Thanks to Our 2016 Donors

Friends of Writers  would like to thank all of our 2016 donors for their support! Your contributions further our mission to enrich American poetry and fiction by cultivating new and vital literary voices.

Review the list here: 2016 Donor List

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Thomas Lux 1946 – 2017

We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our friend and colleague, poet Thomas Lux, who died of cancer on February 5 in Atlanta.
The author of 18 books of poetry, Tom joined the MFA Program for Writers at Goddard in 1979 and taught in the program at the Warren Wilson campus until 2006. In his 25+ semesters with the Program, he supervised more than 75 students. He also taught for many years at Sarah Lawrence, and, in recent years, at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
His numerous awards included the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and multiple fellowships from the NEA and Guggenheim Foundation. (More details about his accomplishments can be found here: POETRY FOUNDATION: TOM LUX.)   Most recently, Tom was the editor of I am Flying into Myself: Selected Poems of Bill Knott, to be published this month by Copper Canyon Press.
From MFA Program for Writers founder Ellen Bryant Voigt:
“Tom Lux was utterly pure of heart.  In his life, and in his indelible, authentic poems, he was playful, kind, generous, loyal, unpretentious, and capable of great joy.  He was also a truly remarkable teacher, making contagious his own love of poetry, simultaneously faithful to the highest standards for the art and his belief that you, whoever you were, could reach them.”
The appellation for the Program’s legendary “Sweatheart Ball” had its origins in this poem by Tom Lux:


The thing gets made, gets built, and you’re the slave
who rolls the log beneath the block, then another,
then pushes the block, then pulls a log
from the rear back to the front
again and then again it goes beneath the block,
and so on. It’s how a thing gets made – not
because you’re sensitive, or you get genetic-lucky,
or God says: Here’s a nice family,
seven children, let’s see: this one in charge
of the village dunghill, these two die of buboes, this one
Kierkegaard, this one a drooling

nincompoop, this one clerk, this one cooper.
You need to love the thing you do – birdhouse building,
painting tulips exclusively, whatever – and then
you do it
so consciously driven
by your unconscious
that the thing becomes a wedge
that splits a stone and between the halves
the wedge then grows, i.e., the thing
is solid but with a soul,
a life of its own. Inspiration, the donnée,

the gift, the bolt of fire
down the arm that makes the art?
Grow up! Give me, please, a break!
You make the thing because you love the thing
and you love the thing because someone else loved it
enough to make you love it.
And with that your heart like a tent peg pounded
toward the earth’s core.
And with that your heart on a beam burns
through the ionosphere.
And with that you go to work.

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The 2017 Alumni Conference Beckons!


We are happy to announce that the 2017 annual alumni writing conference will be held at Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley MA, from Saturday, July 1 through Saturday, July 8. There will be a Short-Stay option of Tuesday, July 4 through Saturday. If you’ve been here before you’ll be familiar with the beautiful campus (Emily slept here), the unobjectionable and often actually good food, the convenience of a number of shops, pubs, and restaurants just across the street (including an excellent indie bookstore), and our full use of campus facilities. Bradley International Airport (BDL) is about a half hour away, and Amtrak runs through Springfield, Holyoke, and Northampton, all nearby.

There will be Wallies, and there will be readings. These are the core of the conferences for most people. Find the camaraderie, support, incredible talent, and craft-smartness of the peers you came to know at residencies – with none of the pressure and no expectations. Meals, activities, late nights on the dorm porch, these are where the unexpected discussions take place, new friendships are made, old renewed. And the readings each evening: the readers will blow your mind; the audience will lift you up (if you choose to read – please do!).

Workshops, MS Reviews, Fiction Roundtables. Have a story or poem(s) you’d like some input on? Or do you have a collection or novel or other manuscript almost to the finish line? Who more can you trust than your fellows? Who in the wide world of writers understands craft better?

Classes, panels, caucuses, bookshops. Attend one, all, or none at all: peer-taught or –led, or –facilitated. Please teach a 50 minute class!

Let’s not forget the dance!

