The Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program hosts 10-day, on-campus residencies at the start of each semester. A select number of classes held during this time are open to serious writers who wish to audit graduate-level Craft, Criticism, & Theory courses. Each class is two hours long and costs $125.

Auditors must complete preparatory work and required reading for each class attended. Please double-check the reading requirements when you sign up, as we don’t necessarily have handouts for all texts. Unless the description notes that handouts will be provided, auditors must seek out these items.

Registration is generally open in May/June for July’s residency and November/December for January’s residency. Subscribe to our newsletter to ensure you’re alerted when our registration form is available.

Below find sample classes available for audit.


Cost: $125                                                                                                  

Date Offered: July 13, 1-3 p.m. EDT, exclusively on Zoom

We will, together, very closely read Larry Levis’ poem “Two Trees” and focus on how emotion can be expressed using such poetic devices as imagery, address & personification/pathetic fallacy, and prosopopoeia.

Required: Please read the poem beforehand; it is available on Canvas. This is the first poem in Larry Levis’ book Elegy (U. of Pittsburgh Press, 1977). A handout will be provided. This class is open to anyone and might not take the whole two hours allotted.

Instructor: Laure-Anne Bosselaar

Laure-Anne Bosselaar grew up in Belgium, where she worked for Belgian and Luxembourg Radio and Television. Her first poetry collection in English, The Hour Between Dog and Wolf, was a finalist for the Walt Whitman Award. Her second book of poems, Small Gods of Grief, won the Isabella Gardner Prize for Poetry. Her third poetry collection, A New Hunger, was an ALA Notable Book in 2008. She published the chapbook Rooms Remembered in 2018, and those poems would go on to appear in her 2019 full-length collection These Many Rooms. A graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, she co-directed the Aspen Writers’ Conference from 1989 to 1992. Her other honors and awards include a Fellowship at the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, Writer-in-Residence positions at Hamilton College and at the Vermont Studio Center, a Pushcart Prize, the 2020 James Dickey Award for Poetry, and the McEver Chair In Poetry at Georgia Tech. Garrison Keillor chose four of her poems to read on the Writers’ Almanac. She is the editor of the anthologies Never Before: Poems About First ExperiencesOutsiders: Poems About Rebels, Exiles, and Renegades; and Urban Nature: Poems About Wildlife in the City, as well as co-editor of Night Out: Poems About Hotels, Motels, Restaurants, and Bars. A translator of French and Flemish poetry, she and her late husband, the poet Kurt Brown, published a book of translations from Flemish poet Herman de Coninck: The Plural of Happiness. Laure-Anne has taught at Emerson College, Sarah Lawrence College, U.C. Santa Barbara, and at writers’ conferences across the country.



Cost: $125

Date Offered: July 13, 1-3 p.m. EDT, in person at the Donahue Center for Creative and Applied Arts Room 214

Episodic narrative structures are a good fit for creative nonfiction as they acknowledge the constraints of memory while also allowing for exploration across time and scenes. The triptych, or, for our purposes, an essay consisting of three parts, similarly encourages the writer to engage with a topic in layers. This fragmented format can help writers of nonfiction or fiction generate new ideas, practice an unconventional structure, or create a scaffolding for a difficult topic. In this way, the triptych is part of a tradition of fragmented forms that evoke a reflection of the shape some lives take.

Learning goals & outcomes: In this class, we’ll learn about the history of the triptych as well as investigate how writers and others work within the triptych form, giving particular attention to mechanics and narrative strategies. Alongside this discussion, we will also engage in activities and conversation exploring our own experiences writing within the constraints of memory as well as strategize to point a piece beyond those constraints. This session is set up for prose writers in fiction and creative nonfiction.

Required reading: None.

Some questions to consider beforehand: Are there any pieces (your own or those you’ve read) that come to mind after reading the description above (these can be triptychs or longer, episodic pieces)? What is your process and/or set of processes that have helped you navigate the constraints of memory as well as any episodic and fragmented narratives in your own essays?

Instructor: José Angel Araguz, Ph.D.

José Angel Araguz is a CantoMundo fellow and the author of seven chapbooks; the collections Everything WeThink We HearSmall FiresUntil We Are Level AgainAn Empty Pot’s Darkness and, most recently, Rotura; and the lyric memoir Ruin and Want. His poems, creative nonfiction, and reviews have appeared in Crab Creek ReviewPrairie SchoonerNew SouthPoetry International, and The Bind. Born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, he runs the poetry blog The Friday Influence and composes erasure poems on the Instagram account @poetryamano. A member of the Board of Governors for CavanKerry Press, he is also a faculty member in Lasell’s University Solstice Low-Residency MFA program. With an MFA from New York University and a Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati, José is an Assistant Professor of English at Suffolk University in Boston, where he also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Salamander Magazine.


