love with certain novels, and then trying out different structures and styles of these writers (Faulkner, Morrison, Woolf, John Berger, Patrick White) and determining what I could learn from them to tell my own story. It was an awesome learning process, with a lot of winding drafts that ultimately failed in one way or another. But I would take what I learned from one draft/attempt and set off in a new direction. Eventually I had a bunch of pages I felt hung together in an authentic way, and showed them to other people to see what they thought.


CWP: What did you do, after finishing the program, to survive while preserving your writing time?

AC: I sought part-time and temporary employment so that I would have time to write. I would aim to procure two or three adjunct teaching positions at a time, work furiously at that, and then take several months off to write. When I ran out of money, I would search for another job. This isn't super sustainable, but it worked for me.


CWP: Did this book exist in many draft forms? What do you think is the biggest change you can recognize between early manifestations and the published versions?

AC: At some point I stopped keeping track of the drafts. Let's just say there was a lot of writing that went into this book, the majority of which did not end up in the final draft. There are certain writers who are able to think their way through a work--I have seen this, I know people who are able to do this--but I'm not one of them. I have to write my way through. And so for every page that succeeds, there are ten or twenty pages that get tossed away.


CWP: What was the publishing process like? Did you publish with the help of an agent?

AC: I met my agent, Bill Clegg, through a mutual friend. Bill happens to be a brilliant reader and editor as well, and we went back and forth for about six months before we were both satisfied that the novel was in shape enough to show to editors. Then he sold it very quickly, within a week, to a publishing house in Italy. It sold soon after in the US.

My editor at HarperCollins, Terry Karten, has been wonderful to work with. We would have long conversations on the phone about a character's body language in a certain scene, for example, or chapter structure. It was incredible to me to discover the extent to which our conversations could help me draw the book more clearly.


CWP: Did you do specific research to write this book? Where do you get your knowledge about orchards?

AC: I did do a lot of research for the book, but it was rather disorganized. I got a research grant at some point (an MSAB grant!) and drove around Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, and visited museums and cultural centers, and bought books and historical pamphlets and talked to people. I like to immerse myself in reading both documents from the actual time period I'm writing about, and also more contemporary historical research. My goal was to absorb historical information and allow certain details to rise organically, when needed, in the story. I wanted to include just enough detail to seduce the reader, but not so much that people felt they were reading a history lecture.

I'm lucky, too, to come from a family obsessed with Pacific Northwest history, my mom and grandmother especially. My grandfather was an orchardist, and so growing up I spent a lot of time in my grandparents' orchards; I absorbed a lot from following him around.


CWP: I'm curious about your decision to not show dialogue in parenthesis. I thought it really effectively created a sort of quiet atmosphere, and wonder how you chose this technique.

AC: I appreciated how writers like Cormac McCarthy and Kent Haruf use this technique, and it felt natural to the story I wanted to tell. I'm writing about private, quiet people; this lack of punctuation suited their personalities.


CWP: What drew you to this time period and location for the setting of The Orchardist?

AC: I feel a great attraction to Wenatchee, Washington, where I was born, and the surrounding country. I spent my early childhood there, enthralled by the orchards. I often wondered, growing up, what the landscape looked like before the big agricultural boom which has characterized it for the last century. What was it like before the homesteaders came, before the land was cultivated on a large scale?


CWP: Have you had a chance to observe reactions to The Orchardist among people from your home region?

AC: Yes; I went to Wenatchee to give a reading soon after the book was published, and the response was extraordinary. People who had read the book came out to meet me, and also people who had not read the book nor planned to, but rather wanted to check out a person who had written about their home place. They were just curious. I get e-mails all the time from people who very graciously share their own family stories with me, all centered around their grandparents' or great-grandparents' homesteads in the Wenatchee or Yakima Valleys. I could not have asked for a better reception for the book, really. I'm so grateful.


CWP: In this book, your voice creates the "mood" of the era you write about. I wonder if that's a technique you cultivated for The Orchardist, or if that tone appears in your writing in different projects as well?

AC: I think the writing style I used in The Orchardist will carry over to other fiction projects as well, simply because that is how I write. Of course each project demands that the style be tailored especially for its purposes, and I am sensitive to that, but I definitely think that there will be similarities in both style and vision in future projects. My goal is to better understand and plumb that vision, and perfect my style, so that I might write more moving and more beautiful work.


