Beauty and Truth

By Robin Lippincott

Spalding MFA Faculty, Fiction

In her most recent post on this blog, my friend and colleague Eleanor Morse asked the question, “Who and what inspires you?” I thought then and still think that would make a strong series for faculty and students to respond to and continue: who or what inspires you? Continue reading

Announcing the Spalding MFA Blog Relaunch

By Katy Yocom

Spalding MFA Associate Administrative Director

The Spalding MFA blog has a new home and a new look! The blog now resides at If you’re looking for it at, that link will still work—it now takes you to the new site.

The relaunched blog is now mobile-friendly. And it’s easy for you to follow us:

  • If you’re a WordPress blogger yourself, just click the blue “Follow Spalding” link at the bottom of the page. We’ll follow you back.
  • Otherwise, enter your email address at the bottom of the page and click “Follow.” You’ll receive notifications letting you know about our newest posts.

The blog is home to a wealth of content. On it, you’ll find advice from Spalding MFA faculty about issues of craft, publishing, and production—from how to develop interesting characters to how to write a book proposal. It’s also the place to go for announcements about program news and upcoming events. And five times a year, we compile writing news from students, alums and faculty in our recurring “Life of a Writer” series.

We owe a huge debt of thanks to graduate assistant Kellie Carle for her excellent work in taking our blog to a fresher, easier-to-use platform. Kellie is talented and tenacious, and she gets things done. We’ll be sorry (but proud) to see her graduate in November.


                                       Kellie Carle

See you at the new blog. We hope you enjoy it!

Katy Yocom’s fiction, poetry, essays, and journalism have appeared in The Louisville Review, New Southerner, 2nd & Church, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in Writing from Spalding University.

For more information about our program, students and faculty, please visit our Spalding MFA website or email us at

Writing As Therapy

by Nancy McCabe

Spalding MFA Faculty, Creative Nonfiction

“She’s just writing for therapy,” we sometimes say, meaning that the work seems self-indulgent or self-pitying or self-absorbed. But using writing to merely wallow or vent is not, according to research, all that therapeutic. It is writing to find meaning that, it turns out, boosts immune function and promotes healing.

Nevertheless, I feel like I’m breaking a taboo when I make the shamefully unartistic admission that I find writing to be therapeutic. Continue reading

Special Events at the Fall 2016 Residency

by Katy Yocom

Spalding MFA Associate Administrative Director

A priceless Shakespeare first folio, the new and improved Speed Art Museum, and a musical interlude with the Louisville Orchestra all figure into the Spalding low-residency MFA in Writing program’s Fall 2016 residency. The residency will include dozens of special events and sessions, acclaimed guest speakers, faculty craft lectures, and a special focus on “Will in the Ville.” Residency takes place November 11-20 in Louisville, Kentucky. Continue reading

The Essentials: Creating a Poem with Rhythm and Music

by Kathleen Driskell

Spalding MFA Faculty, Poetry

Recently, I was asked to judge a poetry competition that called me to read and think about hundreds of poems. Sifting through heaps of entries, I found, as I usually do when judging a poetry contest (or when I’m looking through submissions for The Louisville Review) that nearly all poems submitted are proficient, obviously made with some know-how. And because of that it might seem an impossible task to choose a handful of “winners” and “honorable mentions” from the many, but surprisingly, it never really is. Continue reading

Writing Places

by Julie Brickman

Spalding MFA Faculty, Fiction

I always love descriptions of place.  Often, to get myself rolling on writing, I look out my window and describe what the landscape looks like at that moment of the day.  Today, the mist from the ocean has grayed the air all day.  Early this morning, my house, which sits on the edge of a canyon about a mile from the ocean, was enveloped by mist so thick that neither tree nor earth nor neighbor’s house was visible, nor even a bird in flight. It hung as if suspended in midair, invisible to the world and people around it. Now in the late afternoon the mist has thinned but not lifted, muting the greens and browns of the sere landscape, dulling the sky to a chalky grey. Continue reading

Just How Cross-Genre is the Spalding MFA Program?

by Katy Yocom

Spalding MFA Associate Administrative Director

Occasionally I get calls from prospective students who worry about the cross-genre exploration built into the Spalding low-residency MFA in Writing curriculum. “I want to be able to focus on my own area,” they’ll say.

Their concern raises two questions: Just how cross-genre are we? And why do we emphasize cross-genre at all? Continue reading

Thorns Will Be Necessary: The Appeal of the Flawed Character

by Beth Bauman

Spalding MFA Faculty, Writing for Children and Young Adults

My new favorite TV show is the HBO crime drama “The Night Of.”  It’s tough and gritty and co-written by the inimitable Richard Price.  I’m going to detour here and mention how at a New Yorker festival years back, I first met Price when he and another author gave talks about their writing. The first was affected and kept tinkling the ice in his glass in a soft, actorly way.  He was sort of full of it.  Price, on the other hand, bounded onto the stage when it was his turn, looking like he was wearing a pajama top.  He looked at us and said, “Hey, did you know there’s a really good bar across the street?”  Well, he had our attention. Continue reading

Character Takeover: Finding Your Protagonist

by Larry Brenner

Spalding MFA Faculty, Playwriting and Screenwriting

It was in my first semester as a Spalding MFA student that I got perhaps the single best writing note I’d ever gotten.

“Your protagonist isn’t your protagonist.”  (Thanks, Charlie!)

I had just written a play (Saving Throw Versus Love) in which a guy named Sam invited his fiancée Carol to play Dungeons and Dragons with him and his friends.  In my mind, the guy was the protagonist- he had a problem reconciling his secret passion for role-playing with his new status as an adult in a serious, committed relationship. And the play wasn’t working quite right. Continue reading

August 2016

Life of a Writer: News and Events

August 2016


Peter Field (SW) is the founding co-editor of The Timberline Review, a new, semi-annual lit journal based in Portland, Oregon. After the delightful experience of working with staff and fellow readers at The Louisville Review, in 2015 Peter marshaled the support of a local, non-profit writers organization and released the third collection of new short fiction, creative nonfiction, essays, and poetry. “Spalding-ers” represented in The Timberline Review include former dramatic writing student Jennie Kiffmeyer, fiction faculty member Jody Lisberger, and MFA alumna Rosanna Staffa (F ’13). Continue reading

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