Graduate School

The University of Mississippi

MFA alumna to release poetry collection

Posted on: February 16th, 2015 by benita

Former-MFA-StudentStory by Tyler Carter

Corinna M. Schroeder, who received her Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Mississippi in 2011, will have a book titled Inked published this year.

Schroeder is originally from Loveland, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati, and attended the University of Evansville in Indiana, earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2008, in both creative writing and literature. Schroeder then enrolled at UM, where she was the recipient of a John and Renee Grisham fellowship and worked under the direction of Beth Ann Fennelly, director of the MFA in creative writing program.

Schroeder was a special student while at UM, Fennelly said.

“During her time here, she wrote some amazing poems and won the Association of Writing Programs Intro Prize. Her thesis was one of the best MFA theses I’ve ever read, and it was a pleasure to work with her on her nuanced, intelligent, graceful poems.”

While Fennelly praised Schroeder for her work, Schroeder also praised her professors for the knowledge she gained while under their tutelage.

“My time at the University of Mississippi has been hugely important to me as a writer. I started the MFA program when I was only 22 and still very unsure of myself as a writer. The three years I spent at the University of Mississippi, working primarily with professors Beth Ann Fennelly and Ann Fisher-Wirth, gave me the time and the space necessary to find my voice as a poet, to hone my craft and to really immerse myself as a reader in the world of contemporary poetry.

Beth Ann and Ann are incredible writers and teachers, and I consider myself lucky to have studied with them. They gave me generous feedback and direction (as they give to all their students), helping me with the pages at hand but also helping me work through larger questions about what kind of writer I wanted to be. In addition, I should also say that my time at the University of Mississippi was very important to my book – Inked, directly developed out of my MFA thesis, and many of the poems that I wrote while I was an MFA student at the University of Mississippi appear in the book.”

Schroeder said that Inked is about the experience of getting a tattoo, of feeling something being written on the body.

“As a title for the book, though, I think the word ‘inked’ does some larger work. The book is in many ways a coming-of-age narrative, and the speaker of the poems learns one of the oldest lessons again and again — that time takes away from us. This happens when we move away from familiar places, when we lose loved ones, when our memories prove incapable of saving everything we wish they would. As the book progresses, then, there’s an increasing sense of the inevitability of loss in our lives, and yet the poems work against that. They record, they remember, they save. Inked then becomes both the body’s tattoo and the poet’s work, attempting to keep experience whole even in the face of loss.”

Schroeder is pursuing her Ph.D. in literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California. She is also writing her dissertation, which consists of two projects: the first is her second book of poems, made up of historical poems set in Victorian England, and the second is a scholarly project that explores house removal in the Victorian novel and popular press.

“At USC, I am grateful to be the recipient of a Wallis Annenberg Endowed Fellowship, which provides me with five years of generous funding, including summer funding. I was awarded this fellowship based on my application and the work that I did as an MFA student — so the University of Mississippi MFA program definitely helped me reach this next stage in my education and career,” Schroeder said.

After finishing her doctorate, Schroeder intends to apply for assistant professorship positions to stay in academia as an educator.

“I have been lucky to teach undergraduate students at both the University of Mississippi and the University of Southern California, and I absolutely love working with students. I hope to teach both creative writing and literature courses, and of course I plan to keep writing! I can’t imagine my life without that.”