Sunday, July 01, 2007

Missing the Alumni Conference

The Warren Wilson College MFA Program's Alumni Conference is now underway at St. Mary's College near San Francisco. The annual event moves around the country to make it easier for alums from various regions to attend; every five years or-so it's held back at Warren Wilson's campus in Swannanoa, North Carolina. I have attended all but one of the Conferences since I graduated in January, 2000.

I couldn't make it this summer, for a variety of reasons.

The Alumni Conference is an opportunity to workshop, to read, to teach and to attend classes taught by graduates of the Program. I have most often used the time to squirrel away in a dorm room or campus library and write--I can usually get several poems written during a Conference and still have time to socialize and attend a few classes. In my forthcoming book, for example, there are a number of poems set in St. Paul, Minnesota (written when the Conference was held at Macalester College), in South Hadley, Massachusetts (Mount Holyoke College) and back at Swannanoa. The Alumni Conference has been important to my writing, my thinking, and in my ablility to stay focused on poetry. Attending the Conference is important to me; it's why I will be thanking "the Warren Wilson community of writers" in my acknowledgements page.

That's also why I began the "June Poetry Surge," knowing that this summer I would not have the uninterrupted opportunity to write afforded by the Conference. As I think I mentioned, I'm taking off a few days this week to work on poems, so all is not lost. I will be "near San Francisco" in spirit.

The rumor at the bookstore is that the New York Times will be back in Grand Haven tomorrow. Sunday morning without the Times is...well, let's be polite and go with "annoying."


Blogger jenni said...

I have been thinking about applying to their residency, not the MFA program. They do accept a few students who are not interested in getting the degree but would still like to participate in the two-week residency. I've been throwing the idea around for a few years, and I may go ahead and apply for it this winter.

12:47 PM  
Blogger greg rappleye said...


By all means, do so.

I predict that if you kick that particular tire, you'll want to buy the whole car!

1:04 PM  

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