the place people go to research & interpret

our week-long residencies at the shortgrass steppe research and interpretation center (for second year, thesis writing mfa students) begin this week.  as if wyoming wasn’t isolated enough, we get put up in a big house on the plains in a room of one’s own.  and we write.  without the distractions of: teaching, grading, coursework, sex.  how will we fill the hours? with prose and poetry, of course.

sample to do list for the week at shortgrass:

  • finish novella
  • edit/polish old short stories per workshop comments
  • complete rough draft of thesis
  • artist statement?
  • think about writing the next great american novel
  • discuss at length the race/gender/socio-political dynamics of sex and the city 2

the future looks bright with unstructured time.   we will compose with great haste and creative urgency.  like ewan mcgregor in moulin rouge, tearing sheet upon sheet from the antique type-writer.


there were more people than seats at last night’s event.  thanks to everyone for coming out, the wyoming mfa loves you. to recap the evening:

max professing about “creative rhetoric.”

talkin about art & shit.

the ladies in the crowd say ‘what’

emily trostel: getting real, reading nonfiction about her wine habit.

quinnie kenworthy: reading nonfiction about being a bad ass motherfuckin pirate.

after an altercation with max over the inexorability of truth in creative rhetoric, katie schmid ended up in his clothes. then she read us some poetry about a pack of wild fathers.

then there was this two headed santa and we were like, “what’s up, santa?”

thanks to second story books for hosting the event. and thanks to irina zhorov for taking the good photos seen here.

Bolivian current affairs in metaphors.

first year non-fiction student Irina Zhorov put new photos up online, and they were too good not to share.  The images &  writing (some of which can be seen at her blog) document her time spent abroad with Bolivian miners.  Of the work, Miss Zhorov says…

Bolivia is the Saudi Arabia of lithium (this is good) but what if its lithium deposits become another Potosi (this is bad). Potosi, meanwhile, Bolivia’s glaring symbol of the Never Again, is still standing. Sort of. After close to 500 years of unsustainable exploitation, the mountain is collapsing on itself and its work force has a live-for-today attitude that breeds unsafe work conditions and perpetual disaster on the mount. At the same time, its long history and rich traditions sustain the Potosi miner as an almost mythological figure within Bolivia. I spent the summer there, in thin air, underground, learning and drinking. And taking photos.


land line.


creative rhetoric.



on top of old smokey

Taking a break from trying to learn the fine art of evisceration. Spent the last couple of days transcribing an interview with Mirah – part of a series of interviews I’m working on talking to songwriters about the process of lyric writing. Joy Williams is in town and suddenly I’m laughing more.

hiking scientists.

Kelly and I climbed to the top of Medicine Bow Peak the other day with Maya the Great. 12,000 feet of triumph, or some approximation. The actual autumn we’re having makes it feel less like we live on a satellite planet.Oh yeah, we see this fucking rad car.

hot wheels.

-Scott Pinkmountain

where high art meets getting low

while there were many memorable moments from friday’s event, we were having too much fun to take pictures.  luckily, adam million had his iphone handy and was able to snap a few photos.

freaking beautiful music by david henson.

lindsay beamish (second year, nonfiction) reads about her feelings.

like any night to be remembered, we got so drunk we wouldn't remember. and ended the night with some necessary bar-top dancing by ladies of the uwyo mfa.

thanks to everyone who shared their work, especially david henson of shadows on a river. thanks to second story books for letting us invade their space.  and thanks to everyone who came out! good times, had by all.

thesis development

mfa nonfiction student emily trostel traveled last weekend to the colorado wine festival in palisade.  some would call this an excuse for dionysian ritual madness, but at the uwyo mfa we call it “thesis research.”

"thesis research"

"scientific method"

emily spent the summer travelling to wineries across the west, funded in part by a grant from the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources. looking at wine in the context of the slow food and locavore movement, her research focuses upon grape growing and winemaking in colorado and wyoming. unlike napa (which she was also fortunate enough to visit this summer) these regions are unexpected places for this kind of winemaking tradition.

"wine country"

in her own words:
I’m interested in looking at the authenticity of wine making.  Big wineries rely heavily on technology to produce a reliable, mass-palate-friendly type of wine.  But, this rating-driven market has led to a loss of diversity among varietals that are grown and less authenticity in old world style winemaking.  So I’m also interested in the ethics behind grape growing (responsibility to the land) and the ethics behind winemaking (how much is the wine altered and how does that contradict the traditions behind making artisan wine that reflect the terroir of the land).”

well said, trostel. you are pretty as a peach.

@ farmer's market en route to laramie.