Skip to main content
MFA Writers

MFA Writers

By Jared McCormack

MFA Writers is the podcast where host Jared McCormack interviews creative writing MFA students about their program, their process, and a piece they’re working on.
Where to listen
Apple Podcasts Logo

Apple Podcasts

Castbox Logo

Castbox

Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Overcast Logo

Overcast

Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo

RadioPublic

Spotify Logo

Spotify

Currently playing episode

Kaj Tanaka — University of Houston

MFA Writers

1x
Special Episode! Jonathan Escoffery — Debut Author of If I Survive You
Special Episode! Jonathan Escoffery — Debut Author of If I Survive You
Jonathan Escoffery, author of the highly acclaimed debut collection If I Survive You, sits down with Jared to discuss how this book grew out of his MFA writing sample and how he plays with form while exploring “the unsolvable problem of family.” A recent MFA graduate and current PhD student, Jonathan also offers advice for emerging writers and shares what it’s like to go on your first book tour. Jonathan Escoffery is the author of the linked story collection, If I Survive You, a New York Times Editor’s Choice and an Indie National Bestseller. If I Survive You (MCDxFSG) was long-listed for the National Book Award, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence, and was a finalist for the Southern Book Prize and a Golden Poppy Award. Jonathan is a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s Creative Writing MFA Program and currently attends the University of Southern California’s Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature Program as a Provost Fellow. He is a 2021-2023 Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Learn more at his website, www.jonathanescoffery.com. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
52:43
November 22, 2022
Nikki Lyssy — University of South Florida
Nikki Lyssy — University of South Florida
On this episode, Nikki Lyssy tells Jared about how, as a blind writer, she uses research to access the sighted world and fill her fiction with vivid imagery, while in her nonfiction, she explores her own experience with blindness and plays with ideas about which forms translate between braille and the page. Plus, Nikki talks about diversity and disability representation in young adult fiction, formal training in creative writing pedagogy, and support from faculty, friends, and family when she decided to change her thesis at the last minute. Nikki Lyssy is a third-year MFA candidate at the University of South Florida, where she writes fiction and nonfiction. She is blind, and her thesis is a young adult novel that follows the life of 17-year-old Emma Reynolds as she adjusts to her blindness and sets out on a path of self-discovery and acceptance of her disability. Find her on Twitter @Blindnikkii. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
51:32
November 08, 2022
Special Episode! Lindsay Bernal — MFA Applications Admissions Coordinator Edition
Special Episode! Lindsay Bernal — MFA Applications Admissions Coordinator Edition
It’s the third annual MFA application episode! This time, Jared is joined by Lindsay Bernal, poet and Academic Coordinator for the MFA program at the University of Maryland. She answers listener questions (starting at 27:15), including: What makes a personal statement good? Should I submit similar or varied poems? How do I know whether a program is truly invested in anti-racist work? Plus, Lindsay describes her path to an MFA, taking time between degrees, and the pros and cons of academic jobs, including positions beyond the tenure track. Lindsay Bernal was born and raised in Rochester, NY, and holds a B.A. in English and Spanish from the University of Virginia and an M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Maryland, where she coordinates and teaches in the Creative Writing Program and co-directs the Writers Here & Now reading series. Her first collection of poems, What It Doesn't Have to Do With, selected by Paul Guest as a winner of the National Poetry Series competition, was published by the University of Georgia Press in 2018. Find her at her website, www.lindsaybernal.com. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
50:01
October 25, 2022
Rerelease: Special Episode! Gregory Spatz — MFA Applications Faculty Edition
Rerelease: Special Episode! Gregory Spatz — MFA Applications Faculty Edition
Happy MFA application season to all who observe! As you craft and revise your applications, here's last year's annual MFA application episode from a faculty member's perspective. We hope it provides you with insight, solace, and direction. The new (third annual) MFA application episode will be in your feed in two weeks. The annual MFA application episode is back! This year, Jared is joined by Gregory Spatz, Professor and Program Director of the MFA program at Eastern Washington University, who explains what the application process looks like from a faculty member’s point of view. Answering listener questions, they discuss what to include (and avoid) in your personal statement, what makes a writing sample stand out, why to bother with an MFA at all, and more. Gregory Spatz is the author of the collection of linked stories and novellas, What Could Be Saved, and of the novels Inukshuk, Fiddler’s Dream and No One But Us, and the short story collections Half As Happy and Wonderful Tricks. His stories have appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker, Glimmer Train Stories, Shenandoah, Epoch, Kenyon Review and New England Review. The recipient of a Michener Fellowship, an Iowa Arts Fellowship, a Washington State Book Award, and an NEA Fellowship in literature, he teaches at Eastern Washington University in Spokane. Spatz plays the fiddle in the twice Juno-nominated bluegrass band John Reischman and the Jaybirds. Find him at his website gregoryspatz.com. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
01:01:17
October 11, 2022
Sean Dolan — Western Washington University
Sean Dolan — Western Washington University
It’s increasingly common for writers to get accepted in their second (or third) attempts at MFA applications. In this episode, Sean Dolan shares what he did differently his second time around that strengthened his application and landed him a spot in a fully-funded, genre-flexible program. Plus, he and Jared talk about how they return to the page even when it’s hard, the blurred line between autofiction and fiction, and, in Sean’s words, “the ephemeral experience of a short story.” Sean Dolan is a fiction writer from Missouri. His work has appeared in Hobart, 805 Lit + Art, The Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere. He is currently an MFA Candidate at Western Washington University where he is at work on his thesis -- a collection of short stories. He recently attended the Tin House Summer Workshop and will begin his position as Managing Editor of The Bellingham Review in the fall. You can find him on Twitter @SyannDoelann. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
46:19
September 27, 2022
Emily St. Martin — UC Riverside, Palm Desert Low-Residency
Emily St. Martin — UC Riverside, Palm Desert Low-Residency
Can you find a close community in a low-res program? Emily St. Martin, having met her best friends in her MFA, says absolutely yes. She joins Jared to talk about how her program has helped her craft her memoir-in-progress, the fear and reward of vulnerability in creative nonfiction, and how writing lets us acknowledge and redefine our pasts. Emily St. Martin is an independent journalist based in Los Angeles, CA. She has written for the New York Times, InStyle Magazine, Cosmopolitan, VICE, Los Angeles Magazine, The Fix, The Hollywood Reporter, People and elsewhere, including for the Southern California News Group where she won a third place award for best news feature with the LA Press Club in 2022. She holds a BA in Journalism from The University of La Verne and is currently pursuing an MFA in creative nonfiction in the University of California Riverside’s Palm Desert Low-Residency program. Find her on Twitter @ByEmilyStMartin and on TikTok at @edddrock. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
44:44
September 13, 2022
Rachelle Toarmino — UMass Amherst
Rachelle Toarmino — UMass Amherst
As the editor-in-chief of Peach Mag, Rachelle Toarmino is consistently focused on the work of others. She chats with Jared about her own writing career, including finding and using playfulness in her poetry, coping with MFA faculty turnover through collective cohort support, and how learning a second language opened her mind to poetic craft. Rachelle Toarmino is a poet, editor, and educator from Niagara Falls, New York. She is the author of the poetry collection That Ex (Big Lucks Books, 2020) and the chapbooks Comeback (Foundlings Press, 2021), Feel Royal (b l u s h, 2019), and Personal & Generic (PressBoardPress, 2016). Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Bennington Review, Electric Literature, Literary Hub, Pretty Cool Poetry Thing, Metatron Press, Shabby Doll House, Salt Hill Journal, and elsewhere. She is also the founding editor-in-chief of Peach Mag and an editorial advisor to Foundlings Press. She lives between Buffalo and Western Massachusetts, where she is an MFA candidate in poetry at UMass Amherst. Find her on Twitter @rchlltrmn and at her website rachelletoarmino.com. This episode was requested by Erika Walsh. Thank you for listening, Erika! MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
