Congratulations Laura Matter

February 9, 2009


This time the good news is that Laura Matter successfully defended her dissertation.  On Friday, February 6 at 4:30 p.m. the Creative Writing Department awarded Laura her MFA degree–  with distinction. 

The dissertation defense began with some introductory remarks from UNM Professor Greg Martin, who served as Laura’s committee chair.  Martin says that Laura’s work has already raised the profile of the creative writing program at the University of New Mexico:

  • Her essay “Pursuing The Great Bad Novelist” originally published in The Georgia Review (2007) was reprinted in Best Creative Nonfiction 2008 W.W. Norton and Nominated for a National Magazine Award.
  • “The Crab in the Stars” was published this month in Brevity magazine.
  • “The Long Run” forthcoming in Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature (2009)

Laura read from her dissertation, “Dead Artists and Other Interesting People” for about 20 minutes.  Her work blends personal narrative with more traditional biography and scholarly (though still literary) exposition.  I was left wanting more….

After Laura read, she responded to questions about her work. The discussion centered around:

  • The connections between characters
  • Characterization of the narrator
  • Narrative arc of the work as a whole versus each individual essay
  • What the stories tell us about the narrator/writer

Laura noted that for her, art is a conversation, a weird intersection between artists.  She also talked a little bit about the challenges of balancing workshop critique with her own personal aesthetic.

It was an amazing experience to see someone who has worked so hard to  achieve something that for this writer seems far into the future (I plan to graduate in 2012).  This gave me hope and inspired me.  So for that, thank you Laura and congratulations!


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