CWP: In an interview with the Seattle Times, you mention that your (step) grandfather, Dwayne Sanders had a profound influence on the creation of this book, and the character of Talmadge. Could you tell us a little more about that connection?

AC: I was very close to my grandfather growing up; he died when I was thirteen. His was the first death in my life, and in a way I think writing The Orchardist was a way to deal with my grief over his passing. After finishing the novel I felt quite differently about his death than I had before. The book is about more than this personal connection, of course, but my feeling for my grandfather, my grief at his death, certainly fueled its creation.


CWP: You've referenced Faulkner (Light in August) and Patrick White (Voss) as important to your development as a writer. Would you like to add anything on the subject of literary influences?

AC: I am a writer who in the early stages of writing this particular novel relied heavily on emulation of others' styles and structures. Part of the learning process for me was to understand my own strengths as a writer, and my own vision, and let this come through and finally displace as much as possible the other influences, and become the foundation of the work. This understanding took a long time to develop, and I am still developing it.


CWP: Any advice for folks trying to publish a first book?

AC: Keep your head down and work. I guess this goes for writers at any stage of their career. I wouldn't worry too much about agents or publishers while you're writing, just focus on the task at hand, which is to midwife your extraordinary story into being. Allow the book its own time. Some books take a long time to manifest, that's just how it is. Be patient. That is hard to hear, especially in this sped-up world we live in. But books will take their own time, and it is your job to sit with them and honor them. Try to relish the process, if you can.

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Prior to the First Books Reading, author Kate Hopper, author Josh Ostergaard, Coffee House publisher Chris Fischbach, and author Andy Sturdevant appeared on a panel to answer questions for MFA candidates.

On Thursday, March 15, the University of Minnesota was proud to host three Twin Cities authors, who read from their first books.

Kate Hopper is an alumna of our MFA program; she graduated with a nonfiction focus in 2005. Her memoir, Ready for Air (University of Minnesota Press), is described as a "harrowing, poignant, and occasionally hysterical journey into motherhood," in which "Hopper confronts the challenges of becoming a preemie mom with 'brazen honesty and an occasional fitting expletive.' Ready for Air is a triumph--a testament to the strength of motherhood, and the sharing of stories, to transform lives." Read more about her work, including an excerpt, in a previous post.

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Josh Ostergaard graduated from our MFA program in 2011 with a nonfiction focus. He also holds an MA in cultural anthropology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has been an urban anthropologist at the Field Museum and now works at Graywolf Press.

Ostergaard's new book The Devil's Snake Curve: A Fan's Notes From Left Field (Coffee House Press) is about much more than its author's love of baseball and sports history. It's about "the domestication of the human animal," the role of the spectator, and the "soft violence of American culture and the ways in which historical and contemporary representations of professional baseball absorb, reflect, and legitimize actual physical violence (war, etc)." It's also about, as Ostergaard puts it, the "damn Yankees," the "regal Kansas City Royals," and the "damn Royals."

The concept behind The Devil's Snake Curve came to Ostergaard in 2003, when an exhibit called "Baseball as America" passed through the Field Museum where he worked. Ostergaard says this exhibit occurred at "precisely the same time that the crescendo to the war in Iraq--the false claims of WMDs--gave way to the launching of missiles. Millions of people who were paying attention knew the war was based on false pretexts." As Ostergaard walked through the "Baseball as America" exhibit, he found it "impossible to reconcile the mythology of the national pastime with the very real war that had just started." He began paying attention to the ways baseball had been represented throughout history, and noticed that representations of the sport often support the nation, even when the nation moves against democracy and human rights. "I noticed that the professional sport is more than a game and more than entertainment," Ostergaard says. "It's also a tool, like a hammer or a gun, which can be wielded by those with political power and financial capital."