Cost: $125

Date Offered: July 17, 1-3 p.m. EDT, in person in the Donahue Center for Creative and Applied Arts Room 214

One of the true joys of writing speculative fiction is creating imagined worlds, whether they be wholly invented or merely a tiny bit skewed. Yet when crafting speculative fiction short stories—intended for either children or adults—authors have very little space in which to offer imagined worlds, while they simultaneously invite readers into characters’ lives and stories.

Learning goals & outcomes: In this class, we’ll explore how to create vibrant speculative worlds, characters, and stories in the small space of the short story.  

To prepare for class, please consider the following questions for each reading and take notes for discussion: 

  • What do you learn about the world? How do you learn about it? 
  • How do you learn about the central character and his/her/their central yearning? How do the character’s personality and central yearnings relate to the world? 
  • How do you learn about the antagonistic force and the central yearning? How do the antagonistic force’s personality and yearnings relate to the world? If the antagonistic force isn’t a character, how is its power or influence conveyed? 
  • What relationship does the ending have to the story’s beginning and middle? 
  • As you read, at what point did you realize these stories are about more than what-happens-next? How does the author convey this to you? 

The class will also be a working session, so please bring a story in progress or a story idea to work on. You don't have to have written any speculative fiction short stories before entering the class but come prepared to try. If you're an experienced writer of speculative fiction short stories, come prepared to hone your current skills as well as complement them with new ones. 

Required Reading: 

Instructor: Laura Williams McCaffrey

Born and raised in Vermont, Laura Williams McCaffrey attended Barnard College of Columbia University, and then returned to Vermont to become a school librarian, answering to the names “Ms. Librarian,” “Library Lady,” and sometimes simply “Ms. Library.” A passionate advocate for the arts in education, she has taught writing and literature at Pacem School, an alternative school and homeschooling center, for fourteen years. Since fall of 2018, she also has taught at Champlain College in its Professional Writing division. For three years she was the Fiction Editor at YA Review Network, where she was honored to publish stories by established writers and teens. Laura’s speculative fiction short stories have been published in Solstice Literary Magazine, Soundings ReviewCicada, and YA Review Network. Her short story “Into the Vast,” published by YA Review Network, won SCBWI’s 2014 Magazine Merit Award for fiction. Her most recent novel, Marked (2016), is a young-adult dystopian fantasy as well as a mixed-format novel that includes comics story lines integrated into prose text. Laura is the author of two other young-adult speculative fiction novels: Water Shaper, selected for the 2007 New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age list, and Alia Waking, named an International Reading Association Notable Book. Alia Waking was also a nominee for the annual Teens’ Top Ten Books list and for Vermont’s Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award. Laura is currently at work on a number of speculative fiction projects.

WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY? (Fiction for Adults + Young People)

Cost: $125                             

Date Offered: July 17, 3:15-5:15 p.m. EDT, in person at the Brennan Library room G09 (Innovation Center)

This class will explore uses (good and not so good) of dialogue in a story and how writers can improve dialogue in stories for young people or for adults.

Class goals & learning outcomes: First, we’ll discuss the various wrong reasons writers use dialogue (e.g.: to insert clunky exposition; to further make the characters seem “real,” etc.). Then we’ll talk about the real objective of dialogue in a good story, which I won’t disclose in this capsule description lest I ruin the payoff that’s coming nine minutes into the lecture.

Required: Bring a scene of dialogue from one of your own works that you feel is your strongest sample of dialogue, or your worst. Handout to be provided.

Question: What is the best example of dialogue you’ve read/heard/smelled (okay, scratch that last one) recently, or ever? And WHY is it so good, in your opinion?

Instructor: David Yoo

David Yoo is the author of the novels Girls for Breakfast, which was named an NYPL Best Book for Teens and a Booksense Pick, and Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before, a Chicago Best of the Best selection, along with a middle-grade novel, The Detention Club. His first collection of essays, The Choke Artist, was a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award. He holds a B.A. from Skidmore College and an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Colorado, Boulder. David wrote a regular column in Koream Journal. He teaches at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop and resides in Massachusetts.



Cost: $125                                         

Date Offered: July 17, 3:15-5:15 p.m. EDT, in person at the Donahue Center for Creative and Applied Arts Room 315

“A first advantage of this point of view is that because the author’s voice is now completely eliminated, we tend more fully to identify with the character who speaks of themself as ‘I,’ and because we more easily share their experiences and thoughts, the story may gain a heightened sense of realism for us.” —Ruth and Maurice Thompson, Critical Reading and Writing

It’s been said that what makes a good middle grade book is what makes a good book for adults: appropriate voice and vocabulary and realistic situations. But what is “appropriate voice”? The middle grade novel I wrote was a lesson in “working that first person illusion,” trying to capture the voice of a twelve-year-old kid authentically. Done well, first person prose creates the illusion that there is no writer from which the story came. I relied on the experience of having two kids of my own and coaching a seventh-grade boys basketball team for nineteen years but still wrestled with establishing the verisimilitude needed to sell the novel’s voice to readers. This session will share some techniques and strategies to have characters speak as if the story is truly their own.

