MFA Students

Brennan Chambre


The Orlando, Florida neighborhood where Brennan Chambre grew up named its streets after writers—Chaucer Lane, Voltaire Drive, and his own Quintilian Avenue, for examples—so it’s tempting for him to assign some kind of metaphysical providence to his being a second-year MFA in Nonfiction at Pitt. But, of course, as Werner Herzog says, the universe is monstrously indifferent to us, so for now Brennan will resist the urge to speculate any further.

What can be said with certainty is the following: Brennan obtained his BA in English from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia in 2015; his poetry and nonfiction have appeared in Poictesme Literary Journal and Former People: Whimpers, Bangs, Arts, Culture and Commentary; and when he was ten he wanted to be at once a Catholic priest, a cartographer and the first person on Mars.

Currently, he’s working on a collection of essays about how we come to know the things we claim to know, and the attendant struggle, which is also his personal struggle, to balance conviction with a tolerance of ambiguity. He’s also working on essays about people who have chosen to disappear, but not necessarily fake their own deaths; a book about the notorious boys' reform school in Florida about which his father refuses to talk; a collection of poetry; and a novel. His manuscript, however, is about the Banat Republic, a small Central European country which existed for fifteen days in November of 1918. (Clearly, not much has changed since he was ten).

Further scholarly interests include German literary history, Marxism, urban planning, psychoanalysis, epistemology, philosophy of place, W.G. Sebald, Robert Musil (particularly his notion of “essayismus”) and the history, aesthetics and pedagogy of the essay.

When not working on writing or teaching, Brennan is active in left/labor politics in Pittsburgh and cuddling with his sons/cats, Eli and Palmer. 

Revised 10/17/2018
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