Summer 2020 Residency Call!

Sundress Academy for the Arts Now Accepting
Residency Applications for Summer 2020

Farmhouse image courtesy of former resident Christina Elia.

The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is now accepting applications for short-term writing residencies in all genres—poetry, fiction, nonfiction, playwriting, screenwriting, journalism, academic writing, and more—for their summer residency period which runs from May 25 to August 23, 2020. These residencies are designed to give artists time and space to complete their creative projects in a quiet and productive environment.

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 access.

Residents will stay at the SAFTA farmhouse, located on a working farm on a 45-acre wooded plot in a Tennessee “holler” perfect for hiking, camping, and nature walks. The farmhouse is also just a half-hour from downtown Knoxville an exciting and creative city that is home to a thriving artistic community. SAFTA is ideal for writers looking for a rural retreat with urban amenities.

SAFTA’s residencies, which also include free access to workshops, readings, and events, offer a unique and engaging experience. Residents can participate in local writing workshops, lead their own workshops, and even have the opportunity to learn life skills like gardening and animal care.

For the 2020 summer residency period, SAFTA will be offering the following fellowships:

  • Women Who Submit Fellowship: one full fellowship plus $250 stipend for a writer who is parenting children under 18 and/or serving as full-time caregiver to an ailing family member
  • Writers of Color Fellowships: one full and one 50% fellowship for writers of color
  • Center for Writers Scholarship for Mississippi Graduate Students : one full fellowship which will go to a current and incoming graduate students at any college or university in Mississippi
  • Misty Upham Fellowship: one full fellowship for a survivor of sexual assault.

Please note in your application if you are applying for one of these fellowships. For all fellowship applications, the application fee will be waived for those who demonstrate financial need. Please state this in your application under the financial need section. Limited partial scholarships are also available to any applicant with financial need.

The application deadline for the summer residency period is February 1, 2020. Find out more about the application process at www.sundressacademyforthearts.com.

Sundress Academy for the Arts Presents “Finding an Appetite: Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, and Food Writing”

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is proud to present the next installment of their workshop series, “Finding an Appetite: Poetry Creative Nonfiction, and Food Writing.”  This workshop will be led by Katie Culligan and will be held in Room 252 in the Hodges Library from 6 to 7 pm on October 28th. This event is free and open to the public.

Mark Twain said, “Part of the secret of success is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.” When we begin to consider this active role that food plays in our lives and bodies, we must think about the senses, the land we live on, our families, both nuclear and national, and the labor-system-latticework we all must somehow live in the cracks of. In this workshop, we will investigate together how these considerations, and how food writing in general, can enrich your personal essays and poetry. If you’ve ever grown a mint plant in your kitchen, or waited a table, or eaten a hot dog that your mother cut up to look like an octopus, then you have enough to write about for the foreseeable future. Writers we read together will include those who specialize in both journalism and lyric nonfiction. We will not be reading Mark Twain.

Katie Culligan is a nonfiction writer living in Knoxville, TN, where she is the Fall 2019 Writer in Residence at Sundress Academy for the Arts. She is the recipient of the 2019 Eleanora Burke Award for Nonfiction and the Margaret Artley Woodruff Award for Creative Writing from the University of Tennessee. Recent work appears in Geometry, Noble/ Gas Qtrly, Columbia Journal, American Chordata, and others. She can be reached at katieculliganwriting.com

This event is co-sponsored by the University of Tennessee Creative Writing Program and is free and open to the public.

The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is an artists’ residency 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.

Sundress Academy for the Arts and UTK’s Creative Writing Department Present Poetry as Activism

In partnership with UTK’s Creative Writing Department, the Sundress Academy for the Arts invites you to join us in the first installment of our Fall Workshop Series “Poetry as Activism” which will be lead by Jeremy Michael Reed!

