Thankful Thursdays #4: Richard Schmitt, Delaney McElmore, and Doug Van Gundy

Today—Thanksgiving Day—we continue our Thankful Thursdays with insights from two faculty members and a current student in West Virginia Wesleyan’s MFA program. Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers! We have much to be thankful for.

Richard Schmitt (Prose Faculty)

Today, November 19th, I am thankful Charles Manson is finally dead: an ugly reminder of an ugly era that is best put behind us. There is still plenty of ugliness to go around, of course, but also plenty of things for which to be thankful. For instance, I am exceedingly thankful that you've contacted me on the very day my new short story collection hit the marketplace. Happy reading in the holiday season. 

Richard Schmitt teaches in the West Virginia Wesleyan College Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts program. He is the author of The Aerialist and has recently published work in The Baltimore Review, Cimarron, and Adelaide Magazine. His short story collection, Living Among Strangers, is recently released and can be found at this link: http://adelaidebooks.org/richard_schmitt.html 

Delaney McLemore (Nonfiction '18)

If someone had told me five years ago, or even three years ago, that in 2018, I'd be graduating from an MFA program, married to a good guy from Oregon, and living in upstate New York while I watch my work start to get published around the country, I would have probably put out a cigarette in their eye. This year, as I recognize the Indigenous and First Nations peoples who brought their bounty to my ancestral colonizers, I find so much to be grateful for: this amazing program that has welcomed and fed me as I work on my nonfiction voice; the friends and family who support my wild-hare ideas; and the good that is still in the world, just constantly fighting to reach the surface. I hope as we reach the New Year and head into 2018, we bring the best of ourselves along and push more of that good to the light wherever we are. 

Delaney McLemore will graduate in 2018 from WVWC's MFA program. You can find more of her work in Entropy online and forthcoming from Chapman University's Anastamos

Doug Van Gundy (Poetry Faculty)

I am grateful for the quotidian things that keep me getting out of bed in the morning: family and friends who love me and accept me for the flawed person that I am. Coffee and cut oranges. Dogs. I am grateful for the basic goodness of other people, for anyone who through a kind gesture takes a step away from sectarianism and division and a step in the direction of civilization. I am grateful to be a member of a community of thinkers and learners who challenge me to be a better teacher, a better writer, a better person.

Doug Van Gundy teaches poetry in the low-residency MFA Program at West Virginia Wesleyan College, and is the co-editor of the anthology Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods from WVU Press, which was nominated for the Weatherford Award. His poems and essays have recently appeared in Still: The Journal, and are forthcoming in Kestrel. His new monthly podcast, 3 Poems, will debut on January 3rd.

Left to right: Richard Schmitt, Delaney McLemore, and Doug Van Gundy

Left to right: Richard Schmitt, Delaney McLemore, and Doug Van Gundy