laptop, books, and notebook

Connecting and motivating writers online!

We at the Cornell College M.F.A. are sad to delay the inaugural residency of our new program that was slated to start this summer. Out of concern for the health and safety of everyone involved, we are not starting our new M.F.A. until January 2021. But that’s not stopping us! We invite you to join us for any, or all, of a series of online events running from July 8–12, 2020. This is an opportunity to get to know our faculty, to learn about the program, and for Cornell students and potential students to get to know each other. But mostly, these events are designed to inspire you and challenge you to write! All events are free and open to the public, although some require pre-registration. To gain access to events, e-mail Chelsea White at, and feel free to contact us with any questions about programming.

Schedule of Events

* Indicates a limited number of participants
Central Time Wed., July 8 Thurs., July 9 Fri., July 10 Sat., July 11 Sun., July 12
10:30–11:30 a.m.

Generative Workshop*

Led by Curtis Bauer

Generative Workshop*

Led by Jennifer Colville

Generative Workshop*

Led by Kisha Llewelyn Schlegel

Coffee with Cornell Faculty

12:30–1:30 p.m.

In Conversation

Becca Klaver & Shena McAuliffe

In Conversation

Rebecca Entel & Rachel Swearingen

In Conversation

Thisbe Nissen & Jay Baron Nicorvo

2:30–3:30 p.m.

Craft Talk

Glenn Freeman

Craft Talk

Lily Hoang

Craft Talk

Deb Marquart

4:30–5:30 p.m.


Happy Hour Panel

Writing as Translation

Happy Hour Reading

Glenn Freeman & Becca Klaver

Happy Hour Panel

Is a Low-Residency M.F.A. Right for You?


7:00–8:00 p.m.


Rebecca Entel & Shena McAuliffe


Lily Hoang & Kisha Llewelyn Schlegel


Thisbe Nissen & Jay Baron Nicorvo


Curtis Bauer & Deb Marquart

Morning Workshops

Each workshop is designed to generate new material and to talk with different writers about the process of getting started on new work. Our hope is that you will walk away with new strategies to get your writing muscles in gear as well as new material that you can continue developing on your own. Be prepared to write and to be challenged to work in new ways. You can register for all three or choose any sessions you want. To register, simply email director Glenn Freeman at

Lunchtime Conversations 

Join us for any of these informal conversations between writers. Each discussion will have a starting point, but like any writing, they won’t follow a road map. Conversations will go wherever they go! Grab lunch, or coffee, and join the conversation! All are free and open to the public. Simply email Chelsea White at for access.  

July 9: Poet Becca Klaver and fiction and nonfiction writer Shena McAuliffe will talk about ways in which their writing processes differ and ways they overlap. How does a poet think or write differently from a prose writer? What can a writer learn from working in another genre?  

July 10: Fiction writers Rebecca Entel and Rachel Swearingen discuss the experience of publishing their debut works. How did they go about finding an agent and a publisher? What went well and what would they do differently now that their first books have found a home? 

July 11: “Wed Your Best Reader; or the Significance of 358." Writing is by necessity solitary; publishing is by definition public. In between these extremes, we make lasting literary relationships. Thisbe Nissen and Jay Baron Nicorvo discuss how their marriage helped determine their recent novels, Our Lady of the Prairie and The Standard Grand, the difficult parallel routes the books took to publication, and how the two novels ended up exactly the same number of pages, 358. They may need to get matching tattoos.

Afternoon Craft Talks

These talks are a chance to hear individual writers discuss issues of importance to them in their own work. We hope these talks will offer you new ways to think about your own work and challenge you to consider new approaches or perspectives. There will be a chance to pose questions and engage the writers as well. 

July 9: “Who’s Talking: Some Thoughts on Point of View.” Poet Glenn Freeman will discuss the important issue of point of view in any piece of writing. How do we decide? How do we not fall into habits of point of view and keep our options open? 

July 10: Fabulist fiction writer and genre-bending essayist Lily Hoang will offer ideas about process and how to push your work in new and surprising directions. 

