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SCAA Board Nominations are OPEN!


WE NEED YOU. Nominations for the Board opened on April 15th. If you are an alumnus/a of Stonecoast MFA or you are a 4th semester student who will be receiving his/her MFA degree in July, you are eligible to serve on the SCAA Board. Anyone who meets either of these requirements can benominated to for an open position on the SCAA Board.
All nominations must include the following information:
  • Nominator’s Name:
  • Nominee’s Information (Please fill out as much as you know since I may not be familiar with the nominee):
    • Name:
    • Graduation Semester & Year:
    • Email:
    • Position:
Email your nominations to Erin Underwood by April 30th. All nominations will receive an acknowledgement email. if you don’t receive an acknowledgement, your nomination may not have been received.


Below is the list of open positions:
  • President (2 years)
  • Vice President (1 year)
  • Treasurer (2 years)
  • 3 Directors (2 years)
Would you like to join the SCAA Board or do you know someone who we be great on the Board? If so, I’ll be sending a second email today that tells you how to nominate yourself or someone else.
Written below is the Election Schedule, lists of outgoing/continuing members, and other related info. Please be sure to read this email so that you are properly informed of the coming election. We really could use your help, energy, and new ideas on the Board.
Election Schedule:

April 15-30, 2013 — Nominations open. You may either nominate someone else or yourself.

May 1, 2013 — SCAA contacts nominees to confirm that they are willing to run for the Board
May 15, 2013 — Nominees must confirm to the SCAA that they are willing to run for election
June 1, 2013 — Nominee statements due (100 words max)
June 9-15, 2013 — Online Elections are conducted
June 16, 2013 — Election results are announced
July 21, 2013 — Newly elected Board members begin their terms at the Stonecoast Alumni Meeting

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Dispatches from the Desk: AWP Survival Guide Edition

by Libby Cudmore & Matthew Quinn Martin

…hello all, your president and vice president here with our another of our semi-regular featured blog posts.

So, as many of you know, The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP)’s annual conference is just around the corner––metaphorically for those of you who are planning on attending, and literally for those of you who live in Boston.

This will be our fifth rodeo, and over the years we’ve acquired some inside tips about how to make your experience at AWP a fulfilling one. We’ve even written about how to make the most of any conference for The Writer Magazine (RIP). We hope you find something useful here, and if you have tips of your own, don’t be afraid to stick them right…in the comments section. Those of you who know us, know also that we are all about sharing.

Bring a folder.  Most tables have flyers printed with their submission information.  Don’t let these get lost or crumpled up at the bottom of your bag.  You can sort them later.

ImageGrab pins and buttons.  Not only are the cool, but they’ll also help you look up the presses later for submissions and gives you an “in” to open your cover letter with. Libby’s story “Hotel Jesus” got published in Pank this way—she mentioned that she’d picked up one of their awesome typewriter buttons.  Like any good souvenir, it shows that you were there. (side note from Matthew––it also helped that the story was awesome)

. . . but don’t hoard cheap swag.  Almost every table will have something with their logo on it. Take what you need and leave the rest. After all, how many ballpoint pens  are you really going to use in a year?  Save the space in your bag for the good stuff.  Libby had to make herself swear not to pick up any more sticky notes because she hasn’t used up the “Lunch Ticket” ones she got in Denver 2010…and Matthew still has a stack of unused blank notebooks.

ImageOnly take journals if you think you will read them, or are in the mood for an aching back. Most journals are free because no one wants to lug them home.  Don’t get fooled into lugging them home yourself—only take the ones that are interesting to you, and don’t feel guilty.

Talk to the people at the tables, in line for coffee, waiting by the bathroom.  Ask them what their press is about, what they like to read, what they write.  Tell them a little bit about yourself, but mostly hear them out.  You’ll get your chance to talk in the cover letter.

…but don’t feel like you have to be “on” every second of the conference. Take time to just relax and enjoy the company of old friends, new friends, fellow writers (and old enemies and complete poseurs)

Most tables will have a “fire sale” on Saturday.  Buy your cool t-shirts and books then.


