On Saturday, July 18, 2015, the Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program of Pine Manor College awarded the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree to twelve students: poets María Luisa Arroyo, Jason Stocks, and Taylor Gould; creative nonfiction writers Alejandro Ramirez and Verne Hoyt; young people’s writer Elena Royal, and fiction writers Mette Angerhofer Holden, J Andy Kane, Michelle Shavlik, Amanda LaFantasie, Tanya Coovadia, and Towana Wright.
President Rosemary Ashby welcomed the crowd, and Dean Dr. Diane Mello-Goldner made a few remarks about the MFA Program, followed by Program Director Meg Kearney. Commencement Speaker Joseph Bruchac — a writer and traditional storyteller whose work often reflects his American Indian (Abenaki) ancestry, and author of numerous books for young people and adults—delivered an inspirational speech, followed by presentations of each graduate by MFA faculty members. A reception for graduates and their guests took place afterward.
- Poet and Pedagogy Track graduate María Luisa Arroyo, a resident of Springfield, MA, completed her creative thesis, This Hunger to Name, and delivered a lecture on “To Refract The Complexity Of Lived Experiences: Write A Ghazal.”
- Poet Jason Stocks, a resident of West Palm Beach, FL, completed his creative thesis, Blandscape, and delivered a lecture on “Line Breaks, Repetition, & Other Devices That Generate Rhythm.”
- Poet Taylor Gould, a resident of Corinna, ME, completed his creative thesis, Observations on a Dead Hawk, and delivered a lecture on “A Beautiful New Animal: Introduction to the Prose Poem.”
- Creative Nonfiction writer Alejandro Ramirez, a resident of Boston, MA, completed his creative thesis, Being Lawrencian, and delivered a lecture on “Psychic Distance and the Essayist.”
- Creative Nonfiction writer Verne Hoyt, a resident of New York, NY, completed his creative thesis, Parties Unknown, and delivered a lecture on “Transitions in Prose: More Than Getting from Here to There.”
- Young people’s writer and Pedagogy Track graduate Elena Royal, a resident of Mishawaka, IN, completed her creative thesis, The Door, and delivered a lecture on “Building Empathy through Literature.”
- Fiction writer Mette Angerhofer Holden, a resident of St. George, UT, completed her creative thesis, The Place We Call Home, and delivered a lecture on “Sweet-Talking the Muse: Boosting Your Innate Creativity.”
- Fiction writer J Andy Kane, a resident of Scappoose, OR, completed his creative thesis, Can’t You Hear Your Daddy’s Heartbeat, and delivered a lecture on “Representing the Passage of Time (Cross Genre).”
- Fiction Writer and Pedagogy Track graduate Michelle Shavlik, a resident of Elkhorn, NE, completed her creative thesis, Anathema, and delivered a lecture on “Teaching Horror Tropes.”
- Fiction Writer Amanda LaFantasie, a resident of Post Falls, ID, completed her creative thesis, Death Man, and delivered a lecture on “Dystopian World Building & Other Disasters.”
- Fiction writer Tanya Coovadia, a resident of St. Petersburg, FL, completed her creative thesis, Up to Blue: A Brief History of the End, and delivered a lecture on “Are We on the Same Page? Literary Fiction & the Bestsellers List.”
- Fiction writer Towana Wright, a resident of Chelsea, MA, completed her creative thesis, The Road Back to Damascus: Vignettes, and gave a lecture on “Agency in Minor Characters: An Overview of the Role of Minor Characters and How They Impact Major Characters.”
ABOUT SOLSTICE & PINE MANOR COLLEGE
As an undergraduate institution consistently ranked among the most diverse in the country, Pine Manor College emphasizes an inclusive, community-building approach to liberal arts education. The Solstice MFA in Creative Writing reflects the College’s overall mission by creating a supportive, welcoming environment in which writers of all backgrounds are encouraged to take creative risks. We strive to instill in our students an appreciation for the value of community-building and community service, and see engagement with the literary arts not only as a means to personal fulfillment but also as an instrument for real cultural change.