Writers & Scholars: Poet John Hoppenthaler


John Hoppenthaler’s books of poetry are Domestic Garden (2015), Anticipate the Coming Reservoir (2008), and Lives of Water(2003), all with Carnegie Mellon University Press. With Kazim Ali, he has co-edited a volume of essays and interviews on the poetry of Jean Valentine, This-World Company (U Michigan P, 2012). He received his MFA in Poetry Writing from Virginia Commonwealth University, and for twelve years he served as Poetry Editor for Kestrel, and for the cultural journal Connotation Press: An Online Artifact. He now edits “A Poetry Congeries.”  For nine years he served as Personal Assistant to Toni Morrison, and he is currently an Associate Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at East Carolina University.

Wednesday, November 18 at 7:00 p.m.

Luchsinger Lounge, Alston Campus Center

Sponsored by the Department of English

Writers & Scholars Event: Monique Truong, Kirk Writer-in-Residence


Please join us for our third Writers & Scholars event of the semester, as Monique Truong, Kirk Writer-in-Residence, gives a reading from her work.

Monique Truong is the author of two novels, Bitter in the Mouth (Random House, 2010) and The Book of Salt (Houghton Mifflin, 2003). Bitter in the Mouth, one reviewer writes, “uses the tension between outsider and insider as a way of examining a tightly knit, indeed claustrophobic, family and village,” while The Book of Salt narrates the story of the Gertrude Stein and Alice P. Toklas household in Paris during the 1920s from the perspective of their Vietnamese cook, Binh. Truong is also a co-editor of Watermark: An Anthology of Vietnamese American Poetry & Prose (Asian American Writers’ Workshop, 1998). Among other honors, she was awarded the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award. Book signing to follow. This event is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the Department of English & The James T. & Ella Rather Kirk Fund

Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.

Luchsinger Fireplace Lounge, Alston Campus Center

Writers & Scholars: Professor Charlotte Artese

On Wednesday, October 14, Professor Charlotte Artese will present on her new book Shakespeare’s Folktale Sources (University of Delaware Press, 2015). This Writers & Scholars event will take place at 7 pm in the Luchsinger Fireplace Lounge of the Alston Campus Center at Agnes Scott College.

Shakespeare’s Folktale Sources argues that seven plays—The Taming of the Shrew, Titus Andronicus, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Merchant of Venice, All’s Well that Ends Well, Measure for Measure, and Cymbeline—derive one or more of their plots directly from folktales. In most cases, scholars have accepted one literary version of the folktale as a source. Recognizing that the same story has circulated orally and occurs in other medieval and early modern written versions allows for new readings of the plays. By acknowledging that a play’s source story circulated in multiple forms, we can see how the playwright was engaging his audience on common ground, retelling a story that may have been familiar to many of them, even the illiterate. We can also view the folktale play as a Shakespearean genre, defined by source as the chronicle histories are, that spans and traces the course of Shakespeare’s career.


Please join us to discuss this groundbreaking work!

Interview with Guest Writer, Jennifer Bartell ’05

The 44th Annual Writers’ Festivals is finally here! Now that our guest writers are here, let us welcome back alumna writer, Jennifer Bartell ’05.

Jennifer Bartell graduated from Agnes Scott with a degree in English-Literature & Creative Writing, focusing in poetry and nonfiction. She initially left Agnes thinking she wanted to be a nurse; however, she quickly found herself going back to what she knew best–writing. Landing various jobs in newspaper reporting and teaching, it wasn’t until several years later that Bartell went back to school. Last year, in 2014, Bartell graduated from University of South Carolina in Columbia with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies. She currently teaches at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina.

Agnes Scott Writers’ Festival: When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

Jennifer Bartell ’05: I’ve always been attracted to words and reading, but I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer until I was thirteen years old and started writing poetry.

