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Where will you be at the end of the semester? Perhaps this an accurate portrait (give or take some hair/fur).


But it’s not over yet. If you’re a student, you got those finals and papers keeping vigil before the new year. If you’re not, you got those not-a-student end of year ordeals. Either way, we’re all stumbling over the finish line towards the next season of this race. Fortunately, I bring something to breathe life into you (and it’s not Christmas coming early).

Taeyin ChoGlueck, Luis Lopez-Maldonado, and Tania Sarfraz will read and perform their poetry and prose on Wednesday, December 7, 2016, at the Hospitality Room of Reckers on Notre Dame’s campus. The reading begins at 7:30 PM. It is free and open to the public.

Taeyin ChoGlueck is the co-founder of Stage for Change, a non-profit group that puts unheard voices that question identity, inclusion, and difference on the stage. Her most recent play, The Pink Pope, is a feminist satire featuring a female God dealing with a Purgatory full of misogynistic men who reject Her, and a split church led by women on earth. Recently, Taeyin has found herself writing about menopausal super heroes, virgin ghosts, and ajummas. In her spare time, she eats up Korean webtoons (that may or may not star menopausal super heroes, virgin ghosts, ajummas, and menopausal supervirgin ajumma ghosts). Did you miss The Pink Pope? Now’s your chance to make up for it.

Luis Lopez-Maldonado is a Xican@ poeta, choreographer and educator. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Dance from the University of California Riverside. His poetry has been seen in The American Poetry Review, Cloudbank, The Packinghouse Review, Public Pool, and Spillway, among many others. He also earned a Master of Arts degree in Dance from Florida State University. He is a candidate for the Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing at Notre Dame, where he is poetry editorial assistant for the Notre Dame Review, and founder of the men’s writing workshop in the St. Joseph County Juvenile Justice Center. He is also co-founder and editor at The Brillantina Project and founder of Humans of The University of Notre Dame. Luis’s reading will focus on violence as performance, and explore the hybridity between poetry, choreography, and audience. His works will contain themes relating to the darkness in America we all know: the mass shootings, the racism, the sexism, the homophobism, and the hate, among others. Plan to be disturbed. Prepare to hear erotic, beautiful language. Get excited to experience the world premier of his new contemporary dance solo: Silence Is Violence.

Tania Sarfraz received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from Brown University in 2014. She won the Weston Senior Prize for her short fiction collection, Betrayal & Other Stories. She recently acquired a sentient hotdog on a skateboard, but due to legal issues it remains to be seen if Tania will bring it to the reading. It is entirely possible it has been eaten already. Such is the life of a hotdog.

But forget about franks. Let us all gather to on December 7 to reflect upon 2016 and gaze towards the trials and possibilities that await us in 2017. Come hear the voices of bright minds to clear your own, or fill it with inspiration.



Approach with footfalls soft as a kitten’s nose. Art is the delicate process of making craters. To breathe upon them adds carbon dioxide to the equation. It is a stone age tradition that drinks fresh blood. It is the sum of all shadows that cast a human. Do not be obvious, oblivious, obedient, observable, objective. Be obscure, obnoxious, obstructive, observant, obscene. We will bring the hammocks for the revolution. Align your nightlight through any means necessary. This water fountain is bitter.


Did you deny your bruises? Then we’re ready.

Kelsey Castaneda, Bailey Pittenger, and Sarah Snider will read their poetry and prose on Wednesday, November 30, 2016, at the Hospitality Room of Reckers on Notre Dame’s campus. The reading begins at 7:30 PM. It is free and open to the public.

Kelsey Castaneda received her Bachelor of Arts in 2014 from Georgetown College, where she studied English and Classics. She spent a summer studying Creative Writing in Prague, and a semester at Oxford studying Shakespeare and Ovid. Most recently she took a gap year and taught English in Slovakia through the Fulbright Program. For three years, Kelsey was the Student Editor of Georgetown College’s literary magazine, the Georgetown Review, and her poem You Are Constellations was published in the magazine’s very last issue for spring 2015. She dreams of becoming a Greek siren with her own personal chorus of cats.

Bailey Pittenger studied English with focuses in Women’s and Gender Studies and Creative Writing as an undergraduate at Wake Forest University. She continued her studies at Wake Forest University for a Master’s degree in English, in which she focused her thesis studies on techniques of experimental form used by contemporary Caribbean and Caribbean-American writers and a creative manuscript of science fiction stories inspired by Old English elegies. She will be introduced by Abby Burns (one of our new Prosers) and introduce Sarah. Have you ever woke up in the middle of the night, to the eternal question, “What is Bailey’s thesis project?” Now you can find out.

