Catherine F. Con published in HOOT Literary Review


Yay, that’s me!  It felt weird to write about myself in third person as I do for other alumni, so, here I am in first person.  I’ve just had a petite poem published in HOOT.  Check it out here.  It features an audio recording, and my dear friend Suze Vagt did an illustration.

I received my MFA in fiction from BU in January ’14, where I’m now the coordinator of the creative writing program.  Most recently, my work has appeared in Teachers as Writers, an anthology of essays published by Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Microchondria: 42 Short Stories collected by Harvard Book Store.  

Literary Links


Hi guys!  The first summer session here at BU is wrapping up, and some of our Global Fellows will be heading off to faraway places very soon.  You can follow their adventures here.  I’ll be adding more to that link as the blogs come in.  Be sure to check out Qais’ blurb about his Mark Twain adventure and Sarah’s Scotland reading list.

One of the fiction MFAs recommended the novel Skippy Dies, and now I can’t put it down.  Seriously, just open it up in Googlebooks and try and see if you can stop.  I went to three different book stores in Cambridge to find it, and none of them had it, but each bookseller nodded knowingly and said it was a great book.  Kinda weird.

Anyway, I’m posting early because I’ll be out of town tomorrow. Here are literary (and not so literary) links:

It’s Edith Pearlman’s birthday today!  I’ve got her collection Binocular Vision and it’s quite impressive.  I recommend the story “Day of Awe.”

Skippy Dies.  (No spoilers.)

This year’s Shakespeare on the Common is Twelfth Night.

What makes a bestselling novel?

Interesting vocab test.

Seven “bogus” grammar errors.

David Sedaris and his Fitbit.

George Orwell’s four motives of writing.

Someone recommended this documentary about chef Kenny Shopsin last weekend.

Saturday, my sister and I are going to Shopsin’s.  Check out their crazy menu.

Speaking of food, has anyone read this yet?  It’s getting good reviews.

Have a wonderful weekend, all!

Abriana Jetté featured in Stay Thirsty magazine

Check out this fantastic interview in Stay Thirsty magazine featuring BU poetry alum Abriana Jetté, where she talks about the BU Creative Writing Program, what it means to be an emerging poet, and how music and poetry influence each other.

Abriana Jetté is an internationally published poet, essayist, and educator from Brooklyn, New York. Her work has appeared in dozens of journals, including the Dr. T. J. Eckleburg Review, The Iron Horse Literary Review, The American Literary Review, and 491 Magazine. She teaches at St. Johns’s University and the City University of New York, writes a regular column for Stay Thirsty Magazine that focuses on emerging poets and she is the editor of the recently published book, The Best Emerging Poets of 2013, that debuted on Amazon as the #3 Best Seller in Poetry Anthologies.

Literary Links


PPaul Muldoon

“Words want to find chimes with each other, things want to connect.”  

–Paul Muldoon





Today is the birthday of Irish poet Paul Muldoon, who was actually on campus for the Lowell Memorial Poetry Reading not long ago.  Here’s a poem by him that I like.  Doesn’t he look badass in this photo?

What are you guys reading this summer?  I almost missed my stop on the train this morning reading All the Pretty Horseby Cormac McCarthy.  (Spoiler alert after first paragraph in that link.)

Here are some literary links for your weekend (and tomorrow is the longest day of the year!).

Flannery O’Connor doesn’t think friends should let friends read Ayn Rand.  HA.

A really lovely letter from Iggy Pop.

Kafka on reading.

I love these rules for writing, especially the first one.

A reminder from Annie Dillard: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

Bookish bags.

The New Yorker tells us how to enjoy soccer.

Have a wonderful summer solstice!

Literary Links


“It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.”

–from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Hello, all!  Hope you guys had a good week.  Mine has been filled with writing and lots of social events (because everyone goes crazy when it’s not freezing in Boston).

A friend and I made a pact that we would write twenty pages of our novels per month, or else we wouldn’t be able to drink coffee for a month.  A pretty dreadful punishment, right?  The reward for fulfilling our pact is burgers and beer on the 15th of each month, so I’m happy to say that we’re headed to Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage on Sunday.

Here are some links for Father’s Day / World Cup weekend:

Nerd-tastic:  Rock a pair of frames like your favorite bespectacled character, including fictional father Atticus Finch.

Poems by Ted Kooser  (including  one called “Father”).

Soccer Moms” by Paul Muldoon.

The writer who designed Brazil’s soccer uniform.

Hillary Clinton reacts to her one-star Amazon book reviews.  Ha!

Our program director, Leslie Epstein, recommends The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner.

Owls is available in paperback now!  And I got to meet David Sedaris last weekend!

I bought this cheese-making kit for my dad.  And here’s a “touching, ‘telling’ book about cheese.”