…it’s called “The Buffett Rule” for a reason, people!

If you are low on funding, skip dinner at the hotel restaurant and go to the program-hosted parties in the evening.  There’s free wine and beer, and, if the party’s good, free appetizers.  Eat your veggies and party-hop.  You’ll save about a hundred bucks this way, and (because you feel guilty if you just dine and dash) you’ll get to chat with people you might not have otherwise.

…but don’t overdo it on the candy. Every single table will have piles of candy luring you over like a stranger standing in front of a white panel van. A little is OK…but you don’t want a sugar crash.

ImageHit the panels, but if one is full, take a breather and explore the city you are in. Check out a museum, or a local hot spot, or restaurant that serves local fare. There’s more to the writing life then listening to other writers explain how it’s done…and with that advice, we sign off.

See you there.

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Stonecoast MFA Community Reading at AWP

We’ve got an amazing reading in store for you at AWP this year. If you’re in Boston on Thursday, March 7 you are invited to join us at the Boston Public Library for the Stonecoast MFA Community Reading. Bring a friend, share this invite, and make it a night to remember. We’ll see you there!

Stonecoast MFA Community Reading at AWP
6:00-8:00 pm

Jeanne Marie Beaumont, faculty
Jaed Coffin, faculty
Anthony D’Aries, alumnus
Aaron Hamburger, faculty
Lexa Hillyer, alumna
Sandra McDonald, alumna
Thomas McDonald, alumnus
Suzanne Strempek Shea, faculty
Sholeh Wolpe, faculty
Lady Zen, student

Introduction-Erin Underwood; Closing Remarks-Annie Finch

BPL Reading.pptx

Download the PDF for the Stonecoast Community Reader for the BPL Reading here.

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Stonecoast Community AWP Schedule 2013

USM Stonecoast logoHere is a list of events that comprise the growing Stonecoast AWP Schedule. Please take a look at the items below, and let us know if your event needs to be added. We’re looking to add any reading, signing, or panel that is happening as part of the 2013 AWP Conference.

AWP events are primarily held at the Hynes Convention Center located at 900 Boylston Street, Boston. However, we have several events that will be hosted off-site, which means you should look closely at the noted location.

** Please note that this is a schedule in progress. More events will be added and some may change. So please keep your eye out for updates!**

Thursday, March 7

Teaching the Writer and the Text: Writers of Color in the Creative Writing Workshop
Participants: Elmaz Abinader, M. Evelina Galang, Faith Adiele, Mat Johnson, David Mura

The efforts to diversify creative writing programs have succeeded in increasing the numbers of writers-of-color and the visibility of their work. However, students-of-color often report that the existing faculty and their own colleagues fail to provide in-depth examination of their writing. We will examine the reasons for and responses to these experiences by writers-of-color in the creative writing classroom, and discuss strategies to create teaching diversity with an obligation to each writer’s experience and legacy. We will offer suggestions for pedagogical resources for teaching all writers, inclusively.
Time: 3:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Location: Room 104, Hynes Convention Center

Boston Public LibraryStonecoast MFA Community Reading

Location: Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston Street, Boston
Time: 6:00-8:00 pm

  • Jaed Coffin, faculty, alumnus
  • Anthony D’Aries, alumnus
  • Aaron Hamburger, faculty
  • Lexa Hillyer, alumna
  • Sandra McDonald, alumna
  • Thomas McDonald, alumnus
  • Suzanne Strempek Shea, faculty
  • Sholeh Wolpe, faculty
  • Lady Zen, student

Friday, March 8

The Low-Residency MFA Experience: An Alumni Perspective
Participants: Erin Underwood (m), Ann E. Michael, Ian Williams, Janet Pocorobba, Sandra McDonald

Low-residency MFA programs are on the rise. This panel features an alumni perspective on the educational and post MFA low-residency experience. We will examine how well the low-res model fits our needs as well as our programs’ resources for alumni, the development of alumni communities, and the reality of establishing a publishing or academic career. We will also look at the overall value of the experience on a personal, artistic, and professional level. A Q&A session will follow.
Time: 1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Location: Room 108, Plaza Level, Hynes Convention Center

