The latest lineup for this spring’s Visiting Writers Series is set to bring more talent and wisdom to the Wells College community.
The Visiting Writers Series began as a tradition to bring established writers and poets to Wells as early as 1973 and has since grown into an established program with state funding.
Dan Rosenberg, English department chair and director of the Visiting Writers Series, said he is excited for the beginning of another series, and each of the four writers coming this semester speaks to a range of voices for both Wells and the local community.
“The writers come from different corners of the writing world, but their passion for their craft will be palpable,” Rosenberg said. “One Wells student mentioned, as we were walking between events, how overwhelmed she was by the sheer access she was enjoying. She couldn’t believe that she got to spend so much time with these incredible writers and have such informal and unstructured encounters in addition to the readings. She understood how extraordinary the series is as an opportunity for a young writer, and she was committed to taking advantage of it. That feedback made me so happy. Some of our most reliable audience members from last semester are interested in the self-publishing process, and we always love to welcome back alums, so I was particularly excited to invite Bekkah Frisch ’14 to return to her alma mater.”
Frisch, who graduated from Wells with a bachelor’s in English, will be returning to campus on Feb. 15 to teach a master class on self-publishing and read from her first novel, “The Great Quiet,” which was published in August. Frisch said she started writing because words help her make sense of the word, and journaling at a young age was a lifeline that allowed her to improve her mental health.
“Writing became the buoy that kept me from drowning in the years before I sought help for my depression, and I will forever be grateful for that,” Frisch said. “Nowadays, I keep writing because it helps me to process greater truths about our world, like the importance of finding and taking care of your community in ‘The Great Quiet.’ I also write in the hopes that my work will spark empathy and a greater awareness of social problems among an audience that may never encounter them on a day-to-day basis.”
After Frisch, Gale Marie Thompson will be visiting March 5 to teach a master class on the ethics of the lyric “I” and give a public reading from her new book “Mountain Amnesia,” which was a winner of the Colorado Prize for Poetry. Thompson’s poetry and prose have appeared in American Poetry Review, Bennington Review, Mississippi Review, and more. She has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, is the founding editor of Jellyfish Poetry, and a winner of the Poetry Society of America’s 2022 Emily Dickinson Award.
On March 29, writer Melissa Faliveno will give a master class on memory and the speculative in creative nonfiction and read from her essay collection “Tomboyland,” which was named a Best Book of 2020 by NPR, New York Public Library, Oprah Magazine, and Electric Literature, and recipient of a 2021 Award for Outstanding Literary Achievement from the Wisconsin Library Association. Her work has appeared publications such as Esquire, Paris Review, Bitch, Literary Hub, Brooklyn Rail, Autostraddle, and the Millions. Faliveno is a former senior editor of Poets and Writers Magazine and is currently an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and on the MFA faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Finally, fiction writer and publisher Kyra Simone will come to Wells April 9 for a master class on experimental forms in small-press publishing and innovative writing and a reading of her 2022 story collection titled “Palace of Rubble.” Simone’s fiction and poetry have appeared in a variety of literary journals, including American Chordata, The Baffler, The Brooklyn Rail, and others. Simone is a member of the publishing collective Ugly Duckling Presse and part of a two-woman team running the editorial office of Zone Books. For writers who want to write but don’t know where to start, Simone said one of the best practices to develop is the willingness to return to it and a strong dedication to the craft.
“Write into the void. Be willing to show up, and to keep showing up,” said Simone. “On many days, no words will come. But if you keep showing up for your writing, eventually it will start showing up for you. It’s the continued ritual, attempt, and visitation that eventually conjures it to materialize.”
More details about each event can be found on the college’s event page. Each event is free and open to the college and local communities. Follow the Visiting Writers Series for updates on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.