Visiting Writers Series set to begin for fall semester

The department will bring four writers to campus for four different readings and lectures.
September 19, 2023

Wells College’s English Department is hosting another Visiting Writers Series for the fall 2023 semester.

Dan Rosenberg, English department chair and director of the Visiting Writers Series, said the series began as early as 1973 and has since been a tradition that he’s honored to carry on. Bringing writers from different regions and with more diverse backgrounds to teach contemporary literature to Wells students has been one of his main goals with hosting the series every year.

“It’s simply too big for the few of us who teach it,” Rosenberg said. “Students here don’t have sustained encounters with poetry with anyone other than me, so I’m incredibly grateful that wonderful poets have brought their relationship to poetry into the Wells community, complicating and enriching the conversation I’d been having with my students. I’m excited for this semester because I don’t know any of these writers personally, and I admire their work so much. When writers come to Wells, we greet them with a passion for their work, an enthusiasm, and excitement that I don’t recall seeing anywhere else.”

As a writer, Rachel Yoder said writing is what connects, calms, and recenters her. She also writes to provide a point of connection about herself or how she sees the world to others through new conversations, ideas, and stories.

“I didn’t write for the first two years of my son’s life, and it was a really miserable time for all involved,” Yoder said. “When I don’t have a project I’m in the process of creating or dreaming up, my purpose on earth disintegrates. This sounds very high-minded, but this is what I do each day to get through the day.”

Yoder also said teaching writing is about introducing students to many forms, allowing them to identify what they prefer, and educating them on how to read their own work within that philosophy. To judge experimentation, first drafts, or exercises by assigning grades within creative writing courses seems “wildly wrong-headed and antithetical to work that requires failure, blind searching, revision, long walks, and extensive soul-searching. My job as a teacher is to tell the students what I see them doing, ask them questions, teach them how to ask their own questions to generate helpful feedback, and encourage them to take themselves and their work seriously. I don’t consider myself an authority on anyone else’s work. The student-writer is the authority.”

To begin the series, poet and artist Daniela Naomi Molnar will visit Wells on Sept. 21 and read from her book, “Chorus,” as well as other projects. Alongside the readings, Molnar will host a discussion about her poetry and visual artwork, which is currently on display in the String Room Gallery in Main Building.

Fiction author Emma Törzs will hold a master class on Oct. 4 on the examination of genre as a product of culture, history, and market and advise attendees on strategies for writing fiction that crosses multiple categories at once. She will also read from her debut novel, “Ink Blood Sister Scribe,” which was a Good Morning America Book Club Pick for this year.

On Oct. 19, Yoder will visit Wells to teach a class on finding inspiration and sparking creativity, where attendees can brainstorm ways for cultivating a writer’s lifestyle and try some tricks for turning ideas into stories. Yoder will then read from her 2021 novel “Nightbitch,” which has been adapted into a film directed by Marielle Hunter and stars Amy Adams.

Finally, Valzhyna Mort will be on campus on Nov. 7 to read from her poetry collection, “Music for the Dead and Resurrected,” which has been named one of the best poetry books of 2020 by The New York Times and NPR and won the International Griffin Poetry Prize. Mort, who is originally from Minsk, Belarus, currently teaches at Cornell University, writes in English and Belarusian, and translates between English, Belarusian, Russian, Ukrainian, and Polish.

Rosenberg said the Wells community cares about literature and hopes the audience for these events walks away excited by the authors’ books, grateful to have shared the space with them, and inspired to write something themselves.

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.

Emma Vallelunga

Content Strategist

Emma is the staff writer and content strategist for the Wells College Marketing and Communications Office. She helps promote campus news, events, engagement opportunities, and stories about Wells worth telling the world. It's her job to get to know you, no matter who you are, where you're from, or how you identify. Tell the Marcom team your story at communications@wells.edu

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