Class goals & learning outcomes: In this session we will examine the process of the P.O.V. choice, with a focus on the first person in comparison to other choices, by sharing and discussing examples from provided handouts. We will discuss the advantages and the pitfalls of the first-person voice, in general, and with the middle grade novel in particular. By the end of the session, students should know what to expect of the first-person voice in an MG novel and what to consider when choosing the right P.O.V. for their own stories. There will be two exercises rolled into the lecture: one small group exercise and one generative writing prompt.

Required reading: No required reading. Handouts will be provided the day of the session.

Instructor: Kevin Carey

Kevin Carey’s middle-grade novel Junior Miles and the Junkman made its debut in September 2023. A co-written collection of poems, Olympus Heights, came out a month later. Kevin’s other books include The Beach PeopleThe One Fifteen to Penn StationJesus Was a Homeboy—an Honor Book for the Paterson Literary Prize—and Set in Stone. His poems have appeared on National Public Radio’s The Writers Almanac and on The Academy of American Poets Poem a Day platform. Kevin is also a playwright and a filmmaker. He has co-directed and -produced two documentaries about poets: All That Lies Between Us and Unburying Malcolm Miller. His crime novel, Murder in the Marsh, was released in 2020. Coordinator of Creative Writing at Salem State University, Kevin is also the co-founder of Molecule: a tiny lit mag.



Cost: $125                                                

Date/Time: July 18, 2:30-4:30 p.m. EDT, in person at the Brennan Library room G09 (Innovation Center)

The graphic novel market is one of the most rapidly growing book markets today. Writing graphic novels comes with a number of unique challenges, most notably the need for collaboration. Few literary art forms have such a close relationship as that of the writer and the artist of a graphic novel. 

Class Goals and Outcomes: In this class, we will examine principles in writing when collaborating with visual artists for comics and graphic novels. We will learn best practices to get your vision well understood and build strong connections when working collaboratively. Also, we’ll understand the unique aspects of comics and graphic novels such as panel flow, page layout, pacing, and other advanced concepts to maximize their impact for readers. It’s not a movie, it’s not a book; sequential art is its own thing and should be written as such.

Required Reading: A workshop handout will be distributed during class.

Suggested Reading: 

  • Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics
  • Will Eisner, Comics and Sequential Art.
  • Will Eisner, Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative

Instructor: Jerel Dye

Jerel Dye has illustrated two graphic novels: Pigs Might Fly and Einstein, which was listed as one of the top 10 graphic novels of the year by ALA Booklist. He has been creating art and comics since 2005, producing dozens of self-published mini comics and creating comics stories for anthologies such as InboundMinimum PaigeHellbound, and the award-winning Little Nemo/Winsor McCay tribute Dream Another Dream. In 2012, he received the MICE comics grant for his mini-comic From the Clouds. Much of Jerel’s art stems from a deep interest in science and technology, though it frequently contains a healthy dose of wonder. He received his BFA in Painting from UMass Dartmouth and his MFA at MassArt in the Studio for Interrelated Media. Jerel has been teaching courses in comics, drawing, and cartooning for 14 years at The Eliot School, MassArt, RISD, Lesley University, Hasbro, and others.


Register for courses below.

Audit Policy

  • Auditing of Solstice MFA classes is offered on a space-available basis and requires the approval of the Assistant Director. Only the classes featured on the Audit List are available to the public.
  • Priority in class enrollment is given to matriculated MFA students.
  • Should an auditor later apply and be accepted to the MFA Program, classes taken prior to acceptance will not be credited toward the degree. The university will not maintain attendance or academic records of classes audited.
  • Auditors are expected to complete the advance preparation requirements for any MFA class; this will ensure that all participants are “on the same page.”
  • While priority in class discussions must be given to matriculated students, individual faculty members will determine the extent to which auditors may participate in writing exercises/workshop-style discussions. Faculty members may welcome or encourage auditor participation, but the baseline expectation for auditors is that they will only spectate. 
  • A non-refundable fee per course of $125 for members of the public.
  • Fees are also non-refundable for missed courses. Auditors who miss their scheduled courses may be given the option to audit a different course during the current residency.
  • Auditors cannot view recordings for courses in the event of a virtual residency due to FERPA restrictions.
  • Solstice graduates may audit free of charge.