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Inside Look

What I Learned about Writing during the Pandemic

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by Crystal McQueen

For me, 2020 started just like any other year. Full of promise. Full of expectations, goals, and resolutions. Then, just when the weather started to warm up—boom! —enter the global pandemic. 
Vacations were canceled, plans were postponed, and suddenly, I had more time on my hands than I knew what to do with. After all, I could only walk the same loop around our neighborhood so many times. 
As I accustomed myself to the stark reality that my quarantine days would stretch far into the foreseeable future, the idea that I should write that book I have been thinking about for years seemed like a fitting project to fill the endless quiet hours. 

University Press of Kentucky: The Marketing Internship Experience

University Press of Kentucky

By Darian Bianco, Bluegrass Writers Studio

When I was interviewing for an internship position in the marketing department at the University Press of Kentucky, I was asked, “What do you hope to get out of this internship?” I believe my answer was something along the lines of experience, pure and simple. I wanted to take advantage of every opportunity I could get my hands on, and I wanted to be entirely submerged in my field. As long as I could be involved with books, with reading and writing and creativity, I would be happy. I hadn’t been expecting to get an email later that very same day, letting me know the position was mine if I wanted it—beyond that, I hadn’t expected just how fruitful this internship would become. 

Introducing Jelly Bucket's guest editor for the Black Lives Matter special section, Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon!

photo of Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon

LYRAE VAN CLIEF-STEFANON is the author of Open Interval, a finalist for the National Book Award and the LA Times Book Prize and, and Black Swan, winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, as well as co-author of chapbooks Poems in Conversation and a Conversation, with Elizabeth Alexander, and Leading with a Naked Body with Leela Chantrelle. She is currently at work on The Coal Tar Colors, her third poetry collection, and Purchase, a collection of essays. She has been awarded fellowships from Cave Canem, the Lannan Foundation, and Civitella Ranieri. She was one of ten celebrated poets commissioned to write poems inspired by Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series in conjunction with the 2015 exhibit One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Works for MoMA. She has written plays and lyrics for The Cherry, an Ithaca, NY, arts collective.

BGWS Professors' novels selected for The Women’s National Book Association 2020 Great Group Reads

Great Group Reads for 2020
Recent novels by two Bluegrass Writers Studio professors have been honored as Great Group Reads for 2020. Nancy Jensen's In Our Midst (Dzanc, 2020) and Carter Sickels's The Prettiest Star (Hub City, 2020) join an elite list of just twenty books being promoted by the Women's National Book Association throughout the month of October as part of National Reading Group Month. 
Both books are available now. For more information about the books and upcoming events, visit each author's website:

Announcing a New Decade for Jelly Bucket

Jelly Bucket journals stacked
As excited as we were to celebrate a decade of Jelly Bucket this year with issue #10, we're even more excited about the next 10 issues of Jelly Bucket. 
We will mark the second decade of Jelly Bucket with a new commitment to publishing writers from, and writing about, marginalized and under-represented communities. This will be a decade-long project, and it begins in issue #11 (summer 2021) with a special section dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Introducing Whitney Cooper, Editor-in-Chief of Jelly Bucket issue #11

photo of Whitney Cooper

Whitney Cooper, a Georgia native, is a graduate of Georgia State University. She currently lives in the Jacksonville, FL area and is a student in the Bluegrass Writers Studio low-res MFA program. An avid nature person, she writes poetry and paints in her spare time, all about nature. She’s traveled to Italy (where her family is from), Portugal (for the BGWS international residency), and Japan (for fun!). She loves animals, especially cats.

BGWS Faculty & Staff Statement on Social Justice and Racial Equality

June 17, 2020
Dear BGWS Students,
These last few months have been challenging. The global pandemic has killed over 100,000 people in the U.S., and we are grieving this tremendous loss. There has been much sorrow and outrage. Following the violent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the many others, millions have taken to the streets around the country and the world to protest police brutality against Black Americans and the systemic racism in our institutions and society. 
We at BGWS condemn police brutality, racism, and white supremacy. We support those who are peacefully protesting police violence, and stand in solidarity with those advocating and working for meaningful change. We support the movements and conversations in the United States and globally that are working toward social justice and racial equality for Black Americans. We believe Black Lives Matter.

BGWS Emerging Writer Award Winners

BGWS Emerging Writer Award Winners!

Congratulations to these talented MFA students!

Andrew Analore, Darian Bianco, and K. Ka’imilani Leota Sellers will read during the BGWS Summer Residency this July.

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