Chatham News

Author, Sheryl St. Germain, Celebrates the Launch of her Book, The Small Door of Your Death

PITTSBURGH:  On Friday, February 9th, at 7 p.m. in the Welker Room in the James Laughlin Music Hall, on Chatham University’s Shadyside campus, the Chatham University MFA in Creative Writing Program proudly presents The Small Door of Your Death, a poetry collection written by Sheryl St. Germain, published by Autumn House Press.

The event is free and open to the public. Contact MFA Program Assistant, Kelly Kepner, at for more information.

Sheryl St. Germain’s poetry books include Making Bread at Midnight, (Slough Press), How Heavy the Breath of God, The Journals of Scheherazade (both University of North Texas Press), and Let it Be a Dark Roux: New and Selected Poems (Autumn House Press).

She has published two memoirs, Swamp Songs: the Making of an Unruly Woman  (University of Utah Press), and  Navigating Disaster:  Sixteen Essays of Love and a Poem of Despair (Louisiana Literature Press). She co-edited, with Margaret Whitford, Between Song and Story:  Essays for the 21st Century (Autumn House Press). With Sarah Shotland she co-edited  Words Without Walls:  Writers on Addiction, Violence and Incarceration, (Trinity University Press), 2015.

A native of New Orleans, Sheryl has taught creative writing at The University of Texas at Dallas, The University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Knox College, and Iowa State University. Her work has received several awards, including two NEA Fellowships, an NEH Fellowship, the Dobie-Paisano Fellowship, the Ki Davis Award from the Aspen Writers Foundation, and the William Faulkner Award for the personal essay.

She directs the MFA program in Creative Writing at Chatham University where she also teaches poetry and creative nonfiction, and is co-founder of the Words Without Walls Program.

Praise for the Small Door of Your Death:
“In Sheryl St. Germain’s new collection, we find ourselves enthralled by one woman’s attempt to look straight into the eyes of Loss without blinking—to speak, without stuttering, grief’s true name—a name none of us wants to know, though we always listen for its inevitable approach.

St. Germain’s work teaches us how to talk back, how to talk through the intimate agonies that, in many ways, define what it means to be human now.  Muriel Rukeyser said poetry cannot save us but it is the kind of thing that could.  I think this book is proof of that.”   —Tim Seibles

About Chatham’s MFA in Creative Writing Program:
Chatham’s MFA in Creative Writing program consists of both an on-the-ground full-residency program and a low-residency, online program with concentrations in travel writing, teaching, publishing, or nature writing in addition to a primary genre focus (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or children’s writing).  The program offers innovative field seminars that include travel to such places as Costa Rica, Ecuador, India, and Germany. The Words Without Walls program, in which MFA students go into the Allegheny County Jail to teach inmates creative writing, is one of several social outreach programs developed and run by Chatham MFA students that offer transformative experiences for both students and an underserved population. In 2007 Poets & Writers named the MFA one of “Nine Distinctive Programs” and The Atlantic Monthly named it one of five innovative/unique programs in the country in its “Best of the Best” graduate program listings. In 2009, The Writer named it one of ten programs that offer a specialty focus. For more information, visit