Writing News

Posted on Tuesday, August 16, 2011 by Jim Norrena

As the 10th Anniversary Reunion Weekend approaches, what better way to celebrate than to participate in a community book/CD swap?

Please arrive with a book/CD you’ve authored or illustrated (or both), a journal to which you’ve contributed, a zine you’ve edited—you get the picture.

When you arrive at the Writers' Studio on our celebration weekend (September 16-18), deliver the book/CD you are willing to swap to the "book swap" tables. We’ll have separate tables for faculty and alumni. Bid your book a fond farewell!

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Posted on Wednesday, August 3, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Author: Gloria Frym
Publisher: BlazeVOX Books Buy now!
Publication date: 5/3/2011
ISBN: 9781609640422
Price: $16

How does the present imprint itself on language, on poetry? Gloria Frym's Mind Over Matter shows us that: the outlines of the endless wars, the credit default swaps. But it also shows poetry resisting this. "No poem/would stand for such a line," Frym writes. "A poem is not a fool." This book makes me want to cheer.

— Rae Armantrout

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Posted on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Saint Erasure
Talisman House, 2010
Paperback, 71 pages, $13.95

Laura Mullen says, "Anyone who still wants to view experimentation as a purely intellectual exercise will be convinced otherwise by Donna de la Perrière's exquisite second collection. Under the threat or promise of erasure and at the edge of silence, the poet deftly leads us through a shifting, minimalist landscape. Wrestling with change and stasis, with the resistance and sudden give of the real, she delicately monitors each stage of what feels like a pilgrimage, while defamiliarization pressures vision and makes each breath at once artful and endlessly brave. Saint Erasure saves us by exposing the beauty of our vulnerability: 'Welcome to the new body / tonight we lose everything.'" Donna de la Perrière is a faculty member in the MFA Program in Writing and the undergraduate Writing and Literature Program.

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Posted on Monday, May 9, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Technically it's not a dump, it's a transfer station: the 44-acre Recology site where most of San Francisco's garbage and recyclables pass through on their way to either a landfill or a recycling plant. To those who work there, know it, and love it, it's the dump. And for many local artists, including an impressive array of CCA alumni and faculty, it has been the site of a four-month-long scavenger hunt. Recology hosts a one-of-a-kind, intensely competitive residency program where for four months, 40 hours a week, a few lucky artists find inspiration, a literally endless stream of raw materials, a wide array of tools, and 2,000 square feet of studio space, leading up to a culminating exhibition event. The program just celebrated its 20th year. Not all of the artists make work that is specifically about reuse, but no one leaves without having been profoundly affected by the experience, without thinking about life and culture (and trash) in entirely new ways.

On May 20-21 Recology will host the final exhibition of current residents Alex Nichols (soon-to-be alumna from CCA's MFA Program in Writing), Scott Kildall, and Niki Ulehla. That such an obviously object-oriented residency welcomed Nichols, a writer, is an indication of how it continues to evolve and push the envelope of what "art" and "scavenging" mean. Some of the best-known works to come out of the residency have included Nathaniel Stookey's Junkestra (2007), which subsequently performed to a sold-out audience at Herbst Theater in San Francisco and released a recording, and the Styrofoam Hummer made by Andrew Junge (MFA 2002), which has gone on to tour numerous exhibition venues all over the country and has achieved legendary, mythical status among the dump workers.

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Posted on Thursday, May 5, 2011 by Jim Norrena

High praise for Joseph Lease's "Testify"

Visit today's SFGate.com and you'll read a familiar name in Evan Karp's Special to The Chronicle: Joseph Lease, much admired chair of CCA's MFA Program in Writing. The praiseworthy call-out highlights Lease's latest book release, Testify, for which he was recently invited to do a book reading at City Lights, the nation's first all-paperback bookstore and one of the truly great remaining independent bookstores.

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Posted on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Directed and edited by Yoni Klein (Photography) and Alka Joshi (MFA Writing 2011)

Blink, a short documentary directed and edited by the talented interdisciplinary team of Photography undergraduate Yoni Klein and Alka Joshi, a soon-to-be MFA Program in Writing graduate, has been programmed into the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, the longest-running, largest, and most widely recognized LGBT film exhibition event in the world.

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Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Slammer: Writing In and About Prison class photo (photo by Jeff Von Ward)

On March 4, 2011, ten CCA writing students followed in the footsteps of Johnny Cash into the oldest correctional facility in California: San Quentin State Prison. We were there to attend a creative writing class, an invitation arranged by MFA Program in Writing faculty member Anne Marino. Last year, Marino participated in a literary contest pitting a handful of Bay Area professional writers against a group of inmate writers. After experiencing the inmates' responses and the quality of their work, she organized a new graduate-level course as part of the ongoing ENGAGE at CCA initiative: "Slammer: Writing In and About Prison," in which students would read works about incarceration and explore the roots, themes, and social and psychological significance of prison literature. Which is how Paul Blumer, Lauren Camacho, Max Cherney, Kyler Hood, Luisa Leija, Julian Quisquater, Rae Thomas, Rachael Volk, Jeff Von Ward, and I came to pass through the razor-wire gates of San Quentin on this blustery Friday evening.

Before driving out to the bleak, wind-swept promontory in Marin County, we'd all familiarized ourselves with San Quentin's guest handbook. The guidance notes issued by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) were intimidatingly direct. For instance: "Wear shoes you can run in." No visitors are allowed to wear green (the color of the guards' uniforms), orange (the jumpsuits worn by recently arrived inmates), or blue. Inmates wear dark-blue denim pants and shirts the color of Tar Heel blue, both stenciled with "CDCR PRISONER" in large yellow print.

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Posted on Monday, March 21, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Join us at the many events scheduled to celebrate CCA's 2011 graduating class

Note: This page showcases the wide selection of end-of-year events CCA hosted in 2011. Events listed here are for illustrative purposes only; all events have passed.

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Posted on Friday, March 11, 2011 by Jim Norrena

McSweeney's managing editor Eli Horowitz (left) and editor Jordan Bass

CCA's Writers Series Attracts High-Caliber Writers

The popular weekly Writers Series is required for first-year ink slingers (okay, pixel pushers) enrolled in CCA's MFA Program in Writing, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, thanks in large part to the leadership of chair Joseph Lease. The series is offered each fall and spring and is masterfully curated by associate professor Tom Barbash.

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Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Testify
Coffee House Press, 2011
Paperback, 63 pages, $16

Testify is the latest collection of poems by Joseph Lease, MFA Program in Writing chair and associate professor in the Writing and Literature Program. Lease is the critically acclaimed author of Broken World (Coffee House Press, 2007), Human Rights (Zoland Books, 2000), and The Room (Alef Series of Poetry and Verse Translation: 2, Alef Books, 1994). (See a complete list of Lease's published works.)

Lease, who was raised in Chicago, has been featured on NPR and published in The AGNI 30th Anniversary Poetry Anthology, VQR, Bay Poetics, Paris Review, and The Best American Poetry 2002.

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