Discipline by Dawn Lundy Martin, selected for publication in 2011 by Fanny Howe, recently won the 2009 Nightboat Books Poetry Prize.
Fanny Howe writes:
“These poems are dense and deep. They are necessary, and hot on the eye. I was reminded of Leslie Scalapino, the sensitivity to the surrounding arrangements and to human suffering. There is no distance from Martin’s subject, but immersion and emotional conflict. Discipline is what it took to write such a potent set of poems.”
For more information on Dawn Lundy Martin, an Associate Professor of English in the Creative Writing Program, please visit her faculty biography.
How do we encounter the many hours past twilight? We understand
that the light is something other, that / it catapults us toward a desire or two if we’re lucky. But, lately, daylight eats itself, and is percussive/ in its chewing, a carnival of curses and thumps. Nothing is wrong. In / the hours after the whinny of the long train passing, we continue to/ think, how special we are, how born and cosmic, how just plain indi-/vidual, but it is not enough. Nothing out there. Everything out there./What does it matter then, if the body climbs into a plastic car, drives/into a deserted driveway and becomes another self? Elsewhere: One/body found. One policeman shot. One 4-year-old girl shot. Teeter,/ tweeter, la, la, la, la, la. I am the I watching the I lift. Roads are short/with darkness. I think, this is what they mean when they say, Savage.
The Writing Program is pleased to announce that Eugene Cross (MFA Fiction, 2006)is the winner of the 2009 Dzanc Prize for Excellence in Literary Fiction and Community Service. Cross was selected from more than 100 applicants for both the quality of his fiction writing, as well as his proposal to set up and run a progressive series of creative workshops for refugees from Nepal, Sudan and Bhutan-in Erie, PA. The $5,000 prize is awarded annually to a writer working toward completion of a novel or short story collection who is also interested in bettering their community through literary community service. You can find out more about Eugene, his project, and Dzanc Books here.
Pitt Alumnus John Temple (MFA Nonfiction) writes about Ken Rose, a North Carolina attorney fighting to save the wrongfully convicted in Raleigh, North Carolina, in his newest book The Last Lawyer.
From the Publisher's Weekly review:
For years, lawyer Ken Rose has fought to save wrongly-condemned prisoners; chronicling the story of Rose and death row inmate Bo Jones, author Temple (Dollhouse: Life in a Coroner’s Office) finds high drama in Raleigh penitentiaries, North Carolina backroads, cramped law offices, and sweltering courtrooms. Investigators, criminals, judges, witnesses, and attorneys are all finely, vividly drawn in this disturbing account of a justice system hijacked by officials whose prime interest is finding criminals to execute: “[E]ven if Bo Jones wasn’t one of the worst of the worst, they pursued him because he was one of the ones they could get.” Reviewing the original 1987 murder, the consequent trials and endless hearings, Temple creates an intimate portrait of Rose and his Center for Death Penalty Litigation as they trudge through a decade of work on this case, a typical example that pits the odds and public opinion against them: “To question capital punishment was to appear soft on crime… In court, one well known district attorney sported a golden lapel pin shaped like a hangman’s noose.” Ultimately, Temple’s account is a stand-up-and cheer account of one man standing up for justice.
John Temple is currently an associate professor of journalism at West Virginia University. He teaches reporting and writing courses and serves as the associate dean of the P.I. Reed School of Journalism.
David James Keaton's (MFA Fiction, 2010) short story "Nine Cops Killed For A Goldfish Cracker" appears in the new Comet Press dark crime anthology The Death Panel. His online publications in 2009 included fiction in Thuglit, Espresso Stories, Big Pulp, Six Sentences, Pulp Pusher, and Crooked. A review of his work is available here.
Two essays by Joshua Schriftman (MFA Nonfiction, 2010) have just been accepted for publication. "How to Build Your Own Labyrinth" was accepted for publication in The Pinch, and "On Silence" was accepted by The Ninth Letter.
Emily Testa (MFA Fiction, 2009) breaks down Papirmasse Magazine for The Walrus.
