ASFA-CW Welcomes Poet Abraham Smith to Campus Today at 11 AM

9ebd50c8-e152-4c3f-ba72-06fcb68f7ac2_0 We’re looking forward to having poet Abraham Smith at ASFA this morning. He’ll be giving a reading in the ASFA Lecture Hall starting at 11 a.m. (please note: this is a time change; it was originally scheduled for 1:45 p.m.), then he’ll conduct a prosody master class for our students. Here’s a link to his page on the Academy of American Poets website, and here’s a good profile of him and his work at the Chautauquan Daily.

ASFA-CW 2019 Senior Advice: Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

It’s going to be okay.
You’re never the best writer in the room.
Turn it in. Even if it’s not perfect.
Submit your work!
Let your work rest and don’t give up on it.
No really: submit your work!
Savor the moment.
Go to college wherever you want to go to college.
Focus on writing and making memories.
Write what you want to write.
Make emotional connections.
Yes, inspiration happens but the best writing is refined and polished over time.

(Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.)

ASFA-CW’s Kwoya Maples: History in the Making

FullSizeRender (1)Here at ASFA-CW, we have some impressive faculty members (if we do say so ourselves). They teach, they write, they engage the world in interesting ways.

Case in point: Kwoya Fagin Maples.

Among many other contributions to our department, Kwoya’s been the driving force behind our 3-D Poetry initiative — a project that allows our students to blend poetry and visual art, and to exhibit their work in local art galleries. It’s been a boon to our students’ understanding of their own creative processes, and the work they’ve produced has been a big hit with gallery-goers.

Kwoya’s own creative projects are really taking off right now, as well. She recently organized a successful poetry marathon and protest at the monument to J. Marion Sims outside the Columbia, S.C., capitol building. Sims — known as the “father of modern gynecology” — conducted experimental surgeries on enslaved women in the antebellum South, without anesthesia or their consent. Kwoya’s new manuscript, a collection of poems that seeks to give voice to the women themselves, was recently a finalist for the prestigious AWP Prize (among other accolades its already received prior to its publication) and will be published in the fall of 2018 by the University Press of Kentucky!

We recently volleyed a few questions back and forth (cuz that’s what poets do) — about Kwoya’s work and her creative process, about the role of poetry in contemporary society, and about how the personal always seems to find its roundabout way into the poetical (political, historical…). Here’s the transcript: Continue reading

ASFA-CW’s Iris Rinke-Hammer Named Finalist for Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award 


Creative Writing alumna Adriane Tharp has nominated ASFA instructor Iris Rinke-Hammer for a Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award, and we’re ecstatic to report that Iris has been named a finalist for the award, which recognizes teachers who have had significant impact on an individual student. The teachers selected will receive a certificate, a check for $10,000, and their photo will be posted on the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teachers Web site along with their nominator’s photo and an essay about the impact the teacher had on the nominator’s life. Congratulations to Iris, a teacher who has helped shaped the creative lives of so many students like Adriane in her exceptional ASFA career.


ASFA-CW Students REPRESENT in the AWF’s 2017 HSLAA Competition!

Nine of the 35 young writers in Alabama who were recognized in the Alabama Writers’ Forum’s 2017 High School Literary Arts competition are members of the ASFA-CW department, including the first place winner of the Poetry contest and the winner of one of seven coveted Senior Portfolio Scholarships. Here’s the list:

  • Rachel Huie (Senior Portfolio Scholarship)
  • Katy Hargett (1st Place – Poetry)
  • Alayna Pruitt (Judge’s Special Recognition – Poetry)
  • Emily Willford (Judge’s Special Recognition – Poetry)
  • Emma Camp (Judge’s Special Recognition – Poetry)
  • Dimari Jordan (Certificate of Merit – Poetry)
  • Lauryn-Elizabeth Dewberry (Certificate of Merit – Poetry)
  • Daniel Blokh (Certificate of Merit – Poetry)
  • Tiaya White (Certificate of Merit – Poetry)

Cadence, the ASFA-CW literary magazine, also received the award for Exceptional Literary Content in the Lit Mag competition.

We’re most excited about the broad cross section of our students who received recognition – students in all four eligible grade levels, first-year students, sixth-year students, and everywhere in between. That’s a testament to the quality of their work and to the vibrancy of our creative community. Thanks to our students and teachers for being so great!

Also congratulations to all the other talented young writers and their dedicated teachers, and thanks to the Alabama Writers’ Forum for its tireless efforts in supporting the literary arts throughout the state.

ASFA-CW Welcomes Visiting Writer Julie Marie Wade!

wade-authorphotocolorToday and tomorrow, poet and essayist Julie Marie Wade will be a guest of the ASFA Creative Writing department. We’re so excited to have her with us. This afternoon, she’ll conduct a masterclass with students in our 9th grade nonfiction workshop, and tomorrow she’ll give a reading from her recent book of lyric essays, Catechism: A Love Story. Here’s a pull quote from an interview with the on-line journal So to Speak: Feminism + Language + Art, in which Julie discusses the collection at length:

…And of course, I do think love is the ultimate sacrament, that which subsumes all others. I believe love transcends gender and race and class and orientation. I believe love is bigger than any institution that professes to define, prescribe, or contain it. And so why not write a Catechism that is a love story—with a human beloved as well as a love story with language itself and new ways that language might be used?

Click here for the full text of the interview.