Creative Nonfiction Pedagogy: New Findings from the Field
Participants: Suzanne Cope, Christin Geall, Jan Donley, Stuart Horwitz

This panel features a recent study of approaches to teaching CNF in undergraduate, graduate, and community-based classes. Moderated by Dr. Suzanne Cope, lead researcher in the first participant-based study of CNF instruction for adults, panelists will reflect upon their pedagogy and influences. The conversation will revolve around the findings from the study, including the benefit of mentors and communities of practice, and the adaptation of instruction for various groups.
Time: 1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Location: Room 105, Plaza Level, Hynes Convention Center

Home/Land: Inner Landscapes and Outer Geographies in the Work of Native Northeast Poets
Participants: Mihku Paul, Michael LeBlanc, Cheryl Savageau, Lisa Brooks

This event will examine and discuss the origin and persistence of internal topographies connected to cultural landscapes expressed in the poetry of Native writers from Eastern Woodland tribes. The panel will consider possible explanations for these persistent elements, including the concept that, for Native writers, the inner landscape has strenthened and expanded in correlation with the loss of tribal homelands. Both scholarly and creative perspectives will be shared.
Time: 1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Location: Room 305, Level 3, Hynes Convention Center

Stonecoast MFA Faculty Reading: A Tenth Anniversary Celebration
Participants: Tim Seibles, David Mura, Barbara Hurd, David Anthony Durham, Annie Finch (m)

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program in Creative Writing, this reading presents Stonecoast faculty from five genres: Barbara Hurd in creative nonfiction, David Mura in fiction and scriptwriting, David Durham in popular fiction, and Tim Seibles in poetry. The event showcases the power of aesthetic and cultural variety in the curriculum, the strength of Stonecoast’s community, and the energy and diversity of an acclaimed writing faculty.
Time: 3:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Location: Room 203, Level 2, Hynes Convention Center

Saturday, March 9

Wesleyan Poetry Series Reading
Participants: Stephanie Elliott, Rae Armantrout, Kazim Ali, Annie Finch, Jena Osman

Readings from the newest titles in the Wesleyan Poetry series. Rae Armantrout’s Just Saying continues her standard of inventive, tightly written verse. Spells: New and Collected Poems represents Annie Finch’s technical mastery and her illuminating response to the world. Kazim Ali’s carefully crafted Icarus is an ethereal meditation on the human spirit. Jena Osman’s Public Figures employs a hybrid form of poetry, prose, and found text to explore memory and remembrance in American culture.
Time: 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.
Location: Room 210, Level 2, Hynes Convention Center

Writers in the Boonies: Creating a Regional/Rural Literary Hub
Participants: Ellen Meeropol, Patricia Lee Lewis, Jacqueline Sheehan

Literary arts centers have been successful in cities, but what about in nonmetropolitan areas? Three western Massachusetts authors discuss the challenges and benefits of developing Straw Dog Writers Guild, a community literary arts organization in a rural/small town region. Starting with a vision but no money or backers, presenters explore strategies to build a new organization to engage and connect writers without infringing on existing workshops and programs.
Time: 4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Location: Room 305, Level 3, Hynes Convention Center

“Altered Egos” – Stonecoast MFA Masquerade Literary Heroes and Villains

Come as you are, or . . . come as someone else
Co-hosted by Elizabeth Searle (faculty) and Mihku Paul (alumna)
Time: 9:00 pm-Midnight
Location: Sheraton Suite 2039



Book Signings (Thurs, Fri, & Sat)
Location: Stonecoast MFA Booth #507, AWP Bookfair
Faculty and Alumni will be signing their new books all day Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Special appearance by 2012 National Book Award Finalist in Poetry Tim Seibles.

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Create Your Portfolio Page for AWP

I’m putting together portfolio pages to feature our alumni, students and faculty at AWP and other public gatherings in which we can showcase our collective work. If you’d like to be included in the portfolio, it’s really easy. Each person gets ONE page in the portfolio, which will comprise a series of 3-ring binders arranged by concentration.