45:42
August 30, 2022
Steven Duong — Iowa Writers’ Workshop
Steven Duong — Iowa Writers’ Workshop
Welcome to Season 3! It’s finally time to tackle the oldest and most famous MFA of them all: the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. On this episode, Steven Duong and Jared discuss whether Iowa lives up to its competitive stereotype, the challenges and freedoms of playing with writing conventions and constraints, and why he—a long-time poet—decided to pursue a fiction degree. Steven Duong is a writer from San Diego, California. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the Watson Foundation, and the University of Iowa, and his poems, stories, and essays can be found in publications including The New England Review, The American Poetry Review, and Guernica. He is a current second-year MFA candidate in fiction at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Find him at his website stevenduongwrites.com and on Twitter @boneless_koi. This episode was requested by Tammy Breitweiser, Esty Downes, and April Ahmed. Thank you all for listening! MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
50:30
August 16, 2022
Rerelease: George Saunders — Story Club
Rerelease: George Saunders — Story Club
This week, as the pod team enjoys the last of our vacation, we’ve got a rerelease of a special episode from Season 2 of the podcast: Jared's conversation with George Saunders. This episode is full of advice for emerging writers, especially those considering an MFA. We’ll be back in two weeks with an all-new episode, the first of Season 3. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
53:17
August 02, 2022
Rerelease: Adachioma Ezeano — University of Kentucky
Rerelease: Adachioma Ezeano — University of Kentucky
Pod's out for summer! We wrapped up Season 2 on our last episode and are busy planning Season 3. In the meantime, enjoy one of our favorite episodes from this past season. We’ll be back in August with brand new episodes.  Jared talks to O. Henry Prize winner Adachioma Ezeano of the University of Kentucky about finding her love of literature through Nigerian novels and folktales, learning craft from strong women, and workshopping without the gag order in favor of Crystal Wilkinson’s wild card critique musings. Adachioma Ezeano is a 2021 O. Henry Prize recipient. She is a second-year fiction candidate in the MFA program at University of Kentucky. She is an alum of Purple Hibiscus Workshop. Her fiction appears or is forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly, Flashback Fiction, Isele Magazine, Best Small Fictions 2020, and The Best Short Stories 2021. She is Igbo, from Nigeria, and worked with First Bank Nigeria before moving to Kentucky for her MFA. She tweets @adachiomaezeano. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
39:54
July 19, 2022
Taylor Byas — University of Cincinnati
Taylor Byas — University of Cincinnati
On the season 2 finale, Taylor Byas talks to Jared about how her fiction background helps her develop sharp images and accessible lines in her poetry while her poetic knowledge taught her to take more risks in her fiction. She also describes the value of a social media writing community (and how to build one), whether publishing success eliminates imposter syndrome (spoiler: it does not), and how her scholarly studies in her PhD program inform and enrich her creative work (and how to survive the comprehensive exam). MFA Writers will be back in your airwaves in August. Wishing you all a great summer, dear friends, and thank you for listening. Taylor Byas is a Black Chicago native currently living in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she is now a PhD candidate and Yates scholar at the University of Cincinnati, and an Assistant Features Editor for The Rumpus. She is the 1st place winner of the 2020 Poetry Super Highway, the 2020 Frontier Poetry Award for New Poets Contests, the 2021 Adrienne Rich Poetry Prize, and a finalist for the 2020 Frontier OPEN Prize. She is the author of the chapbook Bloodwarm from Variant Lit, a second chapbook, Shutter, from Madhouse Press, and her debut full-length, I Done Clicked My Heels Three Times, forthcoming from Soft Skull Press in Spring of 2023. She is represented by Rena Rossner of the Deborah Harris Agency. Find her at her website www.taylorbyas.com and on Twitter @TaylorByas3. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
55:28
July 05, 2022
Luna Adler — Brooklyn College
Luna Adler — Brooklyn College
Luna Adler talks to Jared about moving between fiction and non-fiction, Brooklyn College’s unique novel-writing workshop aimed at accommodating the long form, the tension between a slow revision process and rapid MFA deadlines, and the benefit in recording one’s writing time while allowing grace for a broad definition of writing time that may or may not include thinking time. Luna Adler is a Brooklyn-based writer and illustrator. She’s currently an MFA candidate in fiction at Brooklyn College, where she was a recipient of the Truman Capote Fellowship. She is a fiction editor for The Brooklyn Review and a reader for Pigeon Pages. Her words, art, and comics have appeared or are forthcoming in Bon Appétit, Bust Magazine, Interview Magazine, Literary Hub, Gossamer, Autostraddle, Electric Literature, Backpacker Magazine, The Rumpus, The Belladonna Comedy, Hobart Pulp, and Lux Magazine, among others. Find her on Instagram @lunaadler or at lunaadler.com, where you can subscribe to her illustrated newsletter. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. This episode was requested by Marcia Bronstein. Thank you for listening, Marcia! BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers
59:40
June 21, 2022
Taylor Sklenar — Iowa State University
Taylor Sklenar — Iowa State University
Taylor Sklenar of Iowa State University’s MFA in Creative Writing and the Environment talks with Jared about how growing up in a small town influenced his interests in chemistry and theatre, combining those interests in the MFA, and the myriad considerations that go into writing for the stage. Along the way, they talk about the many unique opportunities at ISU, including editing the Flyway Journal, running the Emerging Writers Reading Series, participating in political action through the EcoTheatre Lab, maintaining the Everett Casey Nature Reserve, and going on writer’s retreats to Lake Okoboji. Taylor Sklenar is a playwright, poet, and theatre artist pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing and the Environment and MS in Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. He received an MA in Theatre from the University of Missouri, Columbia. His writing has been workshopped or produced at Tallgrass Theatre’s Iowa Playwrights’ Workshop, StageWest Des Moines’ Scriptease, Theatre Cedar Rapids, and many other places. His most recent collaboration, Alice in Quarantine: a Drive-Through Adventure, is published with Next State Press. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
01:01:14
June 07, 2022
James Craig Hartz Jr. — Oregon State University
James Craig Hartz Jr. — Oregon State University
On this episode, James Craig Hartz Jr., a Combat Medic turned MFA graduate, tells Jared about flipping the traditional military homecoming story into one filled with resilience, hope, and hard-won healing. He also discusses the role of mythology in modern fiction, the criticality of OSU’s graduate student union for pay and benefits, and his experience of concentrated solitude and intentional boredom at a graduate student writing retreat in the Oregon woods. James Craig Hartz Jr. earned his MFA in fiction from Oregon State University after serving four years in the US Army as a Combat Medic. His writing has appeared in Witness Magazine, the tiny journal, F(r)iction, and Watershed Review. His fiction has been nominated for Best American Short Stories and he is the winner of Witness Magazine’s 2022 Literary Award in Nonfiction and the tiny journal's "(re)tell me a story contest.” Find him on Twitter @jchartz2 and at his website: www.jamescraighartzjr.com. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
01:07:24
May 24, 2022
Siloh Radovsky — UC San Diego
Siloh Radovsky — UC San Diego
