This fall marks the beginning of the celebration of the ASU MFA Program’s 25th anniversary—a celebration that will continue well into next year. It’s fitting that Program Manager Karla Elling has the first word, as she has, almost literally, seen it all: students and faculty, friends from nearby and visitors from far-off. She’s made famous apple pies, sung the praises of the desert (even taking John Updike on a mountain hike) and, most importantly, supported the work of countless writers at every stage of their careers. Her support has taken many forms, including her beautiful letter press productions, works of art both inspired by and honoring a wide variety of poetry and prose.
Visit the new display in the Hayden Library between now and mid-December and you’ll be treated to a generous selection of Karla’s award-winning print-and paper-making; you’ll also see the history of the MFA program unfold in Karla’s photo-collages of images she’s collected over nearly three decades. It’s worth the trip just to see Alberto Rios (the Valley’s “Best Wordsmith,” according to The New Times) in his cheerleading uniform.
Even as we look back over a remarkable quarter of a decade, we remain committed to developing—not just maintaining—the presence of creative writing at ASU. We’re understandably proud to have one of our own graduates, Caitlin Horrocks, back to teach with us this semester, and to have the opportunity to celebrate the acceptance of Caitlin’s first collection of short stories. We’ve also been heartened to see large turnouts at this year’s readings, and to see the extraordinary responses of area high school students involved in our Young Writers Program. ASU’s MFA students are a key part of that program, going into under-served schools and laying the groundwork for visits like the one by poet Kimiko Hahn. Next February, poet Reginald Dwayne Betts, author of the memoir A Question of Freedom, will be visiting the Adobe Mountain School as part of the Young Writers Program. ASU creative writing has a long history of outreach projects, one we intend to build on in the years to come.
Read Marginalia to keep tabs on what’s going on. Better still: keep an eye on our events calendar, and join the fun.
All the best,
Director of Creative Writing
Director, Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing