Tag Archives: sundress academy for the arts

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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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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Sundress Academy for the Arts Now Accepting Residency Applications New Writers Coop

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The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is now accepting applications for short-term writers residencies during the summer residency period for our new Writers Coop during the weeks of June 5th to August 20th, 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.

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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 single 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.

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The application deadline for the summer residency period is rolling. Note our application fees have been waived for the summer application period.

Find out more on our website or Facebook. 

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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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Project Bookshelf: Kristen Figgins

Books pile everywhere in my house.  My husband and I are both voracious reader who are always saying, “I really shouldn’t” while at the check-out line at a bookstore.

Below is the bookshelf in our living room, what I think of as the NEAT bookshelf, because it’s full of things that we saw that were too NEAT not to buy, like a coffee table book about the circus.

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And these are the bookshelves that sit in the guest room, the books that live in and around my heart, the books that I read for fun, for classes, books that I read until their spines were falling apart and books that I read once.  I love these messy, lived-in shelves.

When we got married, we spent our wedding gift cards on the bookshelf below, which we spent three days putting together in our living room while watching documentaries about magicians.  This shelf is my favorite for a few reasons.  First, because it holds my favorite books: the collectibles, the beauties, the ones that we both need close at hand on a rainy day.  And second because it represents my husband’s and my collaborative effort to build a home of books; this bookshelf represents the culmination of a dream: the presence of a bookshelf in every room of our house.  It’s a meeting place of our minds and hearts and imaginations, and I love it.

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Kristen Figgins is a writer of fabulism, whose work has appeared in such places as The Gateway Review, Sleet Magazine, Hermeneutic Chaos, Sakura Review, Menacing Hedge, and more. Her story “Track Me With Your Words, Speak Me With Your Feet” was winner of the 2015 Fiction Award from Puerto 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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Sundress Academy for the Arts Now Accepting Residency Applications for Summer

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is now accepting applications for short-term artists’ residencies during the summer residency period, during the weeks of May 8th to August 20th, 2017. These residencies are designed to give artists time and space to complete their creative projects in a quiet and productive environment.

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Each residency costs $250/week, which includes a room of one’s own, access to our communal kitchen, bathroom, office, and living space, plus wireless internet and cable.

For the summer residency period, SAFTA will be offering four full fellowships for the following—two fellowships for writers or artists of color (one sponsored by the Tennessee Arts Commission), one Tennessee Arts Commission fellowship for an Appalachian writer, and one Tennessee Arts Commission fellowship for a Tennessee writer. Three of these fellowships were made possible by an ABC grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission, awarded for the 2016-2017 season.

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The Tennessee Arts Commission fellowship for Appalachian writers is open to any writer who currently lives or works in Appalachia or any writer with strong ties to the area. The Tennessee Arts Commission fellowship for Tennessee writers is open to any writer who currently lives or works in Tennessee or any writer native to Tennessee. For either of the two writer/artist of color fellowships, the application fee will be waived for those who demonstrate financial need. Please state this in your application under the financial need section. Partial scholarships are also available to any applicant with financial need.

The application deadline for the summer residency period is January 15th, 2017.

The Tennessee Arts Commission invests in more than 600 nonprofit organizations across the state and their mission is to cultivate the arts for the benefit of all Tennesseans and their communities.

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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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Introducing Lauren Perlaki, Sundress’s Newest Editorial Intern


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As a west side transplant from Downriver, MI, I have discovered how deep my love goes for Coney Islands. And three lane highways. They just don’t have them on the west side. I’ve concluded these must be east side things.

Following my senior year of high school, I crossed the state to attend Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, MI. Now a senior at K, I am studying art history, media studies, and creative writing. In a year’s time, I hope to be pursuing my MFA in poetry.

I don’t remember when I started to write, I just know that I always have. Stories, poems, journal entries—honestly, I probably have enough journals kicking around to fill a small bookcase. In 9th grade, I had an English teacher who was the first to give me a proper introduction to poetry, and that was it—my first love (poetry, not my teacher). 

In writing, I have found success, failure, opportunity, and community. Writing, specifically poetry, has allowed me to spend a brief stint in NYC, interning with the PEN American Center and Poets House. Writing has given me the opportunity to intern with the Kalamazoo Book Art Center’s poetry reading series, and to claim the title of co-editor-in-chief of K’s literary and visual arts magazine, The Cauldron. Through the written word, I have had the privilege of getting to know so many neat people and places. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. 

Aside from reading and writing, I enjoy going for walks, writing music, and sitting down to watch a good documentary with some quality company. And coffee. I really love coffee.

As a megafan of the written word, and an advocate of literary reform, I am absolutely delighted to be working with Sundress Publications as an editorial intern. I am grateful for this opportunity, and can’t wait to see where this work will take me.

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 Lauren Perlaki is a senior at Kalamazoo College double majoring in Art History and English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. She is also pursuing a concentration in Media Studies. When she isn’t furiously working to meet a deadline, or cramming 500+ years worth of art into her noggin, she can be found singing with her a cappella group, searching for a decent cup of coffee, or going on about how great the music scene is in Kalamazoo. She is a co-editor-in-chief of Kalamazoo College’s annually published literary and visual arts magazine, The Cauldron, and a lover of modernist literature.

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Lambda Literary Winners Announced!

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Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is delighted to announce that Brian Kornell and Haley Fedor have won the Lambda Literary fellowships for the spring residency period. The Lambda Literary Foundation, an organization striving to preserve the LGBTQ culture by celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer literature, partnered with SAFTA to sponsor two LGBTQ-identified writers for a week-long residency. Our full scholarship was awarded to Brian Kornell, and the partial scholarship was awarded to Haley Fedor.

image1Brian Kornell earned his MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His writing appears in The Kenyon ReviewQueen Mob’s TeahouseLuna Luna MagazineOCHO, and elsewhere. His work has also appeared in The Rumpus, where he is the assistant essays editor. At present, he is working on a memoir about growing up gay in the Midwest as well as being closeted and married until he was in his early thirties. You can find him on Twitter @briankornell.

 

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Haley Fedor, a PhD candidate at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, is a queer author from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Section 8 Magazine, The Fem, Guide to Kulchur Magazine, Literary Orphans, Typehouse Literary Magazine, Crab Fat Literary Magazine, and the anthology Dispatches from Lesbian America. In 2014, she was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Congratulations also to our finalists who were also awarded residencies: Alexis Smithers, Grey Vild, Marissa Higgins, Callum Angus, Emily Withnall, and Celeste Chan.

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is now open for summer residency applications. For the summer residency period, SAFTA will be offering four full fellowships for the following—two fellowships for writers or artists of color (one sponsored by the Tennessee Arts Commission), one Tennessee Arts Commission fellowship for an Appalachian writer, and one Tennessee Arts Commission fellowship for a Tennessee writer. Three of these fellowships were made possible by an ABC grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission, awarded for the 2016-2017 season.

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