MFA Faculty Mentors
BiographyCHARLES WYATT is the author of a collection of linked stories, Listening to Mozart, winner of the 1995 University of Iowa Press John Simmons Award, and Falling Stones: the Spirit Autobiography of S.M. Jones, winner of the 2002 Texas Riview Press Clay Reynolds Novella Prize. His third book, Swan of Tuonela, linked stories, was published by Hanging Loose Press in April, 2006. He is a recipient of a Christopher Isherwood Foundation Fellowship in Fiction for his novel in progress, The Last Yellow Chick. He is also the author of three poetry chapbooks (A Girl Sleeping, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review Chapbook Series, Myomancy, Finishing Line Press, Angelicus ex Machina, Finishing Line Press). He is the recipient of the Beloit Poetry Journal’s 2010 Chad Walsh Prize and the Writers at Work 2013 Fellowship in Poetry. A new collection of poetry, Goldberg-Variations, winner of the 2014 Carolina Wren Poetry Series Contest, was released in 2015. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music (BM), The Philadelphia Musical Academy (MM), and Warren Wilson College (MFA), he has served as visiting writer at Binghamton University, Denison University, The University of Central Oklahoma, Purdue University, and Oberlin College. He also teaches in the Writing Program of UCLA Extension. Before this, he was principal flutist of the Nashville Symphony for 25 years.
“I come to teaching creative writing from another place (the world of music). Musicians listen to each other, and I try to encourage writers to listen to each other (and to themselves) with the same intensity. Language is heard, even when we are reading. And writing must be practiced in the same sense that musicians practice scales. Fiction writers should be as concerned with language as poets – and if fiction writers don’t write poetry, they should be reading it. I’m particularly interested in helping students learn to follow their own intuition. Potentially, every writer has a unique approach and an individual voice. The craft issues are important, of course – I’m very much inclined to tinker – but most writers are in agreement there. I used to think the purpose of teaching writing was to save students time (and it is), but sometimes it’s important for the writers to have the courage to make mistakes A writer who can write upstream and who’s willing to practice what seems difficult may make important new discoveries.”
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