Student Publications!


We’ve had some exciting student publications and awards recently. Check them out here:

Liz Kulze won the Tennessee Williams Fiction Contest for her short story, “Widow.”

In the last few months, Jess White has published several great essays in Feministing.

Randall Tyrone is featured in the second issue of Oversound. He also published three poems in (and was interviewed for) Electric Literature‘s Okey-Panky.

Khalym Kari Burke-Thomas’ THUGBAIT was a finalist in the New Delta Review’s annual chapbook contest.

Trey Williams’ short story “Darling, Keith, the Subway Girl, and Jumping Joe Henry” was published in the Winter 2016 issue of Glimmer Train. His story “Twelve in the Black” was a finalist for storySouth’s Million Writers Award.

Bethann Merkle published an article, “Drawn to Caribou,” in American Scientist.

Congratulations to all these fine writers!

Congrats, Chelsea

Chelsea Biondolillo’s piece, “Bird by Desert-light,” an essay about hummingbirds, deserts, and getting laid off, will be published in the Spring 2013 print issue of Phoebe. As well as on their website (at some point):

This essay originally was selected as a runner-up in both Phoebe‘s 2012 annual nonfiction competition judged by Mary Roach, and Cream City Review‘s 2012 annual nonfiction competition.


in the other room

y’all. please check out the other room journal for the latest: a story entitled “cooks” written by our very own program director beth loffreda.

“The quesadillas were being made by the daughter. These consisted of tortillas folded over beans and sliced avocado and grated cheese, which were then warmed and browned in a pan. The mother had eaten an early lunch, but hoped to also participate in this later one. She asked for a half-quesadilla–she did not wish to be a bother. This request was greeted with incredulity and scorn.”

–Beth Loffreda is director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Wyoming.  Her fiction has recently appeared in Epoch, and her nonfiction includes the book Losing Matt Shepard.


the one and only Lindsay Beamish has won the Iron Horse Literary Review’s Discovered Voices award in Non-fiction.  this multi-talented writer/actress/dancer from los angeles made the following public statement regarding the good news:

“I won something… I’ve never won anything before. My voice is having a small celebratory gathering with itself. My voice is relieved it got discovered.”

job well done, beamish. we’re proud of you!


outstanding thesis award

recent graduate of the mfa program in creative writing, nonfiction author Emilene Ostlind was awarded UW’s Outstanding Thesis award for 2011.  we asked the ever-lovely Emilene to share some of her work with us,  so we could share it with the royal you.  included here for your reading pleasure is the abstract, and an excerpt from her thesis.  and yes, as a matter of fact, it is outstanding.

“I came to think of the migrations as breath, as the land breathing.  In spring a great inhalation of light and animals.  The long-bated breath of summer.  And an exhalation that propelled them all south in the fall.”
—Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams 1986

The pronghorn antelope that summer in Grand Teton National Park undertake one of the longest recorded land animal migrations in the western hemisphere. Each fall, they begin their journey south by gathering into groups of a half dozen to sixty or more animals and following the Gros Ventre River upstream into the mountains. Biologists, using global positioning system collars, mapped their route in 2003, but no one had seen the migration take place or documented it on the ground. Before winter, the antelope travel 170 miles to reach their winter range in the Red Desert.

An archaeological dig in the migration corridor revealed 7,000-year-old pronghorn skeletons with fetal bones inside, indicating that pronghorn have been following this very migration route between winter range and fawning grounds for millennia. Around the world, long-distance migrations are disappearing due to infrastructure blocking the animals’ corridors, habitat destruction, climate change and other factors, but in Wyoming these unlikely creatures persist in their journey. The GPS waypoints show the animals crossing a 9,000-foot mountain pass, four major rivers, a busy highway, innumerable fences and subdivisions and two natural gas drilling fields. When I learned of the western Wyoming pronghorn migration, I was compelled to follow the animals on foot and try to understand how they were able to continue following this historic pathway in the face of so many obstacles.

