2016 Celebration of the Literary Arts brings authors to DMACC

limonAda Limon, a poet and freelance writer, began writing as a child when she would write songs and sing them to her giant Labrador. She always loved poetry and began to seriously study it in her junior year of undergraduate college. She received her M.F.A. from New York University in 2001.

Limon was inspired by poets Maya Angelou and Elizabeth Bishop because of their sense of lyricism and song. She found their works powerful. When it came to writing her own poetry the best advice she received was to “Keep your nose down and write. Pay lots of attention to other stuff and the most attention to your poems.”

Students at Urban campus and the audience at Beaverdale Books heard Limon read from her newest book of poems Bright Dead Things.

prufer Kevin Prufer, a poet and instructor at the University of Houston, began as a journalist in Washington D.C. writing for the News Hour with Jim Lehrer. After one year of working, he quit to study fiction writing, but then changed to poetry. He received his M.F.A. from Washington University and has been writing poetry for 20 years.

Prufer said while he was in graduate school he learned to write a kind of poem that was that was technically good, but was nevertheless lame. That is when he got the best writing advice he ever received. A professor asked him “If you’re chickenshit alone in front of your computer at night with no one around, when in your life aren’t you chickenshit? Prufer said this advice to write something that people might care about and might not like was something he needed to hear.

Prufer’s latest book of poems is titled Churches, which he shared with students on Urban campus and at Beaverdale Books.

bell

Matt Bell, a fiction author and instructor at Arizona State University, began writing seriously at the age of 20. He said that he loved reading and wanted to make more of this thing he loved. Bell is from the Midwest, having grown up in Michigan and he earned his M.F.A. from Bowling Green University in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Bell started his school career at a community college. His first writings were fantasy, science fiction, and horror stories but his style evolved into more contemporary fiction. His latest novel, Scrapper, takes place in Detroit after its financial collapse.

Robin Black, a blackfiction author and instructor at Rutgers Camden MFA program, was a stay-at-home mother and began writing when she was 39 years old. Although she took a detour before becoming a writer, she says she feels fortunate to have a writing life now. She holds an M.F.A. from Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.

Black talks openly about the fact that she has ADD. One thing she loves about writing is that it is part of her life that is organized because she has control over the sentence in front of her. When working on  her novel, Life Drawing, she overcame concerns about writing a long piece by breaking it into 50 page chunks. Five 50 page chunks later she had a novel and was then able to work on revisions.

Black said the most important advice she received as a writer was “Don’t try to be anyone but yourself.” Her latest book is a collection of essays about writing titled CRASH COURSE: 52 Essays From Where Writing and Life Collide, which she read for audiences at Beaverdale Books, Boone, and Ankeny.

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