McNeese MFA Student Publishes First Book
McNeese State University Master of Fine Arts student Tyler Robert Sheldon has had his first poetry collection, “Driving Together,” published by Meadowlark Books in Emporia, Kansas.
Sheldon, originally from Hutchinson, Kansas, is currently a second-year graduate student in the MFA Creative Writing program. He has a Master of Arts in English from Emporia State University.
“The McNeese MFA program has helped me understand how to write from a multitude of perspectives and through the lens of a very different locale,” Sheldon says.
“The professors here – Amy Fleury, Christopher Lowe, Keagan Lejeune, and others – have been very supportive of my work and have encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone, and I think that their influence shows in what I’ve written so far while here,” he adds. “Workshop with my fellow students has taught me the value of gaining multiple perspectives toward writing and I’m richer for that experience. This is an exciting place to be and I learn new things every day.”
“Driving Together” is comprised of 46 poems that explore coming of age in the American Midwest, the death of a sibling, relationships and marriage and his search for identity through the roles of guitarist, writer and teacher.
Allison Joseph, author of “Confessions of a Barefaced Woman,” says of the collection, “[Sheldon] writes frequently of an overlooked Midwestern state – Kansas – and a storied Southern one – Louisiana – with an exacting eye for detail and a sense of earned wonder.”
Sheldon received the 2016 Charles E. Walton Essay Award at Emporia and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Intro Journals Award. His poetry, fiction and reviews have appeared in The Los Angeles Review, The Midwest Quarterly and Quiddity International Literary Journal. He is also the author of the chapbooks “Consolation Prize” (2018), “Traumas” (2017) and “First Breaths of Arrival” (2016).