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Writers' Fall Opus

View auction items (Click on the first photo to see captions and start slide show. Remember to scroll both directions!)

Writers' Fall Opus (the annual creative writing program fundraiser for scholarships, visiting writers and literary journals) is Friday, September 19, 6:30 - 10 p.m., Governor's Room of the Florence Building, 111 N. Higgins Avenue, downtown Missoula. Enjoy fine food and beverages, the company of friends and writers, and an auction. Must be 21 or older to attend. Tickets are $40 single or $75 couple and can be purchased at the door. Writers' Fall Opus is sponsored by Kevin Head.

Some featured auction and raffle items: Wine Baske: Blue Topaz & Diamond Earrings; Dinner for 8 Prepared by the Missoula College Culinary School; Fat Tire Bicycle; Donrovan Ranch Trail Ride for 2; Guided Fly-fishing Raft Trip; Leaf Raking; ATF Private Shooting Lesson; Harley Heddick Buffalo Photo; Bourbon Tasting Party, and Two Nights at the Stage Road Inn B & B.

Summer 2014

  • Stephanie Land's (BA 2014) essay, "MFA vs. Mom," was published in the Sept. 16 issue of Mamalode.
  • Brian Kevin's (MFA 2009) travel memoir, The Footloose American: Following the Hunter S. Thompson Trail Across South America, was reviewed Sept. 11 by Suzanne MacNeille in The New York Times.
  • Peter Schumacher's (MFA 2013) story, "Mars" is published in The Collagist, September 2014, Issue 62.
  • Chris Dombrowski's (MFA 2001) essay, "Should I Quit / / Making This Poem" appeared in Spoon River Review, 39.1. Dombrowski was also the recipient of a Poets & Writers grant which partially funded his Poet-in-Residence position in Yosemite National Park this summer.
  • Rachel Mindell's (third year MFA) poem, "Susan Sontag Hates You, Mr. Interview," is forthcoming in apt, and "Cafe Poca" appeared in the August issue of The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society.
  • Amy Ratto-Parks' (MFA 2004) collection of poems, Song of Days: Torn and Mended, has been accepted for publication by Alice Blue Books.
  • Ed Skoog's (MFA 1996 ) poem, The Empty House Next Door, is published in Narrative.
  • Kate M. Cholewa (MFA 1990) reads from her first novel, Shaking Out the Dead, on Friday, September 5, 5:30 pm at Fact & Fiction in Missoula.
  • Allison Linville's (second year MFA) poem, "Now, Hunger," is forthcoming in the Spring 2015 print issue of the Bellingham Review.
  • Jolene Brink's (first year MFA) chapbook, Peregrine, will be published by Red Bird Chapbooks in 2015.
  • Brian Blanchfield (Hugo Writer 2009) won the James Laughlin Award, a $5000 prize from the Academy of American Poets, for his second book, A Several World.
  • Kevin Canty has a piece in Come Here Often? 53 Writers Raise a Glass to Their Favorite Bar (Black Balloon Publishing, 2014).
  • Caylin Capra-Thomas' (second year MFA) chapbook manuscript "Inside My Electric City" was listed as a semifinalist for Black Lawrence Press's Black River Chapbook Contest, and over the summer she had poems published in alice blue review, The Boiler, and Permafrost.  Tinderbox has accepted two more poems for publication.
  • Philip Schaefer (MFA 2014) and Jeff Whitney (MFA 2012) have a collaborative chapbook coming out with Phantom Limb Press: “Smoke Tones.” Jeff Whitney has another chapbook coming out with Thrush Press: “The Tree With Lights In It.”
  • Alice Bolin's (MFA 2011) essay about Miranda Lambert, "Happiness Is a Pink Gun," is published in The Morning News.
  • Ryan Bell's (MFA 2014) article, "Sitting Bull's Lost Horses?" won Best Feature Article at the 2013 American Horse Publications Awards. Also, the first of a two-part series about horse cloning is coming out in the September issue of Western Horseman.
  • Alicia Mountain's (second year MFA) poem, "the book is a hungry darkness," has been accepted for publication by Barrow Street.
