Tag Archives: safta

Meet Our New Editorial Intern: Sam Campbell

If you were to ask my mom what I could normally be found doing when I was a child, her response would be automatic: reading or writing. In fact, if you wanted she could even pull out her shoebox of relics from my childhood and offer you up dozens of stories that date back to toddler times. You don’t want to see that—I promise you. But they’re there, resting as proof of my early fascination with words. This fascination came naturally to me.

I’m not sure what it was about writing that made me feel so alive. Everything about it felt right and real. Although I would create worlds and people that didn’t exist, the characters felt like people I knew and the places felt like places I’d been.  As I grew, so did my love for writing. I wrote everything imaginable. I wrote short stories, poetry, song lyrics, scripts, and I even finished my first full-length novel by the time I was in high school.

It didn’t take me long in high school to realize that no one could help me get published except myself. Teachers didn’t know how to help an aspiring novelist and neither did guidance counselors. I quickly began to understand that the odds of becoming successful in the writing world were equal if not worse than the odds of becoming a successful actress. Since then I’ve had two poems and two short stories published. I also wrote hundreds of poems, dozens of short stories, and four novels that all live in notebooks and my MacBook.

The writing industry is not for the faint of heart. I might have given up—after all, I am now 25 and my younger self was convinced I’d be “J.K. Rowling successful” by this point in my life—but after a particularly disappointing onslaught of rejection letters I was browsing my university library and found Stephen King’s On Writing. I went home and read it in a single night and my determination was renewed.

Sometimes the things you want most in life are the things that elude you. When this happens, you have two choices. You can give up, or you can reevaluate your approach and try to find a new way to reach your goal. It was in this frame of mind that I was given an opportunity to become a member of the writing community again for the first time since graduating college in 2014. I am so excited to begin this new chapter of my writing career as an editorial intern with Sundress Academy for the Arts. I hope that being able to work on the other side of the writing community will give me a deeper understanding of the publishing process, and that I will be able to apply the knowledge and experience I gain here to my writing career.

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Sam Campbell lives for four things: writing, learning, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family. She graduated in 2014 from East Tennessee State University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Science in both Psychology and History. She went on to earn a Master of Education in Educational Media and Technology from ETSU in 2017. She is currently teaching Honors English II and Advanced Placement Psychology at Seymour High School. While she adores her job, writing is and always will be her passion. Her fiction has appeared in Unto These Hills and The Mockingbird. Her poetry has appeared in Pine Tree Poetry and The Claiborne Progress.

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Meet our New Editorial Intern: Katie Culligan

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My name is Katie Culligan, and every week, I go to a Space Jam-themed cycling class for seniors that I started going to accidentally, but now go to purposefully.

I learned to read in the city of Buffalo, New York, and learned to drive in the mountains of East Tennessee. I’m a junior creative writing student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where I am also an affectionate succulent parent. My writing is currently forthcoming on my mother’s refrigerator.

It was a love story between an intense person and an intense pastime when I became a varsity women’s rower for the University of Tennessee. My teammates reinforce everyday that French braids are where girls keep their secret power reserves and they should make you feel very intimidated.

In my free time, I am a purposeful chaos maker in UT’s youngest improv troupe, Cumberland Striptease (that I did not name). When I grow up, I want to be a stately lady that wears bright orange lipstick very poorly and very confidently. Until then, I’m so excited to be here at the Sundress Academy for the Arts looking for my words.

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Katie Culligan is currently young and terrified at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she is a junior studying creative writing. Her favorite responsibilities are NCAA rowing, big sisterhood, and believing unwaveringly in ghosts. Her writing is informed by this age of indestructible men, though she likes to think her life isn’t. She also thinks if you haven’t tried fig newtons with peanut butter yet, you really should.

