2012 Alumni Conference Recap
From Alumni Conference Coordinator Peter Klank (fiction, ’85):
First of all, get out your 2013 calenders: next year’s Goddard/Warren Wilson Post MFA Conference is scheduled for July 28 – August 3, and will be returning to St. Mary’s in Moraga, California. If you haven’t been, talk to someone who has! The campus is reported to be heavenly (no pun intended), and there’s no better way to get energized and inspired on the one hand and still be relaxed and have fun on the other than to spend time with your fellow MFA alums. It’s been said uncounted times, but this is your tribe, and the conferences are just like the residencies. Without the stress. Or pressures. Or deadlines. Or really, any expectations whatsoever.
Here’s a very late recap of the 2012: we were back at Mt. Holyoke in South Hadley MA August 5 – 12, in a beautiful old dorm (perhaps one Emily stayed in?), lacking only in air conditioning, and don’t believe what anyone says, the temperature never hit the triple digits (no comment on the humidity). 40 alum had registered to come, and while two couldn’t make it, we had 27 for the Full-stay and 11 for the Short- (August 8 – 12). There were the usual workshops, two Manuscript Reviews (for consideration of poetry collections) and a Fiction Roundtable (for longer fiction works), and 12 classes, caucuses, and panels: on Rhetorical Shifts; Power of Contrast; Creative Nonfiction; Music to Further Poetry Writing; DYI Research; Novel Writing; Revision Techniques; Collaborative Associative Experiment (Marcia Pelletiere adapted part of a group dreamwork process as a way to stir up new ideas around particular images, characters, descriptions, etc., brought to the group by participants), and a trio of classes or caucuses complimenting one another by focusing on E-books, Self-Publishing, and Independent Notes on Publishing, the latter with very concrete suggestions on how to publicize and sell your books.
People seemed to like the food, we had two receptions (one each for arrival of Full- and then Short-stayers), the Silent Auction raised a goodly amount of money for Friends of Writers, and we had readings every evening, of course, by the best writers to the best audience available anywhere. The dance was held, for the first time, in Mt. Holyoke’s Campus Canter, which I guessed was going to be good when the techie asked me “Do you want the lights to move with the music?”
Maybe the best part, aside from the readings, was a new ritual this year, wherein rather than folks crossing the street to the local taverns or going back to their rooms after the readings, people gathered on the porch of the dorm every night, drinking wine (or not), chatting with old friends and new, moving from group to group, enjoying the cooling air.
So really, mark your calenders for next year…
Hope to see everybody there!