The distinguished participants in this summer's conference are all active and successful novelists, poets, screenwriters, critics, scholars, or publishing professionals. In addition to our graduate program faculty, other speakers and presenters join us from all over the country. This page includes all presenter biographies. Biographies of Workshop and Critical Seminar leaders and of participants in the Poetry Symposium can also be found on the pages with the descriptions of those programs.
During his years at Wells he taught literature (including British Romantic Poetry, British Victorian Poetry, Modern British Poetry, Twentieth Century American Poetry, and Contemporary American Poetry) and creative writing courses (including Poetry Writing, Creative Nonfiction, Advanced Poetry Writing, and Advanced Creative Nonfiction). He was Director of Creative Writing, and coordinated the college’s Visiting Writers Series, and one of his courses, The Maker’s Craft (the Uses of Form in Poetry), was half literature and half poetry writing; it featured readings and writing assignments in traditional forms as well as work and class visits by visiting writers. Since the early 1990’s, Professor Bennett served as Chair of English. He retired in June 2014, and is currently Professor Emeritus of English.
During the 1980's and 90's, he was an Associate Editor (with Stan Rubin and Linda Allardt) at Judith Kitchen's State Street Press in Rochester and Brockport, NY. In 1993, he founded, with Robert Doherty and others, the Wells College Book Arts Center and Wells College Press, and was its Director until 2002. He still directs the Wells College Press, which has published a number of poetry books, chapbooks, and pamphlets, and has regularly produced letterpress broadsides by writers in the Visiting Writers Series.
Professor Bennett has reviewed contemporary poetry books in The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, Harvard Review, and elsewhere, and his poems have appeared widely in national literary journals, as well as numerous textbooks and anthologies. Last fall he was Poetry Editor of Issue 9 of Stone Canoe, a journal of Arts, Literature and Social Commentary, based in Syracuse.
Meredith Bergmann is an award-winning sculptor whose works include a major public monument in Boston that portrays three writers. She is a published poet, poetry editor of the American Arts Quarterly, and has published art criticism and gallery reviews. Her poetry and essays about poetry have appeared in print or are forthcoming in Barrow Street, Contemporary Poetry Review, Hudson Review, The New Criterion, The Raintown Review, The Same, The Tri Quarterly Review and the anthology Hot Sonnets; and in many journals online. Her sonnet “The Bird in the Bathroom” won an honorable mention from the Frost Farm Poetry Prize in 2013. Her chapbook “A Special Education” has just been published by EXOT Books. Meredith lives in New York City with her husband, a writer and director, and their son.
Eleanor Brown is the New York Times and international bestselling author of The Weird Sisters, hailed by People magazine as “a delightful debut” and “creative and original” by Library Journal. The Weird Sisters was also a winner of the Colorado Book Award. Eleanor is the author of WOD Motivation and a contributor to CrossFit Journal. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in magazines, newspapers, and journals. Eleanor teaches writing workshops at The Writers' Table in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and at conferences and writing centers nationwide.
Angela Alaimo O’Donnell teaches English at Fordham University in New York City and serves as Associate Director of Fordham’s Curran Center for American Catholic Studies. O’Donnell has published three collections of poems, Saint Sinatra, Moving House, and Waking My Mother, and two chapbooks MINE and Waiting for Ecstasy. A sixth book of poems, Lovers’ Almanac, is forthcoming in 2015. Her poems have appeared in many journals and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, the Best of the Web Award, and the Arlin G. Meyer Prize in Imaginative Writing. In addition to her books of poems, O’Donnell has recently published a memoir, Mortal Blessings, and a biography and introduction to the work of Flannery O’Connor. Her website is at http://angelaalaimoodonnell.com/.
Dave Reynolds chairs the English Department at Fountain Valley School, one of Colorado's preeminent independent boarding schools, in Colorado Springs. Born in Indiana, raised in Connecticut, went to college in Maine, mastered in Seattle, he has taught high school for more than 25 years. He writes poetry and creative non-fiction, loves hiking and nordic skiing, and is a noted bon vivant.
Jane Satterfield’s most recent book is Her Familiars (Elixir, 2013). She is the author of two previous poetry collections: Assignation at Vanishing Point, and Shepherdess with an Automatic, as well as Daughters of Empire: A Memoir of a Year in Britain and Beyond. Her honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry and three Maryland Arts Council Individual Artists Awards, the William Faulkner Society's Gold Medal for the Essay, the Florida Review Editors’ Prize in nonfiction, the Mslexia women’s poetry prize, and the 49th Parallel Poetry Prize from The Bellingham Review as well as residencies in poetry or nonfiction from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Satterfield is literary editor for Canada’s Journal of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement and currently lives in Baltimore where she teaches at Loyola University Maryland.
Bob Shayne is Visiting Professor of Screenwriting in Western's Graduate Program in Creative Writing. He has been an active and successful screenwriter for years, both in New York and Los Angeles. He’s sold 18 prime-time pilots and written 16 of them for the major TV networks in all genres, six of which were shot, two of which went to series, and most of which he produced. He’s worked on staff of both sitcoms and one-hour dramas; been a show-runner on sitcom, drama, MOW and pilots; written well over 100 episodes; written and produced TV movies; written two four-hour miniseries, written features both live-action and animated, and adapted four novels into screenplays (not counting his own). He’s won or been nominated for awards including Best TV Movie of the Year from the Writers Guild of America, Edgar for Best TV Movie of the Year from the Mystery Writers of America, Edgar for Best TV Episode of the Year from the Mystery Writers of America, two Emmys from the TV Academy (for Best Talk Show and Best Documentary), and a Grammy for Best Comedy Album.