Dear Friend: a thesis in / of letters

With this MFA nearly completed, I took time last month to work on the visual presentation of the thesis. My MA thesis and PhD dissertation are both hard-bound in library style, doubtless identical to every other thesis and dissertation on the shelves next to them. But this MFA thesis, about letters and care and listening and attunement, called out for something greater, something more thoughtful, more care-full.

After much deliberation, I hand-bound two copies into a Japanese stab stitch binding, which are now housed in a clamshell box. The historic stamps on the cover represent the locations of my grad school residencies – US, Germany, and Mexico.





(For anyone interested in reading the thesis-in-letters, I can send you the PDF.)



  1. Hi Rachel ~ Such a beautiful site! And so exciting to see all of the great things you’re up to in the world!
    I am currently in the throes of writing my final MFA paper the MCP506 and plan to finish up my MFA this summer with the 2020 cohort (Rudi, Sarah Jane, Sheila, Syowia and Peter)! Your final book was gorgeous and I’m looking around at graduates’ sites to see how the final blog post compares to the final physical element. I would love to see the PDF of your book. Did you upload a pdf for the required MCP506 post, or did you layout a blog post similar to a regular paper (html rather than pdf)? I would so appreciate any thoughts or guidance you could offer.

    • Hi Gabrielle – congratulations on nearing the finish line! I’d heard from Elena that you were getting close, and I’m so glad. You’ll have a strong cohort showing this summer, I’m sure. Thanks for reaching out about the book. I uploaded a PDF of the entire text, which of course feels very different than the physical form it took, but I just see them as serving two different purposes. Here’s the link to my MFA site, which I kept separate from this one-
      Good luck with the final steps!

      • Thank you so much, Rachel! I love your project so much and your writing too.
        I’m pretty excited to have both Elena and Nathalie again.
        Looking forward to getting final project report done though!
        More soon, I hope!

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