Monday, January 31, 2011

CJ remembers AWP

I worked quite extensively over the years with the Associated Writing Programs, the organization for creative writers at our universities and colleges. I served as director for AWP's Award Series in Fiction (1979-81); was editor for INTRO 10 (August, 1979), one of their yearly collections; and was also a board member (1983-86). And last year (in Denver) one of my talented and hard-working former MFA students, Zachary Watterson, arranged a beautiful tribute for my work as a teacher of writing for over thirty years.
 Artists tend to be lone wolves, especially writers like me. But I know from experience that writer's organizations like AWP (or the Writer's Guild) tremendously help those of us who are literary artists in the academic world, where people in the arts are often misunderstood by administrators and their colleagues devoted exclusively to scholarship. 
We come together at the annual AWP conference and share approaches to pedagogy, listen to readings and lectures by America's most distinguished writers, support small press publications, encourage new and emerging talent, and also enjoy social gatherings with friends we haven't seen in awhile. In addition to that, an organization allows us to accomplish things too big for us to do individually.
For those reasons, I have been and will continue to be a supporter of writer's groups, organizations, and any institution that nurtures the humanities, willing to contribute my time and energy gratis to help them in whatever way I can serve.

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