Kinshasa and Brazzaville 2012

Between February 15 and February 22, three American authors travelled to Kinshasa (The Democratic Republic of Congo) and Brazzaville (The Republic of Congo) for a teaching and cultural outreach tour. The writers led creative writing sessions with high-school and university students and met with local writers to learn more about the literary and publishing scene in the two countries. For a more detailed account of the trip go here.

Participant Profiles

The poetry collections of Annie Finch include Calendars (shortlisted for Foreword Poetry Book of the Year Award),  and the forthcoming Spells: New and Selected Poems.  Her poems have appeared in Agni, Fulcrum, Kenyon Review, Paris Review, and Yale Review, among others, and in anthologies including Poetry Daily Anthology, The Norton Anthology of World Poetry, and The Penguin Book of Twentieth-Century American Poetry.  She is the translator, from the French, of Eve: The Complete Poems of Louise Labe, the editor of a number of poetry anthologies, and the author, most recently, of  A Poet's Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poems.  The recipient of the 2009 Robert Fitzgerald Award and fellowships from Black Earth Institute and the Stanford Humanities Center, she serves as Director of the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine. 

Laird Hunt is the author of a book of short stories, mock parables and histories, The Paris Stories, and four novels, The Impossibly, Indiana, Indiana, The Exquisite and Ray of the Star.  A fifth novel, Kind One, will appear in 2012, as will his translation of Oliver Rohe’s Vacant Lot.  His fiction, reviews and translations have appeared, among other places, in McSweeney’s, Ploughshares, Bomb, Bookforum, Grand Street, The Believer, Fence, Conjunctions, Brick, Mentor, Inculte, and Zoum Zoum. His work has been translated into French, Japanese and Italian, and he has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony and the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Denver.

Sheryl St. Germain directs the MFA program in Creative Writing at Chatham University, where she also teaches poetry and creative nonfiction. Her work has received several awards, including two NEA Fellowships, an NEH Fellowship, the Dobie-Paisano Fellowship, the Ki Davis Award from the Aspen Writers Foundation, and most recently the William Faulkner Award for the personal essay. Her books include Going Home, The Mask of Medusa, Making Bread at Midnight, How Heavy the Breath of God, and The Journals of Scheherazade, a volume of lyric essays, Swamp Songs: the Making of an Unruly Woman and Let it Be a Dark Roux: New and Selected Poems.  She has also published a book of translations of the Cajun poet Jean Arceneaux, Je Suis Cadien. The collection  Between Song and Story: Essays for the Twenty-First Century, co-edited with Margaret Whitford, is forthcoming this year.

The tour is led by IWP Director Christopher Merrill.

In Their Own Words:

  • Laird Hunt in The New York Times Opinionator blog on a moment from the tour that still haunts him

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