Siloh Radovsky sits down with Jared to talk about her path from anarchistic activism to experimental writing, the blurry line between fiction and nonfiction, and the joys and pains of teaching in an R1 institution. Siloh Radovsky is a prose writer invested in the overlap between narrative and criticism. A recent graduate of the cross-genre MFA program at UC San Diego, she is currently at work on a collection of linked essays. Her essays, articles, and stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Entropy, [PANK], Sundae Theory, Teen Vogue, Inkwell, Alchemy, Identity Theory, and elsewhere. Siloh is also an educator, a collaborator in a narrative medicine intervention with Adolescent and Young Adult cancer patients, and was a founding editor of Kaleidoscoped magazine. She was an artist-in-residence at the Hinge Arts program in spring 2017, and was the recipient of an Evergreen Foundation Activity Grant and a Summer Graduate Teaching Fellowship at UC San Diego. Find her on Instagram @essence_of_toast and her website silohradovsky.net. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. This episode was requested by Isabella Neblett and Amy Peltz. Thank you both for listening! BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
57:34
May 10, 2022
Gauri Awasthi — McNeese State University
Gauri Awasthi — McNeese State University
Gauri Awasthi talks to Jared about how McNeese allowed her to earn an MA and MFA in three years, decolonizing the poetry cannon, and how she first found poems through Bhakti poetry, love poems to the divine. Gauri Awasthi is an Indian poet and environmentalist who recently graduated with an MFA in poetry from McNeese State University. She has won awards from Sundress Academy For The Arts, Louisiana Office of Cultural Development, Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and Kundiman. Her writing has been published in Quarterly West, Notre Dame Review, The Punch Magazine, The Wire, Buzzfeed, and others. She teaches the Decolonizing Poetry Workshop at Catapult. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. This episode was requested by Shalini Singh. Thank you for listening, Shalini! BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
56:25
April 26, 2022
Rerelease: Vanessa Chan — The New School
Rerelease: Vanessa Chan — The New School
Jared's taking this week off to focus on finishing his thesis, so enjoy this rerelease with Vanessa Chan who recently signed a fabulous deal for two books, THE STORM WE MADE, and THE UGLIEST BABIES IN THE WORLD. Regular programming will resume in two weeks. Do we write because we understand or do we write to reach understanding? Jared and Vanessa Chan of The New School unpack this question. Along the way, they discuss writing about home while living in a foreign country, the long arm of colonialism, and the pros and cons of studying in the literary capital of the world. Vanessa Chan is a Malaysian writer who writes about race, colonization, and women who don't toe the line. Her fiction and nonfiction have been published or are forthcoming in Electric Literature, Conjunctions, The Rumpus, Pidgeonholes, Porter House Review, and more. Vanessa is a Fiction Editor at TriQuarterly Magazine, an Assistant Fiction Editor at Pithead Chapel, and an MFA candidate in fiction at The New School, class of 2021. This follows a 12-year career in public relations, including most recently as director of communications for Facebook in California. Her writing has received support from Tin House, Mendocino Coast Writers’ Conference, Aspen Words, and Disquiet International. She can be found at her website vanessajchan.com or on Twitter @vanjchan. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
50:59
April 12, 2022
Erin Slaughter — Florida State University
Erin Slaughter — Florida State University
How does a creative writing PhD compare to an MFA? Erin Slaughter talks to Jared about the focus on professionalization in her doctoral program at Florida State University compared to the exploration and experimentation she found as part of the inaugural cohort of the Western Kentucky University MFA program. Along the way, she discusses her many experiences in the publishing industry and offers advice for emerging writers to demystify the submission process. Erin Slaughter is the author of A Manual for How to Love Us, short fiction forthcoming from Harper Perennial in 2023, and two books of poetry: The Sorrow Festival (CLASH Books, forthcoming 2022) and I Will Tell This Story to the Sun Until You Remember That You Are the Sun (New Rivers Press, 2019). She is editor/co-founder of The Hunger, and her fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and hybrid writing has appeared in Black Warrior Review, CRAFT, Slice, The Rumpus, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from Western Kentucky University and is a PhD candidate at Florida State University, where she teaches creative writing courses and co-hosts the Jerome Stern Reading Series. Find her at her website erin-slaughter.com and on Twitter @erinslaughter23. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. This episode was requested by Rajiv Thind. Thank you for listening, Rajiv! BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
01:02:17
March 29, 2022
Chibuihe Obi Achimba — Brown University
Chibuihe Obi Achimba — Brown University
Chibuihe Obi Achimba sits down with Jared to talk about the anguish and extreme joy of transferring a poem from imagination to language, using writing to explore the impacts and losses of modernization and civil war in his home country of Nigeria, and the necessary balance between encouraging independence and fostering community in an MFA program. Chibuihe Obi Achimba grew up in southeastern Nigeria. He's a poet and essayist completing his MFA in Poetry at Brown University. Chibuihe's writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New York Times, The Paris Review, Harvard Review, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. He is the Founding-Editor of Dgëku Magazine. He was awarded the 2021 St. Botolph Foundation grant and the 2021 Frontier Poetry Prize for New Poets. Find him at his website www.chibuihe.com. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. This episode was requested by Shlagha Borah, Erika Walsh, Amy Peltz, James Jackson, and Sebastian. Thank you all for listening! BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
01:01:57
March 15, 2022
Katie M. Zeigler — St. Mary's College of California
Katie M. Zeigler — St. Mary's College of California
Over the last ten years, Katie M. Zeigler filled out an MFA application six times and never submitted. Now in her second year at St. Mary’s College of California, she talks to Jared about pursuing her MFA 25 years after finishing her Masters, her program’s emphasis on the business of writing, and crafting a novel about caregiving, dementia, and the sandwich generation. Katie M. Zeigler is a second-year Fiction student in the MFA program at St. Mary's College of California. Before the MFA, she got a BA and an MA in English Literature from Stanford University. Her short fiction and nonfiction have been published in Stonecoast Review, Fish Anthology, The Centifictionist, Griffel, Digging, and Stanford Magazine, and she was recently featured on the podcast, In Short. Visit her at katiemzeigler.com and on Twitter @katiemzeigler. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
56:34
March 01, 2022
Gabrielle Grace Hogan — The New Writers Project, University of Texas at Austin
Gabrielle Grace Hogan — The New Writers Project, University of Texas at Austin
Poet Gabrielle Grace Hogan of the New Writers Project at the University of Texas at Austin talks with Jared about using images to find theme in poetry, giving ourselves permission to write about happiness, and improving lesbian representation in the literary world. Along the way, they break down the similarities and differences between the New Writers Project and its sister program, the Michener Center for Writers. Gabrielle is a poet in her third and final year of the New Writers Project MFA from the University of Texas at Austin. She’s been published in the Academy of American Poets, Nashville Review, Salt Hill, CutBank, Foglifter, Peach Mag, and many other places. She has served as the Poetry Editor of Bat City Review, and Co-Editor of the online anthology You Flower / You Feast. Her debut chapbook Soft Obliteration is available from Ghost City Press. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
59:40
February 15, 2022
Special Episode! George Saunders — Story Club
Special Episode! George Saunders — Story Club
Jared sits down with author and Syracuse Professor George Saunders to discuss his advice for new and prospective MFA students, the value of trusting your writing intuition, the best (and worst) kind of workshop feedback, and how Saunders is creating community through discussions of craft, life, and process in his new project, Story Club. George Saunders is the author of eleven books including Tenth of December, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, Lincoln in the Bardo, which won the Man Booker Prize,  and most recently, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain. He studied in the creative writing program at Syracuse and later joined the faculty there where he currently teaches as part of their MFA program. His newest project is Story Club, a twice-weekly newsletter hosted on Substack. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
53:27
February 01, 2022