  • Kaylen Mallard 's (MFA 2013) essay, "Too Much of Ourselves," is published in the summer issue of Broad.
  • Virginia Zech's (third year MFA) story, "Falling Down the Stairs," is on Monkey Bicycle.
  • Carl Corder (MFA 2012) has a tribute to Kevin Canty in Metonymy Media.
  • Alice Bolin (MFA 2011) published an essay in the Awl on patriotic pop music, lana del Ray, and all the roommates she's had in Los Angeles this past year.
  • Khaty Xiong (MFA 2013) has poems published in the August 2014 issue of MiPOesias.
  • Poet Bridget Carson (MFA 2006) is interviewed by BJ Soloy (MFA 2014) for CutBank.
  • Richard Fifield (BA 1998) is teaching fiction at UM in the fall. His short story, "You Can't Always Get What You Want," has been shortlisted for the 2014 Bristol Prize.
  • Alice Bolin's (MFA 2011) July 22 essay on Joan Didion and Los Angeles in The Believer is making quite a splash. Her essay has been featured by NPR and the Atlantic's Best Pop-Culture Writing.
  • Megan Kruse (MFA 2010) is teaching day-long "Finding Your Genre and Writing Taboo" courses at the Hugo House in Seattle this fall.
  • Laura Dunn (MFA 2009) has a new album, The Snow Queen: A Folk Opera, which retells the Hans Christian Andersen story in present-day Detroit.
  • Henrietta Goodman (MFA 1994) and Karin Schalm (MFA 1996) are reading at SpoPo in Spokane, Washington on Sunday, August 3, 7 pm at 127 W. 25th Avenue.
  • Philip Schaefer's (MFA 2013) poem "Longest Division" appears in the first online issue of Rhino.
  • Ann McGlinn's (MFA 1997) first novel, El Penco, was published by Cuidono Press.
  • Giano Cromley's (MFA 2001) first novel, The Last Good Halloween, is being published by Tortoise Books.
  • Caitlin MacDougall (second year MFA) has a new piece in feminspire: I Am Not "Petite": I Am a Woman.
  • Jeremy Pataky's (MFA 2007) first book of poetry, Overwinter, will be published by University of Alaska Press in March 2015 as part of the Alaska Literary Series.
  • Laura Dunn's (MFA 2009) chapbook, Spider Blue, was accepted for publication by Dancing Girl Press.
  • Richard Robbins (MFA 1979) recently completed 28 years of directing the Good Thunder Reading Series at Minnesota State University, Mankato. During that time he arranged nearly 400 one- and four-day campus visits by internationally acclaimed as well as lesser known contemporary writers. He continues as professor and director of the creative writing program.
  • Jordan Konkol's (third year MFA) poem, "Askesis," has been accepted for publication by Colorado Review.
  • Rachel Toor (MFA 2006) has a letter in Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves.
  • Caitlin MacDougall's (second year MFA) essay, "Are All Trigger Warnings Created Equal," has been published in Feminspire.
  • Nick Bosworth's (MFA 2014) poem, "Ash Bore," is in the recent issue of Blue Lake Review.
  • Khaty Xiong's (MFA 2013) poetry chapbook, Deer Hour, will be published by The New Michigan Press/DIAGRAM.
  • Rachel Toor's (MFA 2006) essay, "What Writing and Running Have in Common," is published in the June 24th issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  • Alice Bolin (MFA 2011) has a new essay that is featured in The Atlantic's Best Pop Culture Writing and originally appeared in The Toast, A Meditation on Britney's "...Baby One More Time."
  • Melissa Kwasny (MFA 1999) is teaching at LiTFUSE in September with Martin Espada and Christopher Howell.
  • Khaty Xiong (MFA 2013) and Jeff Whitney (2012) both have poems in the latest issue of Birdfeast.
  • Emma Torzs' (MFA 2012) story, "Word of Mouth," is featured in the summer issue of Three Penny Review

Featured Books

It Looks Worse Than I Am Laurie Blauner's (MFA 1980) poetry book, It Looks Worse Than I Am, is coming out with What Books Press in October. There will be a release party and reading at Open Books in Seattle on Friday, October 17 at 7:30 pm.

