I could not have had a better teaching experience than this past residency at Converse College. My favorite workshop is always the last day—not for the reasons you’re thinking!—but because on the last day everyone brings in their homework and exercises they’ve been working on and reads their favorite one out loud. The progress is remarkable and gratifying and obvious—which is pleasant for us poor old teachers, but, more importantly, important for the students who immediately SEE that they are becoming better writers. It’s a nice note to leave on.
Marlin “Bart” Barton, my co-teacher, is smart and amazing and filled with great stories. Go read his work; I love his collection of stories, The Dry Well, based on some of his old Alabama family stories. (http://www.amazon.com/Dry-Well-Marlin-Barton/dp/1929490070) I can’t wait for his new novel, coming out soon!
It was wonderful to see our first class of graduates—congratulations! Our miracle worker of a program director Rick Mulkey concluded his ceremonial remarks by reading the wonderful poem “The Writer,” by Richard Wilbur, and so I wish what he wishes, only harder.
Read and/or listen to the poem here (it’s the perfect poem for writers): http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15487
And what a party! We danced to the fine stylings of The Wheresville Project, a Spartanburg band that I’m predicting will hit the big time sometime soon. Perhaps I’m personally partial to the bass player, Hunter Mulkey—son of the program director and his wife, my favorite shopping buddy who is also the co-founder of the program—but it’s remarkable to see four 15-year-old boys with so much panache and talent. (Seriously—a sax? And a harmonica?) Check them out for yourself:
Official page-- http://www.myspace.com/wheresvilleproject
Finally, why not join us at our January residency? The application deadline for the January term is in October…just a thought! Read more: http://old.converse.edu/mfa/