Jason Rodriguez — School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Jason Rodriguez — School of the Art Institute of Chicago
With a background in cinema, Jason Rodriguez of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago sits down with Jared to talk about how film influences his poetry. They unpack how Jason captures movement in visual poems, how the bombardment of media and pandemic isolation influence his work, and how he found an MFA program that allows him to investigate all areas of writing without confinement to a single track. Jason Rodriguez is a second-year MFA in Writing student focusing on design, interactivity, and poetry at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He’s been a producer on the school’s podcast, SAIC Beat, for the last three seasons. He was an Assistant Poetry Editor for the journal ANMLY and recently worked on a queer/sci-fi stop-motion short film titled Mother Bunker, which played at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Outfest, and Melbourne International Film Festival. His writing has been published or is forthcoming in BathHouse Journal, GlitterMOB, Mannequin Haus, Word For/Word, and Gasher, and was included as the introduction to Michael Aurelio’s poetry collection, The Smokers (2019). Find him on Instagram @freefloppydisk. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. This episode was requested by De’Andre Holmes. Thank you for listening, De’Andre! BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
52:24
January 18, 2022
Rerelease: Marcus Jamison — University of South Carolina
Rerelease: Marcus Jamison — University of South Carolina
The podcast team is on vacation (re: staycation)! Enjoy one of our favorite episodes from the earliest days of the show. Regular programming will resume in two weeks. Can writing be a form of protest? And if so, is there room for hope? Jared sits down with Marcus Jamison of the University of South Carolina to talk about Confederate monuments and economic justice, as well as finding solace in writing and crafting poetry after our literary heroes. Marcus Jamison is a poet and scholar from Hamlet, North Carolina. He is in his final year as an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of South Carolina, where he served as a senior editor for Yemassee Journal. His poems have appeared in Barely South Review and Quarterly West, as the 2017 winner of an AWP Intro Journals Award. He has also been a finalist for the Scotti Merrill Award and for 92Y's Discovery Poetry Contest. A fellow of The Watering Hole, he is also an avid fiction and nonfiction writer. He can be found on Twitter @theRarePoet. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
45:35
January 04, 2022
Cordis Paldano — Minnesota State University, Mankato
Cordis Paldano — Minnesota State University, Mankato
Both stage acting and fiction writing are practices in understanding and embodying characters. Cordis Paldano of Minnesota State University, Mankato joins Jared to discuss the ways his acting career informs his writing, the pros and cons of starting the MFA at an older age, and the experience of publishing a children’s novel he wrote in under two months. Cordis Paldano is a third-year MFA student in Fiction at Minnesota State University. Previously, he was a theatre artist studying acting at the French National Academy of Drama in Paris. He has performed in over 25 plays in India and France, and co-founded a theatre company in Pondicherry. He is also the author of a 2018 children's novel (Hachette India). This episode was requested by Ailee Slater. Thank you for listening, Ailee! BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
40:25
December 21, 2021
Luke Larkin — University of Montana
Luke Larkin — University of Montana
Literary fiction on Monday, pulp on Tuesday, YA on Wednesday, poetry on Thursday. Luke Larkin of the University of Montana tells Jared about crossing and mixing genres in a program with a literary pedigree, how queerness and Catholicism influence his writing, and surviving (and thriving!) in the natural beauty and long winters of Missoula. Luke Larkin earned his BA in creative writing at the University of Montana before entering UM's MFA program, where he is a second-year fiction student and editor-in-chief of CutBank Magazine, the program's long-running literary magazine. While he studies fiction primarily, he also writes creative nonfiction and poetry. His work has appeared in Popshot, HAD, Barren Magazine, and elsewhere. Find him on Twitter @lukeglarkin, his website, lukelarkin.info, and the micro magazine Unstamatic. This episode was requested by Diana Heald. Thank you for listening, Diana! MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
54:33
December 07, 2021
Keely O’Connell — University of Alaska Fairbanks
Keely O’Connell — University of Alaska Fairbanks
Skiing to campus and living without running water may not be typical aspects of the MFA experience, but they are common at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. On this episode, Keely O’Connell tells Jared about her yurt-to-campus commute, writing nonfiction about wilderness experiences, and surviving comprehensive exams. Keely O'Connell is a third-year MFA student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her focus is nonfiction. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Northwest Review, Hippocampus, and CRAFT. This episode was requested by Shalini Singh. Thank you for listening, Shalini! MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
57:57
November 23, 2021
Rerelease: Special Episode! Cady Vishniac — MFA Applications
Rerelease: Special Episode! Cady Vishniac — MFA Applications
As we approach the first application deadlines of this MFA cycle, enjoy this rerelease to help you tackle questions such as: Should I get an MFA? What should I consider when applying? How can I strengthen my application? In this special episode, Jared is joined by Cady Vishniac, Editor-in-Chief of The Workshop and MFA graduate from The Ohio State University. Together, they address MFA applicants’ most common questions and concerns, like crafting a solid statement of purpose and finding a program that accommodates student parents. Cady Vishniac attended The Ohio State University as the first MFA student to be awarded a Distinguished University Fellowship. Her stories have been published in Joyland, Glimmer Train, and New England Review, winning the contests at Ninth Letter, Greensboro Review, Mid-American Review, New Millennium Writings, Lascaux Review, American Literary Review, New Letters, and Salamander, as well as the anthology prize in New Stories from the Midwest. Her most recent publications are two stories in Tikkun and a Yiddish translation in Los Angeles Review. She has been writing for The Workshop since 2015 and became its Editor-in-Chief in 2020. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
01:22:08
November 09, 2021
Special Episode! Gregory Spatz — MFA Applications Faculty Edition
Special Episode! Gregory Spatz — MFA Applications Faculty Edition
The annual MFA application episode is back! This year, Jared is joined by Gregory Spatz, Professor and Program Director of the MFA program at Eastern Washington University, who explains what the application process looks like from a faculty member’s point of view. Answering listener questions, they discuss what to include (and avoid) in your personal statement, what makes a writing sample stand out, why to bother with an MFA at all, and more. Gregory Spatz is the author of the collection of linked stories and novellas, What Could Be Saved, and of the novels Inukshuk, Fiddler’s Dream and No One But Us, and the short story collections Half As Happy and Wonderful Tricks. His stories have appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker, Glimmer Train Stories, Shenandoah, Epoch, Kenyon Review and New England Review. The recipient of a Michener Fellowship, an Iowa Arts Fellowship, a Washington State Book Award, and an NEA Fellowship in literature, he teaches at Eastern Washington University in Spokane. Spatz plays the fiddle in the twice Juno-nominated bluegrass band John Reischman and the Jaybirds. Find him at his website gregoryspatz.com. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
01:01:22
October 26, 2021
Adachioma Ezeano — University of Kentucky
Adachioma Ezeano — University of Kentucky
Jared talks to O. Henry Prize winner Adachioma Ezeano of the University of Kentucky about finding her love of literature through Nigerian novels and folktales, learning craft from strong women, and workshopping without the gag order in favor of Crystal Wilkinson’s wild card critique musings. Adachioma Ezeano is a 2021 O. Henry Prize recipient. She is a second-year fiction candidate in the MFA program at University of Kentucky. She is an alum of Purple Hibiscus Workshop. Her fiction appears or is forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly, Flashback Fiction, Isele Magazine, Best Small Fictions 2020, and The Best Short Stories 2021. She is Igbo, from Nigeria, and worked with First Bank Nigeria before moving to Kentucky for her MFA. She tweets @adachiomaezeano. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
