“The Siren Song of the Britannic” by Kim Frank

Alum Kim Frank (fiction, ’11) has an essay about the exploration of a sunken ship featured at Sidetracked:

June 30th, 2015: time is running out. Day five of a week-long expedition and the too-swift current still carries considerable risk. The Aegean Sea is a magical turquoise that inspires a vision of Neptune rising, but that tranquil scenery belies what is happening beneath us. Placement of our diving vessel, the U-Boat Navigator, is crucial and we cheer as the mark we are waiting for appears on the sonar. We are directly above the wreck of the HMHS Britannic, Titanic’s sister ship, sunk by a German mine a century earlier.

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Quarterly Digest of Awards and Books

Alum RRyan Burdenyan J. Burden (fiction, ’13) has won the 2016 Beacon Street Prize for fiction for his short story “Coming of Age.” About Ryan’s winning story, fiction judge Alexandra Kleeman writes, “With phenomenal grace, ‘Coming of Age’ succeeds at bringing the reader inside the mind of Mason, a child struggling to interpret the murky world in which he lives through the use of a dark, private mythology. Ryan J. Burden brings to life an age when real and unreal shade together uneasily, and anything you do seems to tangle the two further.  A vivid piece, uncommonly intimate, this story will envelop you, touch you, and remind you of yourself, many years past.”


TODD22Alum JC Todd (poetry, ’90) received the 2016 Rita Dove Poetry Prize of the International Literary Awards sponsored by The Center for Women Writers at Salem College, NC for her poem, “The Girl in the Square.” Judge Blas Falconer writes, “I . . . kept returning to “The Girl in the Square.” The poem focuses on a very particular and perhaps seemingly arbitrary moment during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, using precise imagery and spareness of language to simultaneously render the enormity of the rebellion and the specific valiant sacrifices made by individuals for this historic event.


Alum five sextillion atomsJayne Benjulian’s (poetry, ’13) debut poetry collection, Five Sextillion Atoms, was published in June by Saddle Road Press. Rebecca Foust (poetry, ’10) reviewed the collection at Women’s Voices for Change.


Alum Leslie Contreras Schwartz (poetry, ’11) has an essay about the April 2016 Houston, Texas flooding published in the Houston Chronicle.



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An interview with Reginald Dwayne Betts

An interview with alum Reginald Dwayne Betts (poetry, ’10) titled “A Decade After Prison, a Poet Studies for the Bar Exam” appears at the New Yorker:

Reginald Dwayne Betts has wanted to be a lawyer for almost as long as he has wanted to be a poet. “Poetry and law have always been intertwined in my mind,” he said recently, “in part because poetry gives me the language to pretend that I can answer questions, even if I can’t.” We were in New Haven, Connecticut, and Betts was three days from his Yale Law School graduation. The bar exam was two months away. He was focussed on his final paper for an empirical-research class: twenty pages on critiques, in the media, of “broken windows” policing. He’d just begun examining about a hundred articles on the death of Eric Garner. As we searched for a parking space amid the commencement-weekend snarl, Betts described his growing interest in getting outside his own head and testing his ideas about the world—an interest that is changing his poetry as well. “I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of horrific experiences that have given me something to say,” he told me later. “I want to say other things, though.”

Continue reading the New Yorker interview online. You can also find a recent interview with Betts in Current Affairs.

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Charlie Baxter interviews Dean Bakopoulos

Dean BakopoulosFaculty member Charlie Baxter posed five questions to faculty member Dean Bakopoulos about his latest novel, Summerlong, in an interview featured at Fiction Writers Review:

Charles Baxter: The novel is set during a period of heat and sleeplessness. Did you think of the seasonal conditions as a realistic background to your story, or as metaphoric and emblematic, pointing us toward the restlessness of early middle age (for example)?

Dean Bakopoulos: Well, here in the Midwest, as you know, the various extremes of the weather–deep winter and high summer–can sometimes feel oppressive, particularly if you’re already in a low mood. I’m interested in the way climate change is increasing our already anxious, unsettled culture. But more specifically, I think extreme weather amplifies the pressures at hand in this novel, and occasionally alleviates them by giving people a kind of permission Charles-Baxter-300x200to get into trouble, and I think that’s rather realistic. If you’re already feeling claustrophobic, restless, aroused, or filling up with self-pity, a heat wave or a hard freeze is going to feel like one more thing that’s gone out of control for you. Break up novels (or break up albums in music) are about the loss of control. Bon Iver’s beautiful  “For Emma, Forever Ago,” for instance, seems like it could only have been produced during a great Wisconsin winter; Dylan’s song “If You See Her, Say Hello,” from “Blood on the Tracks,” which destroys me every time I hear it, feels very much like a summer song, from the moment the city of Tangier is evoked.

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The Class of Summer 2016

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Walking stick photo by 2016 graduate Sharon Gelman

Congratulations to the Summer 2016 Graduates of the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College:

Margaret Draft

Jennifer Funk

Sharon Gelman

Chas Gillespie

Jill Klein

Terrence Krehbiel

Eilis Maynard

Danny Nowell

Mitzi Rapkin

Katherine Rooks

Erin Salvi

Lu Schwerin

Emily Shoff

Taryn Tilton

Boyce Upholt

William Willims

Ian Wilson

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