Sarah Snider graduated from Yeshiva University with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and minors in History and Women’s Studies in January 2012. Since then, she has worked in a variety of nonprofit jobs in areas including disaster relief, community outreach, volunteer coordination, feminist advocacy, university student activities, and Holocaust survivor outreach. Sarah will be reading a creative nonfiction piece about living and breathing within the sub-subculture of American Orthodox Judaism. Her work covers issues surrounding gender, family, religion, and culture, but attempts to do so with a desperate insertion of humor and in a pleasantly fragmented fashion. Sometimes she insists that she writes fiction also, just to remind herself that she still can.

Come as you are. You do not need to be alright. Bring everyone including your shovel. That is not an order. Everything will become a halation.



Does anyone know what a Wunderkammer is?

I see you have your hand raised, Wikipedia.

Cabinets of curiosities were encyclopedic collections of objects whose categorical boundaries were, in Renaissance Europe, yet to be defined. Modern terminology would categorize the objects included as belonging to natural history (sometimes faked), geology, ethnography, archaeology, religious or historical relics, works of art (including cabinet paintings), and antiquities.”

Yes, Francesaco Fiorani?

“The Kunstkammer was regarded as a microcosm or theater of the world, and a memory theater. The Kunstkammer conveyed symbolically the patron’s control of the world through its indoor, microscopic reproduction.”

A most excellent response. Now, can someone tell me why you would title a book of poetry after it?


I guess we’ll have to ask the poet herself.

Cynthia Cruz will read Wednesday, November 16, 2016, in the Eck Center Auditorium. The reading begins at 7:30 PM. It is free and open to the public.

Cynthia Cruz is the author of four collections of poetry, with How the End Begins (2016), The Glimmering Room (2012) and Wunderkammer (2014) published by Four Way Books, and Ruin (2006) by Alice James Books. She has published poems in numerous literary journals and magazines including the New Yorker, Kenyon Review, the Paris Review, and the Boston Review, and in anthologies including Isn’t it Romantic: 100 Love Poems by Younger Poets (2004), and The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries (2004). She is the recipient of fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University. Cruz teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College while pursuing a PhD in German Studies at Rutgers University. She has previously taught at the Juilliard School, Fordham University, the Rutgers-Newark MFA Program and Eugene Lang College. Cruz earned her BA at Mills College, her MFA in Creative Writing at Sarah Lawrence College, and her MFA in Art Writing & Criticism at the School of Visual Arts. She and has published essays, interviews, book and art reviews in the LA Review of Books, Hyperallergic, Guernica, The American Poetry Review, and The Rumpus.

So what are the boundaries of Cruz’s poetry? What memories has she collected? How is the world controlled and recreated within her poetics? There is no need to answer now. This is all homework, due November 16. Do come if you don’t want to flunk.



“I’ve been here for a couple of months now, enough time to eat a barrel full of oranges or train a barrel full of monkeys. I’m trying my best with all that citrus fruit but I can’t seem to find any simians. All I have are squirrels. And chipmunks and bunnies, but they have kept their overwhelming fear of humanity.”


“I wonder about them. The squirrels. Is it proof of superior intellect that they recognize most humans don’t pose a threat? How long has it been since they allowed these lumbering, clothed giants to enter their personal space? Is it genetic or is it learned behavior? Has research ever been conducted by ND biology students? Do you love me?”

We interrupt our unscheduled programming for an important message from our sponsors.

Thomas McGonigle will read Wednesday, November 9, 2016, at Hammes Campus Bookstore on Notre Dame. The reading begins at 7:30 PM. It is free and open to the public.

Thomas McGonigle is the author of novels The Corpse Dream of N. Petkov (Dalkey Archive/Northwestern University Press), Going to Patchogue, (Dalkey Archive), and St. Patrick’s Day: another day in Dublin (University of Notre Dame Press), which received the 2016 Notre Dame Review Prize. His poems were published in Arena (Dublin), Poetry Ireland, The Gorey Detail (Ireland), Broadsheet (Dublin) and Screw. His prose was published in various forms in Bomb, Arts Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, Washington Post, The Gorey Detail, Cream City Review, The Guardian, Notre Dame Review, Art in America and Bookforum. McGonigle is an alumnus of University College Dublin, Beloit College, Hollins College and Columbia University. He worked as a foot messenger for Maple Vail Book Manufacturing Co, NYC for 24 years and taught creative writing at Rutgers University and New York University. McGonigle continues to teach at the City University of New York. He is the founder and editor of Adrift Irish and Irish American Writing.

