Episode 04: A Delicious Plum


We come to you live from the River Pretty Writers Retreat with a wonderful panel discussion joined by Robert Vivian, Richard Jackson, Danielle Frandina, Steve Rucker, and Jen Murvin. Many things are covered. Enjoy!


Robert Vivian is the author of two award-winning books of meditative essays, Cold Snap As Yearning and The Least Cricket Of Evening. He is also the author of The Tall Grass Trilogy–The Mover Of Bones, Lamb Bright Saviors, and Another Burning Kingdom. His most recent published novel is Water And Abandon. He’s also written many plays that have been produced in NYC, many of whose monologues have been published in The Best American Monologues for both men and women. He wrote an adaptation of Ibsen’s Ghosts in 2006 that premiered at Studio Arena Theatre in Buffalo. His essays have been mentioned numerous times in The Best American Essay Series, and his stories, poems, and essays have appeared in magazines and journals like Harper’s, Georgia Review, Creative Nonfiction, and scores of others. In 2008 he was the first American ever to teach at Ondokuz Mayis University in Samsun, Turkey; he currently teaches as associate professor at Alma College in Michigan. He’s just completed two new novels, The Town That Burns Eternity Into Your Soul and Return To Hush Moon Lake.

Richard Jackson teaches creative writing and poetry, humanities in UTC’s interdisciplinary honors program, and is a frequent guest lecturer at the MFA writing seminars at Vermont College, University of Iowa Summer Writers’ Festival, and the Prague Summer Program.

He is the author of ten books of poems including Resonance ( 2010) (Eric Hocher Award), Half Lives: Petrarchan Poems (2004) and Unauthorized Autobiography: New and Selected Poems (2003). He has also published two books of translations, Last Voyage: The Poems of Giovanni Pascoli from Italian (2010) and Alexandar Persolja’s Journey of the Sun from Slovene (2008).

He is also the author of two crucial books, Acts of Mind: Conversations with American Poets (Choice Award) and Dismantling Time in Contemporary Poetry (Agee Award Winner), and has edited two anthologies of Slovene poetry, as well as the journal Poetry Miscellany.

His work has been translated into fifteen languages and has appeared in The Best American Poems, among other collections. He has been awarded the Order of Freedom Medal by the President of Slovenia for literary and humanitarian work in the Balkans, and has been named a Guggenheim Fellow, Fulbright Fellow, Witter-Bynner Fellow, NEA fellow, NEH Fellow, and has lectured and given readings at dozens of universities and conferences in the U.S. and abroad.

In 2009 he won the AWP George Garret National Award for Teaching and Arts Advocacy. He leads a group of writing students to Europe each May.


Danielle Frandina has been a teacher of literature and writing for fourteen years. In 2011, she received her MFA in writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts.  She currently lives in Portland, Oregon, where she is working on a short story collection. Her work can be found in Conceptions Southwest, Número Cinq and Avalon Magazine.


Steve Rucker received his M.F.A in Writing at the Vermont College of Fine Arts where he worked alongside writers such as Sue William Silverman, Robert Vivian, Abby Frucht, and Larry Sutin. He has also received his M.A. in Writing from Missouri State University, where he taught creative writing for two years. He has published his work in Numéro Cinq, Elder Mountain, and Upstreet, and his essay regarding the life and work of Raymond Carver appears in Research Guide to American Literature: Contemporary Literature 1970 – Present. He is currently developing a collection of essays about his experience in the Air Force, entitled Fraud, Waste, and Abuse.


Jen Murvin‘s stories and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Mid-American Review, Cincinnati Review, Belingham Review, Midwestern Gothic, Baltimore Review, Huisache, and the MacGuffin. She teaches friction writing and the graphic novel in the Missouri State University creative writing program and is and MFA candidate at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon.


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