The Modern Language Association conference was held in Philadelphia last December ('06) and, as usual, the local newspaper feels obliged to cover it. Usually such stories devote most of the space to mockery at arcane, whacky paper topics and seem inevitably to have a jokey, anti-PC, anti-academic tone: how silly, all this.
Each May, as the families of undergrad seniors come to Philly for their kids' commencement, we hold a celebration to honor a group of students who have been closely--sometimes very closely--affiliated with the Writers House. This year's "senior capstone event" honored 12 seniors.
Greg Manning came to the Writers House in September 2006, almost exactly five years later, to discuss writing about his and his wife's experiences during and after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
The first Blutt Singer-Songwriter Symposium at the Kelly Writers House featured Rosanne Cash. The event took place on April 12. Anthony DeCurtis moderated a Q&A; with Rosanne, and she played several of her songs (guitar and voice only--what a treat), including a favorite of mine, "Black Cadillac." The session was recorded and audio is available for free download (right-click on the link above). The July/August 2007 issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette includes a good article about the program. Rosanne will be a hard act to follow, as it were, but we'll be hosting another singer-songwriter symposium next spring. The photo here is of Sam Preston, Penn's eminent demographer and former dean (and avid songwriter himself), with Rosanne after a wonderful celebratory dinner in the Writers House dining room.