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May is less than four days away! Let’s all wear Karate suits and dance around May pole to celebrate flowers and sunshine 😉 The zodiac prophesies that there will be a mind blowing event on May 4th.

You are suspicious?! It’s really happening  in University of Notre Dame, and the graduating seniors with a Creative Writing Concentration will read selections from their excellent theses. Here are the bios of these cool writers:

Alison Bartoszewicz is a writer, a sprinter, a painter, a yoga instructor, and a really amateur juggler. Her thesis, The Island of Misfit Humans Sings its Anthem of Rapport, is a collection of short stories about the “strangers” who point us homeward. Next fall, Alison will be teaching English at Finca del Niño in Trujillo, Honduras.

Katie Campbell is a senior English major with a minor in Gender Studies and a concentration in Honors Creative Writing. This year she’s been focused on writing her senior thesis, a collection of narrative poems called wanderchild. She enjoys telling stories in any and all forms, and loves the emotional connection that poetry can form with reader. She would like to thank Professors Joyelle McSweeney and Valerie Sayers for continually inspiring her.

Neil Lewis misses the warmth of Raleigh, and to cope with this she spent her four years at ND reading and thinking about reading and talking about reading and writing, writing, writing. This fall she will continue doing this, except this time with middle schoolers in Humboldt Park, Chicago. She’s excited about this. She’s also excited about building and riding bikes, doing barrel rolls in her kayak, thinking about iterations of
the impending apocalypse, and bird identification.

Theresa McLean is a senior English major with an Honors concentration in Creative Writing. Her senior thesis is the first part of a longer novel in the fantasy genre. She loves fiction because it can give its reader an experience they might never get the chance to experience in their life or is impossible because it would only be able to happen in the world the author created. She especially loves fantasy because it has the power to immerse the reader in a different world and give the reader the experience of being the protagonist fighting through all the challenges and coming out stronger because of them. She strongly believes that fiction has the power to inspire and strengthen those who read it.

Anna Poltrack is a senior English and Film major, concentrating in Honors Creative Writing. Her senior thesis is a science fiction novel about family, human rights, and personal culpability in a world largely populated by androids. Anna is interested in works of sci-fi because they provide a platform on which contemporary issues can be examined without having to be too explicit. She is also interested in short stories, especially flash fictions, because it is a form that continues to mystify and bamboozle her.

Hannah Provost is a writer and a rock climber from New Hampshire, and when she’s not constructing story she’s trying to fully live hers. In the coming year, Hannah will work as a Humanities Teaching Fellow at Culver Academies. Her prose has been published or is forthcoming in Re:Visions, Dime Show Review, and Indiana’s Emerging Writers anthology.

Andrea Vale is a senior English major with a minor in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy, originally from Mansfield, MA. Her thesis, a fiction manuscript, is a war novel without the war: it explores tropes of the infallible ‘lone man,’ the haunted returned veteran, and themes of communication and egocentrism. Andrea plans on pursuing a career as a freelance foreign correspondent after graduation.

Elizabeth Walter a senior English major and Business Economics minor. She has been exploring many types of short writing forms in her years at Notre Dame, including flash fiction, poetry, and short stories. The collection of poems she put together for her thesis is meant to shed a light on the frequency with which women deal with problems such as sexual assault and the fallouts of mental illness. In the future, she will continue writing in her spare time and is attending Notre Dame Law School this fall.

Meghan Watts is a senior English major at Notre Dame, with a concentration in Creative Writing. She will also graduate this month with a Supplementary Major in Gender Studies and a minor in Education, Schooling, and Society. Each of these disciplines of study have had a decided influence on her fiction thesis, “Girl Talk,” which considers the way that communication and silence intersect in female friendships to explore the ways in which these ideas might interact with the traditional components of the bildungsroman. This project, which was advised by Dr. Roy Scranton, uses vignettes, micro fictions, and conversations to illustrate young women and friendships in transition.

The reading will be from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on May 4th in Hammes Campus Bookstore.

I will see you there.


