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Nicola Morris

Residency Sites: Plainfield, VT

Much in the same way that when I look at a piece of student writing I try to discern the emerging story that may not yet be on the page, I begin working with a student by asking what she or he most passionately wants to do. This is not a trivial question, and it often takes a while to move past the collection of sensible decisions, shoulds, and oughts to the kernel of desire.

When we are ready to plan the student’s project, I work closely with the student. We talk about the writing itself, schedules, revising, and possible writing assignments. And I make many reading suggestions. By the time the residency is over the student and I have agreed on a study plan that is as detailed as possible, knowing it may change during the semester. In our correspondence I try to help the student achieve the full potential of each piece of writing. In my criticism I am sometimes general, sometimes specific, depending on the stage of a given piece of writing. I do believe students need to know, in detail, what is working in their writing, and what they do well. I also make suggestions to help students play, and to encourage different ways of approaching material.

I want to help students court the unusual, the unexpected, and I look for ways to push and pull students through to some new adventure in their work. I enjoy working with students in all genres and at all ability levels. In the last few semesters, I have worked with poets, short story writers, and novelists, and I have had the pleasure of working with fiction writers who wanted to explore writing poetry and poets who wanted to give fiction a try. I am open to all possibilities.

I've published creative non-fiction, poetry and short fiction. I have recently finished my doctorate. My dissertation looked at the proliferation of Golems in contemporary Jewish American Literature, and explored various theoretical issues, particularly self-reflexive fiction, and Holocaust representation and the second generation.

Educational Background:

PhD in English, SUNY Binghamton; MFA in Creative Writing, Vermont College; MA in Education, Goddard College; BA in Economics, SUNY Purchase.