Graduate Spotlight

Amber West’s Poems

Congratulations to Amber West (PhD ’14), whose first book of poems, Daughter Eraser, will be released this year by Finishing Line Press.

Yusef Komunyakaa writes that “Amber West’s Daughter Eraser surprises relentlessly, moving gracefully from heartbreak to humor. This poet delivers a playful theater of language, innuendo, and wit while teaching us how to assay the iron within irony. We can be thankful this new voice springs out of need and mercy.”

The collection features poems many of us enjoyed hearing Amber read while she was here in the PhD program, and her press is taking pre-orders now.

Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald

Authors Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald made two public appearances on the Storrs campus on Tuesday, February 17.

Publishing Scams—Doyle and Macdonald spoke about publishing scams and how writers fall prey to them.  Macdonald’s efforts to expose publishing scammers have been profiled in the Los Angeles Times and elsewhere and he is widely known as an expert on the subject.

Reading and book signing—Doyle and Macdonald read from recent work and discussed how they became writers and the process of collaborating on fiction.

Debra Doyle, author or co-author of more than thirty books, teaches at Viable Paradise.  Her doctorate in English from the University of Pennsylvania specialized in Anglo-Saxon literature.

James D. Macdonald’s more than thirty books range from space opera and military science fiction to (pseudonymously) military thrillers and an annotated book of sea chanties.  A former Navy officer, he lives in New Hampshire with his wife and frequent co-author, Debra Doyle.

For more information contact Leigh Grossman at (860) 208-4829 or


Alternative Careers Panel–Friday, Feb. 6

The Graduate Placement Committee and the EGSA Professional Development Committee will host a panel for graduate students on alternative academic careers this Friday, February 6th, from 1-3pm in the Stern Lounge. The panel will feature three recent UConn English alums who have taken up successful and fulfilling careers outside the traditional academic route.  It is intended for graduate students who are considering alternatives to academe.  The panelists are: Emily Wojcik, Managing Editor, The Massachusetts Review (Amherst, MA) Amber West, Senior Grant Writer, Girls Write Now (New York, NY) Sarah McIntyre, English Faculty, Horace Mann School (New York, NY) The panelists will address what drew them to these careers, what they would recommend to scholars envisioning alternative careers, how they have used their Ph.D.s, their biggest challenges and rewards, and their continuing participation in academe.  They will be joined later by Kay Gruder, Career Consultant for the Graduate School, who will outline the services offered by the Graduate School for graduate students considering alternative career paths.

Call for Student Poets

Poet Camille Dungy will spend two days at UConn this spring (March 10 and 11) as the Aetna Writer-in-Residence. Six student writers (grad students or undergrads) will be selected to participate in one-on-one writing tutorials with her. Students interested in participating should submit a typed 5-page manuscript of poetry to Professor Sean Forbes, English Department, Austin 208. Each manuscript must be accompanied by a cover sheet with the student’s name and all contact information. Manuscripts must be received by Monday, February 23, 2015 for consideration.

Camille Dungy is the author of three books of poetry: What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison; Smith Blue; and Suck on the Marrow. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Callaloo, The Missouri Review, and Crab Orchard Review. Her honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. She is the recipient of the 2011 American Book Award, a two-time recipient of the Northern California Book Award, and a two-time NAACP Image Award nominee. She is Professor of English at Colorado State University.

The Aetna Writer-in-Residence Program began in 2003. With funding support from the Aetna Chair in Writing, UConn’s Creative Writing Program invites a nationally or internationally known author to campus for a residency each semester. Each author spends three days on campus offering tutorials for students, holding Q&A sessions with the campus community, leading master classes in creative writing, sharing meals with students, and giving a public reading of his or her work. As a result of the Aetna Writer-in-Residence program, UConn graduate and undergraduate students can participate in an intense hands-on learning experience with some of today’s most exciting authors.

Past Aetna Writers-in-Residence included Jo-Ann Mapson, Eduardo Corral, Andre Dubus III, G.C. Waldrep, Margot Livesey, Shara McCallum, Connie Voisine, Edmund White, Colum McCann, Lynne McMahon, Fay Weldon, Phillis Levin, Allen Kurzweil, Naeem Murr, Steve Almond, C.D. Wright, Stuart O’Nan, and Beth Ann Fennelly.