MFA Thesis Reading

Winter is particularly harsh for night owls, including me. When we stay up late with endless papers and deadlines, we are at least glad that the spring is coming, and we can throw off our winter coats soon. When we are so exhausted and collapse on bed without thinking about quilts, we make a fatal mistake. The winter strikes the next morning, and we are too frozen to find our precious blankets. We really wish we can undergo mutation to have thick fur of bears, so we can sleep despite our misinterpretations of the season.

But the good news is, despite the false sign, the spring is eventually coming, and please mark May 3rd in your calendar, a day with a event that will definitely inspire you to crawl out of the bed in the first month of the *actual* spring 😉

The MFA thesis reading is happening on May 3rd, featuring top-notch poetry and fiction of graduating MFA students. Over 2017 -2018 academic year, they have enriched workshops with idiosyncratic writing styles, and have successfully defended their thesis. Now it’s time to celebrate and hear their excellent work. Here are the bios of these fabulous writers:

Abigail Burns earned her BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied English literature, creative writing, and rhetoric. Her writing primarily focuses on how grief and loss work to shatter our sense of normality. Queer rhetorical theory and writers like James Baldwin, Jeanette Winterson, and Toni Morrison, all influence her work. Abby’s other interests include social movements, intersectional feminism, migration studies, and cheese curds.

Erik-John Fuhrer is inspired by hybrid forms of literary expression that elide literary and generic boundaries. In his own work, he is interested in destabilizing the boundary between the human and the nonhuman. His work has recently appeared in venues such as Crab Fat, Noble/Gas Qrtrly, Dream Pop Press, BlazeVox, and elsewhere.

Madison McCartha’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, DREGINALD, Full-Stop, jubilat, Yalobusha Review, The Pinch, and elsewhere. He has served both as Asst. Editor and Design Editor for Cream City Review, and became the Poetry Editor for Storm Cellar.

Ingabirano Nintunze is a writer, artist, and theatre-maker from Portland by way of Austin. She majored in English Literature and Telecommunication Media Studies at Texas A&M University, where she won undergraduate writing awards in poetry and fiction. She’s a second year MFA in Creative Writing, and in 2019 will be researching as a playwright in New Zealand as a Fulbright scholar. Her writing explores urban and suburban magic, the natural world, belief systems, comparative mythologies, and bridging the mundane with the fantastic.

After graduating high school in northern Michigan, Daniel Tharp attended Kirtland Community College for a year before graduating from Pittsburg State University with a Bachelors of Arts degree and a Masters Degree. In June, 2017 his essay, “Thomas McGonigle: A Lineage of Literary Intimidation,” was published as the lead essay for the Hollins Critic. He currently attends Notre Dame as the Prose Fellow, and will graduate May, 2018 with his Master of Fine Arts degree.

Daniel Uncapher is an MFA candidate at Notre Dame and Sparks prize winner from Water Valley, Mississippi whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Tin House Online, Chicago Quarterly Review, Baltimore Review, Hawai’I Pacific Review, A-Minor Magazine, Wilderness House, and others.

Jean Yoon: Who or what is Jean? Where did Jean come from? Extruded from some recombination of biological will-to-existence and hashed through the haphazard mechanics of globalism’s recursivity, Jean makes use of their uselessness using the most-abused material known to capital-m Man–that is, language. Thusly do they attempt to celebrate and soften the haphazard violence that attends living in this version of the world. Jean’s literate mark-making can be found in journals like jubilat, open letters monthly, poetry is dead, spf lit mag, hypocrite reader, and others.

The reading will be held in in Eck Center Auditorium on Thursday from 7:00PM – 9:00p.m. on May 3, 2018. I will see you there!



A De-Stressor


Did you know that April 18 is national stress awareness day? What better time to celebrate than the end of the semester, and what better way to de-stress than to have a poet come and share their work?

