Did you all see this guest blog post written by Lisa Jahn-Clough? Many of us remember hearing Lisa read from Nothing But Blue at Hamline when it was a WIP.
Another former faculty member is Marilyn Nelson. It has been a long time since I’ve done a school visit. Yesterday I was lucky to accompany Marilyn when she did elementary school visits here in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. She spoke to fifth and fourth graders at two of our elementary schools. It was clear that the students had read, studied, and discussed her books, and the questions were wonderful, ranging from questions on personification (uh huh), whether she consciously uses poetic devices (that’s right), and if she knew the song “The Dream Keeper” (“Langston Hughes,” another child prompted). If she had had time to lead a workshop on writing Golden Shovel poems, I think every one of those students would have been ready to get to work.
These are two examples of wonderful writers interacting with the world—Lisa by sharing her story and Marilyn spending time with young, curious readers. It’s no easy thing to open up in either way, especially as many writers tend to be instinctively reclusive. School visits and the internet are recent challenges to that tendency, but as Matthew Battles writes in this week’s Draft (NY Times), forging/fighting connection to the wider world is something writers with which writers have always struggled.
And beginning next week, I’ll be forcing some of our own Hamline writers to connect with the larger world when the Inkpot introduces a new feature, The Inkpot Interview, that will shine a spotlight on some of the books our grads, alums, and faculty are getting published.