In this workshop, participants will discuss how today’s poems try to shift our understanding of the world, write new poems using those techniques, and think about how through their use of perspective, question, repetition, and more, speakers of contemporary poems take their reaction to an event and turn it into proactive reflection on self and community. This workshop will ask: what is active when poetry comes alive to you, and how do we use those elements of poetry to help us become more alive to ourselves and others in the face of current events?

This workshop will focus on how in the wake of traumatic events or in the midst of national arguments, we turn to poetry. After the Pulse shooting in Orlando, Maggie Smith’s “Good Bones” was read online by millions. After the killings of black men and women by police, Jericho Brown’s “Bullet Points” is shared on social media again and again. In the last few years of national political strife, the National Endowment for the Arts says poetry readership is at an all-time high for the new millennium.

Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 11.45.03 AMJeremy Michael Reed is a PhD candidate in English and Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee. His poems are published in Still: The Journal, Stirring: A Literary Collection, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and elsewhere, including the anthology Bright Bones: Contemporary Montana Writing. He’s the editor-in-chief of Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts, associate editor of Sundress Publications, co-director of The Only Tenn-I-See Reading Series, and assistant to Joy Harjo.

 

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

 

Applying to the MFA: Known Knowns and the Importance of Place

If your application process is anything like mine, you’ll end up doing a lot of compatibility analysis (Figure 1). I’m only slightly dicking around. I didn’t actually crunch numbers like that, but the concept of compatibility was at the forefront of my mind when applying to creative writing programs—so was uglycrying and giving up on my current thesis when I started getting my rejections (Figure 2), so take all this cum grano salis. I’ve spent the past 2 years in a master’s program at Mizzou studying geography, and applying to a second round of graduate schools was no easier than the first.

Figure 1.

Chris Petruccelli Figure 1
That said, the best piece of advice I received when applying to geography programs was to apply to schools in cities I’d actually want to live in. I did not heed that advice on my first go around. To be clear, I love Mizzou, and my experience in the geography department has been amazing; however, take a gander at a map, find where Columbia, Missouri is and imagine having no car—only a bike. Word. That shit sucks. And even if I had a car, #whatever.

Having learned my lesson, applying to MFAs was equally dependent on the location of the program as the quality of the program itself. I knew I wouldn’t produce as much solid writing living anywhere in the Midwest compared to living and writing in places such as Fairbanks, AK or Nashville, TN. Hell, University of Alaska Fairbanks’s motto is “Naturally inspiring.” I dig that. Nashville has hot chicken—no further inspiration required. Ultimately, I knew I could probably live and write in three places: 1) Areas close to mountains/vast expanses of water; 2) Cities > 150,000 people; 3) Almost anywhere in the South.

Figure 2.

Chris Petruccelli Figure 2

But this isn’t about my lack of love for the Midwest, which in all honesty, is kind of cool. Another aspect driving me towards the MFA track is the fact that I no longer have any time for my creative writing. In the last several months, I’ve written one poem and that ain’t right. I love dendroecology, hiking up mountains and conducting challenging scientific research, but doing all that (as well as taking classes and fulfilling teaching assistant duties) in a span of two years and trying to write creatively has got me fried. Science and writing in tandem is possible, but in doing both, one is bound to take precedence while the other suffers. Right now, the writing must come first.

Picking up and moving to a far off place is difficult and expensive. But after living, studying and writing in Missouri, it’s foolish for me to not be where I want to be—a known knowns sort of thing. I’ll be moving to Fairbanks to work on an MFA at UAF after graduation after a quick stint back in Tennessee. I’m looking forward to holin’ up in a dry cabin after a day of skiing, hauling water from Fox Spring and finally sitting down at a desk to write as the aurora borealis does what it does in the sky.

Chris Petruccelli Chris Petruccelli‘s poetry can be found in Connotation Press, Rappahannock Review, RomComPom, and elsewhere. His chapbook Action at a Distance is available at etchingspress.org. In his free time Chris enjoys drinking whiskey and smoking cigarettes with older women.