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Accessible MFA Resources

Syllabi from MFA Faculty

  • Lily Hoang shared out her MFA Fiction Workshop syllabus on HTML Giant, and it was this act of generosity that first made me think it might be possible to patch together an MFA post-chronic illness.
  • From Saint Mary’s College of California, Rosemary Graham’s Craft of Fiction syllabus is packed with great reading recommendations, reading questions, and writing exercises
  • From the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Douglas Unger’s Graduate Fiction Workshop syllabus also offers a great reading list as well as literary journal recommendations and an idea of the pace that MFA students have to keep
  • Always dreamed of taking a creative writing class at NYU? Now you can—kind of. Check out John Maher’s Intro to Fiction and Poetry syllabus. It’s not specific to an MFA, but there’s lots of good stuff here.
  • How about Iowa? The International Writing Program at Iowa has posted their Fiction Workshop syllabus.

Trauma and Healing

The Cognitive Behavioral Coping Skills Workbook for PTSD: Overcome Fear and Anxiety and Reclaim Your Life (Amazon) by Matthew T. Tull, PhD; Kim L. Gratz, PhD; and Alexander L. Chapman, PhD, RPsych

  • “Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can leave you feeling anxious, on guard, numb, irritable, disconnected, and distant…This powerful, evidence-based workbook offers cognitive behavior skills to help you face the difficult challenges of PTSD head on. You’ll find practical strategies to balance your emotions, reconnect with others, and improve your sleep and physical health.”

Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence—From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror ( by Dr. Judith Herman

  • “Harvard psychiatrist Judith Herman argues that psychological trauma is inseparable from its social and political context. Drawing on her own research on incest, as well as a vast literature on combat veterans and victims of political terror, she shows surprising parallels between private horrors like child abuse and public horrors like war.” I first read Dr. Herman’s book at the age of 25, and it helped me make sense of my life for the first time, understanding how the violence I had experienced was part of a much bigger picture, even as the consequences of that violence played out in my day-to-day life.

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma ( by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk

  • “Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust.” This book validated the connection between 30 years of traumatic abuse and my subsequent chronic illness. Dr. van der Kolk continues to press policymakers and health providers to recognize widespread violence within our society as a public health issue, with far-reaching consequences for those of us who survive ableist, racist, sexist, homophobic, and transphobic violence and/or child abuse.

Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga: Reclaiming Your Body ( by Dr. Elizabeth Hopper and David Emerson

  • “The trauma-sensitive yoga described in this book moves beyond traditional talk therapies that focus on the mind, by bringing the body actively into the healing process. This allows trauma survivors to cultivate a more positive relationship to their body through gentle breath, mindfulness, and movement practices.” This book helped me understand why I found it so hard to physically interact with my classmates in the dance studio as well as what trauma-informed movement practices can look like.

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