University of New Hampshire MFA grads

December 28, 2015
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Bryan Parys is a writer, editor, and teacher. His debut memoir, Wake, Sleeper (Cascade Books) was released in October 2015. Other pieces of his creative nonfiction have appeared in Ruminate Magazine, Sojourners, and the Good Men Project, among others. He received his M.F.A. in creative nonfiction at the University of New Hampshire, is a writer at Berklee College of Music, and teaches writing on Boston’s North Shore.

Wake, Sleeper - Brief Book Description:
In 1987, when Bryan Parys was four years old, his father Alfred pressed record on a tape player next to his hospital bed. He began leaving messages for his wife, three children, and anyone who wanted to know why his terminal cancer at age thirty-eight wouldn’t shake his faith. “If God told me to walk into a fiery furnace, I’d do it,” he said, perhaps knowing that he would not walk back out.

In Wake, Sleeper, Parys tries to understand his father’s deathbed fire in the context of a Christian childhood that taught him about eternity. Unspoken feelings of doubt lead Parys to an inner life where he is allowed to question, provoke, and search for beauty in the void of grief.

Through the lens of his upbringing in a Christian school and the church that met in the school gymnasium, that inner voice emerges in Wake, Sleeper. The grief of his past contrasts with the tension of his search to fit in, told as a lyrical meditation on time.

Rosie Forrest is a writer living and working in Nashville, Tennessee. She is the winner of the Dogwood Fiction Prize, and her collection Ghost Box Evolution in Cadillac, Michigan won the 9th Annual Rose Metal Press Short Short Chapbook competition. Her work has appeared in Wigleaf, Word Riot, Hobart, Whiskey Island, SmokeLong Quarterly, and elsewhere. Prior to Nashville, Rosie was the writer-in-residence with Interlochen Arts Academy and a featured storyteller with 2nd Story in Chicago, Illinois. Rosie earned her MFA from University of New Hampshire, grew up in Western Maryland, and, though it’s been a while, she still calls Chicago home.

MRB Chelko is the recipient of a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship for Manhattations (PSA, 2014). A faculty mentor in the low-residency MFA program of The New Hampshire Institute of Art, Chelko also serves as associate editor of the unbound journal Tuesday; An Art Project. She lives in New York City.

Description of Songs & Yes (chapbook, 2015):
MRB Chelko’s fourth chapbook, Songs & Yes (sunnyoutside, 2015), combines two short sequences of month-themed prose poems: “December Songs” and “January Yes.” The speaker in “December Songs” deals primarily with interior landscapes and the return to a childhood home. Whereas “January Yes” takes on the speaker’s city life and experience of romantic love. 

Ryan Flaherty’s first book of poems, What’s This, Bombardier? won the Lena Miles Wever Todd Poetry Series from Pleiades Press. He has two chapbooks, Novas from Bateau Press and Live, from the Delay from Small Fires Press. Ryan received the PEN/New England Discovery Award and his poems can be found in Boston Review, BOMBlog, Columbia Journal, Denver Quarterly, and Gulf Coast. Ryan is part of the Creative Writing Faculty at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, and is also the faculty mentor to Ayris, NHIA’s creative arts journal.