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A Week in the Writers Coop

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I was completely unsure what to expect when Erin Elizabeth Smith offered me the chance to test out the new Writer’s Coop at the Sundress Academy for the Arts at Firefly Farms.  I had been to several events at the farm itself, and, like most who stay at the farm, I was charmed by the colorful murals of mermaids, flowers, and Sylvia Plath, the shelves full of chapbooks, and, of course, the friendly animals (Jayne, the enormous resident donkey and professional selfie-taker in particular).  Though Erin warned me that the coop was still something of a work-in-progress and part of my job was to identify what still needed to be done, I arrived at Firefly Farms with high hopes of a good time full of productive writing.  I am happy to say that the Writer’s Coop did not disappoint.

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To access the coop, one has two options: you can have someone drive you on a four-wheeler, or you can walk the dirt and gravel path that winds behind Firefly Farms. The walk itself was quite easy; maybe a five minute jaunt when sober or ten when I had some beers down at the farm while getting to know the week’s residents. At the top of a small hill, the path widens and a tiny cabin appears.  Indeed, while the Coop started its life housing chickens, the Writer’s Coop resembles a charming re-creation of a log cabin that you might find in a museum more than anything else.

Erin and Joe, anticipating the needs of the future residents like myself, have included all the necessities: a front and back porch for catching the breeze, a comfortable bed, and, of course, a bottle opener mounted just outside the door.  The Coop even has its own outhouse close by.  Though I am the type of person who is normally horrified by going to the bathroom in outhouses or Port-a-Potties, I found the outhouse at the Coop to be fastidiously clean and completely devoid of smell.

I found my time at the Coop so enjoyable that the first morning, despite my hunger and need for a shower, I found myself lingering, writing poems and catching up on reading rather than making my way down to the farmhouse.  If you are like me and you work best in silence with few distractions, the Coop is the best possible place to write.  Something about feeling completely alone in nature without even the sound of passing cars really focused me.  I wrote five poems in the space of one afternoon while there.

I would recommend the Writer’s Coop to anyone who values alone time, peace and quiet, privacy, and affordability while still having options to commune with other authors (and play with adorable animals). Though I was lucky enough to test out the Coop, I will likely apply for my own residency in the future.

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is now accepting applications for fall residencies for the Writer’s Coop! Applications are free and rolling!

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Chloe Hanson is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Tennessee. She earned her MA and BA from Utah State University, where she also helped to establish and direct the Science Writing Center. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in several journals, including Public Pool, Off the Coast, and Driftwood Press. While she’s procrastinating her homework, she can often be found with a beer in her hand and her dog, Simon, by her side. She is the current Staff Director at the Sundress Academy for the Arts.

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Now Accepting Fall Writer’s Coop Residency Applications


The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is now accepting applications for short-term writers residencies during the fall residency period for our new Writers Coop during the weeks of August 14
th to December 31st, 2017. These residencies are designed to give artists time and space to complete their creative projects in a quiet and productive environment.

SAFTA is located on a working farm that rests on a 45-acre wooded plot in a Tennessee “holler” perfect for hiking, camping, and nature walks. Located less than a half-hour from downtown Knoxville, an exciting and creative city of 200,000 in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, SAFTA is an ideal location for those looking for a rural get-away with access to urban amenities.

The SAFTA Writers Coop is a 10×10′ dry cabin approximately a fourth of a mile from the SAFTA farmhouse. This tiny house is furnished with a twin bed, a desk, a wood-burning stove, a deck that looks over the pasture and pond, as well as a personal detached outhouse. While the cabin has neither electricity nor running water, residents will have full access to the amenities at farmhouse as well as solitude from other residents to write in the rolling hills of East Tennessee.

Each residency costs $150/week and includes your own private dry cabin as well as 24-hour access to the farmhouse amenities.

 

The application deadline for the fall residency period is rolling. All application fees have been waived for applications for the Writers Coop.

Find out more at www.sundressacademyforthearts.com.

