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My Words. My Time. My MFA.






Visiting Alums

Shanan Ballam, Cat Dixon, Janey Gibilisco


Res Action


Say Cheese

Jamie Wendt and Eric Tucker at the camera at Res




Graduation Celebration Smiles

Joe Simmons and Family




Family Visits at the Lied

Raylyn Clacher and Michael Clark

Raves & Reviews

Raves & Reviews

“This first residency was life changing for me.  I am not saying that lightly – no hyperbole.  I came into this amazing community of gifted writers feeling like an imposter.  I was scared to put my own work on the table for fear of being found out and sent home!  I left feeling like a writer, like I belonged here, like I do have something of value to share, like I found my ‘tribe.’”  ~Current Student

“I cannot say enough good things about this program. I have enjoyed every minute from my acceptance phone call to the present. This program is designed in a way that voracious students can thrive, and I feel I am thriving. I will be a better teacher, writer, and person all for having completed this program.” ~Current Student

“My mentor went beyond his responsibilities as a mentor. He pushed me to get my work sent out to literary magazines, and I have done that. I know that he wants me to succeed, and I know he is invested in me and in my work. I have tried to show him how important his guidance has been to me. The best way I could think of to illustrate how much I appreciate him and his work was to teach one of his poetry collections in my literature class. My students loved the book, and teaching it also gave me a deeper sense of his incredible talent and imagination.” ~Alumnus

“When I was first hired, my expectations were based on past experience. Perhaps this would be a job I would do packet-by-packet, giving each student’s work attention in concrete blocks of time, finishing a semester, and moving on to the next. I quickly found the reality infinitely richer and delightfully messier. I not only welcomed regular communication with my students beyond the packet exchange, but also grew sincerely interested in each of them as writers and human beings and grateful for what the exchange brought to me as a writer, teacher, and human being. Years later, I understand that these bonds last far beyond a semester -- beyond students graduating, in fact -- and I feel blessed to be part of the whole process.” ~Faculty Mentor

“We all lead separate lives into which we all press time for writing. We all make our hours work for us. I think that is one of the remarkable things about this program. We never stop our day to day, really, except for the residencies, and when there we are all frantic and excited and drunk on the setting and the subject and the people. I am glad that I did not get to work with my current mentor during my second semester, as I had so wanted, because I think I would have missed out. I think I needed her smarts and her heart and her kindness and intuition to get through this paper, this poetry, and all those other parts of memory and history that acted out their roles of the living dead for me this semester. I think the thing I appreciate most about her is that she and I do not share the same opinions. I know she did not agree with everything in my critical paper, but she never ever limited my thought with her opinions; instead she opened up the paper in new ways with her own ideas. She never made things clouded for me, never pressed me to take up her voice, but instead truly mentored me to find my own meaning.” ~Alumnus

“Forming the sense of community has been key for me. I’ve formed friendships and camaraderie with students. Most special is the openness and friendships formed with the faculty…I am very grateful for this gift.” ~Current Student

“It’s an honor and privilege to be part of this program. I have taught for many years, and I can easily say that participating in the UN MFA in Writing program is without doubt one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. Moreover, being part of this writing community is one of the most rewarding experiences of my writing life.” ~Faculty Mentor

“My overall evaluation of the residency is that it was satisfactory and comfortable. Well, it was not actually comfortable. I attended far too many excellent, helpful lectures, ate far too many excellent lunches and dinners, enjoyed far too many desserts, spent far too much time with new, dear friends and generous, hilarious, humble, kind, and human faculty members, of which there are few in this world that I know of who will let students see, smell, and embrace their humanity. I have relished in far too many delightful readings, taken far too many notes, and I have even planned to read far too many books in the coming months. I have far too many pillows on my bed, and far too many good choices of tea whenever I happen to need a small lift. I gained far too much insight and hope for my novel after just one visit about it with my much too amazing mentor. I went on far too few walks in the woods, and I even saw too few owls flying and perching on the canopy outside the Lied. I ate far too few apple pies grown from the orchards on these far too beautiful grounds. I did not swim in the heated pool nearly enough. I never got on the treadmill, and I never even did one salute to the sun in my room. I am FAT with the experience of this residency. I have indulged in body and mind and spirit much more than I could ever have imagined, and so that is not comfortable at all, but new, and exciting, and squeeze-into-your-pants-after-Thanksgiving feast-full times ten. How could that be comfortable?  I have slept far too little, read quietly in my room far too little, and checked far too few emails-- at my job! I have to admit I am tired, but energized, hopeful and frightened, prepared and panicked about this two-year commitment, and let me just say, how else would I want to live but on the edge of a new horizon? I am at an age where I appreciate a (dangerous) new start, a chance to follow my (idealistic) dream, and I have found a (perfect) dreamy place in the middle of the country where I can do this.” ~Current Student