40:01
October 12, 2021
Natalie Warther — Bennington College
Natalie Warther — Bennington College
Natalie Warther of Bennington College talks to Jared about the potential of flash fiction to introduce literature to nonreaders, making the writer’s life work with a full-time job in advertising, and pursuing a dual-genre degree at her low-residency program. Natalie Warther is a senior writer at 72andSunny and a recent M.F.A graduate from the low-residency program at Bennington College where she was a dual major in poetry and fiction. She is a prose reader for GASHER Journal and a recent finalist in the Smokelong Grand Micro Contest. Her most recent fiction has appeared in Hobart After Dark (HAD), X-R-A-Y, and Maudlin House. Find her monthly flash fiction on Instagram @NatalieWarther, follow her on Twitter @warther_natalie, and find links to all her work at her website: nataliewarther.com. This episode was requested by Philip Clapham. Thank you for listening, Philip! MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
50:16
September 28, 2021
Ashley Sojin Kim — University of Florida
Ashley Sojin Kim — University of Florida
Jared and Ashley Sojin Kim of the University of Florida discuss learning about suppressed historic events through poetry, adding form restrictions to enhance the creative process, and networking with publishers at UF’s annual Visiting Editors weekend. Ashley Sojin Kim received her MFA from the University of Florida and her BA from The Johns Hopkins University. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Literary Matters, Faultline Journal, RHINO Poetry, Spoon River Poetry Review, Gulf Stream Magazine, and elsewhere. Her honors and awards include a Pushcart Prize nomination and fellowships from Kundiman and the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference. Find her and read her poems on Instagram @ashleysojin. This episode was requested by Victor DeBianchi and Amy Peltz. Thank you for listening, Victor and Amy! MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
01:01:58
September 14, 2021
Katie Schorr — Hunter College
Katie Schorr — Hunter College
In this episode, Jared talks with Katie Schorr of Hunter College about overcoming rejection and the failure to sell her first novel, finding her voice through the writing and revising process, and navigating the MFA while raising two kids. Katie Schorr earned her MFA in Fiction from Hunter College. She’s written for McSweeney’s and Motherly and she has also written and performed one-person shows at the UCB Theater, Ars Nova, and Joe’s Pub. She is an audiobook narrator and the mother of two young children, both of whom wish her stories were scarier. Find her at katieschorr.com. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
01:01:46
August 31, 2021
Shreya Fadia — Indiana University Bloomington
Shreya Fadia — Indiana University Bloomington
Welcome to Season 2! Jared is joined by Shreya Fadia of Indiana University Bloomington to discuss incorporating genre elements in literary work, making a career change from law to writing, and how editing Indiana Review has helped Shreya cope with rejection. Shreya Fadia is a third-year fiction candidate in the MFA program at Indiana University, where she currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Indiana Review. Her fiction appears or is forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, Cream City Review, and The Florida Review Online. Before beginning her MFA, she practiced law in New York City. She is originally from Mumbai, India. This episode was requested by Jacie Juliana Andrews. Thank you for listening, Jacie! MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. BE PART OF THE SHOW — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or Podcast Addict. — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, please contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience. STAY CONNECTED Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
01:01:43
August 17, 2021
Special Episode! — Jared on Music at Midnight
Special Episode! — Jared on Music at Midnight
With deep gratitude, we have reached the end of Season 1. The pod team is taking a little vacation and launching Season 2 in two weeks. In the meantime, enjoy this rebroadcast of Music at Midnight, a podcast published by Hobart's Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo. You'll hear an interview between Jared (as interviewee!) and past guest Evan Fleischer (as interviewer!). They discuss MFA programs, what has surprised Jared about making this show, and graduate student unionization. Plus, Lily MacHugh reads an excerpt from a story.  Thank you for tuning into Season 1. Regular programming will return on August 17. Until then, take care of each other.  Subscribe to Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo: https://buffalobuffalobuffalo.substack.com Revisit Evan's episode of MFA Writers MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
19:43
August 03, 2021
Tarik Dobbs — University of Minnesota
Tarik Dobbs — University of Minnesota
Drawing attention to American and Israeli occupation in the Middle East, Tarik Dobbs of the University of Minnesota crafts experimental poetry based on extensive research and personal experience. Tarik joins Jared to discuss the role of poetry in shaping political perspectives, writing as a collaborative process, and how universities can create a more inclusive and diverse academic community. Tarik Dobbs is an Arab American queer writer born in Dearborn, MI, on stolen land of the Chippewa, Ottawa, & Potawatomi people. Dobbs's poems appear in AGNI, APR, Best of the Net, Missouri Review Online, & Poetry Magazine. A 3rd-year MFA student at the University of Minnesota, Dobbs is Assistant Editor of Great River Review and founded Poetry Online, a nonprofit web magazine. Their poetry chapbook, "Dancing on the Tarmac," was selected by Gabrielle Calvocoressi (Yemassee, 2021). Find them at tarikdo.com. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
59:44
July 20, 2021
Aggie Stewart — Newport MFA at Salve Regina University
Aggie Stewart — Newport MFA at Salve Regina University
How do emotional pacing and narrative structure influence one another in a story? Jared talks to Aggie Stewart of the Newport MFA at Salve Regina University about her memoir, a braided narrative examining family trauma. They discuss embracing false starts and taking the scenic route to her MFA, a low-res program that lets students practice pitches with agents and editors, encourages cross-genre experimentation, and offers a residency in Havana, Cuba. Aggie Stewart is a Rhode Island-based writer and is going into her final semester in the Newport MFA program at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. Her MFA focus is creative nonfiction. She is currently writing a memoir about growing up in the shadow of her mother’s sister’s murder, an event which occurred when her mother was pregnant with her and that was kept a closely guarded family secret throughout her childhood. Aggie has a BA and MA in English Literature and worked as a technical and business writer and editor for many years before beginning work on her MFA. A certified yoga therapist and meditation teacher, Aggie also teaches others how meditation can support and facilitate the creation of literary art. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
51:23
July 06, 2021
Keith Enterante — San Diego State University
Keith Enterante — San Diego State University
Fantasy. Sci fi. Literary absurdist fiction. Keith Enterante of San Diego State University’s novel excerpt has it all. He joins Jared to talk about the support and warmth of his program, the importance of starting and finishing pieces, and how the best writing lights up your nerve endings. Keith Enterante is a writer with an MFA from San Diego State University, where he spent three years drafting his third book, an absurdist fantasy titled Man-so-called-kind (previously titled Phooka Road). The opening chapter received an Honorable Mention for the AWP Intro Journals Awards; the book will be going on submission to agents later this summer. Find him on TikTok @k.enterante. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
44:50
June 22, 2021
Evan Fleischer — Emerson College
Evan Fleischer — Emerson College
Pursuing an MFA is not only about improving your own writing, but also that of your peers. Evan Fleischer of Emerson College talks to Jared about how the workshop is like teaching, how editing at Hobart benefits his work, and how the best writing is full of surprises. He also does a pretty good Bob Dylan impression. Evan Fleischer is set to graduate from Emerson College with a MFA in fiction at the end of 2021. He has been a fiction editor at Hobart Pulp for two and a half years. He has also worked as a ghostwriter, a research assistant, and as a freelance writer. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
58:31
June 08, 2021
Ellie Black — University of Mississippi
Ellie Black — University of Mississippi
