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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.


Korean poet extraordinaire Kim Yideum will read Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at the Hammes Bookstore on Notre Dame’s campus.

Yideum will be reading simultaneously with one of her translators, Ji Yoon Lee, a recent graduate of the Notre Dame MFA in Poetry. They will be reading from Yideum’s Cheer Up Femme Fatale, recently published in English by Action Books.

The reading begins at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.


About the author and translator:

Kim Yideum 
has published five books of poetry—A Stain in the Shape of a Star (2005), Cheer Up, Femme Fatale (2007), The Unspeakable Lover (2011), Song of Berlin, Dahlem (2013), and Hysteria (2014). Her work has been adapted into a play (The Metamorphosis, 2014) and a film (After School, 2015). She has received numerous awards for her poetry, including the Poetry & the World Literary Award, the Kim Daljin Changwon Award, the 22nd Century Literary Award, and the Kim Chunsoo Award. She teaches at Gyeongsang National University, works as a newspaper columnist, and hosts a poetry-themed radio program. Her first book in English translation, Cheer Up, Femme Fatale (translated by Ji Yoon Lee, Don Mee Choi and Johannes Göransson) was published by Action Books earlier this year.

Ji Yoon Lee is the author of Foreigner’s Folly (Coconut Books, 2014), Funsize/Bitesize (Birds of Lace, 2013), and IMMA (Radioactive Moat, 2012). She is the winner of the Joanna Cargill prize (2014), and her manuscript was a finalist for the 1913 First Book Prize (2012). Her poems and translations have appeared in Asymptote, Eleveneleven, The VoltaPANK, Bambi Muse, Seven Corners, The YOLO Pages, The Animated Reader: Poetry of Surround Audience, and &Now Awards 3. She was born in South Korea and came to the United States as a teen. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Notre Dame.


This event is sure to be exciting and cheery. We hope to see you all there!



Come on out to the 4th Annual Wham! Bam! Poetry Slam! at the Snite Museum of Art on April 5th, 2016! The event starts at 5:00 pm and is free and open to the public!

slam poster image

A poetry slam is a competitive event in which individual poets perform their work and are judged by random members of the audience. The rules for the competition are simple. Poems can be on any subject and in any style but must be original creations of the performers. Each poem must take less than three minutes to perform, and these performances may not use props, costumes, musical accompaniment, or memorization aids. Each poet will go through two rounds of performances. Judges are selected from the audience to rate each performed poem on the basis of the presentation of the poem and its content. In each of the two rounds of scoring, the highest and lowest of the judges’ scores are thrown out, and a tabulator calculates each contestant’s score.

This is sure to be a blast and we hope to see you all there!!




Come one, come all to the Debartolo Performing Arts Center where Roderick Coover and Scott Rettberg will present their film Toxi•City on March 23, 2016! The showing begins at 8:00 PM and everyone is welcome!

Toxi•City is a combinatory of narrative segments and historical anecdotes chronicling deaths from Hurricane Sandy. In over one hour of clips, 6 characters describe conditions living in a future shaped by global warming.

This event is cosponsored by the Creative Writing Program, the Department of English, the Office of Digital Learning, the Department of Film, Theater and TV, the Minor in Sustainability at Notre Dame, and the Debartolo Performing Arts Center.


About these presenters:

Roderick Coover (b. 1967) is Director of the Graduate Program in Film and Media Arts at Temple University. Coover makes films, interactive cinema, installations and webworks. Some of his latest projects include the interactive series Unknown Territories (unknownterritories.org) about exploration in the American West (www.unknownterritories.org) and the edited book, Switching Codes: Thinking Through Digital Technology In The Humanities And Arts (Chicago 2011). A pioneer in interactive documentary arts and poetics, his works are distributed through Video Data Bank, DER, Eastgate Systems and elsewhere. is creative work has been exhibited online and at art venues including SIGGRAPH, Documenta Madrid, The American Philosophical Society Museum, Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum, and elsewhere. You can learn more about his work at www.roderickcoover.com.

Scott Rettberg (b. 1970) is Professor of Digital Culture in the department of Linguistic, Literary, and Aesthetic studies at the University of Bergen. Rettberg was the project leader of ELMCIP (Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice), a HERA-funded collaborative research project, and the founder of the Electronic Literature Organization. Rettberg is the author or coauthor of novel-length works of electronic literature, combinatory poetry, and films including The Unknown, Kind of Blue, Implementation, Frequency, Three Rails Live, Toxicity and others. His creative work has been exhibited online and at art venues including the Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum, Palazzo dell Arti Napoli, Beall Center, the Slought Foundation, The Krannert Art Museum, and elsewhere.


The showing is free and open to the public, and we hope to see you all there!




The final MFA reading of the spring 2016 semester will take place Wednesday, March 16, 2016, so don’t miss out on your last chance to hear our own talented emerging writers read their creative works!

The reading will take place in 207 Debartolo Hall  at 7:30 pm, and will feature first year poet Kelsey Castaneda and first year fiction writers Thomson Guster and Bailey Pittenger.


About these writers:

Kelsey Castaneda’s current poetry project is a feminist yawp that experiments with erasure and translation of Classical authors like Ovid and Vergil.

Thomson Guster just echoes stuff he’s heard and apes stuff he’s seen, but you won’t be able to tell—not with the encryption he’s used.

Bailey Pittenger’s current prose project is a blend of ingredients from translation, Audubon field guides, and miscommunications.


This reading is free and open to the public, so be there or be square!

All the best,




Come one, come all to the Geddes Hall Coffee House on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 to hear first year fiction writer Sarah Snider and first year poets Zack Anderson and Chris Muravez read their creative works!


About these readers:


Zack Anderson’s poems drizzle investigations of masculinity, pop culture, and embodied being with a syrupy glaze of dark snark and paralytic pessimism.


Chris Muravez heretically writes about War and Apocalypse with the audacity of fire and brimstone.


Sarah Snider’s work explores various types of fiction, creative nonfiction, memoir, and personal essay, at times blending all styles together.


This reading is free and open to the public! We hope you’ll come out to support these MFA students!


See you there,


P03155Martin Ott, 2015 winner of Notre Dame’s Sandeen Prize, will read for the Notre Dame community on February 17, 2015!

Come one, come all to the Hammes Bookstore at 7:30 pm! The reading is free and open to the public.

About Martin Ott:

In Underdays, Martin Ott writes a book about love and war in poems that represent different eras, voices, and influences. This is a journey that combines the author’s new work, old work reimagined, and multiple voices (internal and external) in a conversation with his older and younger selves – his Underdays – to chart a path forward. The author combines global concerns alongside personal ones, in conversation between poems or within them, to find meaning in his search for what drives us to love and hate each other.

Born in Alaska and raised in Michigan, Martin Ott served as an interrogator in U.S. Army military intelligence. He moved to Los Angeles to attend the Masters of Professional Writing Program at USC, and often writes about his adopted city, including in the novel The Interrogator’s Notebook (currently being pitched by Paradigm as a TV pilot) and poetry book Captive, De Novo Prize Winner, C&R Press.

Social and political themes are prevalent in all of his books, particularly Poets’ Guide to America and Yankee Broadcast Network, coauthored with John F. Buckley, Brooklyn Arts Press and his short story collection, Interrogations, Fomite Press (2016).

His Writeliving blog – http://writeliving.wordpress.com/ – has been read by more than 25,000 people in 100+ countries. More at www.martinottwriter.com.


Hope to see you all there!!

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