"Eschaton," by Jonathan Callard (MFA Nonfiction, 2010) has been chosen for publication in an upcoming issue of Arts & Letters.
An essay by Emily Stone (MFA Nonfiction, 2010), "On the Occasional Importance of a Ceiling Fan," was recently cited among the "Notable Travel Writing of 2008" in The Best American Travel Writing 2009, edited by Simon Winchester. "On the Occasional Importance of a Ceiling Fan" was also included in the Best Travel Writing 2008, published by Travelers' Tales.
"Clear Blue Michigan Sky" written by Robert Yune (MFA Fiction, 2008) will appear in volume 23 of Green Mountains Review.
An essay by Lois Williams (Lecturer, Department of English), “The House of Provisions,” published by Granta (Issue 103), has been honored with a Notable Essay selection in the 2009 issue of The Best American Essays, edited by Mary Oliver.
From the department website:
Lois Williams teaches poetry, reading, and writing in the Department's undergraduate curriculum. She writes about landscape, family, and migration and is currently at work on a nonfiction book about the invention of home. Her essay “The House of Provisions” appears in the October 2008 issue of Granta.
We are proud to announce that Sal Pane (MFA Fiction, 2010) and Aubrey Hirsch (MFA Fiction, 2007) have both been nominated for the 2009 Pushcart Prize, a prestigious American literary prize by Pushcart Press that honors the best "poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot."
The Minnetonka Review selected Aubrey's short story, "Five for New Orleans," as one of their six nominees.
Sal's nomination comes from the recent publication of his short story, "Fences Fly By," in Quick Fiction.
The Pushcart Prize has been called "the most honored literary project in America." More from their website:
Little magazine and small book press editors (print or online) may make up to six nominations from their year’s publications by our December 1, (postmark) deadline. The nominations may be any combination of poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot. Editors may nominate self-contained portions of books — for instance, a chapter from a novel. We welcome translations, reprints and both traditional and experimental writing. One copy of each selection should be sent. No nominations can be returned. There is no entry fee and no forms to fill out. We also accept nominations from our staff of distinguished Contributing Editors.
HarperCollins India proudly presents its newest release, Cloud Nine Minus One, by Pitt MFA Alumnus Sangeeta Mall (MFA Fiction, 2007).
Mall's debut novel has already been garnering great reviews, as evidenced by a recent write-up in India Today:
The novel, an inquiry into "friendship, relationships, nostalgia and moving on," tells the story of a woman caught between her husband and the memories of long-lost love.
Rebecca Skloot (MFA Nonfiction, 2008) is featured on the cover of the current issue of Publishers Weekly in promotion of her upcoming book from Crown, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which has been making quite the literary splash. The book, also her MFA thesis here at Pitt, delves into the fascinating and transcendent legacy of Henrietta Lacks, a Southern tobacco farmer, and more importantly, her cells.
From Publisher's Weekly:
"Henrietta Lacks was an accidental medical heroine. The black, 31-year-old mother of four died of cervical cancer in Baltimore in 1951. But before her death, doctors took cervical tissue samples that proved to be medicine's holy grail—Henrietta's cells (known as HeLa) were the first ever to survive in the laboratory, and the cells reproduced ad infinitum, providing material for medical research to be done outside the human body.”
Skloot's book was also recently named a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick.
Read the profile of Skloot and her amazing journey to publication at the Publishers Weekly website.
A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to return to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Ripton, Vermont, where since 1926, writers have been gathering to compare notes on the craft, discuss their respective triumphs and frustrations, and listen to countless readings and lectures. It’s an amazing place, rich with the type of natural beauty you find imitated in paintings hanging from the walls of doctors’ offices. There’s a sense when you’re there that you’re taking part in some great tradition, and of course, there’s the lore to back that up, famous anecdotes concerning the conference’s founder, Robert Frost, and various faculty who’ve taught there over the years, stories as old and treasured as the place itself. It was my fourth trip there and as lame as it might sound, I fall a little more in love with the place each year.
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