Creative Writing

Spring 2015 Prose Reading: A Celebration of Fordham's Literary Magazines

On Wednesday, February 11th, students met in the 12th Floor Lounge at Lincoln Center to learn about Fordham's literary magazines. The event, hosted by the Creative Writing Program, showcased the vibrant literary community at Fordham.

Student editors from the Ampersand, Bricolage, The Comma, and CURA tabled with copies of their respective publications and spoke with students about how they could get involved.

Just because you missed the event doesn't mean you need to miss out on the opportunity to work with these amazing publications. Here's some information on how you can get involved.

1. the Ampersand

The Ampersand is Rose Hill's student-run literary magazine. Published twice annually (once in the fall, once in the spring), the magazine accepts poetry, prose, short stories, and photographs/artwork for publication from students at both the Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses. See the Ampersand's submission guidelines here.

Join the Ampersand on Facebook and on Twitter at @fuampersand. The Ampersand can be reached at fordham.ampersand@gmail.com.

2. Bricolage

Bricolage is a student-run journal of Comparative Literature that publishes both critical and creative writing in multiple languages –– the only Fordham University journal to do so. It also publishes photography and art. Members of the editorial board have control over both the structure and the content of the journal. Bricolage is currently accepting submissions (students from Lincoln Center and Rose Hill are both welcome) to four prompts listed on their website.

You can reach Bricolage  at bricolagesubmission@gmail.com and join them on Twitter at @BricolageTweets.

3. The Comma

Based in Lincoln Center, The Comma meets Mondays at 5:30 p.m. in LL 924 (unless otherwise specified on social media). The Comma is student-run, and workshops every other Monday and does writing exercises on the days they do not workshop.  The Comma is published in The Observer twice a semester and they publish the Creative Writing Awards in the spring.  The Comma also has two readings per semester.  Prose, poetry, and visual art submissions are accepted from undergraduates from either campus. The Comma's next submission deadline is March 13th and their next reading is on March 31st at 7:30 p.m. in LL 924.

You can reach The Comma at observercomma@gmail.com and join them on Facebook and on Twitter at @ObserverComma.

4. CURA: A Literary Magazine of Art & Action

CURA is Fordham's preeminent professional literary magazine, focusing on the integration of the arts and social justice. Drawing submissions ranging from France to India, CURA offers students the outstanding opportunity to become involved in a professional publication. 

You can reach CURA at curamag@fordham.edu and join the magazine on Facebook and on Twitter at @CURAmag.

Dinika M. Amaral Published in The Iowa Review

Fordham's own Dinika M. Amaral has published the short story "No Good Deed Unpunished" in this winter's Iowa Review. The story also earned her the Review's Tim McGinnis Award.

Amaral earned her BA at Fordham before enrolling at New York University, where she received her MA and MFA. Her work has appeared in the Times of India and Golden Handcuffs Review and is forthcoming in the Denver Quarterly and Guernica. Amaral is currently a writing coach at NYU’s Stern School of Business and substitute-teaches creative writing at the University of California, Berkeley.

The Golden Gloves Literary Competition

On December 3rd, ten creative writing classes touched gloves and competed in a super-literary battle.  Each class presented five minutes of work and this ranged from a film noir short film, to experimental hypertext and family memoir.

Professors Frank Boyle and James Kim judged the competition and selected Shannon Morrall's short story "The Adventures of Albert Price" from Amy Benson's Fiction Boot Camp class as the winner.  Read the winning story.

Stay Woke: Write Yourself In

On Friday, November 14, Fordham students, faculty and members of the public gathered together at both Rose Hill and Lincoln Center for Stay Woke: Write Yourself In

At Rose Hill, the Fordham b-Sides began the event on Eddie's, right outside of Dealy Hall with a rendition of The Beatles' "Let it Be" as well as the civil-rights song "We Shall Overcome." 

Attendees then moved to the McGinley Music room, where they held an engaged discussion on their personal experiences with race, their thoughts on events in Ferguson, and their feelings about identity, followed by a creative writing exercise.

Several hours later, at Lincoln Center, students, faculty, and community members met to hold a remembrance for Michael Brown and other victims of racialized violence in the United States. The group sang "This Little Light of Mine," processing from within Lowenstein, down 9th Avenue, and stopping at the famed Lincoln Center fountain. There, the group recited some of the names of the fallen, including Trayvon Martin, Emmett Till, and Kandy Hall, among others.

The group then silently returned down 9th Avenue back to Fordham University, where they sat down with other students, faculty, artists, and community members to talk about their experiences of race in the United States.  Following this the group took part in free-writing sessions and then shared their poetry and prose with the room. 

Artists from around the country joined the Lincoln Center group by writing in real-time on a Google Doc which was projected onto the front of the room.