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This innovative and politically relevant book was a long time coming. At first, Ostergaard jokes, his goal was to "write a bestseller as a way to meet women and generally embark on a life of ease and adventure." His first attempt was titled Let's All Hate the Yankees, which he discarded because it was too straightforward. He then worked for several years on a novel called The Case Against the Yankees, about an "insane" father and son who spend the entire 20th century accumulating evidence that the Yankees are the worst team in baseball history. This draft was retired to the bottom of a pile of books in Ostergaard's living room, and he started over again. In his third approach, he began to recognize the significance of his underlying obsessions (war, social control, religion, representations as tools, and propaganda), which had remained the same throughout each manifestation of the book. For three years, he worked on a new draft, with the goal of "refuting narrative and avoiding direct argumentation and letting juxtaposition, word choice, and structure do that work." Ostergaard set aside his hopes for publication, and took chances with form and content. Nevertheless, he asserts that he still expects "to sell a million copies and waste the remainder of my life on a beach somewhere in the South China Sea, chewing betel nut and guzzling Pocari Sweat between snorkels." We wish him luck.

Ostergaard began the approach that would become The Devil's Snake Curve while attending the University of Minnesota's MFA program, where he brought portions of the book to workshop. He credits classmate Josh Morsell with suggesting the title, after reading a section about Billy Sunday, a baseball player turned preacher, who claimed the devil wanted to snare good men with a "snake curve." Ostergaard believes his original title, Baseball, Hair, Hot Dogs & War, lacks the artfulness of Morsell's suggestion.

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The Devil's Snake Curve is one of those rare books that finds its way to publication via a publisher's slush pile. Ostergaard submitted his manuscript to Coffee House Press because he respected the work they publish, especially writing by Paul Metcalf. Ostergaard says when it came to getting published with Coffee House, he had "no idea that Chris Fischbach, the publisher, liked baseball. I just got lucky." On Halloween of 2012, he skipped a Father John Misty concert to submit his manuscript on the final day of the fall submission period. Two days later, Ostergaard says, he walked out of a meeting and listened to a voicemail from Chris Fischbach, who said he loved the book and wanted to publish it. "I nearly had a stroke," Ostergaard recalls. "I could barely push the buttons on my phone when I called him back because my fingers had lost their strength. There are a million manuscripts floating around, but unless they find the perfect reader at the right moment, they will have a hard time getting published. Chris Fischbach was that person for The Devil's Snake Curve, and for that I am grateful."

Read the opening section of The Devil's Snake Curve:

Long Ago, in Kansas
The clover in deep left field was delicious. I crouched for a better look, laid my glove on the thick green grass. My shoe was untied. A cluster of purple flowers gleamed, each blossom a mid-inning snack. I picked the best one--not the biggest, because their nectar has usually dried, but the darkest purple bud. I stood, tucked my glove under my arm, plucked the long purple threads, placed their white stems between my teeth, and pulled. Sweet nectar spread across my tongue. Coach called my name. I looked. The inning was over. My teammates were already in the dugout.


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Andy Sturdevant is an artist, writer and arts administrator living in south Minneapolis. His work has been exhibited at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and The Soap Factory. Andy was born in Ohio, raised in Kentucky, and has lived in Minneapolis since 2005. At the First Books Reading, Andy read from his new book, Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow (Coffee House Press).

The book is an amalgamation of the many aspects of Midwestern life that Sturdevant finds compelling, from artists and public art to communities, history, visual culture, and food and drink. Broadly, Sturdevant says, this book is about "the contemporary urban Midwest. Specifically, it's about Minneapolis and St. Paul. But beyond that, I usually tell people it's also about liquor store signage, train graffiti, trust fund kids, R.E.M., Mary McCarthy, Jorge Luis Borges, winter, the Metrodome, futuristic birdhouses, old man bars, Bert Blyleven, Buffalo Wild Wings, flags, empty storefronts, and Xerox machines. Those are just some of the specific topics that make up the experiences of the contemporary urban Midwest covered in the book."

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Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow came into in an existence under unusual circumstances. Sturdevant and Coffee House publisher Chris Fischbach had become acquainted through public art and literacy projects in the Twin Cities, such as Works Progress, a public art and design studio. Sturdevant admired the work Coffee House Press was doing, and he and Fischbach casually discussed the possibility of collaborating. When Fischbach suggested that Sturdevant compile a book-length work using short pieces he had been working on for diverse publications, Sturdevant undertook the hard work of combining essays, prose, and semi-fictional pieces into a cohesive whole. The product: Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow. "It was very unusual," Sturdevant said, "but it felt very organic, like it was the result of a relationship that had been developed through admiration, collaboration, and a shared interest in how literature, art and public programs can overlap."

