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Come Be Awakened: Appalachian’s Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series Continues This Spring

By Nikka Hronis

Feb. 14, 2014. This spring, Appalachian State University welcomes writers of various genres to share their work as part of ASU’s Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series. The series, named after 1986 ASU graduate Hughlene Bostian Frank and founded by Lynn Doyle and Pete Turchi, has been active since the early 1990s. 

The Visiting Writers Series provides students, writers and all others in attendance a chance to encounter distinguished and emerging writers first hand–a valuable experience for both writers and non-writers alike.

This spring, Dr. Nathan Hauke and Kirsten Jorgenson have stepped in as co-curators of the series, extending invitations to writers and aiming to put together a compelling and cohesive group of writers to offer a window into the trends and concerns of the writing community at large, said Hauke. 

The series features writers presenting their own works and also discussing their more intimate creative process.

“Each of the readings scheduled for this spring will be a unique occasion and we’re sure they will all be resonant in different ways,” Hauke said.

“We feel very lucky that all our writers are willing to offer a craft talk on the afternoon of their readings in addition to their readings. The reading and craft talks give our audiences a wonderful opportunity to encounter not only new writing, but also the ideas and process behind the writing.”

Evening readings draw a crowd to hear writers present their work as only they know it.

For example, poet Toi Derricotte is remembered for breaking into song while reading her work. Not only during the joyful moments like you might imagine, but instead song carries her through the more personal and heavy parts of her story. Experiencing talented writers sharing their work in this intimate way allows the audience to explore and attach a level of humanity to the piece as well as to their own perspective. 

“We’ve always liked Guy Davenport’s assertion that ‘a change in attention is a change of culture,'” said Hauke.

“Whether through a compelling narrative or formal innovation, sharing writing puts us in more immediate contact with ourselves and one another. It awakens us to our lives and helps us stay awake. Everyone can benefit from that.”

Afternoon craft talks often provide attendants with the opportunity to get to know writers on a deeper level as they share thoughts about the writing process and what inspires their work. Some writers encourage their audience to participate in a writing activity, and some share personal stories of inspiration or hardship, but all are eager to answer questions from students or other participants anxious to learn and grow from their successes.

Writers featured this Spring include emerging poet, editor and publisher, Gina Meyers on March 20; poet and essayist, Bruce Weigl on March 27, poet essayist and novelist, Judith Ortiz Cofer on April 10; and poet and essayist, Richard Hague visiting April 17.

Both craft talk sessions and evening readings are held in the Table Rock Room of Plemmons Student Union and are free and open to the public. Book sales and signings follow each talk and reading.

For further information regarding the Spring season and to read excerpts from this spring’s talented writers, visit www.visitingwriters.appstate.edu. Be sure to come out this season and hear what these amazing artists have to share.