“By his skillful use of modernist techniques he gives the ‘Irish Novel’ a long outstanding and much deserved kick up the arse into the twenty-first century.” So says Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, former Ireland Professor of Poetry, on his review of St. Patrick’s Day: another day in Dublin. That is high praise indeed, and everyone should come to McGonigle’s reading to learn how to kick some arses. I think I’ll start with punting campus squirrel studies into the 21st century.



On Writing a Blog About Lily Hoang’s Reading
By Moonseok Choi

I trust all of you
have had that moment
curiosity grasps your heart and mind
before Facebook, before Internet
(was there ever such a time)
when research becomes but an excuse,
reading accompanies guilt and secret
yet you skim it once
from the random page it opened on
move backwards
then forwards
close the book, open it
from dedication to acknowledgement
to construct a full reading
out of fascinated peeks of surgical precision,
to enact a one-sided love
mere humans do not deserve.


Yeah, A Bestiary was really good. I might read it again. Poem’s over, by the way. But Lily Hoang‘s reading isn’t. She will read Wednesday, November 2, 2016, at Hammes Campus Bookstore on Notre Dame. The reading begins at 7:30 PM. It is free and open to the public.

Lily Hoang is the author of five books, including A Bestiary (winner of the inaugural Cleveland State University Poetry Center’s Nonfiction Contest) and Changing (recipient of a PEN Open Books Award). With Joshua Marie Wilkinson, she edited the anthology The Force of What’s Possible: Writers on Accessibility and the Avant-Garde. She is Director of the MFA program at New Mexico State University. She serves as Editor at Puerto del Sol and for Jaded Ibis Press. Hoang is interested in narrative in its many guises, whether it is a traditional short story or conceptual experimentation. Although her books have been labeled as “experimental” or “avant-garde,” what she loves are narratives, the ways in which a story can happen and influence the reader. She is active in small press publishing and Internet writing communities.

Hoang influenced me alright. I felt an outpouring of things that people might call emotions – pain, laughter, anger, acceptance, grief, and heart just to name a few. They manifested in a public space, where such things must be hidden up sleeves and behind brushed teeth. I’m glad to have had that secret moment, which as the constant irony of the age of social media dictates, is no longer a secret anymore. Yet a shared secret still remains a secret, even when it ostensibly should not be. So do cherish that minute of mine, and perhaps you’ll have one of your own to tell me next time.


You may had heard of Norman Finkelstein. You may have heard of Michael Heller. You may have heard about Norman Finkelstein and Michael Heller. You might have heard of them. It is possible that you remember seeing that they would read. That they would read together at Notre Dame. It is possible that you have not. Possible that you have seen this, but question your memory. Perhaps it was in a dream. Perhaps this post is a dream. Perhaps I am dreaming of writing a blog post about Norman Finkelstein and Michael Heller, reading, at Notre Dame, together. Well, let me clarify.

Norman Finkelstein and Michael Heller will be reading their poetry at the Notre Dame Hammes Bookstore on Wednesday, October 26, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. The reading is free and open to the public.

Finkelstein and Heller are the authors of many books of poetry and criticism on modern and contemporary poetry. The reading will celebrate new collections of poetry by the two authors. Finkelstein is Professor of English at Xavier University in Cincinnati and Heller is Professor Emeritus of English and American Studies at NYU. Following the reading, Finkelstein and Heller will engage in a discussion with the audience on the subject of “Revealment and Concealment in Modern Poetry.” The title of their discussion is drawn from an essay by the Israeli poet Hayim Bialik, which is included at the end of the packet.

Norman Finkelstein is a poet, critic, and Professor of English at Xavier University, where he has taught since 1980. He has published widely in the fields of modern poetry and Jewish American literature. His most recent critical book is On Mount Vision: Forms of the Sacred in Contemporary American Poetry (University of Iowa Press, 2010); his most recent volumes of poetry are The Ratio of Reason to Magic: New and Selected Poems (Dos Madres, 2016) and the serial poem Track (Shearsman, 2012). He is currently working on a book of essays to be published by Hebrew Union College Press, tentatively titled Like a Dark Rabbi: Modern Poetry & the Jewish Literary Imagination.

Michael Heller has published over twenty volumes of poetry, essays, memoir and fiction, the latest being Dianoia, a new collection of poems published this year.  Recent books include This Constellation Is A Name: Collected Poems 1965-2010, Beckmann Variations & other poems, Eschaton, Speaking the Estranged: Essays on the Work of George Oppen.  Multimedia collaborations with the composer Ellen Fishman Johnson include the musical/theater work Constellations of Waking (on Walter Benjamin) and This Art Burning.  Among his many awards and honors are the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Prize, a New York Foundation on the Arts Fellowship, the National Endowment for the Humanities Poet/Scholar Award and the Fund for Poetry.  A collection of essays on his work, The Poetry and Poetics of Michael Heller: Nomad Memory, was published in 2015.

