The Bread Loaf School of English

 

Profiles

Bread Loaf Vermont, from director Emily Bartels

 
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The summer in Vermont was spectacular. Bread Loaf faculty, new and returning, produced an exciting curriculum, including courses on science fiction, music and literature, visual and digital literacies, Mexican American and Irish literatures, and Hamlet (the summer’s play).

We experimented (successfully) with a new no-Friday-classes schedule, to allow students and faculty more room for thinking, writing, reading, and research. Bread Loaf faculty and guests offered special sessions on “Ethics and Teaching” (Jim Sabin), “The Origins of Language” (Tyler Curtain), “Digital Literacy” (Bryan Alexander), “Nature Writing” (John Elder), “Reviewing Prose” (John Fyler), and “Beckett’s Not-I” (Dare Clubb).

Princeton professor Claudia Johnson came to Vermont to give a talk on “Jane Austen’s Things.” Bread Loaf faculty member Jeff Nunokawa read from his Facebook essays for the Elizabeth Drew Memorial. Middlebury professor Alison Byerly paired with Chuck Henry, president of the Council on Library and Information Resources, to speak on digital humanities. Bread Loaf graduate Jennifer Brown (MA ’94) talked about her global work at Partners in Health as our featured speaker on Alumni Night. Literacy specialist Jason Irizarry led a discussion on education and equity. Topping it all off was a visit from Karen Cator, from the U.S. Department of Education; see “What’s Happening.”

On the lighter side, for real or would-be adventurers, front desk staffer McNair Randall led Saturday excursions to explore the best woods, waterfalls, spas, and creamee stands of Vermont. Line dancing and trivia night claimed new spaces in the Barn. And a riveting production of Hamlet, directed by Brian McEleney and enacted by students and the Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble, held everyone’s attention in the theater—even (especially) on a dark and stormy night, when our annual power failure put in question what was to be or not to be.

In parting, the senior class generously made a gift to the Alexander Twilight 1823 Scholarship, which supports scholarships for students who have worked to improve diversity among the student body at Bread Loaf. Across the summer, the talents, diversity, and connectedness of our community were on display, and although it was possible to go home again, it was hard to leave.

 

Bread Loaf Asheville, from on-site director Stephen Donadio

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The session began with a lively picnic featuring local bluegrass musicians. To introduce new students to the area and its history, UNCA historian Kevan Frazier offered a tour of downtown Asheville, and we held a panel, “Memory and Place,” focused on Asheville’s African American communities. We heard from political science and anthropology scholars, as well as a community organizer and photographer who has chronicled the lives of African Americans in the city’s neighborhoods since the ’60s.

Visitors this summer included three well-known Bread Loaf faculty members: Beverly Moss, who ran sessions on writing center practice and pedagogy; Andrea Lunsford, who spoke about digital storytelling; and Dixie Goswami, who made sure that all the right Bread Loaf Teacher Network connections were being made. (They were.) Shel Sax was on hand to offer technology workshops. And Alan Shapiro, a distinguished poet and novelist at UNC-Chapel Hill, gave a reading of his work.

Perhaps the most unforgettable and affecting event of the summer was a visit by Natasha Trethewey, the new poet laureate of the United States, who met informally with students and generated excitement throughout the community. Her reading, largely poems from her new collection Thrall, packed the house.

Laura Boosinger, an accomplished local banjo player and folk singer, came to give a concert with guitarist Josh Goforth and also worked with our campus singing group, introducing them to the variety of musical traditions that converge in western North Carolina. Office assistant Kim Masterson conducted hikes every weekend to some splendid natural sites, and she and co-assistant Jim Miller accompanied students to the Carter Family Fold for an evening of music and dancing.

Poet and Bread Loaf faculty member Evie Shockley spoke at Commencement, and the senior class gave generously to the Ken Macrorie Memorial Fund to support the writing center, which has been an important resource at the Asheville campus.

 

Bread Loaf Santa Fe, from on-site director Cheryl Glenn

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We celebrated the start of our summer in the foothills of northern New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristos with Southwestern food and drink, and a slide show of the Santa Fe faculty, students, and events. The very next morning, students and faculty were in class—in seminars on rhetoric, opera, poetry, literature, acting, drama, and creative writing.

Throughout the summer, students participated in digital storytelling and writing center workshops; listened to Santa Fe poet laureate Joan Logghe, youth activist and slam poet Myrlin Helpwork, and Latina writer Ana Castillo, among others; attended the premiere of The Young Ancestors (a documentary by Bread Loaf alum Laura Jagles MA ’04); volunteered a full day of adobe mudding to the Chapel of San Miguel (the oldest church in North America); toured Bandelier and Los Alamos; hiked in Tent Rocks and Pacacho; and danced to the music of Lumbre del Sol, a Santa Fe institution, and the all-female Mariachi Buena Ventura, who performed at the London Olympics.

Students in the opera class attended Tosca, The Pearl Fishers, and Puccini’s Maometto II. Adding their own dramatic edge to the summer, Bread Loaf faculty members Jeff Nunokawa and Carol MacVey performed a staged reading ofTennessee Williams’s Sweet Bird of Youth, directed by Alan MacVey.

Wrapping up the summer in style, Carol MacVey gave a Commencement address on Fanny Burney’s life and times, asking students to consider how teaching helps us answer the question: “How do we live?” The senior class made a generous gift to the Ken Macrorie Memorial Fund, which supports the Writing Rodeo at Santa Fe as well as the other Bread Loaf writing centers. In closing remarks, Professor Patricia Powell advised graduates to listen, think, stay, be present, and, most of all, be good to themselves. Of course, from the start to the finish of the summer, the weather was gobsmacking perfect!

 

Bread Loaf Oxford, from on-site director Peter McCullough

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Bread Loaf celebrated 35 years at Lincoln College with an overwhelmingly successful session. Cool, wet weather failed to dampen the spirit of a perfectly formed cohort, who threw themselves into their classes and reveled in the small group and tutorial teaching provision that is the hallmark of the campus, as it is of Oxford. All-school trips to outstanding Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) productions of Julius Caesar and Twelfth Night were high points, as were plenary talks by Ray Fearon (RSC, Mark Antony) and former Bread Loaf faculty member Robert Douglas-Fairhurst on Dickens. Bread Loaf’s own Miriam Gilbert (“Page to Stage”) gave an unforgettable talk about stage interpretations of Shylock from the Victorian period to the present. The campus also inaugurated a new partnership with Princeton, welcoming three rising seniors (with Princeton mentor Sara Rivett) who used their study and research as a segue into senior thesis projects.

The graduation, as ever, was unforgettable, with family and friends joining faculty and graduates for the graduation ceremony in Lincoln College Chapel, with addresses from senior class president Mike Spara and faculty member Dr. Stefano-Maria Evangelista. The senior class gift was thoughtful, green, and lasting—two beautiful wooden planters to contribute to Lincoln’s new development of teaching and common room space in the Turl Yard. As the first Bread Loaf generation to use the new space, it was particularly apt, and much appreciated by the college.