Publication news and an interview with Dariel Suarez


We’re so proud of Dariel Suarez (Fiction 2012) who currently serves as the Head of Faculty & Curriculum at Grubstreet.  His short story “Mudface” was published in the Winter 2017 issue of The North American Review, and the opening story in his collection, titled “The Man From the Zoo,” is forthcoming in The Massachusetts Review.  In addition, Dariel’s collection A Kind of Solitude was a finalist for the Autumn House full-length fiction manuscript contest and the New American Press Fiction Prize!  Hearty congrats, Dariel!

We were lucky enough to have a chance to pick Dariel’s brain about literary magazines and the submissions process:

What are a few of your favorite literary journals and what do you like about them?  How do you decide where to send your work?

I love literary journals that publish culturally diverse and international works. Some good places include Prairie Schooner, The Massachusetts Review, Granta, AGNI, Michigan Quarterly Review, Guernica, and Hayden’s Ferry Review

I usually send my stories to my favorite journals first, in tiers. I wait about 3 months before doing another round of submissions if the story hasn’t been picked up, and so on. I use resources like Poets & Writers, and to browse through journals, note submission periods, dates for contests, themed issues, etc. 

There seem to be a lot of new journals popping up.  Why do you think people are founding new ones when there are already so many out there?

With the internet and social media, there are many new ways to publish nowadays. There also seems to be a demand for historically underrepresented voices, and with some of the more traditional literary journals perhaps taking longer to catch up, people have just been launching new journals instead. I think it’s good to have a broad range of options, particularly for writers who are just beginning to submit work and need to build their publication credits. The first few publications I had were with really small online and print magazines, and this prepared me to successfully submit work to more established places later on. I’m not saying this is the way every writer should do it, but having the options certainly helped me.

Do you have any advice for other writers who are submitting work?

Read the submission guidelines! Always. Editors will appreciate it if you properly follow instructions. Make sure to write a succinct and friendly cover letter. Most importantly, revise whatever piece you’re submitting until you don’t know how else to improve it. Share it with a couple of trusted readers for feedback if you can before you send it out. Finally, research publications so that you can submit your work to places where it might be a good fit. 

Who’s actually reading literary magazines?  Are people subscribing to them and reading them on the regular?  Are you?

I think writers, agents, and editors are definitely reading literary magazines. I have two shelves in one of my bookcases filled with lit mags. I’ve subscribed to a few in the past, and every time I submit to a contest, it includes a year’s subscription to the publication. I also occasionally buy an individual issue if I really like the magazine and/or the writers being featured. I always encourage my students to familiarize themselves with contemporary publications, so that they can enter into an intellectual, critical, and artistic conversation with what’s being published.

What’s a good short story that you’ve read this summer?

 “Spiderweb” by Mariana Enríquez. It’s in her wonderful collection Things We Lost In The Fire

Thank you, Dariel!  We wish you the best with your writing!

Start a charrette! Daphne Kalotay tells us how


In this last month of summer, we’re excited to feature a few blog posts about the writing life, alongside the usual publication announcements.  This essay by Daphne Kalotay (Fiction 1994) is about creating discussion groups that make for meaningful, stimulating, and rich conversations among writers, conversations that also seek to creatively address matters of craft.  Such groups are called charrettes, and Daphne defines one as:

1. An intensive group enquiry into a technical issue or design challenge

2. A collaborative meeting focused on solving a problem through a diversity of ideas

“In the case of definition number one,” Daphne writes, “I wanted to signal that our charrette was an inquiry: that we were to show up with open minds and honest questions. By “design challenge” I meant matters of composition that arise when we write. By “technical issue” I meant that things might get nerdy.”

Daphne also says, “It wasn’t the first time I’d found myself in a wonky technical discussion about the nitty-gritties of written composition, but the energy and caliber of our conversation was striking. It had to do, my poet friend and I decided afterwards, with our varied genres, ages, backgrounds, and experience…”

Click here to read the essay, which was recently published in VIDA, and includes a list of tips for starting your own charrette.  Congrats, Daphne, and thanks!  We hope many more charrettes will form in our city and beyond.