One year I told my mom I wanted a typewriter for Christmas, a little electric type writer. And at that point she knew that I was doing a lot of writing. Horrible horrible writing, but I was writing. You have to start somewhere!

Writers’ Festival: When was your first work published, and what was that experience like?

Bartell: I guess it was one those young American poetry anthologies in middle school or high school. I remember feeling very proud of my work and had this desire to want to get published again. But I didn’t really take publishing seriously until I got into a MFA program. I don’t know why it took me so long to take poetry seriously.

Before I went into the MFA program, I was working on a poetry project (that I have since abandoned) and getting a manuscript together for publication.  But I wasn’t actively sending work out to be published. And I think that just came from being a novice and not knowing a lot about the field.

Writers’ Festival: Would you suggest that students try to start getting published while they’re in college?

Bartell: I would say that young writers need to focus on the craft and focus on the process more than the product and publication. Of course, publication is what you ideally want to be working toward. But I think a lot of young writers get caught up in writing what is publishable without really exploring who they are as an individual and a writer. Focus on developing the craft, read as much as you can, read as widely as you can, and all of the other stuff will fall into place.

Sending stuff out to publishing companies or presses, depending on where you’re sending it, can get really pricey. There’s nothing wrong with supporting presses, but you really need to be sure in your work before you send it out. A lot of people, including myself, send work out prematurely. It’s not where it needs to be. And of course it doesn’t get published! It’s not really good. Not yet.

Who are you as a writer? What are the topics you typically write about?

Bartell: I’m still growing and evolving as a woman and a writer. Writing poetry is a journey, and I say that because of the experiences I’ve been through in the past ten years. I graduated from Agnes Scott in 2005 and then, the next year my mother died. I worked and had various jobs, and when I went back to school, my dad died. So, a lot of that influences my writing. I write a lot about my parents, grief, and loneliness.

And so, I don’t want to say that I use poetry as catharsis, because poetry has to be more than that, but I would say that writing about these experiences is how I have maintained some sanity. Reading poetry, writing poetry, and revising, revising, revising poetry has helped me to figure out a lot of things that would otherwise be very difficult to process.

If you have more questions you’d like to ask, there will be a Q & A session with guest writers, Chris Abani, Tracy K. Smith, and Jennifer Bartell ’05 on Thursday, March 26th at 1pm in Luchsinger Lounge.

Call for Submissions

Agnes Scott College is now accepting entries for the 44th annual writers’ festival! The entry deadline is December 1, 2014.

Contest categories include poetry, short fiction, personal essay, and one-act play. A prize of $500 will be awarded during the festival to the winning entry in each category. Contest finalists will be notified by email in January. Their work will be included in the Festival Magazine, which is published in March, and they will be invited to a lunch and workshop on March 27.

Only entries following these contest rules will be considered:

  • The Writers’ Festival competition in poetry, short fiction, personal essay, and one-act play is open to anyone currently enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate program in a college or university in the state of Georgia.
  • Works submitted must be previously unpublished except in campus newspapers or campus literary magazines.
  • Each entrant may submit up to five poems, up to two stories, up to two essays, and one play. Stories and personal essays must be no longer than 5000 words, poems no longer than 100 lines. Playscripts must be no longer than 30 pages and must be typed in the approved professional format. (See “Guidelines” from Samuel French publishers.)
  • Entries must be typed in a standard 12-point black-type font (no script fonts) and entries in short fiction and the personal essay must be double-spaced. Entries may use global formatting (for example, first line indents) that can easily be changed to our template for publication.
  • Entries must be submitted as Word-compatible email attachments to Professor Nicole Stamant at nstamant@agnesscott.edu. Receipt will be confirmed by return email. Each story, essay, play, or set of poems must be in a separate file. The author’s name must not appear within the file. The covering email message must include the author’s name, school, email address, and phone number, followed by a list of titles of all works submitted, including of individual poems.

