Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing

A Message from Stonecoast in Ireland Coordinator Ted Deppe

Hello from Ireland!

The option of taking a residency in Ireland is one of many innovations that help set Stonecoast apart from other MFA programs. Each semester, ten current students are selected to meet in Ireland with Stonecoast faculty and prominent Irish writers for an intense, weeklong residency. 

My wife (poet Annie Deppe) and I both have Irish and U.S. citizenship and have lived in Ireland since 2000, so we’ve gotten to know the country and its writers well.  We’re pleased to have this chance to share it with you!

The Irish residencies offer a full slate of presentations, workshops, and readings. The goal is to totally immerse students in the writing process, Irish literature, and the beautiful Irish landscape, as they map out the course for their next semester.  While offering a unique cultural opportunity, residencies in Ireland maintain the same rigorous academic discipline as the Stonecoast program in Maine.

Students give a reading, open to the Irish public, at the end of the residency.  They are also encouraged to present 15-minute classes on a favorite Irish writer.  These “flash seminars” are a stimulating way to learn James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, Edna O’Brien, Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, Lady Gregory, J.M. Synge, Flann O’Brien, Jonathan Swift, Claire Keegan, Roddy Doyle, Seamus Heaney, William Trevor, Frank O’Connor, Anne Enright, Eoin Colfer, Brendan Behan, Eavan Boland, Patrick Kavanagh, Paul Durcan, Paula Meehan, Ian McDonald, Brian Friel, Nuala Ni Dhomnaill, Sean O’Casey, John McGahern, Paul Muldoon, Martina Carr, Louis MacNeice, George Bernard Shaw…But the list goes on an on, and everyone’s got their favorites, so here’s a chance for students to learn from a writer and then educate the rest of us.  Come see why Ireland and great writing are so closely related.

Relaxing

Our summer residencies are held on the Dingle peninsula, described simply as “the most beautiful place in the world” by National Geographic. Dingle town is a lively place with a lovely harbor and great traditional music every night. 

In winter, we gather in Howth, a beautiful seaside village that offers stunningcliff walks and a chance to take the train into Dublin to visit cultural highlights like the James Joyce tower or the W.B. Yeats exhibition.

Many students come early or stay afterwards to explore Ireland and Europe.  Again, Annie and I are happy to help with travel suggestions. The residencies in Maine are wonderful. So are the ones in Ireland. I hope you'll be able to join us in Ireland for one of your five Stonecoast residencies.

-Ted Deppe, Coordinator of Stonecoast in Ireland

 

What Students Say about the Ireland Residency:

    * “This has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life.”—Susan Casey

   * “Absolutely loved it and feel so lucky to have had this opportunity.  Not only is the location fantastic, the opportunity to work in such a small group and work so closely with faculty and visiting presenters is wonderful.  Also, the whole process is made so easy from applying to being picked up at the airport.”—Jessica Takach

   * “Life altering!  An intense experience and immersion into Irish writing and culture.  It’s perfect!”—Karen Pullen

   * “The residency was a perspective-changing, passion-yielding, and overall wonderful experience.”—Michael Smith

    * “Once in a lifetime, amazing (actually I hope to return to Ireland again.)” —Florine Melnyk

    * “Wonderful, everything one could have hoped for!  The Irish talent you got on board was amazing, truly cream of the crop.”—Christopher Watkins

    * “I have come home inspired and refreshed not merely by the experience, but by the amount I learned and gained from others…Because of the group’s small size and the program’s contained setting, the level of trust and camaraderie that developed between us created a climate, in workshops and seminars, in which everyone seemed comfortable contributing.”—Felicity Stone

* “Stonecoast in Ireland has been the most amazing experience of my writing life.  The Deppes bring an insight and experience to Irish life that is truly unparalleled.  The field trip was AMAZING!”—Kerry Herlihy

How Do I Apply?

Students are encouraged to join Ted and Annie Deppe during the Maine residencies for informational meetings about the Irish program.

Applications and information about the Irish residencies are posted on the Stonecoast listserv around April 30 (for the next winter residency) and October 30 (for the next summer residency). Applications are accepted for two weeks and then ten students are selected for the residency. Selected students, Stonecoast faculty, and SCI leaders Ted and Annie Deppe will meet as a group at the next residency in Maine to begin preparing for the upcoming residency in Ireland.

Students are expected to take their first and last residencies in Maine. The roster for Ireland is usually made up of students taking their second, third, or fourth residencies. Students going into their third and fourth residencies are generally given preference, although there is usually room for one or two students going into their second semester. While seniority is a factor, the selection committee also strives to balance workshops and create a harmonious group.

For more information please contact: 
Ted Deppe, Coordinator, Stonecoast in Ireland.


Email: theodore.deppe@maine.edu

Phone from the U.S.: 011-353-87-909-1724

Future residency dates in Ireland:

July 9-16, 2014 in Dingle

January 6-13, 2015 in Howth