Thus the nature of this reading is revealed. Then what has been concealed? Revelation cannot exist without obscuration, just as a good cup of coffee can’t exist without bad coffees to elevate it. Come to the reading to be enlightened on a facet of modern poetry by discourse and example.


He raises a fist. It transforms into an open palm through the magic of extending his fingers. It sways from left, to right, then left. He repeats it as many times as is necessary.

It’s me, Moon.

I’ve written something on my hand. Won’t you give it back to me?

Thank you. Ahem. Danielle Dutton will read Wednesday, October 12, 2016, at Hammes Campus Bookstore on Notre Dame. The reading begins at 7:30 PM. You will have to send me all your money, and pictures of small animals.

Just kidding. It’s free and open to the public. I prefer puppies, by the way.

Danielle Dutton’s fiction has appeared in magazines such as Harper’s, BOMB, Fence, and Noon. She is the author of Attempts at a Life, S P R A W L (a finalist for the Believer Book Award), and the novel Margaret the First. In 2015, Siglio Press released Here Comes Kitty: A Comic Opera, an artist’s book with texts by Dutton and images by Richard Kraft. Dutton holds a PhD from the University of Denver, an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Before joining the faculty at Washington University in St. Louis, she taught in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa and was the book designer at Dalkey Archive Press. In 2010, Dutton founded the small press Dorothy, a publishing project, which now offers an internship to one MFA writing student each year.

OK, you can have my hand back.

To be honest, I have no idea who Margaret the First (the person) actually is. Let’s try Wikipedia. “Cavendish was a poet, philosopher, writer of prose romances, essayist, and playwright who published under her own name at a time when most women writers published anonymously.” “She has been claimed as an advocate for animals and as an early opponent of animal testing.” I think I like her.

Margaret the First (the novel) is the dramatization of her life, in which Dutton “expertly captures the pathos of a woman whose happiness is furrowed with the anxiety of underacknowledgment.” I can imagine – a female in science, philosophy, and a hundred other fields dominated by males within an age of unthinkable attitudes towards gender – but at the same time, I can’t. Perhaps the reading will help me better understand. We could all stand to understand Margaret Cavendish a little better, in this world where we’re a little behind schedule in moving forward. So do come on October 12, and listen to Danielle Dutton read.

First MFA Student Reading Event poster

Two gentlemanly MFA students will be reading on September 28th, 2016: Zachary Anderson and Chris Muravez. They’ll be gracing us with their presence at 7:30 PM at the Fischer Community Center to kick off the first reading event this semester by second year Creative Writing MFA students.

If you haven’t noticed, the Creative Writing Program has had a desire to place every name in alphabetical order on anything that comes into the public eye. Interestingly enough, for this reading, alphabetical order has unknowingly provided a spectrum of knowledge.  As you get further into the alphabet, the writers’ descriptions about their works become harder to understand and become more abstract. I’m not sure what this means, but it certainly has me on the edge of my seat—since Moon and I are the ones who organized this particular reading event.

Zachary Anderson will read a selection from a long series of prose poems inspired in part by Baudelaire and the Tarot. He will also be reading some translations of the Romanian-French author Linda Maria Baros from her latest book, which is about the A4 Autoroute and deals with violence, displacement, and interstate/international travel.  His current poetry projects attempt to deal with the rural, constructions of wilderness, anti-humanism, and the gothic.

When we asked Chris Muravez about his work, his official statement to the press was, “I’ll be reading selections from my manuscript.” Very cryptic Muravez…very cryptic.

I am not sure how helpful this blog entry was at explaining to you what you might hear on September 28th, but I hope you are now interested enough to come  out and listen to whatever these gentlemen might say.


Daniel Tharp

Scranton Poster Letter


Introductions are often bland and full of unintended egotisms. How do I start this blog? Hi. My name is Daniel Tharp. I am a student attending the MFA Creative Writing Program at the University of Notre Dame, but that doesn’t seem right, too stuffy, too formal. With that kind of introduction you miss the important facts like how I sold coney dogs at local craft shows and could tell you the difference  between a “Flint” and a “Detroit,” how I worked at Taco Bell for five years and  learned the Art of burrito folding and how much a soft taco should weigh before a customer takes the first bite, how I could tell you that at Lowes, a department manager has the ability to lower the price of merchandise by ten percent for a variety of reasons, how I could tell you what gauge of wire you need to run power to your RV and how to add a hot tub right next to it. That sounds more like me, but enough of that.

