Creative Writing Blog

Gabe Fried Reading

On September 4th, Gabe Fried, the author or two poetry collections, Making the New Lamb Take and The Children Are Reading, visited WVU and read at the downtown library. Fried is an Assistant Professor in the creative writing program at University of Missouri, Columbia, and before his reading he was nice enough to give a Q&A to current MFA candidates about what PhD creative writing programs might offer them. At dinner with faculty and students, Fried mentioned that before his arrival he read online that the Hotel Morgan, where he was staying while in town, was haunted. Another student mentioned that they didn’t even realize Hotel Morgan was an operating hotel. And as it turns out, on the day of Fried’s reading there was a funeral in the hotel lobby. Later, and in keeping, it seems, with the theme introduced by the hotel, Fried read and spoke about the creepiness of children’s stories, Beatrix Potter books, baskets woven from cat tails, branches wrapping children like owl’s wings, and how his editorial work at Persea Books has been the most thrilling part of his writing career thus far. It was truly a pleasure to have Gabe Fried visit WVU! We thank him for sharing his words!

MFA Meet-and-Greet 2017

The beginning of the fall semester in the MFA program here at WVU brings with it a series of traditions. There are ice-breakers, first-day nerves, long lines and paper jams in the copy room. There’s the awe that that room, with a dark wooden table and books stacked into the wall and a huge window overlooking campus, is where we workshop. And there is the MFA meet-and-greet at program director Mary Ann Samyn’s home. Held after the first week of classes every August, the meet-and-greet brings together first-year students, current MFAs, and creative writing faculty. It is one of the first chances for the program to come together—poets, novelists, and essayists; students and their future mentors.

WVU Alum, Brandon Davis Jennings, Publishes Essay Collection

The WVU Department of English would like to congratulate Brandon Davis Jennings on the recent publication of his new collection of essays, The Red Book or Operation Iraqi Freedom is My Fault. This project took seven years to complete and the essays have appeared in Crazyhorse, Black Warrior Review, Passages North, The literary Review, TriQuarterly, and NINTH LETTER.  Jennings has a BA in Journalism from West Virginia University, an MFA in Creative Writing (fiction) from Bowling Green State, and a PhD in English from Western Michigan University.

Alumni Achievements

We’d like to congratulate the following alumni on their literary achievements!

Recent Student Achievements (Summer 2017)

We’d like to congratulate our current MFA students on their recent achievements!

MFA Class of 2017

On April 27th, the MFA class of 2017 gave a reading of their thesis work in the Gold Ballroom of the Mountainlair. This group of seven graduates—Whit Arnold (nonfiction), Kelsey Englert (Fiction), Megan Fahey (Fiction), Elizabeth Leo (Poetry), Kelsey Liebenson-Morse (Nonfiction), Sarah Munroe (Poetry), and Andrea Ruggirello (Fiction)—were described as having a “seriousness of purpose.” They entered the program with other graduate degrees. Some left families or jobs. But they all came to WVU because they wanted an MFA community and three years to dedicate to the craft of writing. They, like all incoming graduate students, asked questions, “Are chickens allowed in the city limits of Morgantown?” All of them naturally wondered, “Will I be happy?” As Mary Ann Samyn, Director of the Creative Writing program said, “Time answered what we could not.” We look forward to hearing from them in the coming years.

Calliope Reading 2017

Calliope, WVU’s undergraduate lit mag, launched their 2017 issue with a reading in a packed Colson 130. Editor-in-Chief Mitchell Glazier welcomed contributors, faculty, family, and friends before handing things off to the readers.

Claire Beams Shows Us What She Has Learned

When introducing Claire Beams at her reading on Monday, April 10th, Professor Glenn Taylor described her book, We Show What We Have Learned, as timely and timeless. That is exactly how her reading and subsequent Q&A session felt that evening.

Department of English Awards

On Wednesday, April 19th, students and faculty gathered to celebrate their accomplishments over the past year. The annual luncheon celebrates those who have won Department of English Awards for their writing, teaching, and service to the department.