Creative Writing Capstone Event


McKenny Hall Ballroom
April 14th at 6pm

Free and open to the public

With the winter semester coming to an end, Capstone approaches for our creative writing undergraduates. We have spent the past couple months organizing and preparing our projects for the event and will be preforming our creative pieces on April 14th in the McKenny Ballroom. The event will be a great opportunity to get a look into our creative writing program; there will be students preforming poetry and prose, as well as mixed media projects. Please come out and support our writers.

The Capstone event will feature seventeen creative writers:

Eric Berry
Brian Clark
Meghan Endahl
Justin Fluellen
Ashley Gallaher
Ashleigh John
Jeremey Kazdan
Kasha Lovato
Adam Malinowski
Alyssa Martinez
Emma Mayhood
Hannah Overhiser
Isaac Pickell
Sean Ruona
Kristen Todd
LeeAnne Baumdraher
Victoria Pozyczka


Miranda Mellis: An Introduction by Aaron Smith

BathHouse reading series welcomed Miranda Mellis this fall, and Aaron Smith (a current graduate student) wrote a wonderful introduction to her reading. I thought I’d share it here!

“Today we welcome Miranda Mellis, a powerfully surreal mind & voice in a world that cannot slow down or re-trace its steps. Our cultures have carved a heavy path through time, have created & shaped what we imagine as history, and Mellis works intensely to decode our collective views of both history & time, past, present, future, and other realities. She asks a continuous array of questions that guide her readers & characters through fictional realities that further question what is happening to us & them as individuals, and question how we perceive ourselves & our world.

Lucia, the narrator of The Spokes, at one point offers a direct analysis of past & present: “We’ve been this kind of human […] for two hundred thousand years […] If we don’t know ourselves, how can we know the ancestors?” Our vision of history is blurry at best, and the ways in which our knowledge of the past is commonly obscured cause us to un-learn countless ways of living that have much to teach us about collaboration & communication. Mellis’s vivid imagery opens doors to the past & versions of the present that we might otherwise overlook forever. In a 2012 interview with Green Apple bookstore, she explains:   “our everyday lives are outrageously pressurized in ways that we become habituated to, that become invisible, and then rear up in all sorts of painful intensifications, symptoms  & so forth. Forms of magic – magical thinking, magical transformations, and magical actions – represent reachable, alternative forms of agency & knowledge in lieu of  political power for the disenfranchised, abandoned, and oppressed.”

In another 2012 interview with City Lights bookstore, she alternately describes fiction as “an organ for detecting what otherwise goes unregistered.” By utilizing these “alternative forms of agency,” Mellis is able to both openly ridicule & rigorously analyze “what otherwise goes unregistered” for many people: the ways in which our cultures & histories push themselves forward at maddening speeds, inevitably crash & collapse, then slowly repeat the long, determined climb back to some epic climax. In The Spokes, her narrator Lucia argues that “Sometimes the impossible is the missing ingredient.” This element of “the impossible” is what drives powerfully meaningful pieces of our own reality deeper into our minds when winding through the fantastic landscapes assembled by Mellis; over time her imagined landscapes begin to feel more familiar than our own.

I would like to close with a quote from The Revisionist; a paragraph that stands alone on pg. 63, and in many ways defines the sense of time that pours through all her parables:  “There were so many different kinds of time. There was time measured in objects & time measured in space. There was time enclosed by language […] There was the way a person measures the distance between what she once felt & the moment she realizes she no longer feels that way. There was also the void, for which time was conventionally the foil.”

Miranda Mellis teaches at Evergreen State College. She is the author of The Quarry, The Spokes, None of This Is Real, Materialisms, and The Revisionist, which was the subject of a 90-foot mural at Franklin Art Works in Minneapolis. Miranda is also a founding editor with The Encyclopedia Project, a hybrid publication that plays with the ideas of reference book, literary journal & arts catalogue, blending all into a hybrid series of cross-referenced hardcover volumes. Please welcome her to our small pocket of time & space.”

Upcoming: BATHHOUSE EVENTS 11/5 & 11/6

Join us on November 5th and 6th as BathHouse Events and the Creative Writing Department welcomes Douglas Kearney and Tisa Bryant!