I joined wildlife photographer Joe Riis and we spent two and a half years exploring the pronghorn migration corridor on the ground. Migration is a nonfiction book based largely on journal entries from four backpacking trips through the migration corridor. It paints the story of the migration by documenting encounters with deep snow, icy spring runoff, barbed wire fences and long dark nights in the mountains. By telling the story of both the pronghorn journey and my own migration back home to Wyoming from Washington, DC, the book also explores how wild animals enrich our lives and teach us about ourselves. The antelope helped me understand the seasonal rhythm of my home landscape and why I’d felt so compelled to return home.

the majestic pronghorn in its natural habitat.

A June day in Antelope Flats, Grand Teton National Park, northwest Wyoming.  I wear a gray and purple knitted hat and a green down jacket, sit cross-legged, my back against the bleached trunk of a fallen cottonwood.  The trunk is polished smooth by the bison who come here to scratch their wooly necks against it.  I am facing north.  A wind carries cold air from the alpine passes of the Teton Mountains.  I hold perfectly still.

Two antelope have seen me, but don’t know what I am.  They emerged from a draw not long after I sat down.  Both are bucks, one larger than the other, and they move slowly, stopping to bite mouthfuls of leaves or to nudge one another with their horns.

Minute by minute they wander closer, watching me sideways.  I try to still my heartbeat.  They come within five meters.  When they bite the sagebrush leaves, I hear their teeth snap together, the grinding as they chew.  I can see each golden hair aligned vertically on their thin legs.  They come still closer, walking deliberately across the patch of bare ground directly in front of me.  The horns of the larger one are a rich black, curling to a sharp point.  I hear the breath in their nostrils, smell their animal warmth.

As they pass they turn to look back.  The smaller one pushes his face against his companion’s neck and, with an air of drama they click their horns against one another.  Then they wander away and out of sight.  My hands are shaking.This is the story of how the three of us arrived here, of our migrations, and the tug of the land on bodies drawing us from one place to another, the pathways we follow.

Emilene Ostlind was raised in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming. After a year working as assistant to the natural history photo editor at National Geographic magazine in Washington, DC, Emilene came back out West for her graduate studies at the University of Wyoming. She earned her MFA in creative nonfiction writing and Environment and Natural Resources in the Spring of 2010.  She currently writes for High Country News, a news magazine covering environment, culture and natural resources in the American West.

“show us something terrible, or wonderful”

we are pleased to announce the recent launching of the other room journal! co-edited by fiction mfa’ers tim raymond and justin mundhenk, the  journal publishes “stories. online.” check it out for your reading pleasure, and submit. stories. online. about the aesthetic of the other room, the editors say the following:

literary fiction tends to be defined in terms of what it’s not. literary fiction is not genre-based. literary fiction does not accomodate convention. our sense of this style is purely intuitive. so we’ll say this. send us work that enjoys language (we love lydia davis). show us your best line (we love amy hempel). wander a bit (we love denis johnson). give us weird (we love joy williams). contradict yourself and your story. make us sleepy, or angry. make us touch ourselves oddly. shove your accidents in our faces.  show us something terrible, or wonderful, or just make us feel. show us what you keep hidden in the other room.


we would all like to say a tender, loving, caring congratulations to the incomparable brad watson.  he was named one of this year’s nominees for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (announced just earlier today).

to give those of you who have not worked closely with brad an idea of the kind of author/artist/human being he is, we are posting a piece of writing we once saw somewhere else on a statue of a different man entirely:
This [is] a man
This [is] a man of action and achievement
This [is] a man of vision and creativity
A man of serenity and strength
A man of determination and patience
This [is] a man of sensitivity and courage
A man of humor and humility
A noble man with a common touch
A self disciplined man with an understanding for all
This [is] a man who [is] counselor to thousands throughout the world
This [is] a man committed to truth and good and beauty
[Brad Watson is] a man and a leader of men…

congratulations brad. we think your book is rad, and we are so very happy for you.

brad watson is associate professor of fiction, and a core faculty member, at the uwyo mfa.