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Announcing VIDA Residency Fellowship Winners

sundresslogoSAFTA Presents VIDA Fellowship Winners,
Hera Naguib and Elina Mishuris

Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is pleased to announce the winners of the VIDA fellowships for the fall residency period, Hera Naguib and Elina Mishuris.  SAFTA paired with VIDA, a research-driven organization aiming to increase critical attention to contemporary women’s writing and further transparency around gender equality issues in contemporary literary culture, to offer these fellowships for two women writers in any genre.  The full scholarship was awarded to Hera Naguib and the fifty percent scholarship was awarded to Elina Mishuris.  Idra Novey served as the judge for this year’s VIDA Fellowship.  

hera.jpgHera Naguib is a poet and teacher based in Lahore, Pakistan. She earned her MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College through the Fulbright Scholarship Program and her M.Litt in Literature in English from Beaconhouse National University, Lahore. Hera’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Tinderbox Poetry Journal, World Literature Today, Prairie Schooner, Beloit Poetry Journal, Spillway, among others.

 

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Elina Mishuris is a writer and translator living in New York. She received an MFA in fiction and translation from Columbia University in 2016, and a BA from the Gallatin School at New York University in 2011. Currently an English Editor at Morningside Translations, she was previously a teaching fellow in the Undergraduate Writing Program at Columbia, and a Writing Fellow at NYU Abu Dhabi. Her writing appears or is forthcoming in
BOMB, Guernica, The Southeast Review, Slice, and Brooklyn Magazine.  In 2016, she was nominated for the PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize.

Applications for spring residencies at SAFTA are now open and can be found at our website.

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The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is an artists’ residency on a 45-acre farm in Knoxville, Tennessee, that hosts workshops, retreats, and residencies for writers, actors, filmmakers, and visual  artists. All are guided by experienced, professional instructors from a variety of creative disciplines who are dedicated to cultivating the arts in East Tennessee.

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Sundress Academy for the Arts & Lambda Literary Now Accepting Applications for Spring Artist Residencies

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Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is excited to announce that they are now accepting applications for short-term artists’ residencies in creative writing, visual art, film/theater, music, and more. Each residency includes a room of one’s own, access to a communal kitchen, bathroom, office, and living space, plus wireless internet.

The length of a residency can run from one to three weeks. SAFTA is currently accepting applications for our spring residency period, which runs from January 1st to May 6th, 2018. The deadline for spring residency applications is September 10th, 2017.

For the spring residency period, SAFTA will be pairing with Lambda Literary to offer two fellowships (one full fellowship and one 50% fellowship) for a week-long residency to LGBTQIA+ writers of any genre. Lambda believes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer literature is fundamental to the preservation of our culture, and that LGBTQIA+ lives are affirmed when our stories are written, published and read. All applicants to the two fellowships must identify as LGBTQIA+.  Partial scholarships also available to any applicant with financial need. This year’s judges will be Wren Hanks, Noh Anothai, and librecht baker.

The SAFTA farmhouse is located on a working farm that rests on a 45-acre wooded plot in a Tennessee “holler” perfect for hiking, camping, and nature walks. Located less than a half-hour from downtown Knoxville, an exciting and creative city of 200,000 in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, SAFTA is an ideal location for those looking for a rural get-away with access to urban amenities.

The residency bedrooms are 130 sq. ft. with queen-size platform bed, closet, dresser, and desk. There is also a communal kitchen supplied with stove, refrigerator, and microwave plus plenty of cook- and dining-ware. The office and library have two working computers—one Mac, one PC—with access to the Adobe Creative Cloud. The library contains over 800 books with a particularly large contemporary poetry section and, thanks to the Wardrobe, many recent titles by female-identified and genderqueer writers. The facility also includes a full-size working 19th century full-size letterpress with type, woodworking tools, and a 1930’s drafting table.

To apply for the Sundress Academy for the Arts residency, you will need the following:

-Application form (including artist’s statement and contact information for two references)
-CV or artist’s resume (optional)
-Artist sample (see website for more details on genre specifications)
-Application fee of $15 or $10 for current students (with student email) payable online*

For more information, visit our website: http://www.sundressacademyforthearts.com/
or find us on Facebook, under Sundress Academy for the Arts
or on Twitter, @SundressPub

 

*Application fee will be waived for those applying for the Lambda Literary scholarship who demonstrate financial need. Please state this in your application under the financial need section.