Anais Duplan is the author of a full-length poetry collection, TAKE THIS STALLION (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2016), and a chapbook, MOUNT CARMEL & THE BLOOD OF PARNASSUS (Monster House Press, 2017). Their poems and essays have appeared in Hyperallergic, PBS News Hour, the Academy of American Poets, Poetry Society of America, Fence, Boston Review, The Journal, and elsewhere. Duplan is also an artist and curator who has organized exhibitions at the Distillery Gallery, Elastic Arts, Disjecta, the Radical Abacus, Public Space One, and at Mengi in Reykjaviik, Iceland. Their visual works have appeared or are forthcoming in group exhibitions at Flux Factory, Thomas Robertello Gallery, Daata Editions, the 13th Baltic Triennial in Lithuania, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in LA.

See you there, hopefully not stressed,


Good news: The End of World is coming, and we will soon be released from our existential crisis! Just kidding, we still have to grapple with this strange world where a random dude will risk being crashed by a car and preach his own “end of world” prophecy with a huge bell on the road when the traffic is the worst. However, aren’t you curious about what apocalypse looks like? Will it actually be what the biblical account said that angels will knock at your window at 5 a.m., while you shout that it is not time to work yet, and they will drag you out with your dinosaur pajamas so you don’t have a chance to put your nice suit and spray your perfume to be presentable in front of God? Or will all of us just sunk into a bottomless black hole where you saw $$ falling out when banks were torn because they are too big to fit in the hole and you hope it can happen before the end of the world?

At least, fiction writers are interested in the concept of apocalypse. Jeff VanderMeer’s trilogy Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance centers a apocalyptic world beset by environmental damages, and the narrative of survival occurred within that world. All the characters in the novels are  identified by their job titles rather than names. From their journals, we can glimpse into their anxiety about uncertainty of their fate in their exploration of Area X (which resembles a wasteland) after the mysterious codes that revealed to them and the unexpected disappearance of their team members. The innovative and disturbing narrative is worth checking out when Jeff VanderMeer will come to read at Notre Dame.

VanderMeer will read from his latest novel, Borne, at the Eck Center on Wednesday, April 25, 2018, at 7:00PM, and discuss the making of the film Annihilation at a screening at DeBartolo Performing Arts Center on Thursday, April 26, 2018, at 7:00pm. These events are free and open
to the public.

Jeff VanderMeer is the 2016-2017 Trias Writer-in-Residence for Hobart-William Smith College. His most recent fiction is the NYT-bestselling Southern Reach trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance), which won the Shirley Jackson Award and Nebula Award. The trilogy made over 30 year’s best lists, including Entertainment Weekly’s top 10, and prompted the New Yorker to call the author “the weird Thoreau.” The trilogy has been acquired by publishers in 28 other countries, with Paramount Pictures acquiring the movie rights. VanderMeer’s nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Atlantic.com, and the Los Angeles Times. He has taught at the Yale Writers’ Conference and the Miami International Book Fair, lectured at MIT, Brown, and the Library of Congress. His forthcoming novel from Farrar, Straus and Giroux is titled Borne. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife, the noted editor Ann VanderMeer.

A three-time World Fantasy Award winner and 15-time nominee, VanderMeer  serves as the co-director of Shared Worlds, a unique teen SF/fantasy writing camp located at Wofford College and now entering its tenth year. Previous novels include the Ambergris Cycle, with nonfiction titles including Wonderbook, Booklife, and The Steampunk Bible. Widely regarded as one of the world’s best fantasists, Jeff VanderMeer grew up in the Fiji Islands and spent six months traveling through Asia, Africa, and Europe before returning to the United States. These travels have deeply influenced his fiction. He is the recipient of an NEA-funded Florida Individual Artist Fellowship for excellence in fiction and a Florida Artist Enhancement Grant.

His wife Ann VanderMeer was the fiction editor for Weird Tales for five years and won the Hugo for her work there. She now serves as an acquiring editor for Tor.com. She is also an award-winning publisher, and co-editor with Jeff on Best American Fantasy 1 and 2, Fast Ships, Black Sails (pirates), Steampunk 1 and 2, New Weird, The Weird, The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, The Time Traveler’s Almanac, and many more. Together, they have taught writing workshops and given lectures all over the world. This literary “power couple” (Boing Boing) has been profiled on Wired.com, NYT blog, and on national NPR.

