A West Virginia University poet appointed to a new faculty position hopes to spark studentscreativity through writing workshops in the residence halls.
Mary Ann Samyn , associate professor in the Department of English , has been awarded the first Russell and Ruth Bolton Eberly College Professorship for outstanding teaching and mentoring in communication skills.
In her new position, Samyn and her graduate students will conduct creative writing workshops that she hopes will generate interest in writing among first-year students and encourage them to share information through poems, short stories and even blogs. The workshops start this semester.
The challenge is to get students engaged in doing something thats academic but also fun,said Samyn, whose previous experience working with high school students in the community made her an ideal candidate for the professorship.
The Russell and Ruth Bolton Eberly College Professorship is a three-year appointment within the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences . The award is for a faculty member who enhances WVU studentscommunication skills regardless of their major. The Boltons are WVU graduates and also fund the University-wide Bolton Teaching Professorship through the Office of the Provost.
Samyn teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in creative writing, literature and poetry.
Her workshops will demonstrate how using good writing skillsspecifically attention to audience, structure, pacing and use of detailcan make work more powerful and enjoyable. She also hopes to create a social space where students can interact with one another and receive one-on-one attention.
An accomplished writer, Samyns poems reflect the relationship between language and silence. Many literary artists and works appear in her collections.
She is the author of four collections of poetry:Rooms by the Sea,winner of the 1994 Kent State UP/Wick Chapbook Prize;Captivity Narrative,winner of the 1999 Ohio State UP/The Journal Prize;Inside the Yellow Dress,a 2001 New Issues Press/Green Rose selection; andPurr.
In November, New Issues Press will publish Samyns newest book,Beauty Breaks In,and her work continues to appear in various literary journals.
Prior to joining WVU in 2002, she taught at Kirtland Community College, Oakland University and the COOR Intermediate School District in Michigan, where she was the poet-in-residence.
Samyn was founder and director of Oakland Universitys Far Field Retreat for Writers. She was the recipient of the 2001 Creative Artist Grant from ArtServe Michigan and the Emily Dickinson Prize from the Poetry Society of America.
She served as poetry editor for Controlled Burn, a national literary magazine, and continues to teach teens at the Controlled Burn Seminar for Young Writers each summer.
She was also an instructor of poetry and creative nonfiction forGear Upworkshops and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Morgantown, where she taught adults over the age of 50.
Samyn received a bachelors degree from Oakland University in 1992, a masters degree from Ohio University in 1994 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Virginia in 1996, where she was a Hoyns Fellow.
Go to http://english.wvu.edu/centers_and_projects/bolton_workshop to view the workshop schedule.
For more information on the Bolton Professorship, contact Bonnie Fisher, Eberly College director of development, at 304-293-4611 or ” Bonnie.Fisher@mail.wvu.edu rel=nofollow> Bonnie.Fisher@mail.wvu.edu .
The Russell and Ruth Bolton Eberly College Professorship was established through the WVU Foundation , a private, nonprofit corporation that generates and provides support for WVU .