Poets and published authors: SPU’s authors get creative
Last fall, Seattle Pacific University poets took the stage at Hugo House, a center for writing workshops and readings in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Jennifer Maier, professor of English and writer-in-residence; Mischa Willett, instructor of education, English, and writing; and Scott Cairns, professor of English and director of the MFA in Creative Writing, shared work that Hugo House said expressed “a sense of the intangible within the visible world.”
Cairns, whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Paris Review, The New Republic, and Poetry, shared some of the discoveries published in Anaphora (Paraclete Press, 2019), his ninth and latest collection of poetry. [An interview with Cairns is available at spu.edu/cairnsinterview.]
While SPU’s poets shared their work with the community, graduates of Seattle Pacific’s MFA in Creative Writing program are also sharing their work with the following published books: We’ll Fly Away by Bryan Bliss MFA ’14 (Greenwillow Books, 2018). We’ll Fly Away was longlisted for the National Book Award in 2018. This Is My Body by Cameron Dezen Hammon MFA ’15 (Lookout Books, 2019). Where Goodness Still Grows: Reclaiming Virtue in an Age of Hypocrisy, by Amy Peterson MFA ’18 (Thomas Nelson, 2020).
This year, the MFA program added a new second-year poetry mentor, poet Karen An-hwei Lee. Lee is the author of Phyla of Joy (Tupelo, 2012), Ardor (Tupelo, 2008), and In Medias Res (Sarabande, 2004). Winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize and the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America, Lee has also written a novel, Sonata in K (Ellipsis Press, 2017); a book of literary criticism, Anglophone Literatures in the Asian Diaspora (Cambria Press, 2013); and translations of poetry, Doubled Radiance: Poetry & Prose of Li Qingzhao (Singing Bone Press, April 2018).
The MFA program is adding a new Young Adult Fiction track. Bliss will serve as the first-year mentor along with Sara Zarr, the acclaimed author of seven novels for young adults (most recently Gem & Dixie), a National Book Award finalist, and a two-time Utah Book Award winner.
Cairns is delighted to see the MFA writing program grow with a commitment to nurturing writers of faith. “That is what I find most exciting, that we are in a position to assist continuing generations of writers who have not previously seen how both their accomplishment as writers and their spiritual development as persons of faith can prove to comprise a single, unified journey.”