The deadline for entries is December 1. Finalists will be notified by email and will be allowed to make minor changes of their work before publication; authors retain all rights to their materials and may publish them elsewhere after the competition.

For information about the event, or to receive an electronic copy of the rules, please email Professor Nicole Stamant at nstamant@agnesscott.edu.

Being Flynn is a beautifully haunting ye

Being Flynn is a beautifully haunting yet captivating film that tells the story of lives falling apart and coming together. It displays the relationship between a man and his father, and how they really don’t have a relationship at all. Like a wire that has been coiled around and around for so long, then suddenly, slowly unravels. On the screen in front of our eyes is the unwinding story of Nick Flynn, one of the guest writers that will be visiting campus during the Writer’s Festival.
In 2004, Nick Flynn wrote Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, his memoir. The novel is emotionally challenging and alluring. Each section, or chapter if you will, is a poem in itself; each one so eloquently written, contrasting the devastation and heartache and threshold of numbing pain that consume the pages. Being Flynn would not be here without Nick Flynn’s memoir.
On March 2, 2012, Being Flynn hit the theaters. It was based off of Nick Flynn’s memoir. The basic story line is this: Nick Flynn works at a homeless shelter when he meets his father, a homeless man. Nick grew up knowing who his father was, at least taking his mother’s word for it. He is a drunk and a liar and a thief. But now Nick has to face him, but how? We see his perception of life crumble. Confusion, frustration, humiliation, and hurt paint his face as he tries to make sense of his past and become at peace with himself and those close to him. Paul Dano stars as Nick Flynn, Robert De Niro as his father, and Julianne Moore as his mother.
What must it be like to watch strangers, actors, play out the story of your life? Flynn answers all these questions following the film in another memoir called The Reenactments. He illustrates reaction and turbulent thought process through the filming of Being Flynn, a reenactment of his life.
Julianne Moore talks about why she was attracted to the idea of starring in the film. “[The book] was beautifully written and very unusual, and funny and entertaining, but really quite touching…it’s a beautiful piece of literature, it really is.”

–Written by Erin Pirkle

Poet and memoirist Nick Flynn has just f

Poet and memoirist Nick Flynn has just finished an engagement at the 10th Annual Palm Beach Poetry Festival which ran from January 20th-25th. Nick Flynn appeared along with Carolyn Forché, Linda Gregg, Thomas Lux, Campbell McGrath, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Mary Ruefle & Tim Seibles. This Festival had the opportunity to invite one more special guest: current Poet Laureate Natasha Tretheway.

Nick Flynn will be coming to speak at Agnes Scott College in March for the 43rd Annual Agnes Scott College Writer’s Festival. But before he visits Decatur, GA, Flynn is touring in a few other states and sharing his work with a few other venues. Following the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, Flynn will be at the Aspen Institute in Aspen, Colorado Feb. 19th to read and talk with Dani Shapiro (this is tentative). He will then be at Seattle, Washington for AWP Feb. 26th- March 1st, followed by a reading at UPENN March 5th. At the end of March (24th-30th) Flynn will hold a week long residency at Agnes Scott College, holding a workshop as well as giving a reading. Agnes Scott College is proud to welcome Nick Flynn as one of the visiting authors for the 43rd Annual Writer’s Festival.

We here at the Writers’ Festival want t

We here at the Writers’ Festival want to congratulate this year’s finalists!

In Fiction: Robby Nadler, Jessica Mejia, Halden Ingwersen, Casey Cox, Christopher Hayter
In Poetry: Robby Nadler, Sydney Bolding, Diamond Forde, Jacob Collum, William Walsh, Brian Heston, Jessica Melilli-Hand, Hank Backer, Rachelle Bowser
In Drama: Heather Poole, Stella Zhou
In Nonfiction: Robby Nadler, Sybil McLain-Topel, Vivian K. Phillips, Monica Prince, Karmen Cook

We also want to congratulate all of our entrants. Every piece read was beautiful and unique. Keep on writing!