Every year, emerging writers from across the nation apply to the Hurston/Wright Foundation to participate in their annual Writers’ Week. Based on the strength of the poetry sample he submitted, Van G. Garrett, a graduate student at the University of Houston-Victoria, was among the poets selected to participate in this year’s program.
This year’s Writers Week was hosted by American University in Washington, D.C., July 16-July 22. While there, Garrett participated in daily 3-hour workshops led by poet Tyehimba Jess whose first book, Leadbelly, was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series.
“I’ve done other writing residencies where you are doing your own thing at your own pace, but this workshop was a different experience--it was very intense,” said Garrett, noting that all Writers’ Week workshops are limited to 12 participants. “I was excited by the opportunity to receive lots of personal feedback on my work.”
Garrett is no newcomer to poetry, however. His poetry has been published in journals such as the Curbside Review and the Pittsburgh Quarterly, and he has published reviews in the African American Review and Moria. He has also received a Callaloo Creative Writing Fellowship for poetry in 2002 and 2004 and the Danny Lee Lawrence prize for poetry in 1999.
“UHV has many talented graduate students doing exciting, cutting-edge work, and Van is one of them. I’m very proud of what Van has achieved, and I’m confident that the Writers’ Week will be an important step in further establishing his writing career,” said Dr. Jeffrey Di Leo, interim dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.
Named after famed authors Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright, the Hurston/Wright Writers’ Week is the nation’s only multi-genre summer writers’ workshop for writers of African descent. Since 1996, over 800 participants, including publishers, agents and writers, have attended the weeklong program.
For more information, visit the foundation’s Web site at www.hurston-wright.org.