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OUTSpoken Generosity Campaign

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As the season of giving begins and a new year approaches, Sundress Publications and the Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) are raising money to build a creative platform for the LGBTQ+ community of Knoxville, Tennessee.

Now in its fourth year, OUTSpoken is a program from the Sundress Academy for the Arts that will take place through 2017. We seek to create a space in which local communities can record and perform the experiences of sex- and gender-diverse individuals in the South.

Our goal is to raise $1,000 to cover the cost of workshops, event and rehearsal space, promotional materials, and more. It is our goal to make the entire event free to participants and audience members this year. All donations are tax-deductible.

OUTSpoken begins with a series of writing workshops in January, February, and March, where community members will develop their experiences into poems, monologues, narratives, or other literary forms. These pieces are then revised and eventually performed in a staged reading. Participants will have the option of working with actors to bring their writing to life or of performing their writing themselves. The three-month workshop series, followed by a showcase of personal work, unites the community through art and expression.

As the LGBTQ+ community faces a nation divided and charged by politics, we believe it is more important than ever to build a space where all are welcomed, accepted, and celebrated. To learn more about the OUTSpoken program and campaign, visit generosity.com/community-fundraising/outspoken-needs-your-help. All donations are tax-deductible.

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Poets in Pajamas: An Interview with Sam Slaughter

The Poets in Pajamas Reading Series launches this week, hosted by Sam Slaughter, author of God in Neon and Spirits Editor at The Manual.  Below, Sam shares some of the inspiration behind Poets in Pajamas and what you should expect from this cozy new virtual reading series.  sam-slaughter

Kristen Figgins: What was the inspiration for Poets in Pajamas?

Sam Slaughter: We wanted to create a reading series that wasn’t contingent on location, one that would—as long as you have access to the internet—allow anyone to participate. Obviously, any major city is going to have multiple reading series to go to/participate in/etc., but not everyone can live in those cities. As writers, we’re often wherever the job market dictates—from Alaska to northeast Georgia to Thailand. Depending on the type of work we do, we can be just about anywhere in the world. Because of this, we wanted something that overshadowed that. That way, you would be able to participate and not feel like you’re missing out because you can’t be in Brooklyn or LA or Chicago.

KF: How are reading series important to the literary landscape?

SS: They provide connection with other readers and writers that we as artists need, considering most of us—regardless of artistic preference—spend a good deal of time alone, staring at a screen or a notebook or a canvas. They also allow readers and writers to show off their work or try out new stuff in an environment that is ready for it. You can get some immediate feedback from friends or other people there to see if that piece you’re working on is clicking or if you need to go back to the drawing board on it. Both of these points come back to the main thing: community. A reading series helps to build a community of readers and writers pursuing similar paths in the world and gives everyone an outlet to express themselves.

KF: What is your favorite memory from a reading series (either as an author or an attendee)?

SS: A great memory I have is from the first time I attended AWP, in Minneapolis in 2014. The first night I was there was the Literary Death Match, and I got to see readers like Matt Bell, Ben Percy, and Roxanne Gay battle it out, if you will.

A second fond memory I have is of the There Will Be Words reading series, hosted by J. Bradley in Orlando. I’ve been a part of it and I’ve attended multiple others and every time it was a great, engaging event. The people are great and the words are better.

KF: One of the great things about reading series is that they create a personal connection with authors and their audience.  How do you imagine retaining that personal connection while utilizing the Periscope app?

SS: Well, the easy answer is that there will be a ten-minute Q&A portion of each reading, allowing viewers to type in questions that the reader can respond to. Periscope has taken care of the interaction portion for us. Another thing is that a reading series like this can spread by word of mouth/Facebook post/tweet. Helping connect more readers and viewers can enhance the community and allow for new connections to spring up that might not have happened otherwise.