You spoke, and we heard you. Through sheer happenstance, the last two or three conferences we’ve held at this venue have coincided with unseasonably hot weather for this part of New England (well, it used to be unseasonable, but what is anymore?), and many of you will know that the college does not air condition its dorms. While this led to many wonderful post-reading gatherings on the dorm porch, more than one of you has expressed a desire for a cooling environment. While the college has for some reason declined to install central air for us, the conference coordinator has managed to fit us into a dorm which, thanks to a bigger and wealthier conference than ours, will be outfitted with 20 window AC units (at a moderate additional charge for each room with a unit). (Oh, and for those of you new to Mount Holyoke,the classrooms, our dining room, facilities – all these are air conditioned.)

Yes, I said 20 units. Only 20, which means we will be devising a fair system for assignment of said rooms. As of a date-certain, well announced ahead of time, we will open for AC requests. Once we receive notice from the college as to how many units will be available on a women’s floor, and how many on the men’s, rooms will be assigned. As per contract requirement, AC preference will go first to Full-stayers. Only if fewer than 20 apply would any be available for the Short-stay.

The AC was requested at your suggestion, over many Annual Meetings and in the recent informal survey. That there are only 20 available for this conference is a matter out of our hands, and the Conference Committee agreed that 20 was preferable to none, our only other alternative for the 2017 Conference. Please be accepting of a less than perfect arrangement.


Full Stay (Sat. July 1 – Sat. July 8)                                    $794.00

            Full Stay with AC                                                     $854.00

 Short Stay (Tue. July 4 – Sat. July 8)                               $507.00

            Short Stay with AC if available                            $547.00

Commuter (lunch, dinner, all activities                           $470.00

& facilities)

All prices other than Commuter include a single room and linens, all meals, receptions, and events, and college facilities.

 Deadlines, details, and links to registration and payment sites will be announced and available here in February 2017; notification of same will appear on the Alumni Facebook page, the blog, and the listserv, or you can contact Peter Klank to request inclusion on a 2017 Conference mailing list.


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Don’t Miss Us at AWP (Did We Miss You?)

We’re looking forward to seeing you at AWP ’17 in DC.  You don’t want to miss the alumni and faculty reunion at the Morrison-Clark Inn, 1011 L Street NW, on February 10 from 9 pm until midnight.

Stop by our table 306T in the bookfair and visit with alums–and pick up a schedule for panels featuring faculty and alums.

Did we miss your event?  We missed Larry’s!


Hey, we’re only human.  If we missed yours, send it IMMEDIATELY to

See you in DC!


[The featured image is of the Morrison Clark Inn, site of our reception.]

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Download the Schedule for WWCMFA @ AWP

As always, WWCMFA will represent in DC!  Click on the link below to download a PDF of readings, panels and presentations by faculty and alums of our program.*

Drop us a note if we missed your event.  We’ll include it in the next update.

DON’T FORGET:  Our reception for faculty, alumni, and students will take place at the Morrison-Clark Inn, 1011 L Street NW, on February 10 from 9 pm until midnight.  (The Morrison-Clark Inn is a half block east of the AWP HQ hotel.)



*Visit the AWP website to find the listing of the MANY offsite events. AWP OFFSITE

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Why YOU Should Apply for the Beebe Fellowship

Applications for the 2017-18 Joan Beebe Graduate Teaching Fellowship close on February 1. The Fellowship is available to all alumni of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, including those who received the degree during the years the program was at Goddard College.  Information on how to apply is a this link: APPLYING FOR THE BEEBE


From Alain Park (fiction, 2013), current Beebe Fellow:

What I see as most valuable to me as a Beebe Fellow is how the Fellowship condenses a wide range of teaching experiences into a single academic year. The fellowship provides the opportunity to gain experience on so many levels: teaching entry- as well as advanced-level and cross-genre courses, and guiding the upperclass creative writing majors. It would take years at other institutions to gain access to those kinds of teaching opportunities. And creating these courses from the ground up is also incredibly valuable; with the academic freedom you enjoy, you can truly make them your own.

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