On Wednesday the 28th…
Brian Morrison will read with Silas Hansen as part of Ball State’s Faculty Reading Series.
The Faculty Reading Series hopes to bring English professors into the spotlight, showcasing their talents and interests outside of class.
Brian is still a relatively new addition to Ball State, taken on as an assistant English professor in 2013. He was also assistant editor of Black Warrior Review while he received his MFA at The University of Alabama. You can find his poetry in Verse Daily, Copper Nickel, Story Magazine, and other literary journals.
Before his reading on Wednesday, we got to talk to Brian about his role as a teacher and a writer.
How did you become interested in writing?
Early on in college, I took a class similar to Ball State’s English 285, and I was hooked. I thought I was going to be the next Stephen King or Dean Koontz, or some other monumental mainstream fiction writer.
But not so much.
As it turned out, I was more drawn to the intricacies of language and sound play. So, I declared my major with a specialization in poetry. I haven’t looked back. A great teacher and poet, Larissa Szporluk, encouraged me to keep writing, so I still do it.
How did graduate school help shape your creative identity?
This is a tricky one. Honestly, I think what helped was the sheer number of creative writing graduate students at The University of Alabama. During any given academic year, there are nearly fifty exhausted MFA students shambling about. Only five to ten are admitted each year across the genres.
There were so many voices and so many styles that I couldn’t help but form a unique creative identity.
In some ways, this identity is a mishmash of a bunch of others’ identities mixed with what I was reading at the time. I never felt pushed to go in any one direction—as far as style and voice are concerned, at least.
No writer should seek to develop one creative identity. Cultivate a city. Don’t be one writer; be as many as you can.
How would you describe yourself as a teacher?
Energetic and well-organized. But, of course, I’ve never been a student of my own.
I like to think of myself as person who works very hard and expects a great deal from my students. My greatest hope is that they know I wish them only the best.
What are you working on right now?
I’m writing a series of false histories. I build narratives that describe possible (or impossible) versions of known (or unknown) stories.
For instance, I recently wrote a history of the game hide and seek. Over the summer, I wrote an alternate version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet (or a moment in Hamlet’s life, that is).
In other words, I’m telling lies and getting away with it.