Debra Gwartney on how a blending of genres benefits students and faculty alike.
Brent Johnson, MFA
Master of Fine Arts, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho
Bachelor of Arts, DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind.
2006 "The Peridodical Cicada," The Appalachian Review
2004 "Tying Flies Drunk," Gray's Sporting Journal
2003 "The Pink Body of Pigs," Midwestern Review
2002 "Grounds," Ascent
2002 "Flinging Dreams," RiverTeeth
2001 "Descutes River Confessional," Yale Anglers' Journal
Why I Write & Teach
In fourth grade, I won an essay writing contest on what my town would look in the far off future, and hometown girl and country music star, Dolly Parton, presented me the award along with a kiss on the cheek (I didn't wash my face for a week). From that day on, I was sure writing promised accolades and famous, adoring women. Of course, I've realized since that writing promises nothing of the sort, particularly such winnings of vanity, and that my prize now is working with the slow tools of language and image in hopes of making something useful through story and poem.
The first time I knew I wanted to be a teacher was in my senior year as an undergraduate watching my professors standing outside their offices in the hallway, discussing something "intellectual." With the looming end of my own studies one month away, I already feared a life absent of learning--I knew at that moment I always wanted to be involved with academia and thinking and writing. This is my fourth year at Pacific and I teach because it, and my students, help keep that finger on the pulse of what seems to really matter: using our minds to enrich and improve our lives.
Special Interests of study: I've recently been extremely interested in surburban design and how it affects our culture and environment. The more I see a disconnect and disharmony in our outer landscapes, the more I believe their impact on our inner landscapes is real. More concretely, I'm currently working on a chapbook of poetry on flyfishing.
When I'm not being "Professional"
My time off campus is spent with my wife and two sons. Every now and then, I sneak away for a long bike ride, or a weekend casting my fly line for trout.
Currently, I'm very excited about taking twenty-eight students to Spain in summer for a study abroad course. We'll be tracking down Ernest Hemingway's old haunts and Don Quixote's imaginary windmills in the sunbaked landscape outside of Madrid.
A Short Poem Everyone Must Read before they die by Carl Sandburg:
I asked the professors who teach the meaning of life to tell
me what is happiness.
And I went to famous executives who boss the work of
thousands of men.
They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though
I was trying to fool with them
And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along
the Desplaines river
And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with
their women and children and a keg of beer and an
Kellie Wells considers the mysterious transformation that happens throughout the program.
Chris Abani on the unique opportunity offered by Pacific's low-residency MFA.
Kwame Dawes on the relationship between your writing and your life.
Marvin Bell says reading makes you a bigger and better writer.