Humor. Experimentation. Sound play. Ellie Black of the University of Mississippi talks to Jared about how her poetry has gotten increasingly weird, the influence of the Gurlesque movement, and the benefits of a high faculty-to-student ratio. Ellie Black is a poetry MFA candidate entering her third year at the University of Mississippi and the incoming senior poetry editor of the Yalobusha Review. Her poetry can be found in Black Warrior Review, DIAGRAM, Booth, Best New Poets, and elsewhere. Find her at her website, elliekblack.com, on Twitter at @elliekblack, and Instagram at @ellie.kb. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
45:55
May 25, 2021
Antonio Villaseñor-Baca — University of Texas at El Paso
Antonio Villaseñor-Baca — University of Texas at El Paso
What does a bilingual MFA program look like in practice? Antonio Villaseñor-Baca of the University of Texas El Paso joins Jared to talk about studying cross-genre work in English and Spanish, launching a music magazine between degrees, and how reading a diverse canon helped him take pride in his Xicanx identity. Antonio Villaseñor-Baca is a Xicanx bilingual journalist, photographer, poet and writer from El Paso, Texas. He spends his time listening to music and working towards his MFA in creative writing at the University of Texas at El Paso, where he taught Rhetoric and Writing Studies courses. Antonio also serves as an online editor for Minero Magazine and has written for YR Media, 18-to-29 Now, Borderzine, and El Paso Inc. He has published poetry in Rio Grande Review, Mojave Heart Review, and Norte/Sur. He focuses on short fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and visual/photographic narrative. Find him at his magazine Con Safos Magazine. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
52:10
May 11, 2021
Special Episode! — Felicia Rose Chavez and The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop
Special Episode! — Felicia Rose Chavez and The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop
Creative writing workshops have remained largely unchanged since their creation in 1936. But what if there’s a better, more empowering, more inclusive way? Jared talks to Felicia Rose Chavez about her new book, The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop: How to Decolonize the Creative Classroom. They unpack MFA student advocacy, discuss the benefits of collaboration over competition, and reconceptualize the workshop. Felicia Rose Chavez is an award-winning educator with an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Iowa. She is author of The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop: How to Decolonize the Creative Classroom and co-editor of The BreakBeat Poets Volume 4: LatiNEXT with Willie Perdomo and Jose Olivarez. Felicia’s teaching career began in Chicago, where she served as Program Director to Young Chicago Authors and founded GirlSpeak, a feminist webzine for high school students. She went on to teach writing at the University of New Mexico, where she was distinguished as the Most Innovative Instructor of the Year, the University of Iowa, where she was distinguished as the Outstanding Instructor of the Year, and Colorado College, where she received the Theodore Roosevelt Collins Outstanding Faculty Award. Her creative scholarship earned her a Ronald E. McNair Fellowship, a University of Iowa Graduate Dean’s Fellowship, a Riley Scholar Fellowship, and a Hadley Creatives Fellowship. Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, she currently serves as the Creativity and Innovation Scholar-in-Residence at Colorado College. For more information about The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop, and to access a multi-genre compilation of contemporary writers of color and progressive online publishing platforms, please visit www.antiracistworkshop.com. Follow Felicia on Instagram at @feliciarosechavez and on Twitter @writerantiracist. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
57:18
April 27, 2021
Alejandro Puyana — Michener Center for Writers, University of Texas at Austin
Alejandro Puyana — Michener Center for Writers, University of Texas at Austin
With political and social unrest rocking his home country of Venezuela, Alejandro Puyana turned to writing as a way to process. He applied to MFA programs four times before landing an acceptance at the Michener Center for Writers. Now, you can read his work in The Best American Short Stories anthology for 2020. Alejandro and Jared talk rejection, revision, and reimagining the world through fiction. Alejandro Puyana is a second-year fellow at the Michener Center for Writers whose primary focus is fiction and secondary genre is screenwriting. His non-fiction pieces have been published in The Toast, Tin House Online, NPR, The Huffington Post; his fiction in Huizache, The Examined Life, and Idaho Review. His short story, "Hands of Dirty Children" was awarded the Halifax Ranch Prize by American Short Fiction, chosen as the winning story by ZZ Packer. That same story was then chosen by Curtis Sittenfeld to be included in the 2020 Best American Short Stories. Find him on Twitter @Puyana. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
01:01:42
April 13, 2021
Jemimah Wei — Columbia University
Jemimah Wei — Columbia University
In Singapore, a young nation focused on economic prosperity, the path to the writer’s life can seem uncertain. Against this backdrop, Jemimah Wei of Columbia University tells Jared about her country’s emerging literary canon, how flash fiction taught her restraint, and how open conversations about funding make MFAs more accessible. Jemimah Wei is a writer and host based in Singapore and New York. Her fiction has received nominations for the 2021 Pushcart Prize, support from Singapore's National Arts Council, and the 2020 Francine Ringold Award for New Writers. She was recently named a 2020 Felipe P. De Alba Fellow at Columbia University, where she is pursuing an MFA in Fiction. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Nimrod, Smokelong Quarterly, Pidgeonholes, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, and JMWW, amongst others. Presently a columnist for No Contact Magazine, she is at work on a novel and several television projects. This follows an eight-year career in the media, where she's worked both onscreen and behind the scenes as a host, scriptwriter, and producer. Learn more at jemmawei.com and say hi at @jemmawei on socials. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
01:04:30
March 30, 2021
Jeremiah Barker — Litowitz MFA+MA, Northwestern University
Jeremiah Barker — Litowitz MFA+MA, Northwestern University
A joint MA+MFA program allows students to deepen their understanding of literary criticism and theory while crafting creative works. Jeremiah Barker of Northwestern University tells Jared how they balance the workload, how they find self-compassion in the face of pandemic-induced writer’s block, and how writing about trauma is and is not like therapy. Jeremiah Barker is an essayist currently based in Chicago. They are a third-year student in the MFA and MA Litowitz Graduate Program at Northwestern University. Their work has appeared in Ploughshares and StoryQuarterly. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
54:26
March 16, 2021
Koyé Oyedeji — Warren Wilson College
Koyé Oyedeji — Warren Wilson College
A low-residency MFA program helped Koyé Oyedeji of Warren Wilson College develop the discipline to work full-time while writing his composite novel. He and Jared discuss the ins and outs of the low-res experience, as well as how being a British person of Nigerian descent living in the US inspires Koyé to write about Black relationships through the lens of identity and class. Koyé Oyedeji’s writing has appeared in Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Believer, Wasafiri (UK), The Good Journal (UK) and elsewhere. He has contributed to a number of anthologies, received scholarships to attend the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and has also previously attended the VONA and Callaloo writing workshops. He is currently a Holden Scholar in the Warren Wilson MFA program, where he just entered his final semester. He lives in Washington, DC and is currently at work on a composite novel. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
57:59
March 02, 2021
Danielle P. Williams — George Mason University
Danielle P. Williams — George Mason University
An MFA-sponsored trip to the Mariana Islands allowed Danielle P. Williams of George Mason University to reconnect with her ancestral culture. She sits down with Jared to discuss exploring Chamorro history through poetry, learning ancient language through translation, and meeting mentors and allies through her program. Danielle P. Williams is a Pushcart-nominated poet, essayist, and spoken-word artist from Columbia, South Carolina. She strives to give voice to unrepresented cultures, expanding on the narratives and experiences of her Black and Chamorro cultures. She is an Editorial Coordinator for Poetry Daily, the Poetry Editor for So To Speak, and a 2019 Alan Cheuse MFA Travel Fellow. Danielle is a 2020 Writing Workshop Fellow for The Watering Hole and 2021 Langston Hughes Fellow for Palm Beach Poetry Festival. Her poems were selected for the 2020 Literary Award in Poetry from Ninth Letter. Her writing appears or is forthcoming in Hobart, Juked Magazine, The Pinch, Barren Magazine, JMWW, The Hellebore, and elsewhere. She is the author of a self-published collection of poetry, The Art in Knowing Me, and two spoken-word EP's, At My Own Risk and We Fall Down. Find her at daniellepwilliams.com, on Twitter @dpwpoetry, or on Instagram @daniellepwilliams. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
