Founded in 1995, the MFA in Creative Writing program at St. Mary’s College celebrates their 20th anniversary with a night of literary toasts by some of the larger community’s luminaries, with all of the proceeds to benefit a scholarship fund for MFA students. Litseen is proud to have been the media sponsor for this event, which took place on Saturday, February 27 @ Dolby Chadwick Gallery and featured toasts by Daniel Handler, Robert Hass, Cristina García, Yiyun Li, Joyce Carol Oates & Al Young, as well as two students currently in the program: Tiffany Jimenez and Siavash Saadlou:
The program has earned a stellar reputation locally and internationally for its award-winning and beloved faculty—among them Hass, Brenda Hillman, Lysley Tenorio, and Matthew Zapruder, who hosted the event.
You can read more about the program and its 350+ alumni here—you can also watch some of them below, as I have been fortunate enough to attend many events they’ve produced, or in which they’ve participated.
For one quick shot of the program, though, watch Nick Vulpes reading his teacher Brenda Hillman’s poems:
When you have some time and are looking for a good way to spend it:
- Woolsey Heights @ East Bay Poetry Summit
- Evelyn Reilly & Frances Richard @ Studio One Reading Series
- Cole Swensen @ an Omnidawn garden party
- Terry Taplin reading “Proserpine” (great interview here)
- Jacob Minasian for The Write Stuff (another good interview)
- Casey McAlduff @ Galeria de La Raza
- Allison Landa @ Quiet Lightning/Porchlight
- Candace Eros Diaz at Under the Influence
- Matthew Zapruder reading “Come On All You Ghosts” @ SF Zen Center
- Lysley Tenorio @ Green Apple Books
- Brenda Hillman @ University Press Books
- Robert Hass for Dean Young @ UC Berkeley
- RJ Ingram @ SF Center for the Book
- Raina Leon @ Under the Influence (interview)
- Kelly Egan @ Beast Crawl (interview)
- Caroline O’Connor Thomas @ Quiet Lightning
- Rashaan Alexis Meneses @ Under the Influence
- Kaya Oakes @ The Booksmith
- Paul Ebenkamp @ Amy’s Kitchen Organics
- Rusty Morrison @ Canessa
- Jill Kolongowski @ Quiet Lightning
- Peter Burghardt @ MFA Mixer
- Joshua Braff @ Under the Influence
- Teresa Burns Gunther @ Babylon Salon
- Jason Bayani for Fourteen Hills (interview)
- and we could keep going here, honestly—we really could!—but the point is:
If you can afford a ticket it’s a great cause and you’ll have a great time. I went to one of the St. Mary’s MFA Benefits and felt like a star. I suppose that’s because I was surrounded by stars. But also because there was a sense that the students were used to being surrounded by stars, and though they were happy to celebrate that fact, they did not take it for granted.
The event includes beer and wine, food, a raffle and silent auction, live music, a DJ, and, of course, the probability that you will do a lot of smiling.
The 20th Anniversary Scholarship Fund Gala
1 p.m. Saturday, Feb 27. Dolby Chadwick Gallery, 210 Post St., S.F.
Tickets are $125 per person or $50 for MFA alumni and available here, with all proceeds benefitting the MFA Scholarship Fund. The fair market value of the event is $50, and all contributions exceeding fair market value are tax-deductible.
For more information, include bios and a map, check out the benefit page.