Ann and Jeff live in Tallahassee, Florida, with two cats.

The reading will be on Wednesday April 25th, 2018, at 7:00 p.m. in the Eck Center Auditorium.

I will see you there.

Best, Lavinia

The Last MFA Reading

Image result for moss

Do you love to run in soft moss with bare feet when you are toddler? Do you believe that there are little mysterious creatures in them? While most of our childhood imagination might only extend to what lives exist in the moss, few people will heed the ground beneath the moss, and incorporate *mother earth* in the myth making. However, our talented poet Jake Schepers’s poetry series “Ugly Ground, Swell Moss”  focuses on the dynamic between the ground and the moss on multiple (biological, philosophical, and erotic) levels, and introduce readers to “ugly” yet appealing ground that the moss and other plants vie for.

If you have been to carnivals, you’ll know that you see strange spectacles, including girls with cat ears dancing. But Kimberly Swendson’s poems will take you to a more idiosyncratic carnival with a performer throwing kneecaps to audiences. Her poetry plays with bilingualism, sexual violence, abject and diverse themes in unique imagery.

It’s indeed a misery thing to be the only person who survives the apocalypse and exhausts the last bit of energy through mass destruction of furniture out of fear for existential loneliness. However, the apocalyptic world in Patricia Hartland’s poetry is entirely different. There are more than one survivor, and undisturbed by the sinister outlook of the desolate world, they conducts acts of travesty (jonny sprouted prongs/for extra arms! willow/kept a leopard in the street!”). Her poems also have performative quality with a chorus of voice intersecting on the page.

Here is a bio of these three wonderful poets:

Patricia Hartland went to Hampshire College for a BA in Comparative Literature and Poetry, and just earned an MFA from the Iowa Translation Workshop where she translated poetry, prose, and theatre from French, Martinican, and sometimes Hindi/Urdu. Her thesis was a critical introduction and translation of Shenaz Patel’s The Silence of Chagos, a polyphonic fiction of reportage. She is currently basking in HĂ©lĂšne Cixous’ Manna, which is a conjuration of dissipated self-borders and actioned poetics—residues of word alchemy that make her excited to try writing, too.

Jacob Schepers is a graduate of Calvin College and the University at Buffalo. He is also a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Notre Dame and holds a graduate minor in the History and Philosophy of Science. His interests include lyric theory, elegy, embodied cognition and performance, and the role of science and technology in poetry. While completing his MA at the University at Buffalo, he was a winner of the 2013 Outriders Poetry Project Competition for his book, A Bundle of Careful Compromises, published by Outriders in 2014. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in PANK, Verse, Dream Pop, The Destroyer, and The Common, among others.

Kimberly Swendson is a Colorado native poet with roots in Santa Fe, NM where she has lived seasonally for six years. There she managed a local biodynamic, organic produce business for Mesa Top Farm cultivating heritage vegetables and working as a cattle hand. She also owns and operates a small kennel, Mesa Top Berners, breeding show-quality Bernese Mountain Dogs.

As recent graduate of CU Boulder, Baby, served as her honors thesis and first major collection of poetry, which can be found online at homeofbaby.wordpress.com. Her poetic interests include translation, domesticity and space, and lyric’s place in contemporary writing. In the not too distant future, she hopes to pursue routes in publishing and PhD work in contemporary Italian literature.

If you want a trio of moss on ground, carnival and the post-apocalyptic land, come to our last first year MFA reading this semester at 620 Clinton St. South Bend (house of the unofficial mayor of South Bend!) on April 20th 2018. The doors open at 7 p.m. , and poetry reading is from 8 to 9 p.m.

I will see you there!