51:17
February 16, 2021
Sarah Ruth Bates — University of Arizona
Sarah Ruth Bates — University of Arizona
What’s it like to work on a research-driven nonfiction book in an MFA while freelancing on the side? Sarah Ruth Bates of the University of Arizona joins Jared to talk about how the nonfiction genre is more than memoir, how science and philosophy inform her work, and how pandemic writing can help us center our shared humanity. Sarah Ruth Bates is a second-year nonfiction MFA candidate at the University of Arizona, where she edits the program's student-run literary magazine, the Sonora Review, and teaches composition. She's also a writing instructor at Grub Street. Her work is published or forthcoming in the New York Times, Guernica, the Boston Globe Magazine, Aeon, Hobart, Essay Daily, Off Assignment, and elsewhere. Find her at sarahruthbates.com and on Twitter at @sarahrbates. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
47:24
February 02, 2021
Bryan Byrdlong — Helen Zell Writers’ Program, University of Michigan
Bryan Byrdlong — Helen Zell Writers’ Program, University of Michigan
How is the zombie of Haitian folklore a poetic metaphor for how society treats Blackness? Bryan Byrdlong of the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan tells Jared about his project on the traditional and modern conceptualization of zombies, how poetry can transcend fake news, and how his MFA program gave him an inner editorial voice. Bryan Byrdlong is a Black poet from Chicago, Illinois. In high school, he was part of Chicago’s Louder than a Bomb poetry slam competition. He graduated from Vanderbilt University where he received an undergraduate English/Creative Writing degree and was the co-recipient of the Merrill Moore Award for Poetry upon graduation. He has been published in the Nashville Review, Heavy Feather Review, and Pleiades Magazine. Most recently, he received the Gregory Djanaikian Scholarship from The Adroit Journal. He is a graduate of the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan and a current Zell Fellow. You can find him on Twitter @BByrdlong. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
55:15
January 19, 2021
Emily Holland — American University
Emily Holland — American University
Should I go straight into an MFA or take some time between degrees? Emily Holland of American University talks to Jared about how she decided to go back to school, how the structure of a poem influences the reader, and how she’s thinking creatively about the post-MFA job market. Emily Holland is a lesbian writer with poems appearing in publications including Nat. Brut, Homology Lit, bedfellows, and Wussy. She is the author of the chapbook Lineage (dancing girl press 2019). Her work has received support from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities and Sundress Academy for the Arts. Currently, she is the editor of Poet Lore and the Editor-in-Chief of FOLIO at American University, where she is a second-year MFA student in poetry. You can learn more at her website emily-holland.com. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
50:06
January 05, 2021
Kaj Tanaka — University of Houston
Kaj Tanaka — University of Houston
Have you ever wondered how contest winners are selected? Kaj Tanaka of the University of Houston takes us behind the scenes of Gulf Coast’s Barthelme Prize for Short Prose. He and Jared also talk about building tension in a story, careers in prison education, and what he learned from his BFA and MFA that influences his PhD work today. Kaj Tanaka is a PhD candidate in fiction at the University of Houston. His fiction has appeared in New South, The New Ohio Review, Joyland and Tin House. His stories have been selected for Best Small Fictions, Best Microfiction, and Wigleaf's top 50. Kaj teaches creative writing classes at the Harris County Jail in Houston, TX. He is the online reviews and interviews editor for Gulf Coast. Find him at kajtanaka.com or tweet to him @kajtanaka. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
56:01
December 22, 2020
Michal “MJ” Jones — Mills College
Michal “MJ” Jones — Mills College
What’s it like to write a poem from the perspective of someone you despise? Michal “MJ” Jones of Mills College joins Jared to discuss their thesis project about the 2018 Hart family murders, writing from a place of anger, and pursuing an MFA as a working parent. Michal "MJ" Jones is a poet and parent in Oakland, CA. Their work is featured or forthcoming at Anomaly, Kissing Dynamite, and Borderlands Texas Poetry Review. They are an Assistant Poetry Editor at Foglifter Press, a journal curating queer and trans voices, and have fellowships from the Hurston/Wright Foundation, VONA/Voices, & Kearny Street Workshop. They are currently an MFA graduate fellow at Mills College. They can be found on Twitter @JustSayMJ and at their website michal-jones.com. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
49:30
December 08, 2020
Special Episode! Cady Vishniac — MFA Applications
Special Episode! Cady Vishniac — MFA Applications
Should I get an MFA? What should I consider when applying? How can I strengthen my application? In this special episode, Jared is joined by Cady Vishniac, Editor-in-Chief of The Workshop and MFA graduate from The Ohio State University. Together, they address MFA applicants’ most common questions and concerns, like crafting a solid statement of purpose and finding a program that accommodates student parents. Cady Vishniac attended The Ohio State University as the first MFA student to be awarded a Distinguished University Fellowship. Her stories have been published in Joyland, Glimmer Train, and New England Review, winning the contests at Ninth Letter, Greensboro Review, Mid-American Review, New Millennium Writings, Lascaux Review, American Literary Review, New Letters, and Salamander, as well as the anthology prize in New Stories from the Midwest. Her most recent publications are two stories in Tikkun and a Yiddish translation in Los Angeles Review. She has been writing for The Workshop since 2015 and became its Editor-in-Chief in 2020. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
01:20:42
November 24, 2020
Dana Liebelson — University of Wyoming
Dana Liebelson — University of Wyoming
What’s a journalist doing in an MFA program? Dana Liebelson of the University of Wyoming tells Jared how her journalistic habits facilitate and complicate her fiction writing, how her work has become increasingly experimental, and how she wound up with a literary agent. Dana Liebelson is an MFA candidate in creative writing at the University of Wyoming. Her flash fiction was recently published in Cheap Pop, and she attended the 2020 Tin House summer workshop. She is represented by Sarah Manning of the Bent Agency. Her journalism has appeared in The Atlantic, Insider, ELLE.com, Mother Jones and HuffPost. She is also the recipient of a Writers’ Guild Award. She grew up in Bozeman, Montana. You can find her at her website dliebelson.com and on Twitter @dliebelson. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
41:13
November 10, 2020
Marcus Jamison — University of South Carolina
Marcus Jamison — University of South Carolina
Can writing be a form of protest? And if so, is there room for hope? Jared sits down with Marcus Jamison of the University of South Carolina to talk about Confederate monuments and economic justice, as well as finding solace in writing and crafting poetry after our literary heroes. Marcus Jamison is a poet and scholar from Hamlet, North Carolina. He is in his final year as an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of South Carolina, where he served as a senior editor for Yemassee Journal. His poems have appeared in Barely South Review and Quarterly West, as the 2017 winner of an AWP Intro Journals Award. He has also been a finalist for the Scotti Merrill Award and for 92Y's Discovery Poetry Contest. A fellow of The Watering Hole, he is also an avid fiction and nonfiction writer. He can be found on Twitter @theRarePoet. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com. Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
45:03
October 27, 2020
Vanessa Chan — The New School
Vanessa Chan — The New School
