Tag Archives: Alysha Hoffa

Good News, February 2015

Amory Orchard mans the Poets-for-Hire desk.

Amory Orchard mans the Poet-for-Hire desk.

In the latest installment of the “Good News” series, BSU English highlights the accomplishments of faculty and students through the month of February.


The Writing Center hosted a two-day fundraiser, “Poets for Hire,” to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank in Muncie. On February 12 and 13, Ball State students and faculty wrote approximately 75 personalized love poems and took donations as payment. The event raised approximately $230 and two big boxes of food. It was also covered on Indiana Public RadioDavid DiSarro (PhD in Rhetoric and Composition) published his poetry chapbook, “I Used to Play in Bands,” at Finishing Line Press. The title poem was first published in Hawaii Pacific Review, and you can read it here. He’s currently an Assistant Professor of English and the Director of the Writing Center at Endicott College in Beverly, MA. David’s creative work has previously appeared in The Ibbetson Street Magazine, The Orange Room Review, Breadcrumb Scabs, Third Wednesday, among others.

Isabel Vasquez, a junior double major in Spanish and English studies, recently published her reflective essay, “Alive,” in Ivy Tech’s mê tis Volume VII . She also published “The Necessity” in The Mochila Review, a journal from Missouri Western State University, which you can read here.


Do you have any good news? Let us know so we can put it in our alumni newsletter!

Do you have any good news? Let us know so we can put it in our alumni newsletter!


Melissa Hull (Secretary to the Director of the Writing Program) who publishes poetry as “M. Ann Hull” has published quite a few poems since July.  (You know you have a great department when even the staff is producing such quality work!)

  • Blue Earth Review, “The Wife Called it Making Memories
  • BOXCAR Poetry Review, “Images or Shadows of Silent Things”
  • Emrys Journal, “Just Beyond the Reach”
  • The Greensboro Review, “Snow Cover”
  • Heavy Feather Review, “Elegy for a Mason Jar,” “House of Echoes,” and “This Isn’t an Era for Adoring”
  • Passages North, “My Mother, Born in Summer, Had Winter Babies” and “To You, Who Never”
  • Phantom Limb, “Look at Me / Don’t Look at Me”
  • Juked, “Such Similar Fingerprints”
  • Threadcount, “The Last Neglected Child”
  • WomenArts Quarterly Journal, “To Track Tears under the Microscope”

Sarah Hollowell, a senior creative writing major, was interviewed by the Ball State Daily News regarding fat positivity. Sarah recently published her essay, “This is an Essay about a Fat Woman being Loved and Getting Laid,” in The Toast, and it has been shared over 6,000 times through various social media outlets.

Alysha Hoffa’s (B.A. creative writing, 2013) essay, “Colorless Life: An Essay in Grayscale,” was named a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2014. It was originally published in Southern Indiana Review. Alysha is currently in the MFA program at Fresno State.

Rebecca McNair, a senior creative writing major, was featured in the Ball State Daily News. She’s launching a feminist literary magazine, Andromeda Speaks, a project that was born in her Literary Publishing and Editing course with Professor Silas Hansen. You can contribute to the launch on Kickstarter.

Brett Hiatt (B.S. teaching English language arts) has been teaching in China for a year, and now he’s now the lead teacher. You can read about his experiences here.

Assistant Professor Andrea Wolfe (second from right) was the recipient of an  Immersive Learning Award. (Photo courtesy of Ball State University)

Assistant Professor Andrea Wolfe (second from right) was the recipient of an Immersive Learning Award. (Photo courtesy of Ball State University)

Andrea Powell Wolfe (assistant professor of English) recently won a 2015 Immersive Learning Award for her seminar at the Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry in 2013. Wolfe led an interdisciplinary team of 14 students in creating a 35-minute documentary, “Down to Earth: Small Farm Issues in a Big Farm World.

