Friday, October 21, 2011

Snarky Slacktivists join other Wyoming presenters at 2011 Milton Conference in Vermillion, S.D.

This year's John R.Milton Writers’ Conference Oct. 27-29 at the University of South Dakota has a decidedly Wyoming flavor.

You can't get much more Wyoming that Mark Spragg of Cody, who's the keynote speaker. Mark is the author of Where Rivers Change Direction, a memoir that won the 2000 Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers award, and the novels, The Fruit of Stone, An Unfinished Life, and in 2010, Bone Fire. All four were top-ten Book Sense selections and An Unfinished Life, was chosen by the Rocky Mountain News as the Best Book of 2004. Spragg’s work has been translated into fifteen languages. He lives in Cody with his wife, Virginia, with whom he wrote the screenplay for the 2005 film version of his novel, An Unfinished Life, starring Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman.

Other presenters with Wyoming ties: Conference director and USD creative writing program prof Lee Ann Roripaugh, Laramie native; Robert Roripaugh, Wyoming Poet Laureate emeritus; Paul Bergstraesser, poet and UW prof from Laramie; Val Pexton, Laramie; Julianne Couch, Laramie (now in Ames, Iowa); Meg Lanker, Laramie; Jeran Artery, Cheyenne; and Michael Shay, Cheyenne (me).

Yes, I realize that Wyoming is not the center of the universe. It's just the place where I look out on the universe. I also spend my days promoting the state's writers, poets, essayists, visual artists, performers and musicians. I know them pretty well after 20 years on the job. We are pleased to share our views of Wyoming with our colleagues in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota.

My role at the conference is as a free-range political blogger from The Equality State. Jeran Artery and Meg Lanker will join me for the presentation: "Snarky Slacktivists or Online Outlaws: Leftie Bliggers in Red-State Wyoming." Drop in to hear us 10:30 a.m.-noon on Saturday at the conference. Details here.

The three-day literary conference will include readings and book signings by award-winning featured authors, scholarly panel sessions exploring the conference theme of “Outlaw!: Law and (Dis)order in the American West,” as well as creative writing panels and pop culture sessions.  Other conference highlights include a showcase presentation of USD graduate creative writing students, a conference book fair, as well as a poetry slam sponsored by the Vermillion Literary Project at the Muenster University Center pit lounge featuring poet Kristin Naca.

Other featured presenters are Sherwin Bitsui, Kristin Naca, Karen Shoemaker, William Trowbridge, and USD visiting writer David Chan, who will give readings and book signings along with permanent USD creative writing faculty Ed Allen and Lee Ann Roripaugh.

FMI: or contact the Department of English at (605) 677-5229.


larry kurtz said...

How cool to have you visit our failed red state, gang; sad that i am in Deadwood and not able to attend. Give 'em hell!

Michael Shay said...

As one blogger from a failed red state to another -- I salute you! Perhaps at some future conference we can gather red-state prog-bloggers and share (in person) our views of the world. Got a bit of that at NN11. But Providence is a long way to go to confab about tar sands pipelines and Pinedale's polluted air and the wacko antics of our legislators. Enjoy Deadwood!