July 11: “Where Social and Environmental Justice Meet.” Iowa Poet Laureate Debra Marquart discusses the role of the environment and environmental issues in her work and the work of other writers.  From Standing Rock to the 1984 Union Carbide explosion in Bhopal; from lead-poisoned drinking water in Flint, Michigan to the US government’s failed responses to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, one need not look far to see that the burden of environmental destruction is visited upon those who lack the political power and means to register dissent and prosecute wrongdoing. 

Cornell Happy Hours

Join us for these informal talks and readings in which several writers will talk, read, and respond to your questions. Grab a beverage of your choice, relax, and join us for these conversations! 

July 9: "Translation as Writing." Poets Curtis Bauer and Mira Rosenthal discuss the ways in which translating other writers’ works influences the way they approach their own writing. How can we incorporate other languages, other cultures, and other aesthetics into our own work? 

July 10: Poets Becca Klaver and Glenn Freeman will read from their recent collections, "Ready for the World" and "Drinking with O’Hara" and will talk with you and with each other about the process of putting these collections together and finding a home for the books.  

July 11: "Is a Low-Residency MFA Right for You?" This is an opportunity for anyone considering an M.F.A., and particularly Cornell College’s M.F.A., to learn more. What is it really like to study in a low-residency program? How does it impact your writing? Director Glenn Freeman (himself a low-residency alum) and several other low-residency students will be available to discuss Cornell’s program and the benefits of low-residency programs in general to help you decide if this is a good path for you.  

Cornell Evening Reading Series

These are a chance to hear a variety of amazing work: many of Cornell College’s M.F.A. faculty and guest artists will read from their recent works as well as new work in progress. There will be a chance to pose questions to the writers as well, so join in the fun. 

July 8: Fiction and nonfiction writers Rebecca Entel, ("Fingerprints of Previous Owners") and Shena McAuliffe, ("Glass, Light, and Electricity") will read work that offers fresh perspectives on history and culture. 

July 9: Essayist Kisha Schlegel ("Fear Icons") and Lily Hoang ("A Bestiary") will read selections that will challenge our sense of what prose can do. 

July 10: Thisbe Nissen ("Our Lady of the Prairie") and Jay Baron Nicorvo ("The Standard Grand") will read and set the stage for their fascinating conversation the following day about how the process of their novels intersect. 

July 11: Poet Curtis Bauer ("American Selfie") and Iowa Poet Laureate Debra Marquart ("Small Buried Things") will read inspire us with poems of conscience and heart. 

Cornell M.F.A. Coffee

July 12: This is an opportunity to meet with the Cornell college M.F.A. faculty to talk about the program, writing, and life. It's a small group discussion, so pre-registration is required by contacting director Glenn Freeman at


Curtis Bauer is the author of three poetry collections, most recently “American Selfie” (Barrow Street Press). He is also a translator of poetry and prose from the Spanish, including most recently the full-length poetry collection Image of Absence, by Jeannette L. Clariond. He is the publisher and editor of Q Avenue Press Chapbooks and the translations editor for The Common. He currently serves as director of the Creative Writing Program at Texas Tech University. 

Jennifer Colville holds an M.F.A. from Syracuse University and a Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing from the University of Utah. Her stories have appeared in The Literary Review, The Mississippi Review, The Iowa Review, Diagram, and on the Huffington Post. A collection of short stories, "Elegies for Uncanny Girls," was published by Indiana University Press in 2017. She is the founding editor of PromptPress, a journal for the interplay of visual art and writing. She co-runs the Free Generative Writing Workshops in Iowa City.

Rebecca Entel’s short stories and essay have appeared in such journals as Guernica, Joyland, Cleaver, Literary Hub, Catapult, and Electric Literature. She is Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Cornell College, where she teaches courses in creative writing, multicultural American literature, Caribbean literature, and the literature of social justice. Fingerprints of Previous Owners is her debut novel. 

Glenn Freeman has published three collections of poems, most recently "Drinking with O’Hara." His work has been published in journals such as Poetry, The Cimarron Review, The Florida Review, and Zone 3. He has degrees from Goddard College, Vermont College, and the University of Florida and has received grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Iowa Arts Council. He is director of the Cornell College M.F.A. 