Read an excerpt from Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow:

That's why I've always found the idea of "the heartland" as a metaphorical flourish so odd and inappropriate for the Midwest. The heart is the center of the body physically, just as the plains of the Midwest are the geographic center of the country. But think of driving through the exurban interstate corridors in the region's right-wing strongholds and coming across those anti-abortion billboards that picture a gurgling baby proclaiming, "My heart was beating at three weeks!" The "heart" metaphor in "heartland" is getting mixed here, since the heart is also among the earliest organs to develop. The rest of the body grows out from the heart. How could someplace as recently populated and as hastily improvised as the Midwest be the heart of a country at least a century or two older than it is? If the Midwest is the heart of this land, it's an artificial heart, one that's cobbled together from the parts that were lying around.

That very self-conscious, deliberate manufacturing of heritage creates a certain compression of nostalgia. Oftentimes, especially here in the urban parts of Minnesota, you'll hear people talk about the "old Minneapolis," or the "old St. Paul"; they're talking about things that aren't more than forty years old, which almost anywhere east of here is a millisecond, the snap of a finger. They're not delusional. The Minneapolis or St. Paul they knew is in fact gone, paved over or demolished to make way for something else.


Kate Hopper Launches New Memoir Ready for Air

KHopper-Headshot-e1377295675264.jpgKate Hopper's daughter Stella was born two months before doctors could have anticipated. In her new memoir, Ready for Air (University of Minnesota Press), Hopper tells the story of her final weeks of pregnancy, Stella's early life in the hospital, and the "post-NICU world" the family inhabited upon bringing the baby home.

The narrative is "often funny, often terrifying," Hopper said. According to a Star Tribune review, the author "finds that motherhood is not as she had expected it to be... Hopper and her husband cannot even hold Stella when she is born, and Hopper's sadness, and anger, are palpable in her writing."

Hopper began the book in early 2004, in the midst of her time at the MFA program at the University of Minnesota. The new mom took a year off to care for her daughter, and when she returned to the University, Ready for Air became her thesis. She graduated in 2005 with a half-finished draft, which she completed over the next two years. After several rejections, Hopper decided to rewrite the project, giving it new life.

"I printed out the whole manuscript, " she said, "then opened a new Word document and started to write the book again, from the beginning." After two and a half years, Hopper completed a new version of the book, which agent Amy Burtkhardt sold to the University of Minnesota Press in October of 2012.

While Hopper's journey is harrowing, it is not without the power to uplift. "I hope this book is a testament to the strength of motherhood and the transformative power of sharing our stories," She said. The Star Tribune describes Ready for Air as "a comfort to some and an explanation for others, but for [Hopper] it is proof of her own strength."

As for Hopper, she hopes the book will transcend the myths of motherhood. "I had a very challenging first year as a mother," she said, "and part of that had to do with reconciling my reality--the trauma of Stella's birth and the isolation of new motherhood--with the myths of perfect motherhood that are still perpetuated in our society." Hopper hopes Ready for Air will inspire others to "write their truths, whether these are 'acceptable' or not." She wrote her book in part to communicate to readers the strength of a story shared.

Kate Hopper lives in Minneapolis, where she teaches writing courses at the Loft Literary Center, leads writing workshops and retreats, and works in nonprofit development. She has also published a writing guide called Use Your Words, which is based on her Motherhood & Words class.

This Thursday, October 3rd, attend the launch for Ready for Air at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, from 3--7pm.


Read an excerpt from Kate Hopper's Ready for Air:

When we bring Stella home, she's still too small, and I'm petrified. When I hold her I'm afraid that I'll drop her. And sometimes I'm afraid that I'll accidentally throw her like a football across the room--a perfect spiral against the bedroom wall.
I'm scared to confide this even to Donny, and when I finally do, he laughs.

"Throw her like a football?" His hand cups an imaginary ball above his head and he whips it through the air.

But I insist. "No, I'm serious."

I'm holding her now. In fact, I'm always holding her. She screams when we put her down. Her face turns dark red, and a thin, high-pitched wail emerges from her tiny mouth. She's sleeping, now, though. She's an angel, and I can't imagine throwing her, hurting her. But I look at Donny, and he knows I'm scared, that I don't trust myself.

"I've read about this," I say, "the fear of hurting one's own baby; it is a sign of post-partum depression." And I hand him the pamphlet that one of the nurses gave me before I was discharged from the hospital.