Daphne Kalotay’s books include the award-winning novels Sight Reading and Russian Winter (Harper) and the fiction collection Calamity and Other Stories (Doubleday). She has written for the New York Times Book Review and Poets & Writers, and her interviews with Mavis Gallant can be read in the Paris Review’s Writers-At-Work series. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts and for the 2017-18 academic year is teaching at Princeton University’s Program in Creative Writing.

Ryan Wilson wins prize for first book, among other honors

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We’re so proud to share this update from Ryan Wilson (Poetry ’08)! Ryan’s first book, The Stranger World, was awarded the 2017 Donald Justice Poetry Prize. The book is out in hardcover via Measure Press / West Chester University Poetry Center. Hearty congratulations, Ryan!

In addition to his book, Ryan has had a slew of other pieces accepted for publication. His essay “Eliot’s Magic” appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of The Hopkins Review, and his essay “The Polyvocal Poet: Tradition, Translation, and the True Original” will be in the Birmingham Poetry Review, which will also feature his original poem, “Lemons.”

Ryan has a number of other original poems forthcoming: “Complainte du Miroir” in the Winter 2017 issue of Innisfree Poetry Journal, “Yo La Tengo” in the Summer issue of Five Points, and “For a Dog” in the October issue of The Yale Review. Ryan also published perhaps the first English-language bref double, “Face It,” in the March 2017 issue of The New Criterion.

Ten of Ryan’s translations (including versions of Dante, Baudelaire, Catullus, Giovanni Pascoli, Rilke, and Verlaine) as well as a short essay, “Love Strong as Death: On the Poetry of The Song of Songs,” appear in the Candlemas 2017 issue of Dappled Things.  He also published three translations (Horace’s second and fifth epodes and Baudelaire’s Au Lecteur) in the Winter 2017 issue of Unsplendid, and he has two forthcoming translations from Horace’s odes: ode ii.3 in Measure and ode ii.10 in Able Muse. Ryan also published a short prose tribute to the poet, Dave Smith, in the current issue of Five Points, alongside similar contributions from Richard Ford, Edward Hirsch, Yusef Komunyakaa, Helen Vendler, Charles Wright, and others.

Finally, Ryan has just launched issue 9.3 of Literary Matters , the online journal he edits for the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers, completing his first volume (3 issues) for the journal. Over the past year, Literary Matters has published writers such as: David Bottoms, David Bromwich, Kelly Cherry, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Erica Dawson, David Ferry, Rachel Hadas, Ernest Hilbert, Joan Houlihan, Jee Leong Koh, Brad Leithauser, Marjorie Perloff, A.E. Stallings, Jean Valentine, Rosanna Warren, and David Yezzi, alongside a number of current and former B.U. students. Congratulations, Ryan!

The Borders Project in EuropeNow Journal


We’re excited to share that EuropeNow Journal will be featuring work by members of The Borders Project!  Co-founded by Stacy Mattingly (Fiction 2011), The Borders Project is a literary collaboration between the Sarajevo Writer’s Workshop and Atlanta’s Narrative Collective.  Over the next several months, you can read original poetry and prose by these eighteen writers and one translator.  The June installment begins with an introduction by Stacy herself, and includes poetry and prose by Zerina Zahirović, Kulović Selma, and L.S. McKee, translations by Mirza Purić, and photographic responses to the pieces by Vanja Čerimagić.

Stacy begins: In the fall of 2015, as people fleeing Syria and elsewhere for Europe were being stopped en masse at borders, two writers’ collectives to which I belong – one based primarily in Sarajevo, one in Atlanta – decided to engage in a collaborative artistic response. We called it The Borders Project.

Read the rest of the introduction here, and view the complete installment here.

Congrats, Stacy!

Stacy Mattingly is a U.S. writer and the founder of the Sarajevo Writers’ Workshop, a bilingual group of poets and prose writers in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She also co-founded Atlanta’s Narrative Collective with poet L.S. McKee. Stacy holds an MFA in fiction from Boston University, where she was a Marcia Trimble Fellow, a Leslie Epstein Global Fellow, and recipient of the Florence Engel Randall Graduate Fiction Award. She has worked as a coauthor on books including, with Ashley Smith, the New York Times bestseller Unlikely Angel, an Atlanta hostage story released last fall as a feature film, Captive. Stacy has taught creative writing at Boston University and helped lead the first Narrative Witness exchange for the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program. She has recently completed a first novel, set in the current-day Balkans.

