Alumni Reunion

RWW Reunion at Silver Falls Nov. 10–13, 2011 From left to right (back row): Katie Humes (2007), Jennifer Culkin (2007), Tarn Wilson (2008), Kelli Russell Agodon (2007), Katrina Hays (2010), Kate Carroll de Gutes (2010), Kathi Rivers Shannon (2008). Front row: Anne Powers (2007), Anne McDuffie (2007), Holly Hughes (2006), Tandy Tillinghast-Voit (2010). Missing from this photo, but present at the Reunion, were Anita Sullivan (2008), Lois Rosen (2010), Kay Mullen (2007), Cathy Adams (2010), Nancy Canyon (2007), and Katie Eberhart (2010).

By Holly Hughes (2006)

Seventeen RWW alums gathered over Veteran’s Day weekend for a reunion at the Silver Falls Conference Center, east of Salem, Oregon. Our gathering represented four graduate classes and two coasts, since Cathy Adams flew in all the way from Asheville, North Carolina!

We started out our weekend with a wine-tasting Thursday night, thanks to Tandy Tillinghast-Voit (2010), who brought a few bottles of her delicious Harper Voit wine for us to sample. What better way to get re-acquainted? We spent the next two and a half days exploring the trails and waterfalls, reading, writing, writing together, visiting, and—of course—eating. The food was plentiful and delicious—and we upheld the RWW tradition of the daily afternoon snack.

Check out the wonderful video that Katie Humes (2007) put together for a taste of the weekend, composed of images that everyone sent to her. We wish we’d remembered to take a group photo before everyone started leaving—none of the photos show the entire group, but you’ll see some of those attending, what we ate, as well as some gorgeous waterfalls and fall scenery.

At the end of the weekend, the group voted to return next fall for another regional reunion—and Anne McDuffie (2007) gallantly offered to be our fearless leader. She has already reserved two lodges on Nov. 15–18, 2012—with the option of coming a day early on Nov. 14. If you’re interested, save the dates on your calendar now—Anne will be sending registration information out in May. BIG thanks go to Anne Powers (2007), Tina Schumann (2009) and Pat Craig (2009) for being such a fantastic planning team—and especially to Pat for handling the reservations.

We had such a good (and productive) time that we encourage RWW alums in other parts of the country to put your own regional reunion together, at least until we try for a national reunion. We also discussed the possibility of creating a formal alumni association that would give us operating capital for organizing reunions, and other alumni activities. More on this later.

Casey Fuller’s reading at the Richard Hugo House in October, 2011. His chapbook, A Fort Made of Doors, received first prize and publication by Floating Bridge Press. Current RWW participant Meghan McClure (2013) was a finalist and also read that night. RWW alum Michael Schmeltzer (2007) attended the reading (middle) and Holly Hughes (the photographer).

If you’re one of those people who finds reunions to be daunting, try meeting up with fellow alums at other events to stay connected and to support each other’s accomplishments. In October, for instance, a handful of us enjoyed readings by alum Casey Fuller (2009) and current participant Meghan McClure (2013) at the Floating Bridge Press Prize readings at the Richard Hugo House. Casey’s chapbook, A Fort Made of Doors, received first prize and publication by Floating Bridge and Meghan McClure was a finalist. There is no better reason to come together than to celebrate the successes of our RWW community!