Corinna McClanahan

Class of 2008


Corinna McClanahan, who is a graduate student in the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi, is a John and Renee Grisham Fellow in poetry there, and serves as Poetry Editor of The Yalobusha Review, has had a number of publishing successes recently. Her poem "Maidens in the Queen's Court of Immortality," which was first published in The Tampa Review, was selected by Lynn Powell for an AWP Intro Award. Her poem "Prayer for Tundra Land was a finalist in TIFERET's Poetry Contest (judged by Marie Howe). Corinna has also published poems in The Country Dog Review, Hayden's Ferry, Measure, and Waccamaw. She has also written criticism for Hayden's Ferry, as well as a poetry review in The Collagist.

"I transferred to UE my sophomore year, already pretty sure that I wanted to enter into an MFA program after graduation, and so, while Creative Writing is a great major for a variety of people with a variety of goals, my thoughts are probably best directed at those who share the same ambition. That said, I can't speak highly enough of UE's Creative Writing program. It's one of a handful of BFA programs in the country, and it truly trains its students to enter writing careers and the writing life. For example, I graduated with three years of workshop experience, which meant that I was comfortable with workshop etiquette and discourse, felt comfortable having others respond to my work, and felt confident in my ability to judge the work of other poets, even those with different aesthetic preferences. I am the youngest member of my MFA class, and I can say without a doubt that I have the most workshop experience of any of my classmates. Pretty cool--and that, of course, would not have been the case without UE's program. As a Master's student, I've also been given the opportunity to teach undergraduate workshops, and I believe that my time at UE also helped to prepare me for this role. Having taken workshops with six faculty members during my time at UE, I had a diverse array of teaching styles from which to borrow and craft my own approach to the workshop.

"One of my most memorable experiences at UE was the Harlaxton Summer Creative Writing Program, directed by Rob Griffith. Not only did I get to spend the summer abroad, but I spent the summer abroad writing poems while exploring Europe. Thanks to Rob, the other students and I were also not only introduced to important contemporary writers like Colette Bryce and Beth Ann Fennelly, but we got to work with them. Meeting Beth Ann was an incredible connection for me to make, as she teaches at Ole Miss's MFA program, which I now attend. I have no doubt that meeting her before I applied helped me to earn my spot in one of the up-and-coming MFA programs in the country.

"There are countless other opportunities at UE for which I am thankful, but here I would also mention my editorial experience with The Evansville Review. I worked my way up through the ranks as a general reader and then as Poetry Editor and finally at Editor-in-chief. My work with this journal taught me a great deal about the literary magazine world--from general submissions and solicitations to copy-editing and working with a publisher--and it also indirectly taught me how to submit to journals responsibly and how to respect editors, who work hard and very often receive little recognition."

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