WMU News

Students, faculty member attend writers conference

May 21, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Nine WMU graduate students and a faculty member did their part to heighten awareness of the University's creative writing program when they recently attended the Associated Writing Programs' annual conference in Palm Springs, Calif.

Dr. Herbert S. Scott, professor of English, and students Adela Najarro, Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, Shanda Hansma Blue, Beth Martinelli, Meggan Carney, Lydia "Jade" Melvin, Eric Lesniewski, Marianne Swierenga and Margaret von Steinen were among the more than 2,000 authors, publishers, teachers and students attending the conference April 18-21.

With nearly 50 panel and roundtable discussions and readings offered daily, the three-day conference provided the students with numerous opportunities to learn more about their craft and to network with writers, editors and publishers.

The group also had the chance to share with others through a booth for New Issues Press Poetry & Prose and Third Coast literary magazine at the conference's book fair and by sitting on a panel on first poetry book contests. The panel, moderated by Najarro with panelists including Wesley, Melvin, Scott and New Issues Associate Editor and WMU alumnus David Dodd Lee, drew a standing-room-only crowd. According to Scott, the panel presentation was instrumental in helping to spotlight WMU's creative writing program.

"The panel helped put New Issues Poetry & Prose and WMU's graduate program right on the map," Scott says. "It became obvious that the participation of our graduate students at this national conference was especially good for getting the word out about Western. Many prospective graduate students stopped by our book fair display to ask about the program and to get our Web address."

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

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