Roy Scranton will be reading from his debut novel, War Porn, on Wednesday, September 21, 2016, at the Hospitality Room of Reckers on Notre Dame’s Campus. The reading begins at 7:30 PM, and is free and open to the public.

He is the author of “Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of a Civilization” (City Lights, 2015) and the novel War Porn (Soho Press, 2016). His essays, journalism, short fiction, and reviews have appeared widely. In addition, he co-edited Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War (Da Capo, 2013). Scranton’s New York Times essay “Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene” was selected for The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014, and his essay “The Terror of the New” was selected as a notable essay in Best American Essays 2015. He was the recipient of a Mrs. Giles G. Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities (2014–2015), won the Theresa A. White Literary Award for short fiction (2009), and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences at Rice University (2016). Currently, he teaches creative writing at the University of Notre Dame.

Scranton’s debut novel, War Porn, has been described by the Wall Street Journal as, “One of the best and most disturbing war novels in years.” The words “disturbing” and “brutal” have surfaced in many of the reviews of War Porn. Perhaps, this assertion comes because in his novel Scranton holds nothing back, while North American society seems to have a one track mind on the image of a war hero, reminiscent of “The Soldier,” by Rupert Brooke. Scranton has admitted that by all accounts the novel was completed in 2011, but because of societal constructs around the image of American soldiers, publication during that time was out of the question. Through this lens, Scranton’s novel is akin to “Dulce et Decorum Est,” by Wilfred Owen, and the uneasy feeling that most reviewers have is not directed at the reality that Scranton portrays on the page but at the juxtaposition of a reality based on firsthand experience vs. the imagery of an ideology. In War Porn, the characters seem to implore that there is no utopian war, there is no utopian soldier. There is only war and its effects on humanity.

Roy Scranton’s reading on September 21st  will surely be interesting, and more than that it will open the door for the audience to not only question him as a writer and as a veteran, but also open the door for them to ask themselves what it means to exist in a world bombarded with war porn.


Alum Lady Reading

Moonseok Choi here. Who is Moon? He’s a new MFA student in poetry who likes dogs. He works at the Creative Writing office from Monday to Wednesday. He left Seoul, South Korea, with a keyboard in one hand and mouse in the other to say to you all – Nice to meet you.

But that’s not important. Listen carefully to what I have to say. Kelly Kerney, Courtney McDermott, Janet McNally, and Lindsay Starck are coming to the Hospitality Room of Reckers. The rain has told me they’ll be here on Wednesday, September 14, 2016, from 7:30PM to 9:00PM. It also triggered the fire alarm in my apartment twice in the same night but that’s a story for another day. The squirrels whisper that they will read selections from their latest books. There are quite a lot of them on campus, and they seem to be losing their fear of humans —

Anyways, this is important because they are very smart and incredible.  Kelly Kerney won the Sparks Prize Fellowship in 2004 and is a Virginia Commission for the Arts fellowship recipient. Her first novel, Born Again, is about an evangelical Christian who comes to terms with evolution. Hard Red Spring covers a century of Guatemalan history experienced by four American women linked by the disappearance of a little girl. How many people can write books on the struggles of a Christian and troubles in Guatemala?

Courtney McDermott coordinates faculty at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She’s also an adjunct faculty member for the online Master’s in Creative Writing program at Southern New Hampshire University. If minds aren’t blown yet, How They Spend Their Sundays is her debut, a collection of stories taking place in Lesotho and South Africa. She paints a “brutally honest but compassionate portrait of endurance in the face of relentless violence and human injustice.” Don’t those words just get your heart pounding?

Janet McNally transfers knowledge at Canisius College in New York. Her poetry and fiction has appeared in a list of publications longer than my average poem. Girls in the Moon is another debut, a tale for young adults about family secrets, the shadow of fame, and finding your own way. No, I’m not going to make a pun with my name.

Lindsay Starck is getting a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina. For the past four years she has been fiction editor of the Carolina Quarterly, and as of 2014 is now chieftain (editor). Noah’s Wife is a novel that draws upon the flood of the bible to ask whether hope can exist even where faith has been lost. If you want to know the answer, you must come to Reckers.

It’s not often you get to hear smart people reading. Especially on a university campus. So clear your schedule on the 14th of September. Come with an open mind if you don’t want it wrenched open.  I’ll see you there.

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