Author visits Creative Nonfiction class, shares advice

Professor and director of Chatham University’s MFA Program Sheryl St. Germain graced Seton Hill University (SHU) with her presence on Nov. 26.  St. Germain was a guest in Associate Professor of English and Composition Christine Cusick’s Creative Nonfiction class for discussion.
The class read St. Germain’s creative essay “Why She Won’t Leave: My Mother’s Blues” in the anthology “Between Song and Story,” for which she also acted as co-editor.
St. Germain made the decision to get into creative essay writing after tiring of the general narrative form of a story.
“You choose where you begin.  You choose where you end. I wanted to challenge the dominance of the narrative by producing another way to tell a story,” she said.
St. Germain also talked about her motivation behind editing an anthology of essays.
She said, “I love the essay form.  With contacting and editing, I was initially skeptical, but I jumped in with a former student serving as co-editor.  I want more recognition for poetic forms.”
The anthology contains a number of different styles of essays, including braided, segmented and collage.
St. Germain herself was a very humorous, fluid speaker, making each statement entertaining and validated.
She also distributed copies of her book “Swamp Songs: The Making of an Unruly Woman” to the entire class.  St. Germain seemed to spark more student interest and involvement in the creative essay by providing so many resources and insight to the Creative Nonfiction class.
St. Germain also announced that she would serve as part of Chatham University’s “Wild Thing, You Make My Heart Sing: The Essay in the 21st Century” convention hosted from Nov. 3 to Nov. 5.
Additional information on St. Germain can be found at

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