Many Acronyms: SWWC, AWC, and POL

This semester has been the craziest of them all for me. I got to do so many cool things and learned so much about teaching and writing and the community and what sort of direction I want to take when I finish my MA degree. All of these events deserve their own post, but I know I’ll never do it, so here’s a semester in pictures.

First up: SWWC, or The Southern Women’s Writers Conference. This lovely little conference was held in Rome, Georgia and hosted by Berry College. Unfortunately, this was it’s last year. This was the first conference I’ve had creative work accepted to.

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Look, there I am! This is also my first experience with the academic/creative panel. It was nice. This group was a bunch of Flannery fanatics, which was fun. I learned a lot. This is also where someone asked me if I was working on a collection, which means it’s the first time I really maybe felt like a writer.

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I don’t know how I didn’t know about Dorothy Allison before now. She gave the final speech at the conference and it basically changed my life. Can’t wait to read more of her work. I recommend you do the same.

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Someone complimented my skirt and then told me that they felt conferences really demanded things like suits, which I’m sure had no connection. But then, Dorothy Allison remembered who I was because of my beautiful skirt. Win.

The next event was AWC, or the Auburn Writers Conference. It started during my last year of undergrad and in the three years it’s been running, it just keeps getting better. This year I discovered several new authors: R.A. Nelson, Robin O’Bryant, Suzanne Johnson, and Cecilia Rodriguez Milanes. I got to meet Myra McEntire and talk briefly about our love for Jay-Z. I had the honor of introducing Keetje Kuipers, a new member of Auburn’s creative writing faculty (a poet), and hear a beautiful piece about fear. Then there’s Nick Taylor, Mary Donnarumma Sharnick, Skip Horack, Wendy Reed, and Marshall Chapman (who you must look up immediately). I did so good reading this summer trying to get to know these authors, only to discover there’s more to read and more to love. I would be remiss if I did not mention the wonderful, wisdom-filled hair of one Patricia Foster, a visiting scholar who I got to know this semester. And of course, the conference wouldn’t be the conference without the always awesome Maiben, Nancy, Jay and Chantel. Chantel said it’s like Christmas in October and she’s right. Because I haven’t mentioned the best part: I GOT TO MEET JUDITH ORTIZ COFER WHO I ADORE. And she remembered my name and I talked to her multiple times. Okay, sorry. You get that it was magical? Pictures.

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Chantel Acevedo welcomes us to the 3rd Annual Auburn Writers Conference. This year’s theme is The Winding Road.

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JUDITH ORTIZ COFER

Judith told me to go on adventure. I hope I find one.

Judith told me to go on adventure. I hope I find one. – Also, fun fact- SHR published Judith and because of it, she didn’t give up writing. If you don’t know what SHR is, please look Southern Humanities Review. 

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Seeing this was one of my top five most encouraging moments from the conference (and there’s 50 moments because this conference is that good).

And finally, I had the pleasure of serving as the region coordinator for a program called Poetry Out Loud, which I’ve posted about before (so I won’t go into details). The workshop for the students and the competition itself have now happened, and happened successfully. I belong to an English Department who stepped up and helped me and the competition ran smoothly and easily. The students were wonderful and I can’t wait to go support our region winners at the state competition in February. Congratulations to all of the students!

Scott Fenton served as host in the morning (Ashley Edwards in the afternoon). Both were fantastic.

Scott Fenton served as host in the morning (Ashley Edwards in the afternoon). Both were fantastic.

Nervous contestants. St. Dunstan's was a perfect place for this to happen.

Nervous contestants. St. Dunstan’s was a perfect place for this to happen.

I got their autographs, don't you worry.

I got their autographs, don’t you worry.

So, as you can see, this has been a busy semester! And this really isn’t even the half of it. More soon, I hope!

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About michelleh7040

I'm a grad student studying creative writing and learning how to teach writing (of all sorts).
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