The details…

Readings by Douglas Kearney and Tisa Bryant
Tuesday, Nov. 5th, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
EMU Student Center Auditorium

“Textual Orality: African Diasporic Aesthetic Practices” 
A Discussion with Douglas Kearney and Tisa Bryant
Wednesday, Nov. 6th 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
EMU Student Center Auditorium

Texual Orality: African Diasporic Aesthetic Practices
The aesthetic and formal roots of African diasporic cultural production are often determined in relation to oral tradition, from poetic expression and practical education, to transmission of cosmologies and the genealogical storytelling of village griots. Celebrating and analyzing solely the oral can come at the expense of the written word, from signs and pictographs of ancient Egypt or Haiti, to the ‘spirit writing’ of African American mediums and healers. In response to this enduring but insufficient binary thinking, Tisa Bryant and Douglas Kearney devised the concept Textual Orality. Textual Orality is a way of naming this site of generative tension within African diasporic literature. Using this concept as a critical frame, Bryant and Kearney will explore the ways in which both the (il)legible and aural, the stylized mark and the spoken word, experiments in writing and traditions in performance (or vice-versa), are distinct and interdependent features of their individual writing practices and pedagogies.
Tisa Bryant:
            Though she hails from Boston, received an MFA from Brown University, and lives in Los Angeles, Tisa Bryant grew into her writing within San Francisco’s vibrant literary/arts communities, serving in various capacities with ATA, CineLatino, Frameline, New Langton Arts, the San Francisco International Film Festival, Small Press Traffic, and Intersection for the Arts, among others. She is the author of Unexplained Presence (Leon Works, 2007), a collection of hybrid essays on myth-making and black presences in film, literature and visual art; co-editor/founder of the ongoing cross-referenced journal of narrative and storytelling, The Encyclopedia Project, and co-editor of War Diaries, an anthology of black gay men’s desire and survival, nominated for a 2010 LAMBDA Literary Award. Bryant is currently on a reunion tour with the poets and writers of The Dark Room Collective, celebrating the 25th anniversary of their nationally-renown African diasporic arts exhibition and reading series and she teaches fiction and experimental writing in the MFA Creative Writing Program at the California Institute of the Arts.
Douglas Kearney:
           Poet/performer/librettist DouglasKearney’s second, full-length collection of poetry, The Black Automaton (Fence Books, 2009), was Catherine Wagner’s selection for the National Poetry Series. It was also a finalist for the Pen Center USA Award in 2010. His newest chapbook, SkinMag (A5/Deadly Chaps) is available. Red Hen Press will publish Kearney’s third collection, Patter, in 2014. He has received a Whiting Writers Award, a Coat Hanger award and fellowships at Idyllwild, Cave Canem, and others. Two of his operas, Sucktionand Crescent City, have received grants from the MAPFund. Sucktion has been produced internationally. Crescent Citypremiered in Los Angeles in 2012. He has been commissioned to write and/or teach ekphrastic poetry for the Weisman Museum (Minneapolis), Studio Museum in Harlem, MOCA, SFMOMA, the Getty and the Poetry Foundation. Raised in Altadena, CA, he lives with his family in California’s Santa Clarita Valley. He teaches at CalArts.

Orientation for New Graduate Students

Orientation for new graduate students in the Creative Writing program is happening Friday, Sept. 20 at 5:30 pm. in rm. 202 Pray-Harrold. Session runs from 5:30 pm. – 7 pm. If you’re new, attendance is required.

This will be an opportunity to receive information to help you get oriented, answer your questions, and introduce you to your grad program advisor (if you haven’t already had that chance).

Questions? Email Christine Neufeld (

Open Book Experimental Book Workshop (application deadline extended to May 25)

For those looking for course credit (or just looking to expand your knowledge), consider the Open Book Experimental Book Workshop (

When: July 27 through August 05, 2012
Location: EMU rural Parsons Center near Traverse City, Michigan

The cost of the workshop is now $425.00 (students who want credit pay tuition + $260.00).
The application deadline for the workshop has been extended to May 25th, 2012

The 10-day intensive workshop will be organized by Leslie Atzmon and Ryan Molloy, and led by Edwin Jager and Danielle Aubert. While the instructors will guide the direction of and lead discussions at the workshop, participants will be asked to contribute their particular knowledge and skill sets and contribute to the topic through presentations of their ideas and their creative work or research.

The workshop is open to students, educators, and professionals from all disciplines. This workshop is an offshoot of the “Open Book” experimental book exhibition that was held in Eastern Michigan University’s University Gallery from April 3 to June 15, 2010.