Anais Duplan’s Reading

I have never ridden a horse until my junior year in high school, where I stayed in the farmland in rural Arkansas for half a year. I was quite nervous when a farm owner taught me how to ride. Before the ride, I always used carrots to bribe the horses for good behaviors on my ride. Sometimes I was afraid though, that they would mistake my fingers for carrots. One time on a ride, my horse was quite calm at the first, but after the while, it started to sprint for whatever stimuli that alerted it. I panicked it, and pulling the string was no use either. Luckily, I didn’t fall off the horse and remained mostly unscathed except a scratch by a tree branch. I think the optimal rider should be a dog rather than an experienced human rider, because dogs are intelligent and horses won’t conspire against an animal. Next time, I will rely on a furry rider and be more chill on the horse back.

Anyways, my point is I will constantly fail in my attempt to take a stallion. It is an cool phrase, isn’t it? In Anais Duplan’s “Take That Stallion”, the stallion’s implications extends not only to animals that serve as instruments of war, but only bestiality of soldiers released in the battles. Other than scenes of war that imbues violence with beauty, her poetry also takes on diverse voices. The first poem of “Take That Stallion” is written in the perspective of Kim Kardashian, and utilizes dialogue to narrate the complex dynamic in the wealth family. Other poems take on the voices of violent persona, and delve into their distorted psychology.

Here is the bio for this idiosyncratic poet:

Anaïs Duplan was born in Jacmel, Haiti. Anaïs Duplan is the author of a full-length poetry collection, Take This Stallion (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2016) and a chapbook, Mount Carmel and the Blood of Parnassus (Monster House Press, 2017). Their poems and essays have appeared in Hyperallergic, on PBS News Hour, the Academy of American Poets, Poetry Society of America, Fence, Boston Review, The Journal, and in other publications. Duplan is also an artist and curator who has facilitated exhibitions at the Distillery Gallery, Elastic Arts, Disjecta, the Radical Abacus, Public Space One, and at Mengi in Reykjavík, Iceland. Their visual works have appeared or are forthcoming in group exhibitions at Flux Factory, Thomas Robertello Gallery, Daata Editions, the 13th Baltic Triennial in Lithuania, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in LA. Anaïs is the founder of the Center for Afrofuturist Studies, an artist residency program for artists of color in Iowa City and is the joint Public Programs Fellow at the Museum of Modern Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem.

The reading will be on Wednesday April 18th, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. in the Hammes Bookstore.

I will see you there,



Acapella Jams?

Happy International Barbershop Quarter Day!

That’s April 11. Are you in a barbershop quartet? Me neither. Would you care to be in one? Me neither. Do they even perform in barbershops? I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a real barbershop quartet. I’ve only ever seen them on film and television. I don’t think there’s any reason to observe this holiday.


I’m going to go to Johannes Göransson’s translation reading instead. He’ll read from a range of translation projects on April 11, at Hammes Campus Bookstore. Among the translated projects will be Hackers by Aase Berg, Which Once Had Been Meadow by Ann Jaderlund, the special Swedish poetry issue of the journal Interim (https://www.interimpoetics.org/), Karantanen Ater Min Kropp, by Sara Tuss Efrik, and more.

I’ll be there, I hope you come, if you don’t have plans to watch four guys sing in a barbershop.


A Hole-in-One Reading

The 2nd Day of the Masters begins on Friday the 6th. I wonder who’ll be out in front. Tiger is supposed to stage an epic come-back this year, but that viral video of Jordan Speith skipping the ball over the water hazard looked pretty ridiculous. Will the weathered veteran edge out the young prodigy? Will a no-name arrive on the scene at Augusta and catapult himself to super-stardom? Who knows? Who cares? Good question.

What do golf and public readings have in common? They both feature reserved clapping. Nobody in the world really feels lukewarm about either event; like golf, a reading is sounds like the most boring or most interesting thing you could do with your weekend, depending on your taste. Both feature tiny projectiles launched at lethal speeds across acres of manicured landscape. The list goes on.

So teeing off at 7:30 in the Duncan Student Center will be Christina Leo, Anne Malin Ringwalt, and Lavinia Xu.