Tara Skurtu publishes translations of Romanian poetry

For the June issue of PlumeTara Skurtu (Poetry ’13) worked on a contemporary poetry feature with writer and translator MARGENTO.  Tara and MARGENTO each chose five poets to introduce and translate for the issue.  We’re proud to say that Tara originally went to Romania on her Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship, where she fell in love with Romanian poetry, and has been teaching herself Romanian through contemporary poems.

Thanks, Tara, for sharing your work with us, and congrats!

Skurtu Georgescu bw for Eyewear

Photo by Cătălin Georgescu

Tara Skurtu is a two-time Fulbright grantee and recipient of two Academy of American Poets prizes and a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship in Poetry. Her recent poems have appeared in Salmagundi, The Kenyon Review, Tahoma Literary Review, and Poetry Wales. She is the author of the chapbook Skurtu, Romania (Eyewear, 2016) and the full collection The Amoeba Game (Eyewear, October 2017). She lives and teaches in Bucharest.

Caitlin Doyle Wins Prestigious Frost Farm Poetry Prize


Caitlin Doyle (Poetry ’08) has recently won the Frost Farm Poetry Prize!  Caitlin’s winning poem “Wish” was selected by contest judge Deborah Warren from a pool of over 750 entries, the largest in the competition’s history. About the poem, Warren says, “This poem is a masterpiece masquerading (with its incantatory beat and simple language) as a Mother Goose rhyme. It’s also that rare poem where the form is integral to the story.”

Warren continues:

“Each of the first four trimeter couplets expresses one of the speaker’s wishes. Each line begins with ‘I told him I needed’ and the final three couplets look back on the wishes with wrenching regret. Following each little couplet is a parenthesis: one tetrameter line explaining why the wish, although granted, ironically failed. The parentheses play on the idiom ‘wishing for the moon.’ They rhyme, and — taken by themselves—collectively make a poem in their own right.  On the other hand, if you do remove these parentheses, the seven trimeter couplets themselves make up an unrhymed sonnet—with a conventional volta between the octave and the sestet. It’s the poem’s tone that is so sad. The deceptively nursery-rhymish repetitions (“I told him” in the octave; “Now I have” in the sestet) only emphasize the speaker’s desolation.”

To see the official contest announcement and read Caitlin’s winning poem, visit this link:

As the winner of the 2017 Frost Farm Prize, Caitlin will receive an honorarium and she will also be the featured reader at The Hyla Brook Reading Series at the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, NH, on Friday, June 16.

Congratulations, Caitlin!

Following her graduation from our MFA program as the George Starbuck Fellow in Poetry, Caitlin has received a number of awards, fellowships, Writer-In-Residence teaching posts, and publication credits. Her recent honors include a Yaddo Colony fellowship and a Writer-In-Residence fellowship at the James Merrill House in Stonington, CT. Her work has most recently appeared or is forthcoming in The New Criterion, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Golden Shovel Anthology (University of Arkansas Press), the Poetry Foundation’s “Poem of the Day” series, the PBS NewsHour Poetry Series, and others.

Duy Doan wins Yale Younger Poets Prize

03.26.17 - NELN - Duy Doan photo

We’re so proud of Duy Doan (Poetry ’10), who recently won the Yale Younger Poets Prize!  You can read a feature about Duy in the Boston Globe here.

Carl Phillips, critically acclaimed poet and judge of the competition, says, “If games figure in Duy Doan’s We Play a Game, they do so much more seriously, and resonantly, than the title alone suggests. For game here can mean as well the strategies for weathering those parts of society that threaten identity itself, at the level of gender (in all its fluidity), or race, of family as history and tradition – of language, too, and our expectations for it. Wide-ranging in subject, Doan’s poems include boxing, tongue twisters, hedgehogs, Billie Holiday, soccer and, hardly least of all, a Vietnamese heritage that butts up against an American upbringing in ways at once comic, estranging, off-kiltering. Doan negotiates the distance between surviving and thriving, and offers here his own form of meditation on, ultimately, childhood, history, culture – who we are, and how – refusing all along to romanticize any of it.”