Do we write because we understand or do we write to reach understanding? Jared and Vanessa Chan of The New School unpack this question. Along the way, they discuss writing about home while living in a foreign country, the long arm of colonialism, and the pros and cons of studying in the literary capital of the world. Vanessa Chan is a Malaysian writer who writes about race, colonization, and women who don't toe the line. Her fiction and nonfiction have been published or are forthcoming in Electric Literature, Conjunctions, The Rumpus, Pidgeonholes, Porter House Review, and more. Vanessa is a Fiction Editor at TriQuarterly Magazine, an Assistant Fiction Editor at Pithead Chapel, and an MFA candidate in fiction at The New School, class of 2021. This follows a 12-year career in public relations, including most recently as director of communications for Facebook in California. Her writing has received support from Tin House, Mendocino Coast Writers’ Conference, Aspen Words, and Disquiet International. She can be found at her website vanessajchan.com or on Twitter @vanjchan. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers on social media. Twitter: @MFAwriterspod Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast Facebook: MFA Writers Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
49:28
October 13, 2020
Hannah Cajandig-Taylor — Northern Michigan University
Hannah Cajandig-Taylor — Northern Michigan University
Every word matters when writing flash fiction and poetry. Jared sits down with Hannah Cajandig-Taylor of Northern Michigan University to talk about writing and revising short works, crafting plot twists and unexpected imagery, taking a course that includes an overnight island trip, and fighting for an increase in stipends and better access to healthcare. Hannah Cajandig-Taylor is a poet and flash writer residing in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where she is a 3rd year MFA candidate at Northern Michigan University. She also reads for Passages North and Fractured Lit. She likes to write anything that's less than 1000 words. Her work has recently appeared in mutiny!, Hobart Pulp, and Perhappened Mag, with new words coming soon. Her debut chapbook, Romantic Portrait of a Natural Disaster, is now available for preorder at finishinglinepress.com. She can be found at her website www.hannahcajandigtaylor.com or on Twitter @hannahcajandigt. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers on social media. t: @MFAwriterspod ig: @MFAwriterspodcast fb: MFA Writers e: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
47:37
September 29, 2020
Matthew Dougherty — West Virginia University
Matthew Dougherty — West Virginia University
Singer-songwriter turned novelist Matthew Dougherty of West Virginia University joins Jared to talk about writing songs versus writing prose, fictionalizing family lore, and winning three literary contests. Matthew Dougherty grew up in Ohio, taught elementary school in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas and is now completing his third and final year in the MFA fiction program at West Virginia University. His short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Sonora Review, Salamander, and Crab Orchard Review—all as contest winners—and have been praised by writers such as Molly Antopol and Lucy Corin. Matthew is a Teach For America alumnus, and he also enjoys writing and performing original songs under the artist name Matt Skerk. He can be found on Twitter @matt_skerk. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers on social media. t: @MFAwriterspod ig: @MFAwriterspodcast fb: MFA Writers e: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
44:53
September 15, 2020
Marcos Damián León — University of California, Riverside
Marcos Damián León — University of California, Riverside
What’s it like to be a YA writer in an MFA program? Jared talks to Marcos Damián León of the University of California, Riverside about crafting young adult fiction, taking courses outside the department, navigating higher ed as a first-generation student, and helping young readers consider big themes like gender roles and educational equity. Marcos Damián León is a teacher and writer from the Salinas Valley. He is a first-year Ph.D. student at Texas Tech University, and a recent graduate of the University of California, Riverside's MFA program. He is currently working on a young adult novel about two boys deciding what kind of men they want to be. His work has appeared in The LA Review of Books, The Acentos Review, under the gum tree, and The Monterey County Weekly. Follow him on Instagram @damleon. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers on social media. t: @MFAwriterspod ig: @MFAwriterspodcast fb: MFA Writers e: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
46:29
September 01, 2020
Clancy Tripp — The Ohio State University
Clancy Tripp — The Ohio State University
Clancy Tripp of Ohio State University talks to Jared McCormack about what happens when people believe your satire, how OSU encouraged her to experiment in multiple genres, whether humor is thriving or flailing in 2020, and if art can heal wounds. Tripp is a creative nonfiction, humor/satire, and fiction writer from the Midwest. Most recently, her work has been published in The Rumpus, shortlisted for the SmokeLong Quarterly Flash Fiction Award, and selected as the overall winner of the 2020 Iowa Review Award for Creative Nonfiction by Leslie Jamison. She is a rising second-year MFA student at The Ohio State University where she also serves as Associate Nonfiction Editor at The Journal. Find more of Clancy at her website www.clancytripp.com and on Twitter @TheUnrealTripp. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers on social media. t: @MFAwriterspod ig: @MFAwriterspodcast fb: MFA Writers e: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
46:54
August 18, 2020
Ali Geren — University of Arkansas
Ali Geren — University of Arkansas
Jared McCormack talks with Ali Geren of the University of Arkansas about writing accessible poetry, growing up in small-town America, coming out in a poem, working a second job during the MFA, and drawing inspiration from Quentin Tarantino. Ali Geren is a poet in her second year of the University of Arkansas’ MFA program in Fayetteville. Her work has appeared in Caustic Frolic and in Moon City Review as the winner of their creative writing contest hosted for Missouri State University students. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers on social media. t: @MFAwriterspod ig: @MFAwriterspodcast fb: MFA Writers e: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
47:19
August 04, 2020
Preety Sidhu — Louisiana State University
Preety Sidhu — Louisiana State University
On this episode, Jared sits down with Preety Sidhu of Louisiana State University to discuss how to finance an MFA (Hidden fees? Healthcare? Cost of living?), how to outline a novel, and how to write stories that publishers want to read. Preety Sidhu is an intern at Electric Literature. She holds an MFA in fiction from Louisiana State University, where she worked as an editorial assistant at The Southern Review. You can find her on Twitter @_preetysidhu or at her website, preety-sidhu.com. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers on social media. t: @MFAwriterspod ig: @MFAwriterspodcast fb: MFA Writers e: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
57:48
July 21, 2020
Sasha Debevec-McKenney — New York University
Sasha Debevec-McKenney — New York University
Sasha Debevec-McKenney of New York University joins us to talk about completing her thesis during a pandemic, diversity in MFA programs, networking with prolific authors, the institution of the U.S. presidency, and, of course, Garth Brooks. Debevec-McKenney also shares an unpublished poem she just wrote titled “Stand Up Routine." Sasha Debevec-McKenney graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University in Spring 2020. Her poems have appeared in Poets.org, The Yale Review, Nashville Review, Peach Mag, and elsewhere. While at NYU, she was the 2018 Rona Jaffe Graduate Fellow. And she was recently named the 2020-2021 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. You can find her on Twitter @sashadm. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers on social media. t: @MFAwriterspod i: @MFAwriterspodcast f: MFA Writers e: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com
54:35
July 07, 2020
Mary Henn — University of Missouri-Kansas City
Mary Henn — University of Missouri-Kansas City
Mary Henn of the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Missouri State University joins us to talk about gender, trauma, writing as healing, and whether writing can and should be political. Henn reads an excerpt of her award-winning creative nonfiction piece "Assemblies," which will be published in the upcoming issue of Hayden's Ferry Review. Mary Henn is an emerging poet and nonfiction writer. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Missouri State University and was recently awarded an Intro Journals Award from the AWP. Currently, she is an MFA candidate at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she teaches English. MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
34:17
June 23, 2020
MFA Writers Trailer
MFA Writers Trailer
Host Jared McCormack describes the upcoming MFA Writers podcast launching in June 2020.
01:47
May 21, 2020