Writing Roundup: October 31, 2016

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Over the past couple of weeks School of the Arts students, alumni, faculty, and staff have been busy at work publishing stories and poems, giving talks – and, in the case of one beloved Writing Program Professor, becoming the first American to win the Man Booker Prize. Read more in our biweekly roundup of work by Columbia Writers.
 
 
Jenessa Abrams, current student
 
Washington Square Review, “For After

Writing student Jenessa Abrams has published a short story, “For After,” in the new issue of Washington Square Review. Her work appears in the magazine alongside new fiction by Charles Bock, who has taught as an adjunct in the Writing Program.
 
Paul Beatty, associate professor

Man Booker Prize, The Sellout

Associate professor Paul Beatty this week became the first American to receive the Man Booker Prize, a highly prestigious annual literary honor that comes with a monetary award of £50,000, for his satirical novel The Sellout. “I don’t want to get all dramatic, like writing saved my life,” he said in his thank-you speech. “But writing has given me a life.”
 
Jeanne Marie Beaumont ’90

Letters from Limbo (CavanKerry Press)

Alumna Jeanne Marie Beaumont has published a new collection of poems, Letters from Limbo, with CavanKerry Press. Poet Peter Cooley says of the book, “Beaumont has created a universe all her own whose speaking is a unique idiom—timeless and moving and unerringly memorable.”

Lily Blacksell, current student


Impakter, “Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye

Lily Blacksell, a current student, published a poem and gave an interview in Impakter. Asked what she thought the poem was about, Blacksell responded, “For me it feels like a statement of purpose, particularly the line ‘This is how strong I am, stupid world.’ Recently, I’ve been writing quite a lot about working hard—I’m a great believer in working hard.”

Rivka Galchen, alumna (’06) and adjunct professor


New York Times Book Review, “Is It Harder to Write Humorously Than It Is to Write Seriously?

Galchen, a regular contributor to the Book Review’s Bookends column, weighs on the challenges of writing humor—particularly serious humor. “I’m naturally inclined to see comic writing as not only more difficult, but also more ethical, more honest, more essential and even more serious than apparently serious writing,” she writes.

Erika Luckert ’16


Circumference, “Sparrows and Glimmers and Syllables Lost” (translation)

Recent alumna Luckert translates four poems by French writer Alain Lance in Circumference. One poem, “[leaping from a blank page],” meditates on the illusions, and the uses, of imagination: “The organist of transparency / Performs a birdsong to muddle / Drop by drop a giant oil tanker / In the blueing black toward the crowd.”

Aaron Poochigian ’16


University of North Dakota Writer’s Conference, “Either/Or

Recent alumnus Aaron Poochigian appeared at the University of North Dakota Writer’s Conference last week, where he read from his forthcoming work, “Either/Or,” a choose-your-own adventure thriller in verse that’s set to be published by Etruscan Press in 2017. He said of the work (as quoted in the Dakota Student), “It’s more like a film than a novel…. The meter provides a sound track. I can shift the meter to shift the pacing, just like in a movie when the music shifts to let you know what kind of scene you have.”
 
Trenton Pollard, current student

Plenitude, “The Vertigo of Eros

Plenitude, a queer-focused literary magazine, has published current nonfiction student Trenton Pollard’s poem, “The Vertigo of Eros,” which touches on family, intimacy, and self-discovery: “My regret is that you did not know sooner: / I did not come with a clean slate: / I do not want to be my father. / I do not want to not be my father.”
 
Claudia Rankine ’93

The Guardian, Racial Imaginary Institute

Award-winning poet and critic and Writing Program alumna Claudia Rankine ’93 recently announced that she’ll be using the money from her recently awarded MacArthur “genius grant” ($625,000) to found a Racial Imaginary Institute in New York City. She described the Institute, in an interview with The Guardian, as a “presenting space and think tank all at once” where contributors can “show art, to curate dialogues, have readings, and talk about the ways in which the structure of white supremacy in American society influences our culture.”

Avia Tadmor, current student


Barely South Review, “Everything I Do, I Do in Winter

Barely South Review published current student Tadmor’s poem, which contains images of startling mystery as well as touches of humor: “For a moment, this morning, in the white / shower light, I could see myself loving a cat.”

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Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.