For more information, please contact Leslie Atzmon or Ryan Molloy

Support for this workshop has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works grant, Eastern Michigan University, and Eastern Michigan University’s Women in Philanthropy. This workshop is also being offered in partnership with AIGA Detroit and AIGA Toledo.

Community Outreach opportunity

If you’re taking CRTW 550: Community Outreach for Creative Writers — a required course for the Creative Writing MA Program — in the Fall, consider getting started early with the outreach component of the course with the internship described below. EMU alumna Anya Cobler (BA in Creative Writing at EMU; MFA at UM) directs this internship and says that last year’s intern “had a great experience soliciting poetry from poets and helping to plan poetry events…among other things.”

If you are interested, contact Anya at:

Oaken Transformations Sculpture & Poetry Walk – Poetry Internship

Oaken Transformations Sculpture & Poetry Walk is an out-of-doors art tour, free to the public, dedicated to showcasing work by talented poets and artists with ties to the state of Michigan. Part nature walk, part meditative footpath, part art installation, the tour presents a unique physical space for poetry and a serene setting for sculptural work on consignment. Located in Brighton, Michigan, Oaken Transformations is invested in broadening an already growing arts community in Southeast Michigan.  Currently, it is directed by Anya L Cobler, Poet in Residence at Dr. Bonine Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery.  The walk began in 2010 as a side project by Dr. Fredric L. Bonine, who has generously funded its efforts thus far.

Overview: The Oaken Transformations intern will gain hands-on experience in managing Oaken Transformations’ poetry matters as related to the art walk while continuing the efforts of building a public arts community.

Job Description: Ideally, the intern will spend 2-3 days per week of the summer working in conjunction with and as assistant to Anya L Cobler.  The intern will be able to work remotely, from home, on different aspects of the project, though some in-office/on-site work should be expected so intern should have dependable transportation.  The main work of the summer shall include continued poetry solicitation and communication with poets that will result in the acquisition of poetry for the art walk; coordinating, curating & hosting art events/poetry readings; increased marketing of the art walk via social media and grass roots methods; community outreach aimed at furthering a local and state-wide presence for Oaken Transformations in the poetry world.

The intern should be self-motivated, have an interest and investment in the poetry world, able to work as part of a team, creative, and community oriented.

New Graduate Literature Class for Winter 2012

If anyone is still looking for a literature class this Winter, here’s an option (with only two seats left!): 


LITR 578: Classy Postcolonialisms

Prof. Natasa Kovacevic

Struggles against European colonialism are inextricably linked to a contestation and/or adaptation of capitalist class relations that the colonizers established in their former dominions to manage colonized labor and resources. We will look at the myriad ways in which social class enters postcolonial literature and theory, especially at the historical intersections of anti-colonial wars of national liberation, Cold War discourses, and the dissemination of socialist ideas worldwide.

Major themes:

  • Class stratification as a thematic concern in postcolonial literature and theory
  • Intersections of gender, class, and subalternity
  • Postcolonial socialist realism
  • Writing revolutionary violence
  • Postcolonial adaptations and renunciations of Marx
  • (Im)possibility of solidarity across anti-colonial lines
  • Theorizing neocolonialism
  • Global protests against neoliberal capitalism

Cognate possibility in Photography Department, Winter ’12

Graduate Creative Writing Students, are you looking for cognate work for your program?  Do you have an interest in photography?  Consider taking a Photography Portfolio course (ARTS 421/422) this Winter 2012 with Professor Jason DeMarte.  Several CRTW grad students have completed cognate work in the Photography Department in the past, and Grad students are always welcome to inquire about joining a photography class.

Some previous photography experience is required.  Contact Professor DeMarte at: jdemarte<at symbol> for more complete details and to begin the process of obtaining permission to register.  Be sure to touch base  with your Creative Writing advisor as well regarding your plans for cognate work.

Intro Students’ Installations in Pray-Harrold

Here’s a quick alert to interesting installation work in Pray-Harrold from Sarah Smarch:

Check out the posting board installation on the main floor of PH!

Inspired by studying recent BathHouse series poet, Taylor Brady, and the work of Jenny Holtzer (, both of my intro classes completed installations on the posting boards by the main floor elevators in Pray Harrold.  From Peter Middleton’s essay published in Pores journal ( on the text Poetry and Public Language (, we derived two parameters for public language:
1) Work that is shared with the public (public=strangers)
2) Work that comments on the time it is produced within