See You in Paradise    

 J. Robert Lennon's (MFA 1995) latest collection of stories, See You in Paradise, is coming out in November with Graywolf in America (left) and simultaneously with Serpent Tail in Britain (right). Lennon is reading at Shakespeare & Co. in Missoula on Friday, November 7, 7 p.m.

SHaking Out the DeadKate M. Cholewa  (MFA 1990) reads from her novel, Shaking Out the Dead (Story Plant, 2014), on Friday, September 5, 5:30 p.m. at Fact & Fiction.

Cholewa has crafted a masterful first novel that will change the way you relate to those around you. She has endowed the most unlikely cast of characters--a short order cook, an orphaned child, a Native American undertaker--with both the unerring wisdom of sages and strong doses of human frailty. There is no single protagonist in this tale. The handful of principle characters move through their lives together, sharing their joys and disappointments as best friends and family members do. The reader will often end up rooting for everyone involved.

Call Me Home Megan Kruse's (MFA 2010) Call Me home has been described by Kevin Canty as  "an urgent, beautiful book about love and its consequences, set against a backdrop of the unglamorized West. These characters will lodge themselves in your imagination, stick with you long after you’re done reading. A fine and original first novel."

The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac

Sharma Shields' (MFA 2004) new novel, The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac (Holt, 2015), is a dark, fantastical, multi-generational tale about a family whose patriarch is consumed by the hunt for the mythical, elusive sasquatch he encountered in his youth.

The Red Handkerchief

Daniel Shapiro's (MFA 1980) The Red Handkerchief and Other Poems will be published in Fall 2014 by Dos Madres Press. He is also the author of the collection Child with a Swan's Wings (Diaz Grey Editores, 2013) and the translator of Cipango, by Chilean poet Tomas Harris (2010); Cipango received a starred review in Library Journal and was also praised in The American Poetry Review, Translation, and World Literature Today.  Shapiro has been awarded translation fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and PEN.  He is Director of Literature and Editor of Review:  Literature and Arts of the Americas at the Americas Society in New York.

Walking the BonesMelissa Mylchreest's (MFA 2012) new poetry collection, Walking the Bones, winner of the Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize, has been released by Bear Star Press.

Yesterday, the cranes gathered
the evening beneath their wings
and rode over the valley,
the string of them like the body
of a snake, their going an old
and holy thing.  --from "Almanac”

elsewhereScott Alexander Jones (MFA 2009) has two books of poetry coming out this summer: elsewhere (Black Lawrence Press) and Carpe Demons (Unsolicited Press). You can read an excerpt from Carpe Demons in DIAGRAM.

Footloose American

Brian Kevin (MFA 2009) is traveling the country reading from his new book, The Footloose American: Following the Hunter S. Thompson Trail Across South America (Broadway Books).

On the Road to Find OutRachel Toor's (MFA 2006) young adult novel On the Road to Find Out (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) combines three of Toor's topics of expertise from previous books: the college entrance process, a love of animals and running. Toor introduces Alice, a high school senior who has been rejected from the college of her dreams, the only school where she applied. Alice, who gets tired of complaining to her pet rat Walter, takes up running and experiences challenges that help her learn to endure when the going suddenly gets tougher than she ever imagined. On the Road to Find Out has been praised by Kirkus Reviews as "warm, funny and wise." 

Black RiverSarah Hulse (B.A. 2006) who publishes under the name S.M. Hulse, finished her first novel, Black River, during her year as the McCreight Fiction Fellow. Hulse has signed a two-book contract with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, who will publish Black River in January 2015.


Megan Gannon 's (MFA 2002) debut novel, Cumberland, was released by Apprentice House in February. Here's the storyline... in the fictional coastal town of Cumberland, Georgia, fifteen-year-old twin sisters Ansel and Isabel Mackenzie have lived with their eccentric grandmother since a car accident killed their parents and paralyzed Isabel. Over the past seven years the responsibility of caring for her sister has fallen increasingly on Ansel. However, as she cultivates a romantic relationship with a local boy, as well as an artistic apprenticeship with a visiting photographer, Ansel’s growing desire for independence compromises her ability to care for her sister, threatening their sororal connection, and ultimately, Isabel’s life.