Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wyoming Writers, Inc. gather in Cody

On June 3, I leave for the Wyoming Writers, Inc., conference in Cody.

It's a great gathering of writers and poets from throughout the state (and beyond) who travel many miles to attend workshops and meet with editors and agents and read their work and listen to the work of others. There's also some catching up to do with people you see only once a year.

This year's conference features the Wyoming father-daughter writing team of Bob Roripaugh and Lee Ann Roripaugh. Bob is Wyoming Poet Laureate Emeritus and retired from teaching at UW. He's mainly known for his poetry but he was first published as a novelist.

Lee Ann is Bob and Yoshiko Roripaugh's daughter. She began college as a musician and ended with an M.F.A. in creative writing. One of her mentors was the great Yusef Komunyakaa. Lee Ann's first book, "Beyond Heart Mountain," won the National Poetry Series Prize. It features poems told in the persona of internees at Heart Mountain Relocation Camp. Located between Cody and Powell, the camp was the third-largest city in the state from 1942-46, home (?) to more than 10,000 Japanese-Americans moved from the West Coast during the hysteria following the Pearl Harbor attack.

The Heart Mountain Foundation is building an interpretive center at the camp, now a National Historic Site. Wyoming Writers, Inc., wanted to hold an event at the center but it won't have its debut until August. Instead, the Roripaugh family will talk about Heart Mountain at the conference's lead-off session at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 4. A book signing will follow, and then an open mike reading. Saturday and Sunday are full of workshops and readings and schmoozing. All events are at the Holiday Inn in Cody.

Come on up and join us.

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