Christina graduated from Louisiana State University in 2015 with degrees in English and Mass Communication, concentrating in Creative Writing and Journalism, respectively. Once a student of oil painting and travel writing in Florence, Italy, she interned with LSU Press and Country Roads Magazine, then worked for two years as a staff writer for a lifestyle magazine, inRegister, where she interviewed a 101-year-old Olympic sprinter, a Vietnamese pilot who twice thwarted death, and an Aurora Shooting survivor, among others. During that time, she also served as a mentor for New South Story Lab, a nonprofit offering free creative writing workshops for local high school students who love a good Star Wars reference.

Anne Malin Ringwalt is a writer and musician. A graduate of Emerson College, Ringwalt is particularly interested in poetry, prose, philosophy and performance. Her poetry appears in Hobart, Rogue Agent, Vinyl and Talking River, and her chapbook “Like Cleopatra” was published by dancing girl press in 2014. Her prose appears in the Adroit Journal and DUM DUM Zine: Punks and Scholars, and was recognized by the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program in 2013. She makes music with Fawn and co-curates Petoskey Memory, a collaborative arts and community project. AM can be found floating between Southeastern Wisconsin, Northern Michigan and Southern California.

Lavinia Xu was born in Nanjing, China, and she earned her BA from Ohio State University where she studied English Literature, Creative Writing and Logistics. She started to write poetry in her freshman year when a composition class sparked her interest in poetry. Her poetry explores Chinese identities/myths, and subversive potential of fairytales. Her work has appeared in Paris American. She is co-editor of Off The Coast, an online poetry magazine that features voices of both marginalized and foreign writers, and Farrago, which is cofounded by her and her fellow poets in Ohio.

So join us in the Duncan Student Center, Meeting Room 1 North w134, Friday, April 6, and remember to wear a green jacket.

Teju Cole’s Reading

Hi all, welcome back from spring break! Hope you all get some time off to travel, and find efficient ways to avoid dangerous situations despite misleading signs. If you find it so hard to settle back into school/job (sometimes coffee won’t do the job), and want to relive your travelling experience a bit more, come to Teju Cole’s reading in which he will read books on travelling back and forth between Nigeria, U.S. and Europe, as well as how culture encounters help different protagonists perceive their lives in new angles. Here is the bio of the celebrated writer Teju Cole:

Teju Cole is a writer, art historian, and photographer. He is the Distinguished Writer in Residence at Bard College and photography critic of the New York Times Magazine. He was born in the US in 1975 to Nigerian parents, and raised in Nigeria. He currently lives in Brooklyn. He is the author of four books.

His novella, Every Day is for the Thief, was named a book of the year by the New York Times, the Globe and Mail, NPR, and the Telegraph, and shortlisted for the PEN/Open Book Award. His novel, Open City, also featured on numerous book of the year lists, and won the PEN/Hemingway Award, the New York City Book Award for Fiction, the Rosenthal Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Internationaler Literaturpreis, and was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, and the Ondaatje Prize of the Royal Society of Literature. His essay collection, Known and Strange Things, was shortlisted for both the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay and the inaugural PEN/Jean Stein Award for “a book that has broken new ground by reshaping the boundaries of its form and signaling strong potential for lasting influence.” Known and Strange Things was named a book of the year by the Guardian, the Financial Times, Time Magazine, and many others. His most recent book is Blind Spot (June 2017), a genre-crossing work of photography and texts.

His reading will be from 6:00PM – 7:30PM on Thursday March 22 in Eck Center Auditorium, and I will see you there!




It’s raining and flooding all over South Bend, so get your canoe or raft or kayak or paddleboard or whatever it is you us, because a reading will be held anyway!

So if it’s Monday night at 7:30 PM, come dry off in the warmth of the Hammes Campus bookstore and hear some groundbreaking fiction from Azareen Van Der Vliet Oloomi.

Azareen Van Der Vliet Oloomi is  the author of Fra Keeler and Call Me Zebra. She is the winner of a 2015 Whiting Writers’ Award, a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree, the recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship in Fiction to Catalonia, Spain, and a Fellowship from the Institució de les Lletres Catalanes in Barcelona. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, Guernica, BOMB, and the Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal, among other places. She has lived in Iran, Spain, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, and currently teaches in the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame.

I will see you there!


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