Four writers with national and international reputations, including a two-time National Book Award nominee, will visit Rock Springs during Spring 2016 as part of the annual Visiting Writers Series of workshops and author presentations at Western Wyoming Community College.
This year’s visiting authors include: on Feb. 11, outdoors writer and Casper College instructor David Zoby, co-author of Fire on the Beach: Reclaiming the Lost Story of Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Lifesavers; on Feb. 25, novelist and memoirist Debra Monroe, author of My Unsentimental Education and five other works; on March 31, award-winning Montana poet B.J. Buckley and her frequent collaborator, artist and poet Dawn Senior-Trask, co-authors of the poetry collection Moonhorses and the Red Bull and other works; and, on April 7, University of Utah Assistant Professor of English Michael Mejia, MFA, who is editor-in-chief of Western Humanities Review and author of the 2005 novel Forgetfulness and many other poems and short stories.
Each writer will give a free public presentation at 7:30 p.m. in Room 1302 of the Rock Springs campus. Each guest will also lead a writing workshop from 1 - 3:50 p.m. in Room 1439 on the day of his or her presentation. These workshops are free and open to the public, but they are also offered as a one-credit course, ENGL 2495. Associate Professor of English Chris Propst, organizer of this year’s Visiting Writers Series, said each author will share writing experiences and professional tips, provide some interesting writing exercises, and answer questions.
“This is a great opportunity for writers in our region to get inspiration and advice up close and personally from our visitors, and to network with other local writers,” Propst said. He noted that the credit class is particularly suitable for teachers who are seeking recertification credit, and several educators have participated in past workshops.
The class may be taken for credit, on a pass-fail basis, or as an audited course. To register, contact Mustang Central at (307) 382-1677 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete the part-time registration form found online at westernwyoming.edu/registration/. Credit-based enrollment in the workshops is limited, and Propst urged prospective participants to register early. Non-credit participants may attend without registering.
This year’s Series will commence on Thursday, Feb. 11, with outdoor writer David Zoby, who is an English instructor and Director of the Honors Program at Casper College. Zoby is a regular contributor to the national outdoors publications Gray’s and The Flyfish Journal, and he has published fishing and hunting articles in American Angler, Fish Alaska, Retriever Journal and Bowhunter Magazine. He will read from some of his outdoor writing, which Zoby says is intended to promote sound stewardship of the land and “give voice to those of us who see the outdoors as a sacred place.” Zoby is also a published poet whose work has appeared in The New Virginia Review, The Southern Poetry Review, and The South Dakota Review, among others.
Debra Monroe, Ph.D., is Professor of English at Texas State University and the author of six books, including her most recent, My Unsentimental Education, a memoir that was described by the Houston Chronicle as the “salty and blunt” account of how a rags-to-riches story plays out differently for a woman. Monroe earned her doctorate from the University of Utah. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times and on Salon.com, and she has been nominated twice for the National Book Award. Monroe is a recipient of the Flannery O’Conner Award for Short Fiction for her collection The Source of Trouble.
B.J. Buckley is a Montana poet and writer who has worked in Arts-in-Schools/Communities programs throughout the West and Midwest for more than 37 years. She is currently the South Dakota Arts Council’s Writer-in-Residence for Sanford Arts at the Sanford Cancer Center in Sioux Falls, SD. Buckley’s poems have appeared widely in small print and online journals, and she has received a number of national prizes and awards for her work. Buckley’s poetry books include Moonhorses and the Red Bull, with co-author Dawn Senior-Trask (Prong Horn Press 2005), the letterpress chapbook Spaces Both Infinite and Eternal (Limberlost Press 2013), and Corvidae, with woodcut illustrations by Dawn Senior-Trask (Lummox Press 2014).
Dawn Senior-Trask is a poet in her own right and has been illustrating stories and poems since she could hold a pencil. She was taught by her father, Willoughby F. Senior, a graduate of the National Academy School of Fine Art in New York City. Under his tutelage, Senior-Trask first began creating linoleum and woodblock prints when she was 12 years old; they have continued to serve as some of her major art forms. She will meet with one of Western’s art classes during her visit.
Michael Mejia, MFA, is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Utah and editor-in-chief of Western Humanities Review. He brings a fresh and authentic voice to his distinctive works, which include the 2005 novel Forgetfulness, about the modernist composer Anton Von Webern, and a variety of shorter works, ranging from pieces inspired by his travels to Japan, articles published in Denver Quarterly, New Orleans Review, and American Book Review, conceptual or hybrid writing in pieces such as “A Camera’s Not Expression, It’s Part of the Spectacle: 5 YouTube Videos,” and prose poems in Rattle and other literary publications. Mejia also regularly contributes a film-review column to Salt Lake Magazine.
The Visiting Writers Series is sponsored by the Arlene and Louise Wesswick Foundation and Western’s English Department, with additional support from the Best Western Outlaw Inn.
“The people of Southwest Wyoming owe a special thanks to Louise Wesswick for her support of programs like these,” said WWCC Associate Professor of English Rick Kempa, MFA, a longtime organizer of the Series. “We don’t know how lucky we are.”
For more information on this year’s Visiting Writers Series workshops and author presentations, contact Associate Professor Chris Propst at email@example.com or at (307) 382-1731.