Elena Georgiou

Program Director, MFA in Creative Writing Program
Residency Site: Plainfield VT / Residency Site: Port Townsend WA

Email
Elena.Georgiou@goddard.edu

Biography

Elena Georgiou is the author of a short-story collection, The Immigrant’s Refrigerator (GenPop Books, 2018), as well as two poetry collections, Rhapsody of the Naked Immigrants (Harbor Mountain Press) and mercy mercy me(University of Wisconsin Press). She also co-edited (with Michael Lassell) the poetry anthology The World In Us (St. Martin’s Press). She is a recipient of a Lambda Literary Award, an Astraea Emerging Writers Award, a New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship, and is a fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work also appears in numerous journals and magazines.

Education

MA in Creative Writing, City College of the City University of New York
BA in Honors/English, Hunter College of the City University of New York

Areas of Expertise

Contemporary American Poetry, International Poetry, Documentary Poetics, Hybrid Texts,  Contemporary American Fiction, and International fiction

Personal Statement

At my first orientation as an MFA faculty member at Goddard, I was trained to understand what the program means by the word “progressive”; it means meeting the writer where they are, then guiding them to where they want to be; it means that conversations about writing in the dining hall are just as important as the ones in advising groups, and it means that our role as faculty is as much about helping a student to find the urgency of her/his/their work as it is about addressing the role of a writer as a literary citizen.

It was during my first residency that I learned that the focused and subtle approach to learning—the individual advisor/advisee epistolary exchange, and the pedagogy at its foundation, will more closely than any other way of teaching creative writing mimic the writer/editor, the mentor/apprentice relationship. To accompany this relationship is an entire program ethos that makes certain we are as attentive to the mystery of creativity and to the writer’s responsibility, as we are to elements of a writer’s artistry. Above all, it is in this attentiveness that I found what I’d been searching for—an academic institution that recognizes that to teach a person—especially an artist—you need to speak to the whole person.

In an essay delivered at one of our more recent residencies, faculty member Deborah spoke the following words:

August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, the first in his 10-decade cycle of plays chronicling African American life in the United States, takes place in a Pittsburg boarding house during the Great Migration, when African Americans left the slave plantations of the south and headed north to build new lives as free men and women. This transition out of oppression and into freedom, from property to personhood, required that every person undertake an act of creation—of their individual selves and, also, of their community. The only tool that was powerful enough to achieve this monumental task was The Word, or, as Wilson more eloquently put it, “the molding of one’s spirit into a song.”

As the director of the creative writing program at Goddard College, my mission is to co-create a community of people who have a shared passion for the same thing—the art of writing, and the power of words. And my passion as a writer is to offer a space that has the power to mold our spirits into song.

Publications

  1. Rhapsody of the Naked Immigrants
    Rhapsody of the Naked ImmigrantsHarbor Mountain Press2009
  2. Mercy Mercy Me
    Mercy Mercy MeUniversity of Wisconsin Press2003
  3. The World In Us (Co-editor) St. Martin’s Press2000