I’ve included two different ONE-PAGE samples, one based on my own work, that you can use as examples when putting together your portfolio page. Feel free to take a look at them and copy the style or come up with something of your own. You can use images or go with plain text. You can produce something that looks like a resume or stick with a piece that looks like a book promo page. Or you can even create a hybrid type page that shows whatever you want to features: your teaching credentials, your fiction publications, your books, your articles, etc. This is your chance to let us know all about you!

Here are two possible examples you can use to create your own portfolio:

Microsoft Word - Underwood Erin - Multi.docx

Microsoft Word - Roessner Michaela AWP Portfolio Page.doc

I think something along these lines is good since it gives you an opportunity to display book covers as well as text, depending on what you want to highlight. However, the choice is yours. Use your one-page of space wisely. The only part of the portfolio that needs to be consistent on all pages is the header since that is what I will use to organize the pages within each binder.

If you want to be included in the AWP portfolio, please be sure to send your ONE portfolio page to me as a WORD document or PDF no later than February 28, 2013. Please do not send late submissions. Note, whatever you send will be included in the portfolio. So please make sure that your page is perfect before submitting it.

When submitting your page, please email it to Erin Underwood at < erin.m.underwood at gmail dot com > and include “Portfolio Page” in the subject line so that I can easily search my email to ensure that I don’t miss anything. If you have any questions, please let me know.


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Stonecoast AWP Attendees

Are you going to AWP? If so, make sure to let us know that you’ll be there so that Stonecoast and the SCAA can keep you up-to-date on events and gatherings during the conference. Please visit the AWP Attendee Form and let us know that you’ll be there. Here’s a list of the people who have already let us know that they will be at AWP.

  • Erin Lyn Bodin
  • Sheila Boneham
  • Emma Bouthillette
  • Kate Cone
  • Anthony D’Aries
  • Jill Day
  • Louis A. Di Leo
  • Annie Finch
  • Gro Flatebo
  • Christin Geall
  • Florence Grende
  • Trevor Gulley
  • Lexa Hillyer
  • Jeff Kass
  • Cynthia Kraack
  • Jeanette Lynes
  • Tara Mantel
  • Ellen Meeropol
  • Janet Passehl
  • James Patrick
  • Mihku Paul
  • Helen Peppe
  • Judith Podell
  • Brenda Sparks Prescott
  • Lisa Romeo
  • Rooze (Yvonne Garcia)
  • Amy Safford
  • Catherine Schmitt
  • Elizabeth Searle
  • Suzanne Strempek Shea
  • Michelle Soucy
  • Felicity Stone
  • kathleen Sullivan
  • Joanne Turnbull
  • Erin Underwood
  • Enza Vescera
  • Kayenta Williams


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Take the Post MFA Experience Survey

Written by Matt Switliski.

As I’d mentioned in a prior post here on the Stonecoast Community Blog, I had a massive crisis of confidence combined with a debilitating case of writer’s block a year after graduation. And at the reunion I’d discovered I wasn’t alone in feeling that way. Pat Barletta and I talked about this in detail, wishing that someone had warned us about this possibility.

Cue light bulb.

We discussed this with Annie and she suggested a presentation on the post-MFA blues could be useful to students preparing to finish their formal Stonecoast experience. We’ve been preparing over the past few months for our presentation at the coming January 2013 residency, doing some research, expanding our scope to include the malaise some people feel between residencies. We’ve got some good info.

But we need more. And we’re hoping the Stonecoast alumni can help.

Pat and I—but really, she deserves most of the credit here—put together a short survey about students’ experiences following graduation. The survey includes ten questions, mostly multiple choice, aimed at understanding how other people felt upon earning the MFA degree.

If you have a few minutes, please follow the link and fill out the survey. All responses are anonymous, and you’d be doing a big favor to the Stonecoast community. It’s our hope that others will discuss this topic at future residencies—people sharing their experiences and their ways of coping.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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