Parting Words – SJU Writing Studies Student Ryan Latini

Latini Headshot

Ryan Latini

 

 

In our new “Parting Words” column, we ask recent and emerging graduates to share a few words about their experience in the Writing Studies program at Saint Joseph’s University.

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have any parting words or shout-outs to share with current students and faculty?

The late Francis F. Burch, S.J. was my friend, mentor, and invigorated in me a sense that even if everything has been done already, written already, it is my job to get out there and do it better—write it better. This was all during my undergrad at SJU. He wrote one of my letters of recommendation to the writing program after I met with him at end of 2011 or early 2012 for our last dinner together at the Jesuit Residence. He would tell me stories, and who knows if they were true, but we deal in fiction, and I feel I inherited from the man a tradition of storytelling.

My ever-patient thesis advisor Tom Coyne for not holding any punches in his insistence on rewriting and rewriting again, and his respect of writing as a craft—showing me how to couple impulse and craftsmanship.

Dr. Jo Alyson Parker for putting together probably the most interesting reading lists I’ve encountered. If you want to explore the dynamic forces behind narrative and the fictive dream, then she should be your go-to. Our exploration of temporal elements in her course inspired the structure of my thesis.

Dr. Jason Mezey and Joe Samuel Starnes for their kindness to me over the years.

Which Writing Studies course or course reading was most interesting or useful to you? Why?

Martin Amis’ Time’s Arrow and David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. I read both in Dr. Parker’s class: “Experiments in Narrative: Narrative and Time.” Amis’ novel turns chronology on its head, but at the same time, a simple narrative twist in temporality can turn good and evil on their heads as well. The book gave me chills. Mitchell’s novel stuck with me because—aside from being a pleasure to read—it created a world so vast in space and time, the likes of which I don’t think have been seen since Tolkien. It was inspiring.

How do you plan to use your Master’s Degree in your career?

I’d like to throw my hat in the adjunct professor ring. Once I complete my course work, I’m going to pursue freelance gigs in my free time.

Do you have any tips for future students about choosing classes, juggling the workload, or writing a thesis?

Cancel your cable. Delete your Facebook account. Do the work. Do all of it. Then do it over. There is time enough, and if you want to write, you will make the time. Read as if your life depended on it—your life might not depend on it, but the quality of your writing does. Steal style, follow the steps of the greats, and then, when your legs are strong enough, take off on your own path. Listen to the men and women teaching the classes, because if you (or I) truly knew what we were doing, then we would do it at home and save a buck. It’s a favor to yourself to leave your ego at the door.

Thanks for contributing, Ryan!

Graduate Writing Studies Professor Melissa Goldthwaite and the Four Questions

This is the second in our series “Four Questions,” featuring SJU Writing Studies professors.  Meet Dr. Melissa Goldthwaite, who will be teaching ENG 642, “Style,” in spring 2016.

Photo Credit: Howard Dinin

Photo Credit: Howard Dinin

Artemis - MG2

Her Happy Place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is your current writing project? (Or do you have a link to a recent publication you’d like to share with our grad students?) 

I’m finishing two essay anthologies for Norton; they should be out in January: http://books.wwnorton.com/books/webad.aspx?id=4294990902 and http://books.wwnorton.com/books/webad.aspx?id=4294990755

I’m also editing a collection on Food, Feminism, and Rhetoric.

What are you reading, for work or pleasure?

I’ve been reading (or rereading) several food memoirs: Linda Furiya’s Bento Box in the Heartland, Diana Abu-Jaber’s The Language of Baklava, Kim Sunée’s Trail of Crumbs, Shoba Narayan’s Monsoon Diary, and others.

What are you listening to (music/podcast/radio program)?

Today, I’m listening to James Taylor’s latest release, Before This World. Although it’s new, it reminds me of his music from the 70s. Part of me will always be stuck in the 70s.

When you’re not on campus, where’s your happy place?

My happy place is wherever my dog is–usually at home in a room painted bright blue and decorated with children’s toys (many, yes, from the 70s).

 

Seven Things You Can Do with an SJU Writing Studies Degree

Our illustrious director, Tenaya Darlington, put this piece together.  Read on.

Writing Studies Students and Alums

Writing Studies Students and Alums

 

 

 

 

 

Every year, we follow up with our Writing Studies graduates to find out how they are using their skills from our M.A. program to further their careers. Below you can read about some career options that our students have pursued, from editing to writing for businesses to teaching classes and writing grants. If you’re a current student, consider exploring a position in one of these areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Become a writer or editor at a magazine or publication. Many of our recent graduates edit or write for trade publications, including a law magazine, a health magazine for the nursing sector, and a university alumni magazine. Writing Studies graduate Pete Sanchez is a staff writer for The Catholic Star Herald in New Jersey.
  1. Write grants for organizations and university research centers. Our Grant Writing class taught by professional grant writer Maureen Saraco partners students with nonprofit organizations around Philadelphia to gain hands-on experience writing actual grants. Writing Studies graduate Clare Dych started with a city nonprofit and worked her way up to the position of Associate Director of Development for Penn Medicine.
  1. Teach writing. Our graduates work in a variety of teaching fields, from leading workshops for kids at Mighty Writers in Philadelphia to teaching in private high schools, colleges, and universities including Neumann University and Philadelphia Community College.
  1. Write for digital publications. Our graduates write or have written for such publications as Food Network Magazine, Vogue, Huffington Post, and Serious Eats.
  1. Work in the Communications sector. Our graduates are employed by start-ups, PR firms, advertising agencies, talent agencies, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, universities, city organizations, foundations, and financial firms. One Writing Studies graduate, Mark Chalmers, was recently promoted to Vice Provost of Jefferson University.
  1. Run a Writing Center. Students who gain experience in our Writing Center at Saint Joseph’s University learn valuable one-on-one communication skills, plus management experience. Two of our graduates now run writing centers at major universities.
  1. Become an author. Our graduates author novels, cookbooks, and collections of poetry. Marisa McClellan, of the popular canning blog foodinjars, will soon release her third cookbook. Since graduating from our program, she has started her own freelance writing business and is now a full-time food writer. She also has a new podcast, Local Mouthful.

 

Tenaya Darlington is the director of the Writing Studies M.A. program at Saint Joseph’s University. You can reach her at tdarling@sju.edu.

Note Change to Course Number for Spring 2016

Sorry for the confusion, people!  ENG 679 is the correct course number for Writers at Work.  The cross-listed course on Writing for Digital Platforms will use ENG 675.

Mondays 6:30-9:15 p.m.

ENG 679 Special Topics: Writers at Work (Area III: Professional Writing) Professor Tenaya Darlington

This course is designed to set your professional life as a writer in motion. Over the course of 15 weeks, you’ll meet a series of working writers from around Philadelphia who will visit our class. During these visits, you’ll have the opportunity to network with professional writers and learn about possible career paths, from public relations to publishing. Each writer’s visit will tie into a different writing assignment so that you can begin building a portfolio of professional work (likely assignments will include: a press release, a review, a book proposal, an edited manuscript, plus a professional resume and bio.) At the end, you’ll develop an online portfolio that you can use as a calling card.