Lily Hoang is the author of five books of prose, including “Changing” and “A Bestiary.” With Joshua Marie Wilkinson, she edited the anthology “The Force of What's Possible: Writers on Accessibility and the Avant-Garde.” She is editor of Jaded Ibis Press and executive editor of HTML Giant. She is an associate professor at UC San Diego where she teaches in the M.F.A. program. “The Book of Martha” is forthcoming from Red Hen Press. 

Becca Klaver is the author of three books of poetry, most recently "Ready for the World," and several chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Fence, jubilat, Gramma Weekly, the &Now Awards 3: The Best Innovative Writing, Verse Daily, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day series. She cofounded the feminist poetry press Switchback Books; created the viral blog Women Poets Wearing Sweatpants, and is currently coediting, with Arielle Greenberg, the digital poetry anthology "Electric Gurlesque" (forthcoming from Saturnalia Books).

Debra Marquart is a professor of English at Iowa State University and currently serves as Iowa Poet Laureate. She teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Environment at Iowa State University and the Stonecoast Low-Residency M.F.A. Program at University of Southern Maine. Marquart’s latest book, "Small Buried Things," was published by New Rivers Press in 2015. Her work has appeared in numerous journals including The North American Review, Three Penny Review, New Letters, River City, Crab Orchard Review, Narrative Magazine, The Sun, and Brevity. Marquart is also the author of two other poetry collections—"Everything's a Verb" and "From Sweetness"—a memoir, "The Horizontal World: Growing Up Wild in the Middle of Nowhere," and a collection of interrelated short stories, "The Hunger Bone: Rock & Roll Stories," which draws on her experiences as a female road musician.  She has released two CDs with her rhythm & blues project, The Bone People, and continues to perform solo as a singer/songwriter. 

Shena McAuliffe’s debut novel, “The Good Echo” won the Big Moose Prize and the Balcones Fiction Prize. Her essay collection, “Glass, Light, & Electricity,” winner of the Permafrost Prize in Nonfiction was published by the Alaska University Press in spring 2020. Her stories and essays have been published in Conjunctions, Black Warrior Review, Gulf Coast, True Story, and elsewhere. She holds degrees from the University of Utah and Washington University in St. Louis and teaches literature and creative writing at Union College in Schenectady, New York.

Jay Baron Nicorvo’s debut novel, “The Standard Grand,” was picked for IndieBound's Indie Next List, Library Journal's Spring 2017 Debut Novels Great First Acts, and named a best book of the year by The Brooklyn Rail. He's published a poetry collection, “Deadbeat” (Four Way Books), and his nonfiction, twice named "Notable" in “Best American Essays,” can be found in Salon, The Baffler, The Iowa Review, and The Believer. Jay’s writing has been featured on NPR and PBS NewsHour. He's served as an editor at PEN America, the literary magazine of the PEN American Center, and at Ploughshares. 

Thisbe Nissen is the author of three novels, “Our Lady of the Prairie,” “Osprey Island,” “The Good People of New York,” and a story collection, “Out of the Girls' Room and into the Night.” She has taught at Columbia University, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Brandeis University, The New School's Eugene Lang College and in the low-residency M.F.A. program at Pacific University. These days, she teaches undergrad, M.F.A., and Ph.D. students at Western Michigan University. 

Mira Rosenthal’s first book of poems, "The Local World," received the Wick Poetry Prize. Her second book of translations, Polish poet Tomasz Różycki’s Colonies, won the Northern California Book Award and was shortlisted for numerous other prizes, including the International Griffin Poetry Prize. Rosenthal publishes regularly in such journals as Ploughshares, Harvard Review, PN Review, A Public Space, and Oxford American. Her honors include the PEN Translation Fund Award, a Fulbright Fellowship, a MacDowell Colony Residency, and a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies. 

Kisha Llewelyn Schlegel is the author of the essay collection “Fear Icons,” winner of the inaugural Gournay Prize. Her essays have appeared in Conjunctions, The Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, and the anthology “Marry a Monster.” A graduate of the University of Montana's Environmental Studies Program and the University of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program, she is an assistant professor at Whitman College.