Archived entries for Allison Backous

A Heart in Two Places

By Allison Backous

During the time I spent completing my MFA, I worked for months on a single essay about the south suburbs of Chicago, where I spent my youth and young adulthood. Continue Reading …

Joining The Dance

By: Allison Backous

Having thought, for many years, that I’d spend my life aching for what I’m about to say, it feels strange to write these words down. But I’ve spent the past five months knowing it, knowing it to my bones. I am in love.
Continue Reading …

The Inscape of Grief

By Allison Backous

Last Wednesday, my grandmother, my father’s mother, died. She had been fighting lung cancer for over a year, and was eighty-three years old. I learned about her death an hour before I had to go teach, and called my father after class. “She had a good long life, Red,” he told me, the typical Backous stoicism flattening his voice. Continue Reading …

Buddy and Me

By Allison Backous

As I write, my dog Buddy is nestled next to me, wrapped in an afghan, asleep. It is a rare moment, this silence, the sweetness of my dog sleeping next to me, his quiet breath punctuating the air. I don’t know how to write about a dog without sounding dorky or mushy, but I know this: Buddy may be a gift but he’s also a pain. Continue Reading …

Blessing the Past

By Allison Backous

Lately, I’ve been thinking about blessing, mostly due to Tony Woodlief’s beautiful blog post earlier this month. “I pay attention to how blessings are given,” he wrote, “how they are received.” I’m realizing how much the idea of blessing plays a part in how and what I write, and that is slowly becoming a major decision in how I think about my history, my life. Continue Reading …

Image Journal Issue #67 Features Work by SPU MFA Faculty, Alum

Familiarizing yourself with the work of an MFA program’s faculty and alumni is a great way to help determine whether that program is a good fit for you. The most recent issue of Image Journal, #67, features two MFA faculty– poetry mentors Jeanine Hathaway and Jeanne Murray Walker– as well as 2009 Creative Nonfiction graduate Allison Backous. Continue Reading …

“Abandoning Mastery”: Allison Backous

I loved creative writing as a teenager, and fell in love with scholarly work in my undergrad; when I first encountered the MFA program, and the work of Robert Clark, I knew that the MFA was a place where critical thought and practice, both in writing and in talking about writing, were important. Continue Reading …

Waiting on Hilarity

By Allison Backous

I have a confession to make. The kind of confession that reveals you as someone who is more pathetic than depraved. I once had a profile on And by “once,” I mean “recently,” and by “had,” I mean “waiting for my membership to end so that I can close the profile once and for all and forget that this ever happened.” Continue Reading …

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