Did you know this about Elizabeth Pain?  I did the Freedom Trail Run last Saturday and saw her grave!  (And highly recommend that running tour.  It’s as dorky and fun as it looks.)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Sarah Huener a finalist in Pocataligo Poetry Contest

SONY DSCMore great news from Creative Writing program alumni!  Sarah Huener’s poem, “Zagreb, October,” was named a finalist in the Pocataligo Poetry Contest, which is held annually by Yemassee.  Sarah says she wrote the poem while on her Global Fellowship travels in Croatia.

Hurrah!  Way to go, Sarah!

Sarah Huener is a poet and musician from North Carolina. She studied poetry at UNC Chapel Hill, and recently received her MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University. This fall Sarah traveled in Croatia and Israel as a Robert Pinsky Global Fellow. She is working on her first book.


Ryan Wilson’s latest publications

DSC04176Publications abound for Ryan Wilson, whose poems have recently been published or are forthcoming in a slew of journals! His poem, “After the Sonogram,” appears in the new issue of Iron Horse Literary Review, and “Goths” was published in the most recent issue of 32 Poems. In addition, Ryan wrote this essay review for their ‘Marginalia’ series.

Congratulations, Ryan!

Ryan Wilson was born in Griffin, Georgia. He holds an MFA in poetry from the Writing Seminars at The Johns Hopkins University, and another from Boston University. His work has appeared in a number of journals, such as Able Muse, The Hopkins Review, The Journal, Measure, River Styx, Sewanee Theological Review, and Unsplendid. Currently, he is a doctoral candidate at The Catholic University of America, and he lives in Baltimore with his wife.

Mai Wang Receives Emerging Artists Award

mai-wangHearty congratulations to Mai Wang! A current MFA candidate in fiction, Mai recently received an Emerging Artists Award from the St. Botolph Club Foundation.  The St. Botolph club gives grants to exceptional writers, visual artists, and musicians who are beginning their careers.

We’re so proud of you, Mai!

Mai Wang graduated from Yale University, where she was an English major in the Writing Concentration. A former beauty blogger, she has written for print and digital publications such as Upstreet Magazine, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Yahoo Shine. In 2013, she was the Writer-in-Residence at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center in Nebraska City, NE. In her writing, she explores themes of immigration and national identity. She is currently working on a novel set in Beijing that is based on her mother’s experience in the Cultural Revolution.

Happy Friday from BU Creative Writing


“We do know that no one gets wise enough to really understand the heart of another, though it is the task of our life to try.”

–Louise Erdrich


Hello, all!  Tomorrow is the birthday of Louise Erdrich.  She will be 60.  Here’s a recent story by her.

Oh, no! Apparently, exclamation marks are unstoppable!

Great Scott!  Here’s a poem by Scott Ruescher, a friend of mine.

The New Yorker thinks John Green is the man.  He’s wicked smart, and his novels ask questions about forgiveness, death and mortality, and what makes life meaningful.  I expect throngs of teenage girls and tissues in disarray at the The Fault in Our Stars viewing tonight.

But here’s an essay positing that adults should not read young adult books.  Check out the riveting comments, too.

How to write better than you normally do.

And once more this summer, why not read this essay by E.B. White?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Summer Reading, Part 1


“When I remember that dizzy summer, that dull, stupid, lovely, dire summer, it seems that in those days I ate my lunches, smelled another’s skin, noticed a shade of yellow, even simply sat, with greater lust and hopefulness–and that I lusted with greater faith, hoped with greater abandon. The people I loved were celebrities, surrounded by rumor and fanfare; the places I sat with them, movie lots and monuments. No doubt all of this is not true remembrance but the ruinous work of nostalgia, which obliterates the past, and no doubt, as usual, I have exaggerated everything.”

–Michael Chabon, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

Summer is upon us. Huzzah!

Here are books that 1) take place in summer, 2) you maybe haven’t read yet, 3) are coming-of-age stories (because who doesn’t love coming-of-age stories in summer?):

*Be careful with spoilers in these links!*

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon.
The plot isn’t much, but 1) it’s fun to read what Chabon sounded like at 24, and 2) I’m a sucker for those sentences (and lost protagonists who cry at dinner).

A Room with a View by E.M. Forster.
Lucy Churchill + art + Italy + smart, strange dude.  I mean, what’s not to like about this.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.
A girl grows up in pre-hipster Williamsburg, wielding her wild imagination against poverty.  Hurrah!

First Love by Ivan Turgenev.
Narrated by a teenage boy in the throes of his first love, it’s at times funny, at times bizarre, and everyone is an emotional wreck.  (Like adolescence, right?) And it’s a Ha Jin recommendation!

Summer by Edith Wharton.
I haven’t read this, but has anyone read it, and could you post below?

And just for fun, here’s some advice from famous writers about drinking.

And also just for fun, listen to Paul Schoenfield’s Cafe Music.  Sounds like summer mischief!