By Iris Mahan, University Relations Intern

English writing seniors traveled to Chicago on March 1st to join 10,000 other writers at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference. Students were accompanied by English faculty including Sybil Baker, who was on hand to promote her forthcoming novel, Into This World, and Dr. Rick Jackson, recipient of the 2009 AWP George Garret National Award for Teaching and Arts Advocacy, who was featured on the Storytelling in Poetry:Crafting the Narrative Poem panel.

The annual event featured a keynote address by Margaret Atwood and readings by former guest speakers at UTC’s own Meacham Writer’s Workshop like Gerald Stern and current U.S. Poet Laureate, Phillip Levine.

Students enjoyed mingling with some of the most important names in their field of study.

“My favorite event was listening to Phillip Levine read some of his poetry,” said Daniel Meyers. “I really admire his wit, humor, and sense of style, and I try to bring some of the same elements to my own work”.

Case Duckworth, an editor of UTC’s literary magazine, The Sequoya Review, was pleased to meet with other university literary magazine editors to discuss some of the current challenges facing student-run publications.

“Most of the literary magazines out there are run by graduate students; I was proud of the impression our undergraduate magazine made. Our work is solid enough to be a contender among some of the heavy weights out there,” Duckworth said.

For graduating senior, Laurel Jones, the conference provided her with the opportunity to speak with several prospective graduate schools.

“It was great to talk to students and faculty of the programs to which I’ve applied. It gives you a better insight into what you can expect, and empowers you make a more informed decision about your future,” Jones said.

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