The Fordham Creative Writing Program has documented this event through photos, video, and hand-written materials. To view this powerful archive, click here.

Fall 2014 Prose Reading

On November 5th, the Creative Writing Program's Prose Reading featured Fordham alumni  Chris Campanioni and Melissa Castillo-Garsow and Fordham Writer in Residence Amy Benson.

The three writers also spoke with students about the creative writing process.

"My stuff is self-reflexive and self-reflective," Campanioni said. He finds his inspiration in his surroundings, including his commute to the College of Staten Island. The Staten Island ferry, he said, is a source of inspiration as well as a way to and from work. Campanioni read from his new book, Going Down, which he called an exploration of the news industry and the fashion world. A former journalist and model, Campanioni explained that he feels all writing is, in essence, memoir.

Melissa Castillo-Garsow credits Fordham with a great deal of her life as a writer.

"I always tell people Fordham is my favorite school--and the other two are NYU and Yale, so that's some stiff competition," she said.

Castillo-Garsow's  connection to Fordham did not end when she began taking classes at other universities. Her new book, Pure Bronx, takes place in Fordham's own backyard, and was co-written with Fordham professor Mark Naison.

Amy Benson echoed Campanioni's sentiments about all writing having at least tinges of memoir within it. She hesitated to label her work as "fiction" or "nonfiction."

"I'll let you decide if it's fiction or nonfiction," she said.

Benson noted that much of her inspiration currently comes from themes of environmental distress as well as from artists, noting Phoebe Washburn in particular.

"We have caused disasters that only we can fix," Benson read.

After filling the room with prose, the three authors took questions from students.

Several students had questions about how the authors find inspiration.

"I find myself drawn to artists with an ecological bend," Benson said. When a student asked Benson how she avoided becoming overwhelmed by the plethora of potential environmental issues to writer about Benson chuckled. "Oh, it's overwhelming," Benson said.

When the authors were asked how they found their voice, all three had words of advice.

"I listen to a lot of music when I write," Campanioni said. "So those lyrics sometimes bleed into the writing."

Campanioni noted that he even acknowledges the bands that inspired him--including Joy Division, Talking Heads, and Nine Inch Nails--in the back of his books.

Castillo-Garsow credited her experience as a journalist as helping her to find her voice.

"I worked as a journalist," she said. "So I was drawn to two things: 1) dialogue and 2) place and setting. So I wander around where I think my characters are from and just listen."

Benson advised students to look within to find their own voice.

"Find the things in you that no one else has," she said.

Castillo-Garsow echoed this sentiment.

"Listen to the craziness in your head. It may not work [at first], but then it will."

Advice to Emerging Writers

New Media Colloquium: The Future of Publishing

Éclairs, Kindles, Twitter-bots, and the Gutenberg printing press all came our way during the Creative Writing Program's New Media Colloquium.  

Allison Parrish and Benjamin Samuel duke it out over the role technology will play in the future of publishing.

Allison Parrish and Benjamin Samuel duke it out over the role technology will play in the future of publishing.

On October 8th,  Fordham Writer in Residence, Allison Parrish and Benjamin Samuel, editor at large at  Electric Literature spoke on an array of ways that the publishing and writing worlds are continuing to change and evolve. 

“People don’t really understand technologies before they dismiss them,” said Samuel.  "Some critics thought that Gutenberg’s printing press would destroy culture. Critiques of Kindles and iPhones may seem equally outdated in the future."

Still, Samuel cautions that no one can truly know the future of publishing.

“I don’t know what the future of publishing is,” he said, “and anyone who tells you they do is trying to sell you something. Our collective decisions right now as creators and consumers will determine the future. We just need to let people read what they want to how they want to,” he said. “The future of publishing isn’t a computer. It’s us.”

Parrish, however, struck a different tone. Parrish creates experimental art through computer programming and she said she found the interaction of computers and readers “beautiful.”

Among Parrish’s creations include a video game that she describes as “Boggle and Super Mario at the same time” among other quirky and inventive projects. Perhaps her most notable endeavor, however, is the popular Twitter account @everyword, which  tweets every word of the English language alphabetically. Because of a programming fluke, @everyword tweeted the word “éclair" after the last word beginning with "z," infuriating many Twitter followers.

Aside from the laughter Parrish’s story elicited, Parrish felt there was an important lesson within @everyword.  “Words aren’t empty vessels. @everyword brings that to the surface.”

When Samuel stated that he felt computer generated writing could never replace writing written by people, Parrish playfully retorted “I disagree. Wherever there’s a program that makes text, there’s a someone who programmed it.”

This event was co-sponsored by New Media and Digital Design.

Creative differences resolved... for now.

Creative differences resolved... for now.