“The lectures by the faculty were across-the-board useful, well planned, and heartfelt. I am so struck by the passion, dedication, talent, and generosity of the faculty and know that my decision to come here was absolutely right.” ~Current Student

“I have some experience in the writing world, and have published my work, and it was thrilling to discover that the program was designed with the serious writer in mind. The sensible structure of the program allowed me to receive the firm foundation in writing I was seeking, and also provided the opportunity to concentrate on my unique interests and needs. As a result, I completed a novel and produced a craft paper, both of which I am now seeking to publish. If I am successful, I will be genuinely pleased to be able to tout our MFA program as a significant reason for my success.” ~Alumnus

“Faculty members brought their specific experiences to the arena, respectfully playing off the strengths of one another. Simultaneously, the writers were integrally pulled into these discussions, dissecting, analyzing, and, most importantly, discovering through discourse the intricacies of our writing.” ~Current Student

“When I first decided to attend a low-res MFA program, I was afraid that the workshops might be brutal and disheartening. Our workshop sessions, however, were completely opposite. The students and the faculty were honest but constructively critical. No one was ever attacked, all of the students were very pleased with the feedback, and I, for one, am leaving the workshops with excitement and motivation.” ~Current Student

"As I made professional plans after graduation, I felt a bit shy about contacting former mentors for written recommendations. What was I thinking? Now, I feel silly for hesitating to ask. Each mentor responded with glowing support. But what really shocked me was the warm encouragement I received from a mentor who did not even teach my primary genre. Upon 'hearing' what I wanted to do, she contacted me with an offer to provide written support, based on her experience sitting in on workshops, hearing my readings throughout the years, and attending my graduating lecture." ~Alumnus

“This residency went beyond all expectations, not only in the academic sense, but socially as well. Faculty interaction was probably the high point. Their accessibility and flexibility served to negate any feelings of discomfort or self-consciousness. We were treated as equal participants in the creative process.” ~Current Student

“I chose the program because I loved the work the mentors had produced, and knew I could learn from them. To a person, I found the entire group of them wise, generous, open and insightful, and the uniquely supportive atmosphere of the program owes much to them. My particular mentors were mentors in every sense of the word: they were articulate and insightful about my sentences, expansive in their embrace of my vision, and supportive and kind towards me as a writer.” ~Alumnus

“I can feel deep in my bones my work already shifting, expanding, deepening. My mentor is unbelievably generous, extremely prepared, and so able to help me approach my upcoming semester.” ~Current Student

“The residency experience was one of the best things I have ever done for myself. The level and amount of information that came to you all day long was intense, but then when you blend in the bare emotional content of some of the readings and the constant dialogue with warm and interesting people who have incredible lives and stories to tell… Awesome experience.” ~Current Student

“I’ve taught talented students in the past. I’ve taught the driven, the ambitious, the previously-published, the future published, the might-be-published-if-only-they-would-follow-through, etc.. These MFA students approach writing not only seriously, but also with a daring and willingness to risk I wish I could have dreamed of as a younger writer. And this program fosters all of the above.” ~Faculty Mentor

“My mentor is truly dedicated. From the first time we conferenced, he knew enough about me and my writing to be able to discuss my work and guide my reading and study plan. I’m excited about the coming semester and am confident that I will learn and grow as a poet because of the high expectations of my mentor and because of his expertise and commitment.” ~Current Student

“Even though I’m a writer, it’s difficult for me to put in words how important my mentor has been to me. He listened to me, he cared about me and about my work, he endured my long rambling letters, e-mails, and phone calls. He’s the best teacher I’ve ever had. Honestly. I plan to continue to be his greatest fan.” ~Alumnus

“The best part of the residency and workshop, besides some great friends, was my mentor. He is one of the most knowledgeable, considerate, fun, insightful, and cultured individuals that I have ever met. I am amazed that I had the opportunity to work with him and feel that our interaction will be the most beneficial portion of this process.” ~Current Student

“In all my years of teaching, publishing, and participating in the wide world of writing, I have never encountered such a vibrant and diverse group of people dedicated to this craft, faculty and student alike.” ~Faculty Mentor

“Faculty treat students with respect and an expectation of their best efforts. Students are a mature and talented group of adults serious about their craft. The camaraderie of the group is remarkable. These are people I am proud to know. This is a program of which I am proud to be a part.” ~Alumnus