"You're not going to hurt our baby," he says to me, quietly now, tender. He's sorry for laughing, for not taking me seriously at first, and he's nervous, fear opening his arms.
"You need to trust yourself." He kisses my forehead. "You're not going to hurt our baby."
"But by accident, maybe?"

"No," he says. "Not even by accident."

Chasing Shadows with alum Swati Avasthi

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On September 24th, MFA alum Swati Avasthi will publish Chasing Shadows with Knopf Books for Young Readers. Avasthi graduated in 2010 with an emphasis in fiction, and her first young adult novel, Split, landed on a number of "best of" lists.

Chasing Shadows, already a selection for the Junior Library Guild, is a YA novel about friendship and loss, featuring comic book-style illustrations and invocations of Hindu mythology. Avasthi's second novel, Chasing Shadows is the fruit of significant labor; the author spent four years creating more than 15 drafts before the book was complete. Agent Rosemary Stimola, whom Avasthi cites as a "great champion" of the project, sold the book as the second in a two-book contract.

A starred review by Publisher's Weekly calls Chasing Shadows "superb" in its addressing of tough subjects. In the face of a devastating murder, Avasthi's young heroines tackle grief and mental illness, and they explore the depths of friendship. The book also received a starred review from Kirkus.

"I read because I yearn to live vicariously," Avasthi says, "to experience more than I ever could in my lifetime." She describes the comfort of recognizing herself in books, and hopes to provide a similar transcendence for readers.

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Read an excerpt from Chasing Shadows:

I am not The Leopardess, but sometimes I wish I were.

As I dangle off the edge of this roof, I could use her steel claws. Superheroes get Wicked Toys, Cinematic Escapes, and Guaranteed Wins. If I could live in a comic, I'd be The Leopardess. And if I were The Leopardess, I'd be Fearless.

But I'm just Holly Paxton, so I have to run my fear ragged.

For links:
Author page: http://www.swatiavasthi.com/
Kirkus review: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/swati-avasthi/chasing-shadows-avasthi/
Publishers Weekly review: http://new.publishersweekly.com/978-0-375-86342-4#path/978-0-375-86342-4

Kevin Fenton's Leaving Rollingstone

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MFA alum Kevin Fenton ('05) publishes Leaving Rollingstone, a memoir about growing up in a Minnesota farming village. The book visits memories of family closeness and small-town values, an idyllic life that is ruptured by a tragic car accident and a move to the city. As the narrator grows older and his innocence fades, he reflects on his upbringing and his hometown not with nostalgia, but with "a holy kind of consideration," writes the Star Tribute. "Fenton puts the past, warts and all, on a pedestal while remaining fully aware that this nostalgia for when 'things were better' is an illusion that each generation nurtures. Fenton's book is a treasure for readers who want to strike that balance between memory and awareness." read the full review

Leaving Rollingstone is not Fenton's first publication. His novel Merit Badges won the AWP Award for the Novel and the Friends of American Writers Award.

The book is about growing up in a happy family in a Catholic farming village in southeastern Minnesota in the sixties and how the changes that happened to the town, the school, the farm, and his family shaped his life.

A self-described "plodder," Kevin wrote the first draft of the first chapter right after 9/11. A mostly-complete manuscript was his "barely defensible thesis" in 2005. The manuscript kept being a near miss for publishers until he realized the problem: too many characters who were too much alike. In the case of Leaving Rollingstone, it was a lack of clarity and pace that came from pursuing too many themes, he says. "What happens is several smart people who don't know each other all say basically the same thing at the same time." His years of revision paid off. Instead of working with an agent, Kevin pursued a lead from the Creative Writing program that the Minnesota Historical Society Press was looking for memoirs. They bit.

He hopes that those friends who asked, "aren't you too young [at 54] to write a memoir" and who really meant "you're not famous enough to write a memoir" will appreciate the value of memoirs by the non-Kissingers, non-Kardashians of the world. The memoir looks to complicate the perceptions of small town America as a one-dimensional place, either as a haven of innocence or an oppressive community.

