News Details

April 11, 2017

“Come On In: A Chapbook of Lectures on the Craft of Creative Writing" Released

West Virginia Wesleyan’s Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts program faculty members published Come On In: A Chapbook of Lectures on the Craft of Creative Writing published by Welcome Table Press, a free downloadable resource that gives a window into the craft seminars at residency.

“The main impetus behind Come on in was to provide potential students with a diverse sampling of the kind of craft lectures delivered at our MFA residencies,” said Jessie van Eerden, director of the MFA program.  “As the preface of the chapbook states: ‘The mornings of the program’s summer and winter residencies are devoted to craft seminars. All students, regardless of genre track (fiction, poetry, or nonfiction), participate in all seminars. The interdisciplinary nature of the morning reflects the reality that writing is always interdisciplinary and genre categories are fluid: prose and poetry do not happen without one another.’”

The five craft lectures included in the chapbook have been adapted from seminars delivered at campus residencies by core and guest faculty. Contributors to the chapbook include van Eerden and Eric Waggoner, associate professor of English, along with Karen Salyer McElmurray and Welcome Table Press Editor Kim Dana Kupperman, two of the program's guest faculty. 

I am also excited that we were able, with the permission of Irene McKinney's literary estate, to include the last lecture that Irene delivered before she passed away: ‘Ultra-Talk: Poetry in the Fast Lane,’" said van Eerden. “It is a wild yet very focused lecture.”

The closing paragraph of McKinney’s lecture captures the spirit of the small assemblage of lectures and of the program: “With its tone of casualness and insouciance, with its inclusiveness, this ‘I-do-this-I-do-that’ school of poetry reminds us that much of human existence and thinking is caught up with mundane detail. Rather than excluding these details to get to what we usually think of as more important matters, the Ultra-Talk poet welcomes them with open arms, in a truly democratic spirit: ‘Come on in, you forks and knives and ways of setting the table. Come in, you Tampax and your older sister Modess. Welcome, foam mattress pads and songs from the seventies. And welcome, insignificant memories of childhood. You all belong here.’” 

The MFA offers writers the opportunity to study fiction, nonfiction or poetry with accomplished and dedicated mentors in an intimate, student-centered environment. The two-year, 49-credit hour program allows students to join an extraordinarily warm community every summer and winter for an intensive ten-day residency that initiates an independent semester of apprenticeship completed off-site through correspondence with a mentor. Students work with a mixture of new and returning faculty, working one-on-one with a different faculty mentor within their discipline throughout each residency and off-campus period. The program now is a full semester of cross-genre study.

To view the chapbook, please visit  For more information on Wesleyan’s MFA program, please contact Director van Eerden at

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