Thursday, December 29, 2011

Social Media Peer Workshop at January Residency

Hi All,

I thought I should check in to gauge interest in this workshop. I led an impromptu peer workshop on this subject back in August, for which I received some enthusiastic feedback, so we are doing it again with a little more formality and planning.

The approach for this workshop is to help writers enter the social media world – set up online identities, review basic etiquette, build awareness of resources, and so on. We will not delve into more advanced topics like metrics, analytics, SEO, Klout scores, or anything of the like – unless you have a dying need to focus on numbers over content. It is worth noting, however, that good content leads to good metrics (aka the number of visitors reading your stuff).

Please comment here if you plan to attend and mention any specific subjects you are interested in tackling together. This will be a hands-on peer workshop, not a speaking presentation with PowerPoint slides.

This peer workshop will take place on Wednesday, 2:30 – 4:00, in WS241.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Should you self-publish? One author's thoughtful analysis.

I thought some of you might be interested in this comprehensive essay by Edan Lepucki called "Reasons Not to Self-Publish in 2011-2012: A List."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Stories for Haigh Workshop

Please visit this link

to download stories for the Haigh workshop. There are one published story and three student stories that you should read prior to the workshop.

Residency Prep Work

Please check the descriptions of each of your residency workshops on the MFA web page to ensure that you are aware of the required prep work.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Room to Share 2012 Residency

None fussy CNF female has reserved a double and hope to hear from someone by Dec. 27th who is looking to share the expense. Otherwise, I'll have to cancel. You can contact me at Nickie
Folks, I received the following Call for Papers (CFP). If you are interested in teaching at the college level, doing this sort of conference is an essential part of demonstrating qualifications to teach. English Depts., especially, want to see this sort of thing on your c.v. If you are interested, visit the link below.

The graduate students of the Department of English at the University of Rhode Island are proud to announce our sixth annual Graduate Student Conference scheduled for Saturday, March 31st, 2012. Our conference title, Innovations and Anxieties, speaks to a broad range of disciplines and we anticipate an exciting mix of presentations. We cordially invite your graduate students to participate.

Attached you will find our Call for Papers (CFP) in .pdf format. Will you be so kind as to forward this to your graduate students? Feel free to also circulate the CFP to any faculty or departments you think might be interested in our conference. For more information and to submit abstracts, students may visit our website at All inquiries regarding the conference may be sent via email to

Beth O’Leary Anish
2012 URI Graduate Student Conference Committee Member Marketing and Outreach

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Maron Hotel

Hey all,

If you haven't booked your hotel room yet for the Winter Residency, the Maron is running the standard special-$79 for normal rooms, $89 for suites. If you want to call and make a reservation just mention that you are with Westconn.

Happy Holidays,
Kristin SM

Friday, December 16, 2011

2nd Annual MFA Poetry Slam Thuesday, January 5th

Hear ye, hear ye! Sign up for the Second Annual MFA poetry slam. This is a MUST NOT MISS event!

This year, we have a theme. Bad Poetry. "What does that mean," you ask? Is it poetry that misbehaves and needs a spanking? Or is it poetry that just plain sucks? Well heck - you decide what the word bad means... Then give it your best shot!

No - it does not have to be an Original.
Yes - it has to be performed with enthusiasm.
No - you don't need a costume, but...nothing says you can't.
Yes - you can bribe the judges.

Come on. Challenge Marj, the 2010 MFA Poetry Slam Queen, for her beautiful confetti crown.

Sign up sheet will be posted in the dining room.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Memoir is reviewed & I get interviewed!

Click the title of this post to read review and interview. Please "like" the Facebook page for the memoir while you're on it.

If you are not a facebook member, you can get to the review and interview here.

Thank you :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Grad/ Current Student Books for the Website

Hi All,

If you are a current student or graduate of the program and have published a book, please send me an email with a jpeg of the cover. I will add it to Westconn's MFA website.

Kristin Santa Maria

Updated Residency Schedule available

Monday, December 12, 2011

WestConn MFA Fall 2011 Video Project: Scott McNeight

WestConn MFA Fall 2011 Video Project: Scott McNeight: Scott talks about his experience teaching.

Scott, it is wonderful to put a face with the teacher. I feel as if I know you and what you want to impart so well. This is a wonderful and inspirational teaching film. Your students will look back at this time and I imagine, paying what they have learned, forward. Looking at the quality helps me see what is possible for a media novice like myself. thank you.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

"Don't Look Down" wins Funds for Writers Contest

When one of my good friends was diagnosed with breast cancer this fall, it struck hard. So I did what I tend to do: I wrote about. Sent it in to a writing contest without any thought about it actually winning. But it did! You can check it out at the link above.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

"Inky, Blinky, Pinky, Nyarlathotep" in FUTURE LOVECRAFT

H.P. Lovecraft was a minor writer in his lifetime. His work mostly appeared in mediocre pulp magazines such as Weird Tales, and that's when he wasn't giving his work away to amateur press magazines. But his stories were revolutionary—they did away with the moralizing of most fantasy and horror fiction, and integrated a sort of materialist, scientific worldview into the "mythos" he created. Now, decades after his death, his work has passed into the public domain and Lovecraft is a cottage industry unto himself. Major writers including Joyce Carol Oates and Michael Chabon have written in the Lovecraft mode, and there are Lovecraft games, toys, films, and even a cafe bearing his name. He also turns up in tribute and allusion all over the place—Batman's Arkham Asylum is named for one of Lovecraft's semi-fictional New England towns. "Lovecraftian" is a subgenre with its own niche publishers as well.

