Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sometimes dreams do come true

I'm on cloud nine plus seven.

I think it's fair to say that putting on the conference that concluded yesterday evening around 5:00 p.m. was one of my greatest dreams since coming to UNC Asheville over five years ago. Not only did we put the conference on, but almost everyone involved seems to have had a fantastic time and gotten a lot out of it. Moreover, I've already gotten some good feedback on how to make the event a better one, and a bigger one, next year.

I typically use pseudonyms on this site, but as published poets (for the most part) the principals involved in this conference are used to seeing their names in print, and I'm sure they won't mind me thanking them by name.

My heartiest thanks, then, go to Kristen Prevallet, for her marvelous midday performance and morning workshop, and to Michael Leong, for an eye-opening presentation and a delightful chapbook of occasional poems.

My thanks go to my colleagues Curt Cloninger, Sloan Despeaux, and Merritt Moseley, for offering their own idiosyncratic takes on the intersections between mathematics and art: Merritt ably introduced attendees to Oulipo, Sloan showed them how poetry can be used to communicate mathematical ideas, and Curt demonstrated a dizzying palette of generative visual art.

My thanks go to the quirky, catchy, and wonderful poet Lee Ann Brown, whose work was the centerpiece of the conference. Her presence brought interested parties from several states, and her presentation brought Oulipo and its works to a broad audience on Friday night.

My thanks go to my partner-in-crime in organizing all of this, my colleague Richard Chess, whose indefatigable spirit and helpful organizational skills helped make the event possible in the first place. Without his connections to the literary world, a dream come true would still be a dream.

At last, my thanks go to, collectively, the remarkable students at UNC Asheville, for taking the time to contribute their own work, to help with arrangements in advance, to spread the word, to generate interest, and simply to show up and participate on the day of the event itself. I am well aware that not every school has such dedicated students (here they made up roughly half of those attending), and this is a treasure I would miss were I elsewhere.

You're all wonderful people! I'm lucky to know and get to work with you all.

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