Been having computer issues. No known reason. These things sure can be humbling.
Quick reminder for anyone in the Springfield area with the time and interest, you’re welcome to come to Drury University this Thursday the 8th at 11:00 a.m. in Stone Chapel. The event is billed as the inaugural 2015 Alumni Convocation and I’m the speaker. The event is free and open to the public so please tell others who might be interested. This might be a good opportunity for anyone with children approaching the age of choosing a college to pay a visit to the campus. The location is 900 N Benton on the corner of Central, across the street from Central High School.
The Stone Chapel is oldest stone structure in Springfield, and the cornerstone was laid on November 16, 1880. When I was a student at Drury, attending Chapel was compulsory. Now here I am going back by invitation. I must say that I’m looking forward to it.
I’ve been invited to give a convocation talk at Drury’s Stone Chapel. It will give me a chance to wear my Drury honorary doctorate hood and address a group of Distinguished Alumni Award winners as well as faculty, students of the university, and guests. I gave a convocation talk at Drury years ago before the annual series was discontinued. As I understand it, this is the first in a new series so I’m delighted to be asked.
The idea is to think back to my Drury experience in 1955-1959 and consider the ways in which that experience impacted on my life and informed my work and community outreach efforts. I’ve finished the first draft and can tell you that this is a useful exercise that I recommend. If you take a while to reminisce about your own educational experiences and trace the impact they had on your life, it’s surprising how many connections you’ll discover.
The event is at 11:00 a.m. on October 8. I don’t know if it’s open to the public but will find out if anyone is interested in attending. This takes place during reunion Weekend so I know it’s open to members of celebrating classes.
My responsibilities as poet laureate for Drury University include hosting events meant to stimulate interest in writing among students in elementary, middle, and high schools. One of our most successful ones was in 2008. It was billed as “A Celebration of Writing.” Partnering with Drury, MOREnet, and Springfield Public Libraries, we used videoconferencing and web streaming, plus live audiences of Springfield students from Boyd, Pipkin, and Central, to reach elementary, middle, and high school students in roughly 40 classes in four states.
I stood on stage in Lay Hall on the Drury campus and talked to live audiences for each of the three groups. On each occasion there were classes of students on the screen above my head so I could look up at them; and other kids, who were attending via steaming, were could watch and send questions during the session. Dr. Lauren Edmondson, interim director of the School of Education and Child Development, assisted and handed me questions that were e-mailed or texted in. I hasten to point out that the picture shows us on a different occasion and that is NOT an alcoholic beverage in our glasses!
Laurie and I have decided the time has come to reprise “A Celebration of Writing” and are planning it for late April. If you or someone you know might be interested in learning more as we go, please let me know to add you to the list. At this point I don’t know how far we can reach with the streaming. On a previous occasion I think we had kids in eleven states tuned in, but I’m still in the stage of exploring what’s possible for this event.
I’m focusing on the poetry workshop next week in Honesdale but today I look forward to speaking to the Advanced Writers Workshop at Drury, which is part of this year’s Writing Center program: Writers Talk, Brown Bag Lunches. The course is taught by professor Jo Van Arkel who is a fine writer.
Sorry to be so brief in my posts lately but it’s crunch time on several fronts, not the least of which is getting my hair cut before facing all those poets next week!
Writing partner Laurie Edmondson and I enjoyed the launch party on Thursday of our new kit, LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON. Here are a few pics from the party. Lots of people came so we had plenty of opportunities to show off the new DVDs, teacher guide, student writing journal, and three trade books used as examples for some of the lessons. We go national on the 19th at IRA in San Antonio but I bet it won’t be any more fun than we had at Drury on Thursday.
I’m grateful to Drury University, especially President Todd Parnell and former Director of the School of Education and Child Development Chris Craig for their encouragement and support throughout the project. The university provided the studio and financed the production of the DVDs and Brian Shipman used his considerable talents to produce and direct them.
This is a project I began as Drury’s Poet Laureate and I’m pleased to say that it reflects a true collaboration involving the university, co-author and interim Director of the School of Education and Child Development Laurie Edmondson, and me. There’s even an online graduate course offered to those who wish to take LET’S WRITE for credit. One teacher has already written about LET’S WRITE as part of her master’s program.
Many others gave valuable assistance along the way, particularly technology expert Damon Hargraves who developed the prototype for the DVD format we eventually selected.
Now comes the hard part: getting out the word to elementary schools across the country that we have a unique teaching tool to help students develop their writing skills. We’re ready when everyone else is! Here’s the contact information for anyone who wants to learn more and/or place an order.