The film follows a local food producer/veterinarian through a week of life on the farm, at the farmer’s market, and on veterinary calls. It aired on WIPB-TV and was screened at film festivals in South Bend and Indianapolis. Community partners included Becker Farms in Mooreland, Indiana, and Muncie’s Living Lightly Fair. You can learn more about Down to Earth here.

Angela Jackson Brown (assistant professor of English) will be co-teaching a session on African-American literature with Hedi Podlasli-Labrenz on February 24th. The session will take place at Ökumenisches Gymnasium zu Bremen in Germany. Hedi’s students will be reading Professor Brown’s novel, Drinking from a Bitter Cupso Brown will also guest lecture there over the summer.

Molly Ferguson (assistant professor of English) received a Start-Up Program award from the Sponsored Projects Administration. She will use her grant money to travel to cities such as Dublin, Cork, Galway, and Belfast to study Irish plays as expressions of shared traumas.


Every year, Ball State’s Graduate School identifies grad students who have exceeded expectations in their respective programs. Since so many students will receive awards this year, we’re going to devote an entire blog post to recognizing them. Stay tuned for next month’s edition of Good News!

Interview with Tina May Hall, this year’s fiction writer for the In Print Festival of First Books

The annual In Print Festival of First Books at Ball State University includes readings, discussions, and classroom visits with authors who have recently published their first books. The two-day event typically includes three emerging authors and an editor or publisher. This year, the authors are Tina May Hall (fiction), Debra Gwartney (nonfiction), and Paul Killebrew (poetry). Fulfilling this year’s editor/publisher portion are the editors of Artifice Magazine, a nonprofit literary magazine.

In Print also marks the release of The Broken Plate. This year, the editors of The Broken Plate asked the visiting authors to contribute an interview to the issue. TBP’s editors would like to note that they are grateful to Tina May Hall, Deborah Gwartney, and Paul Killebrew for the opportunity to share their ideas about writing with the readers of TBP. In the weeks leading up to In Print, we will be excerpting these author interviews here on the BSU English Department blog.

Tina May Hall

Our first interview is with Tina May Hall. Hall won the 2010 Drue Heinz Literary Prize for her short story collection The Physics of Imaginary Objects. She teaches at Hamilton College and lives in the snowy Northeast with her husband and son in a house with a ghost in the radiator. Some days, she spends with her ear pressed to the wall. Some days, she snowshoes with her son to the wolf-ring in the woods where they drink hot chocolate and howl until the crows chase them home. Here is our excerpt of her interview:

The characters in The Physics of Imaginary Objects are so fleshed-out and distinct. How do your characters come to you? How do you find their voices?

I usually begin stories with a line or image, so the character often evolves in surprising ways. I am a painfully slow writer, mostly because I love revising, and it is in the revisions (which generally span a couple of years at least) that the character begins to emerge.

In this book, the reader will find a pregnant woman who craves meat, a woman who keeps her own cut-off digit, a grandmother’s ghost, a museum full of body parts, etc. Is there something you are trying to say or explore with this reoccurring darkness?

What is odd is that many of these things don’t seem particularly dark to me. Which maybe is more revealing of my own worldview than the impetus behind the collection. Many of these things seem rather humorous or hopeful to me, even if a bit macabre. As you note, many of the tensions center around the body, and I think the body is a kind of mysterious, funny, sometimes shockingly strange thing. Then again, my mother is the only one who consistently finds humor in my writing, so maybe the lightness I see there isn’t translating well.

You have a unique ability to explore the absurd and the mystical. Who has helped influence and shape your distinctive style?

I’ve had lots of influences, writers I’ve read at various points in my life who have opened my eyes to what fiction can accomplish. The first was Jane Austen when I was very young, and after that, Gabriel García Márquez, Charlotte Brontë, Italo Calvino, Jayne Anne Phillips, Angela Carter, and many others.

*(Interviewed by Alysha Hoffa)

We are very much looking forward to this year’s In Print. Remember to pick up a copy of TBP for the full interview, and have a safe and fun spring break, BSU!