August 5, 2020

Former Richmonder Jon Pineda’s new novel ‘Let’s No One Get Hurt’ generating buzz (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Literary award recipient Jon Pineda to launch novel at UMW on March 20 (The Free Lance-Star)

UMW Bookstore Signing to Honor Literary Award Winner

The University of Mary Washington Bookstore and the Department of English, Linguistics and Communication will host a book signing in honor of Jon Pineda, assistant professor of English, who received the 2016 Library of Virginia Literary Award for Poetry. The event will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 16, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in […]

UMW Professor, Alumna Receive 2016 Library of Virginia Literary Awards (The Free Lance-Star)

Works on segregation, race and financial fall win Library of Virginia Literary Awards (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Pineda Gives Talk at Library of Congress Oct. 6

Assistant Professor of English Jon Pineda presents “Filipino Americans: The Other Asian Americans” on Thursday, Oct. 6, at 1 p.m. in the Mary Pickford Theater at the Library of Congress. He will be reading from his newest book, “Little Anodynes.”

The Library of Congress celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month, commemorated each year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, with a series of lectures, concerts and book talks. The programs are being hosted by various divisions throughout the Library. All events are free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required.

Fish Tales

When Assistant English Professor Jon Pineda decided to plan a fly-fishing lesson for literature students outside Combs Hall, he’d faced the facts. There would be no actual fish – or for that matter, water – on the green Jefferson Square lawn. The forecast that late-summer day proved him wrong.

The rain steadily poured while 15 students, many clad in rain jackets and slickers, lined up in the grass on the Fredericksburg campus. Over the sound of squeaky rain boots and fishing lines whipping through the air, Pineda celebrated each successful cast.

Students practice their fly-fishing skills on Jefferson Square.
Students practice their fly-fishing skills on Jefferson Square.

“I just imagined my students out on Jefferson Square, that was always the vision,” said Pineda, who invited two fishing experts from Orvis sporting goods store to teach students in his Ecoliterature class how to fly fish.  “We can talk all day long about fly fishing, but there’s something about actually holding the rod.”

In a two-part lesson, the Orvis fishermen, Mark Fackner and Aaron Spicer, instructed the students about fly patterns and the ecology of the river. Then, the novice student fishermen got to experience casting a fishing rod for themselves.

Ecoliterature students learn the basics of fly fishing. Kirsten Whitley casts her rod. Jon Pineda offers encouragement. Alexis Donahue concentrates on her delivery. Orvis expert Mark Fackner instructs students.

Fackner and Spicer taught the class two casts: false casting and the pick up and lay down. While some students got the hang of it immediately, many first timers struggled with technique.  Quick to sense their frustration, Pineda—an avid fisherman himself–jumped in to help.

“I’ve fished in so many conditions,” said Pineda. “This is what it’s all about.”

This 300-level literature course with a focus on nature and the environment was a dream class for Pineda. He hoped to provide his students with some hands-on experience to help them connect with their writing.

“Writers use their imagination when constructing narratives, of course, but having firsthand knowledge of the thing they’re describing often gives them a relevant starting point and can also help create additional opportunities for the scope of the piece,” said Pineda, an acclaimed writer and poet, who is a finalist for the 2016 Library of Virginia Literary Award. “Writers can choose specific, essential details that build more authentic imagery, which often lends greater credibility to the voice of the narrative.”

That’s just what happened while writing his novel Apology. At the time, he also worked for a telecommunications company where he had to learn to climb 35-foot telephone poles.

“I decided my protagonist would go through similar training, and so I wrote those parts into the story,” said Pineda, about the book that won the 2013 Milkweed National Fiction Prize.

First-timer sophomore Sally Marrazzo could relate as she cast her line high into the air. “I think this experience will benefit my writing in this class,” she said. “Even though we are all novices it’s given us a better understanding.”

That’s just what Pineda wanted to hear. He’s loves to learn new things and hopes to spark the same curiosity within his writing students.

“The reason I teach is because I want students to find their voice and find their way,” said Pineda, recipient of the University’s 2016 outstanding young faculty member award.  “I’m simply helping them find who they’ve always been.”

2016 Library of Virginia Literary Award Finalists Announced (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Pineda Places Poems, Essay

Jon Pineda, Assistant Professor of English, has recently had his poem “Rapidan Bestiary” accepted for publication by Gray’s Sporting Journal.  Other new fly-fishing poems–“Rappahannock Bestiary” and “Smallmouth Bestiary”–will appear in the forthcoming issue of storySouth.

His creative nonfiction essay “Circumference” recently appeared in the literary magazine Qu and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize (Pushcart Prize XLI: Best of the Small Presses).

Finally, his poem “The Muse, or Stars Out on Interstate 81 South,” featured on Poetry Foundation’s website at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/249334), has been selected by Minnesota State University, Mankato to be part of MSU’s 2016 National Poetry Month Video Project.

Pineda’s Recent Poems Featured Over Summer

Jon Pineda, assistant professor of English and acting coordinator of the concentration in creative writing, has had four poems recently featured in high-profile venues of publication. “Translation” was one of the featured “Father’s Day” poems on The Poetry Foundation’s “Poetry Off The Shelf” podcast: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/features/audioitem/5250. “Cinque Terre” and “The Muse, or Stars Out on Interstate 81 South” were featured on The Poetry Foundation’s “Poem of the Day” for August 11, 2015: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/features/audioitem/5330 and http://www.poetryfoundation.org/features/audioitem/5332.
Finally, “Daughter” was featured as part of the Academy of American Poets’ “Poem-A-Day” program on August 21: http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/jon-pineda.