by Nancy McCabe
Spalding MFA Faculty, Creative Nonfiction

“Good memoir is, of course, the opposite of self-absorption. While it seeks out the unique aspects of the author’s experience, it also links to bigger issues and taps into the experience of readers, offering perspective and insight.”

“She’s just writing for therapy,” we sometimes say, meaning that the work seems self-indulgent or self-pitying or self-absorbed. But using writing to merely wallow or vent is not, according to research, all that therapeutic. It is writing to find meaning that, it turns out, boosts immune function and promotes healing. Continue reading “WRITING AS THERAPY”


by Katy Yocom
Spalding MFA Associate Administrative Director

A priceless Shakespeare first folio, the new and improved Speed Art Museum, and a musical interlude with the Louisville Orchestra all figure into the Spalding low-residency MFA in Writing program’s Fall 2016 residency. The residency will include dozens of special events and sessions, acclaimed guest speakers, faculty craft lectures, and a special focus on “Will in the Ville.” Residency takes place November 11-20 in Louisville, Kentucky.


THE ESSENTIALS: Creating a Poem with Rhythm and Music

by Kathleen Driskell
Spalding MFA Faculty, Poetry

“…it’s usually the music that takes the poem from proficient to unforgettable.”

Recently, I was asked to judge a poetry competition that called me to read and think about hundreds of poems. Sifting through heaps of entries, I found, as I usually do when judging a poetry contest (or when I’m looking through submissions for The Louisville Review) that nearly all poems submitted are proficient, obviously made with some know-how. And because of that it might seem an impossible task to choose a handful of “winners” and “honorable mentions” from the many, but surprisingly, it never really is. Continue reading “THE ESSENTIALS: Creating a Poem with Rhythm and Music”


by Julie Brickman
Spalding MFA Faculty, Fiction

“This is what makes place so vital: its tie to character, tone, experience, change; its influence on the characters; its reflection of the unfolding riches of the story. Place is woven into the fabric of experience.”

I always love descriptions of place. Often, to get myself rolling on writing, I look out my window and describe what the landscape looks like at that moment of the day. Today, the mist from the ocean has grayed the air all day. Early this morning, my house, which sits on the edge of a canyon about a mile from the ocean, was enveloped by mist so thick that neither tree nor earth nor neighbor’s house was visible, nor even a bird in flight. Continue reading “WRITING PLACES”


by Katy Yocom
Spalding MFA Associate Administrative Director

Occasionally I get calls from prospective students who worry about the cross-genre exploration built into the Spalding low-residency MFA in Writing curriculum. “I want to be able to focus on my own area,” they’ll say. Their concern raises two questions: Just how cross-genre are we? And why do we emphasize cross-genre at all? Continue reading “JUST HOW CROSS-GENRE IS THE SPALDING MFA PROGRAM?”

Thorns Will Be Necessary: The Appeal of the Flawed Character

by Beth Bauman

Spalding MFA Faculty, Writing for Children and Young Adults

My new favorite TV show is the HBO crime drama “The Night Of.”  It’s tough and gritty and co-written by the inimitable Richard Price.  I’m going to detour here and mention how at a New Yorker festival years back, I first met Price when he and another author gave talks about their writing. Continue reading “Thorns Will Be Necessary: The Appeal of the Flawed Character”

Re-mindfulness: An Alum’s Travels In Rome

By: Terry Price

Spalding MFA Alumn in Fiction

“The only true voyage of discovery, the only fountain of Eternal Youth, would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to behold the hundred universes that each of them beholds, that each of them is…” ~ Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past, Volume 5 – “The Prisoner” Continue reading “Re-mindfulness: An Alum’s Travels In Rome”

A Few Thoughts On Photography And Fiction

by Pete Duval

Spalding MFA Faculty, Fiction

The language of photography has certain similarities with fiction—in particular with the short-short story. I want to talk about a story I’ve often used in my workshops—a two-page short-short titled “No One’s a Mystery” by Elizabeth Tallant—and three photographs by Anders Petersen, from his famous 1970 photobook Café Lehmitz. Continue reading “A Few Thoughts On Photography And Fiction”

Creating The Illusion Of Action: Verb Density

By Jody Lisberger

Spalding MFA Faculty

I’ve been thinking recently about a kind rejection note I received a few weeks ago. The editors wrote: “We have decided to pass on this one. We think it’s a compelling story and certainly worth developing, but the narration is a little internal (it’s not flushing out as much as it could) and there could be more external action… We hope you’ll consider us in the future.” Continue reading “Creating The Illusion Of Action: Verb Density”