Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Summer Writing Institute at Marist College, 2009

In July I attended the Summer Writing Institute held at Marist College in Poughkeepsie. The school has a beautiful campus overlooking the gorgeous Hudson River (and for a gathering of writers what better imagery to have). The building where most of the events were held had plenty of windows so we could freely gaze out at the majestic river. This is my second year at the SWI and I was looking forward to going.

The first day was jam-packed with activities: opening reception and luncheon, meeting with our respective workshop teachers and fellow writers, attending a writing studio, and seeing a movie kept us busy. After a dinner break we were treated to a faculty reading. Sarah's poetry was gorgeous and Tommy's fiction had us laughing. It was an appropriate end to such an enjoyable day. The next two days were similar, except they began promptly at nine with our workshops then another writing studio, book discussions, individual critiques, a discussion about the future of publishing, another faculty reading and a Keynote Reading and Reception with Michael Martone.

Mr. Martone was wonderful, so quick-witted, intellectually stimulating and humorous to listen to. I have really enjoyed reading his essays in his latest work, "Racing in Place."

By the fourth day we seemed tired from thinking, learning and reading, but we were also sad. This was the last day. Our final workshop and last studio were followed by a luncheon and reading. Participants read excerpts of their works and we were treated to such diverse voices in poetry, nonfiction and fiction. (Only one person from our group of six fiction writers read and we were proud of her. One of these days I will conquer the fear of public speaking.)

The energy created during these days is incredibly long lasting and I enjoyed the studios immensely. Having the opportunity to meet, learn from and work alongside writers in this creative community is a wonderful experience. I will cherish my memories from this week (they share space with last year's memories).

I must thank Tommy Z and Lea for creating and running the SWI. THANK YOU! A huge shout-out to Baker for his invigorating workshops/session and critique. I know I will be utilizing his Toolbox when creating and revising my action scenes! And thanks to Anne (still thinking about voice overs) and Sarah. Also, hearty thanks to all of the other faculty members for their insightful studios. I'd also like to say thanks for everything to Kathleen, Bob and Raphael. I will cherish your poems and the time spent together those days.

The SWI offers writers of all ages a wonderful experience. For further information: http://www.marist.edu/liberalarts/english/swi/index.html

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