Faculty, MFA in Creative Writing
Residency Site: Plainfield VT / Residency Site: Port Townsend WA
Nicola Morris lives in Ithaca, NY and Plainfield, VT. She teaches in Goddard’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program, and is retired from the SUNY Cortland English Department. She wrote The Golem in Jewish American Literature: Risks and Responsibilities in the Fiction of Thane Rosenbaum, Nomi Eve and Steve Stern (Peter Lang, 2007) and co-edited The Alchemy of the Word, a collection of essays about writing and teaching. She has published criticism, essays, poems and stories in literary and professional journals, and anthologies.
PhD in English, SUNY Binghamton
MFA in Creative Writing, Vermont College
MA in Education, Goddard College
BA in Economics, SUNY Purchase.
Areas of Expertise
Creative Writing: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Non-Fiction; Progressive Pedagogy
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.
- Alchemy of the Word: Writers Talk About WritingCoimbra Editions2011
- The Golem in Jewish American Literature: Risks and Responsibilities in the Fiction of Thane Rosenbaum, Nomi Eve and Steve SternPeter Lang International Academic Publishers2007