We Play a Game will be published by Yale University Press in April 2018. Congratulations, Duy!

Duy Doan is a Vietnamese American poet from Texas. A Kundiman fellow, he received his MFA in poetry from Boston University. His poems have appeared in SlateThe Cortland ReviewBest Emerging PoetsStay Thirsty MagazineAmethyst Arsenic, and elsewhere. Duy has taught at Boston University, Lesley University, and the Boston Conservatory. He is the director of the Favorite Poem Project, which celebrates the role of poetry in the lives of Americans. He lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.

Lisa Hiton publishes poetry chapbook

Lisa Hiton’s chapbovariation-on-testimony-croppedok, Variation on Testimony, has recently been published by Cutbank!  The manuscript was a finalist for the 2016 Cutbank Chapbook Contest.  You can click here to order a copy.

On her new chapbook, Lisa says, “When a poet sits down every few years to put poems in an order, new themes and ideas arise from the order itself. Variation on Testimony contains poems that, when gathered together, question narrative authority, especially in the face of violence—about who performs violence and whose body receives violence. From putting this chapbook together, I learned a lot about how my practice as a filmmaker informs this specific collection of poems and the role of fictive spectacle in my understanding of America as I endured my twenties. I’m especially grateful to the brilliant artist, Hernan Marin, who made the art for the cover of this book. His aptitude with breaking a whiteness by using shadow instead of light frames the speaker and speakers in these pages with the profoundly overbearing sense of transience present in our inner lives.”

Thanks so much for sharing this, Lisa, and congratulations!

Lisa Hiton holds an M.F.A. in poetry from Boston University and an M.Ed. in Arts in Education from Harvard University. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in New SouthLinebreak, The Paris-American, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and LAMBDA Literary among others.  Her chapbook, Variation on Testimony, is out now from CutBank Literary. She is the interviews editor of Cosmonauts Avenue and the poetry editor for The Adroit Journal.

Caroline Woods’s novel to be published in the UK!


We’re thrilled to announce that Caroline Woods’s debut novel, Fräulein M. (Tyrus Books/Simon & Schuster), will be released on February 23, 2017 in the UK as The Cigarette Girl (HQ Stories/HarperCollinsUK). The Cigarette Girl is available for pre-order here:

Fräulein M./The Cigarette Girl is a work of historical fiction about the end of the Weimar Republic as seen through the eyes of women—both cis- and transgender—whose lives are irrevocably changed when Hitler comes to power.

Congratulations, Caroline!

Caroline Woods (Fiction 2008) has taught fiction writing and freshman composition at BU and the Boston Conservatory. Her short fiction has been published in Slice Magazine (which nominated her for a Pushcart Prize), LEMON, and 236, BU Creative Writing’s Literary Journal. She has also written for The Scene and has received two Glimmer Train honorable mentions. You can learn more about Caroline at Follow her on Twitter @carocour.

Recommended Reading From Our MFAs

bowiereading-2Q: What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A: Reading.

-David Bowie, who would have been 70 last Sunday, answering the Proust Questionnaire

Below are a few of the books that our current MFAs read over winter break:


Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
-Kate Selker, fiction

Dante’s Inferno, trans. by Robert Pinsky and Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York, ed. Sari Botton
-Annie Diamond, poetry

H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald and What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
-Jowhor Ile, fiction

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino and Physical by Andrew McMillan
-Dan Grover, poetry

New American Stories, ed. Ben Marcus and Bleak House by Charles Dickens
-Fredric Sinclair, fiction

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence and White Teeth by Zadie Smith
-Vandana Saras, fiction

Hot Milk by Deborah Levy and House of Lords and Commons by Ishion Hutchinson
-Lisa Taddeo-Waite, fiction

Happy reading, all!

-BU Creative Writing