Summer Reports from Campus Directors

mclark_nmbl_0715_0630.jpgNEW MEXICO
Cheryl Glenn

Ah, the summer was short, yet every single day was wonderfully long. 

We launched our term with a welcoming opening reception for over 100 people as the sun set over the Jemez Mountains. The campus was fully enrolled—and immediately engaged—with seminars in Shakespeare, rhetoric, the essay, creative nonfiction, indigenous literature, Southwest literature, the romance, theory, and literacy studies. 

mclark_nmbl_0715_0054.jpgEach day started with a Dawn Patrol hike and ended with writing-center gatherings. Highlights of the summer included a performance of Rigoletto at the Santa Fe Opera; Blue Sky readings of student writing; the senior reception (featuring Mariachi Buenaventura, the first all-female mariachi band in New Mexico); and the Fiesta¡Saddle Up costume dance. Evening events also included presentations by such former and current Bread Loaf professors as Andrea Lunsford, Ana Castillo, Simon Ortiz, Bruce Smith, Jeff Nunokawa, and M. Litt. student Laura Jagles; technology workshops with Middlebury’s Shel Sax; Bread Loaf Teacher Network events with Susan Miera from Santa Fe and U.S. Department of Education teacher ambassador Tom McKenna from Alaska; and a discussion of pueblo conceptions of giftedness by Eunice Romero-Little from Cochiti Pueblo. 

mclark_nmbl_0715_0339.jpgJuly’s full-day celebration of Bread Loaf’s 25th year in New Mexico brought in director Emily Bartels, who hosted the annual awards reception and joined in the day’s festivities, which included a barbeque and a symposium of nearly thirty student presentations. Former Bread Loaf Director Jim Maddox had the great vision to establish the campus, and he and former faculty member Lucy Maddox joined us too. 

What a summer!

VERMONT
Emily Bartels

It is hard to say what made the campus experience in Vermont this summer so spectacular. Was it that our student population numbered 267 (the largest in over three years) and reached globally to El Salvador, Haiti, Prince Rupert (B.C.), the Navajo Nation, South Africa, and beyond? Was it that our faculty included three new superstars: 18th-century specialist Lyndon Dominique; former national poet of Wales, Gwyneth Lewis; expert in Asian-American literature and gender, Rachel Lee? Or was it that we took residence in the splendidly renovated rooms and offices of the newly winterized Bread Loaf Inn and could eat our meals (though not hear our companions) in an acoustically challenging but air-conditioned dining room?

BLTN-Meeting-web.jpgMaybe we were animated by this summer’s ground-breaking emphasis on theater: director Brian McEleney staged James Baldwin’s Blues for Mister Charlie next to Christopher Sergel’s adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird, creating a powerful forum for a summer-long discussion of discrimination and race, while Oskar Eustis, artistic director of the Public Theater, took the podium as our Drew Lecturer and artist in residence, helping us think about what theater has been— from Angels in America to Hamilton—and what it can be as a vehicle for social change.

Or maybe we were excited to welcome to campus Navajo students who are working with us to effect unprecedented educational and cultural change. Maybe we were honored to host a meeting of the Middlebury’s Board of Overseers about the value and uniqueness of Bread Loaf’s immersive experience as well as its outreach. Maybe we were thrilled to welcome Middlebury’s new president, Laurie Patton, to our campus to engage with her visions of tradition and innovation and to claim her as our own (she now has a BLSE book bag). As we sent the 2015 graduates on their way, maybe we were inspired to celebrate long- time Bread Loaf colleague, Andrea Lunsford, with an honorary degree.

Group-Porch-web.jpgOr perhaps the extraordinary outcomes came from ordinary business— the classes and conversations, the publication of new editions of The Crumb and Bread Loaf Journal, Monday readings with guests such as Lyonel Trouillot and Martín Espada, a film night hosted by Associate Director Tyler Curtain and featuring one of the scariest horror films ever. Hard to say.

All I can say is that summer 2015 was one of our busiest in Vermont, and all involved deserve a rest and a hand.

OXFORD
Emma Smith

The 2015 Bread Loaf/Oxford program kicked off in the hottest week ever recorded in the U.K. The weather didn’t last, but the warmth of the community and the sweat of hard work did. Oxford students worked in their tutorial groups on topics from American fiction to Shakespeare’s comedies, and from James Joyce to neo-victorianism, making use of the historic Bodleian Library on the doorstep, as well as the resources of Lincoln College. Theatre trips to Stratford and to the Regency city of Bath, along with guest lectures, poets, and a new series of methods seminars all kept the intellectual and cultural pulse racing. Our aim has been to play to Oxford’s research, resources, and cultural strengths and to align the academic experience of our students with the programs that run year-round at the university.

Our second Oxford Bread Loaf Graduate Conference was a real highlight: five panels of papers on the theme of “‘I think (and I think I think rightly)’: the uncertain reader and the provocative claim” covered a huge range of texts and approaches and gave a fantastic snapshot of the scope of clever work being done at Bread Loaf. Some of the papers, and the conference schedule, are available at https://bloxconference.wordpress.com/about/. Thanks to Ariel Leigh, Brad Robinson, Elizabeth Micci, and Rachel Pledger: those members of the senior class who took the lead in getting the conference up and running.

Princeton Fellows.JPGThere was relaxation too: walks along the River Thames path to the Trout pub, concerts, weekend travelling, and the now-legendary reading of Joyce’s “Circe,” which seems to get longer each year. With a T-shirt designed by Brian Fabry Dorsam and organised by Hannah Lynn, Bread Loaf Teacher Network events headed up by Will Freed, and the dynamic duo of Mike Mayo and Eve Berinati in the office, it was a bumper year. We were delighted to welcome Tyler Curtain to Oxford to award scholarships and meet with students. Fifteen new MA degrees were awarded in the graduation ceremony in Lincoln College Chapel. The class president was Will Freed; the commencement address was given by John Fyler. Congratulations to all whose hard work and talents were recognised— and perhaps especially to Robert Partnoy, whose graduation, well into his eighties, was inspirational to us all. For me, 2015 was my third year as on-site director. Thanks: it’s been a real privilege.