The online magazine Innsmouth Free Press is gaining some attention in horror/fantasy circles for its Lovecraftian fiction, and its print anthologies. Their latest—Future Lovecraft—has just been released, and it includes my story "Inky, Blinky, Pinky, Nyarlathotep" as well as stories by Don Webb, Molly Tanzer, and Paul Jessup. IBPN combines Lovecraftian horror with the science fictional notion of the Singularity and the post-human beings that would emerge from such an event.

If you're writing genre fiction and looking for a niche to exploit or a place to publish, I'd recommend checking out Innsmouth Free Press and its anthology series. They don't pay much, but they are getting some significant attention—and they do pay slightly more to "big names." (In the Lovecraftian small press, I'm a big name.) Check out the magazine and book, and give it a whirl!

Play reading...

You're invited to a staged reading of my dark comedy Necessary Evil on Monday, December 12, during which

"Three New York cops and a distinguished guest give a master class on evil
- in this life and the next."

Necessary Evil is a full-length play, following a ten-minute opener.

Presented by the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Hosted by Arlene Dahl, produced by Ellen Muir.

Light refreshments at 5:30, reading at 6:00. The event is free, but please call 212-459-3630 x204 for reservations and Midtown Manhattan location (across from Bryant Park), no later than 2:30, Friday, December 9.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Karen Romano Young Wins CT Book Award!

Congratulations to Karen and to Doodlebug!,0,3372185.story

Note on Evaluations

Folks, when you are filling out evaluation forms, please note that there are two different forms--the program form and the departmental form. Do not fill out the program form twice (or the department form twice)--which will only result in one copy being discarded. If you've already submitted two copies of one form or the other, I leave it to you to decide whether to go back and fill out the second form.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011


The application for all scholarships is now live at

Students should fill out and submit this form as soon as possible. A list of scholarships is available at

Students will not be eligible for a scholarship in the 2012-13 academic year if they do not fill out the form.

For 2011-12, the WCSU Foundation awarded 182 scholarships for a total of $202,000. Don’t miss out on this opportunity.

Questions? Call or email Sue Wolf in the Office of Institutional Advancement at (203) 837-8279 or

Residency Workshop Signups

Please visit this link

to sign up for your residency workshops. The workshop descriptions will indicate the advance work (if any) and instructions on what to bring. We have included bios for the workshop leaders this time, per your request. Please take note of deadlines in the descriptions, as well as this one: deadline for workshop signups is Dec. 15. If you have not signed up by the 15th, you will be assigned to workshops.

Workshops fill up quickly sometimes, so sign up soon!

Also, note that we are going to need 3 student stories for the Haigh class. If you have any short stories on hand, please send them along!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Enrichment Videos

All, please check out the excellent work this semester's internship/practicum students are doing in Ron's class! They're all posting videos about their experiences; I think you'll enjoy them. I love 'em. I think we may go in this direction for all MFA students in the future... Thanks to Ron and the MFAers in his course this semester!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Faculty/Course Evaluations

Fall '11 Students,

Please take a moment to complete an evaluation form for each of your courses. Please complete the Program Course Evaluation Form and the Departmental form. Please email the Program form to me, and email the Departmental form to Laurel.

These forms are an important part of our quality review process for the program, so your participation is greatly needed and appreciated.

Please submit forms by email no later than Dec. 15. Forms received after then 15th will be discarded.

Faculty members DO have access to the forms after they have posted their grades. You may make the PROGRAM form confidential, however, by indicating so on the form with a prominent note.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Residency schedule is up...

...on the MFA web site.

We're handling the free time/peer workshops a bit differently this time. There are large blocks of free time scheduled for Wednesday and Friday afternoons and Saturday morning. On Wednesday and Friday afternoons there are optional events going on during those times, so you can choose whether to go to those events, to do peer group work, or do something else.

If you want to do peer group work, it's always a good idea to make some sort of plan in advance of the residency. I encourage you to at least partially make those plans via the blog in order to include the new students.

AWP Awards

Congratulations to Kristin Santa Maria and Marj Laydon for their winning pieces in the WestConn AWP Intro Awards. Kristin's story "Safe Harbor" and Marj's poems "Fire Sticks" and "The Ushering: of Toro Nagashi", along with undergraduate Taylor Wolff's poem "First, let's not get carried away", will be entered into the national AWP competition. Good luck to them!

There were no entries in creative nonfiction, and, thus, no winners.


Okay, here's how to get registered:

*If you are taking thesis hours in the spring, you will be registered by Grad Studies. DO NOTHING.
*If you are not taking thesis hours in the spring, you may now register online. YOU MUST USE THE SECTION NUMBERS I EMAILED TO YOU. If you do not use those section numbers, both your courses and someone else's courses will be incorrect.

Register at will!