KF: If you could have a literary slumber party with any group of poets, dead or alive, who would be on the invitation list?

SS: My list wouldn’t be just poets, but regardless, I’d want to put together a slumber party that would be a hell of a good time—light on the slumbering, heav(ier) on the partying.

  1. TC Boyle
  2. Harry Crews
  3. Julia Child
  4. Anthony Bourdain
  5. Lorrie Moore

You can find out more about Poets in Pajamas including upcoming readings and how to get involved, on our website! Be sure to Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter as well!

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By Fluorescent Light: An Introduction to Kristen Figgins, Intern

KFigg 2My husband is an amateur historian, so I spend a lot of time thinking about medieval villages, where people participated in rigorous apprenticeships before entering into a vocation themselves.  We both know, my husband and I, that the medieval period wasn’t laugh-a-minute, that people generally lived hard lives with plenty of religious festivals to break up the monotony of blacksmithing (or whatever it was you did) with a play depicting the death of some saint.  But we still complain that, you know, those guys were onto something.  Internships, apprenticeships, those are the way to go.

I sit here at my desk, lit not by candlelight but by six bright fluorescents, on the first day of school, someone lecturing in a classroom across the hall, much too loud, and I think about my good fortune.  I’m one of the newest editorial interns at Sundress Publications, and even though I have gotten used to be being the teacher, I’m going to have an opportunity to be a learner again.  I’ve always been fascinated by the publishing industry, which, as a writer, no matter how much I learn or how familiar I get with the process of submission, still seems like a mystery cult, shrouded in trade secrets and behind-the-scenes stuff.  Getting my acceptance email from Jane Huffman felt like being told that I was to be inducted into the Illuminati, like looking at a medieval map and seeing “Here be dragons” and saying, yes, yes, please.  

Except, of course, it isn’t. Everyone is very polite and there don’t seem to be any rituals involved in this business of publishing, at least not yet.  But I am an apprentice to the trade now, it feels, and I’m already learning a lot.  I was able to read an advance copy of Xochitl-Julisa Bergera’s Posada: Offerings of Witness and Refuge.  It was beautiful and amazing and it did feel like a secret that was being whispered to me.  I put together a series of questions for Xochitl-Julisa that will be used in an interview, which did feel a bit like pulling back a curtain.  

My recommendation, in the twenty-first century, to all of you who are not time travelers of the medieval period, is that when you see a listing for an internship position, to reach out and grab it with both hands.  You might just find yourself at Sundress Publications, like I did, sitting at your desk and feeling yourself very lucky to be learning the secrets of a beautiful, mysterious, and fascinating trade.  

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Kristen Figgins is a writer of fabulism, whose work has appeared in such places as Dunes Review, Zoetic Press, The Gateway Review, Puerto del Sol, Sleet Magazine, Hermeneutic Chaos, Sakura Review, and The Whale Road Review.  Her story “Track Me With Your Words, Speak Me With Your Feet” was winner of the 2015 Fiction Award fromPuerto del Sol and her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Micro Award, and Write Well Award.  Her first chapbook, A Narrow Line of Light, is available for purchase from Boneset Books and her novella, Nesting, is forthcoming from ELJ Publications in the Summer of 2017.

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Laura B. Robbins Introduction

Hi, everybody! I’m Laura, and I’m so excited to join the Sundress team as a Development Intern.

I was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. I’m incredibly proud of my city, and yes, I think our BBQ is the best. I have a love of books and reading, and one day, I hope to work as an editor for a major publishing house. My love of reading stemmed from my parents, both journalists who take the written word very seriously.

While I spend a good portion of my time reading books or writing about books, I also enjoy spending time with my family and friends, watching a little too much Netflix, fawning over kittens, and online shoe shopping.

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Laura Robbins, a Memphis native, is a senior at the University of Tennessee studying English Literature. For the last year, she has worked at UT’s library in Special Collections. When she isn’t writing papers or reading books for class, Laura enjoys buying more books than she has the room for and discussing anything from feminism to the latest superhero movie.

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