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ODU Poets and Writers Recognized in National Publications; New Journal Launched

Several ODU M.F.A. students and alums gather at the 2010 AWP conference: (l-r) Andrea Nolan, Heather Weddington, Leslie Clements, Rebecca Gidjunis and Dana Staves.

With appearances in The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Huffington Post, and with the launching of a new literary journal, Barely South Review, Old Dominion University creative writers are making their mark.

A poem by Renée Olander, assistant professor of English and director of the Virginia Beach Higher Education Center, appeared recently in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Titled "On First Looking, and Looking Again," the poem was written and submitted for The Chronicle's Poetry Month contest. In an e-mail notice about the poem's appearance in the Poetry Month Blog, senior writer for The Chronicle Lawrence Biemiller noted that he especially liked "the prism-shafts of enterprise" line in the poem.

More than a dozen current and former creative writing students and faculty attended the annual conference for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) in Denver this month. Emily Louise Zimbrick, who will graduate this May with an M.F.A. in creative writing in fiction, organized a very well-attended panel discussion titled "The Limit - or Light - of Spiritual Belief." In addition to Zimbrick, the panelists included current ODU faculty members (Janet Peery, Farideh Goldin '02) former ODU faculty member (Scott Cairns) and M.F.A. program alumni (Nicole Mazzarella '01, Josh Allen '01). The panel and its participants were mentioned in a recent Huffington Post article about the conference.

Luisa Igloria, poet and director of the M.F.A. program, participated in three events at the conference - an off-site reading event as a featured poet, and twice as a panelist: for "Poets as Legislators: Bearing Visions in Private and in Public" and to promote the global women's poetry anthology "Not A Muse," edited by Viki Holmes and Kate Rogers. ODU alumna Natalie Diaz gave a reading of her poetry at the conference as well.

This was the first year that ODU sponsored a booth at the AWP conference's book fair. The book fair, which runs throughout the festival, includes hundreds of booths and tables for literary journals, writing workshops and retreats, and M.F.A. programs. ODU students and faculty recruited for the creative writing program, but also publicized their new literary journal, Barely South Review, which launched April 1.

The literary journal seeks "to present many voices, especially those that defy easy regional, thematic, and stylistic categorization," according to its website, and will publish works from both new and established writers. "The Tidewater region's story is shaped by its history and its diversity - by its dynamic fusion of old and new," notes the website.

This article was posted on: April 23, 2010

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