Read an excerpt from Leaving Rollingstone:

1962. The village of Rollingstone had just had a picnic when a cloudburst pummeled us, soaked our clothing, and saturated the green of the grass. Everyone else ran for the pavilion or their cars. But because the wind had gusted and blown the yellow plasticware from the tables, my siblings and I suddenly had a job to do. We swarmed after the escaping utensils as they collected under the merry-go-round, flew under the swings, sprayed up against the tennis court. Maybe because I was three, this invasion felt giddy, like being tickled by the sky; the utensils became exclamation marks. Five kids pursued five hundred things. Plucking forks and knives from the ground, we glimpsed the shiny leaves of broadleaf plantain and a frizzy, yellow-flowered grass. But we had to keep running and lung¬ing and grabbing and screaming. The hysterical sky let us act hysterically.

The memory is innocent, but something shivers beneath it. It isn't the giddy freedom that has caused me to remember it; it is the color scheme. The green of the grass and the yellow of the forks scattered in the park suggest the green and yellow of trac¬tors, the green and yellow of corn, and, thus, the farm we aban¬doned. We moved into Rollingstone because one of dad's surger¬ies had gone particularly badly. We sold the farm to an in-law who rented it to our old neighbors, the Herbers, while they built a new house on their farm. Our family talked about the farm all the time. If families had mission statements back then, "regain the farm" would have been ours. Dennis, who had followed Dad everywhere, spent his summer working on the farm of another family on the ridge above Rollingstone.

Here, in Rollingstone, we hosted the picnic because the town had given Dad part-time work taking care of the park. Dennis and the girls helped Dad. He couldn't sprint after forks; he couldn't howl and dart and dive.

MFA Poet Carrie Lorig Wins Chapbook Contest

MFA student Carrie Lorig, a soon-to-be third-year poet in the program, has won Radioactive Moat's chapbook contest for rootpoems, written with fellow poet Russ Woods. Carrie is active in the poetry collective Our Flow Is Hard and has been published in numerous venues. Her chapbook, nods, has just been published by Magic Helicopter Press. tumblr_lx6rf4v0dH1r7p7p0o1_500.jpg

Yes, We Write: A Catalog of Recent MFA and Alumni Books Published

All told, we will have 26 books published (or forthcoming) by current students and alums in 2012-2013, from houses like Knopf, Ecco, Doubleday, HarperCollins, Coffee House, Milkweed, Touchstone, Caketrain, University of Minnesota Press, etc., and so on. Our MFAs rock!

Amy Shearn, The Mermaid of Brooklyn (Touchstone)
Eireann Lorsung, Her Book (forthcoming, 2013, Milkweed Editions)
Ethan Rutherford, The Peripatetic Coffin (Ecco)
Matt Burgess, Uncle Janice (forthcoming, 2013, Doubleday)
Francine Tolf, Eighteen Poems to God and a Poem to Satan (Redbird)
Elizabeth Larsen, Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun (Bloomsbury)
Shana Youngdahl, History, Advice, and Other Half-Truths (Stephen F. Austin University Press)
Amanda Coplin, The Orchardist (Harper)
Joshua Ostergaard, The Devil's Snake Curve (forthcoming, 2014,Coffee House)
Kate Hopper, Ready for Air (Fall, 2013, University of Minnesota Press)
Kevin Fenton, Leaving Rollingstone (Minnesota Historical Society Press, Fall 2013)
Rachel Moritz, Borrowed Wave (forthcoming, 2014, Kore Press)
Meryl Depasquale, Dream of a Perfect Interface (Dancing Girl Press)
Swati Avasthi, Chasing Shadows (Fall 2013, Knopf)
Feng Sun Chen, Butcher's Tree (Black Ocean)
Elisabeth Workman, Ultramegaprairieland (Bloof Books)
Carrie Lorig, nods. (Magic Helicopter Press)
Aaron Apps, Compos(t) Mentis (BlazeVox)
Anna Reckin, Three Reds (Shearsman)
Norah Labiner, Let the Dark Flower Blossom (Coffee House)
Sarah Fox, First Flag and Mother Substance (both from Coffee House Press, 2013-2014)
Liana Liu, The Memory Key (Forthcoming, 2014, HarperCollins)
A.T. Grant, The Collected Alex (Forthcoming, 2013, Caketrain)
Nate Slawson, Panic Attack, USA (YesYes)
Arlene Kim, What Have You Done to Our Ears to Make Us Hear Echoes (Milkweed)