Keynote Speakers

Poetry: Kim Bridgford, West Chester University

Wednesday, July 22, 8:00 pm / University Theater, Western State Student Center

"Women, Poetry, and Entrepreneurship"

Kim Bridgford, the editor of Mezzo Cammin,, and the founder of The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project, will discuss the launch of the project at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, its development, and the role and importance of women poets.   

Kim Bridgford is the founder and director of Poetry by the Sea:  A Global Conference.  She is the past director of the West Chester University Poetry Center and the West Chester University Poetry Conference, the largest all-poetry writing conference in the United States.  As the editor of Mezzo Cammin, she founded The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project, which was launched at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington in March 2010, and celebrated its first fifty essays at Fordham at Lincoln Center in April 2014.  Her collaborative work with the visual artist Jo Yarrington has been honored with a Ucross fellowship. Bridgford is the author of eight books of poetry, including Bully Pulpit, a book of poems on bullying; Epiphanies, a book of religious poems; and the recently released Doll.  She wrote the introduction to The Children of Children Keep Coming, by Russell Goings, and joined Goings in ringing the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange, a week before the first Obama inauguration. She has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Connecticut Post, on NPR and the website of The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and in various headline news outlets. Recently The Rotary Dial devoted an issue to her work:  America’s First Lady of Form.

Genre Fiction: Michael A. Black

Thursday, July 23, 1 pm / Location TBA.

"Staying Ahead of the Curve"

Former police officer turned writer, Michael A. Black, will talk about the differences between the fictionalized versions of crime on CSI and the cold, hard reality of getting up close and personal with an actual dead body. Black, the author of twenty-four books and over one-hundred short stories and articles, will also talk about the problems of depicting crime and current events in genre writing.

Michael A. Black began his police career as a US Army Military Policeman. He subsequently entered civilian law enforcement and was a police officer in a south suburb of Chicago. He worked in various capacities in police work including patrol supervisor, SWAT team leader, plain clothes tactical sergeant, and investigations. He was awarded the Cook County Medal of Merit in 2010, and retired from police work in 2011. Black is the author of 24 books and over 100 short stories and articles. He has a BA in English from Northern Illinois University and a MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago. He has written two novels with television star Richard Belzer of Law & Order SVU. Black also writes novels in the Don Pendleton Executioner series. One of these, Sleeping Dragons, was a finalist for Best Novel in the International Media Tie-In Writer’s Association in 2013. His novel Payback was once again nominated in this category in 2014. His latest Executioner novels, Dragon Key, Desert Falcons, and Uncut Terror, are due out in 2015. Black’s latest novel under his own name, Chimes at Midnight, is a thriller set in Washington, D.C.

Publishing: Caleb J. Seeling, Director of Certificate in Publishing at Western; Publisher / Editor, Samizdat Publishing Group

Friday, July 24, 1 pm / Location TBA.

"Publishing the Literary West"

The publishing industry has undergone tremendous change in the past six years. The failure of age-old publishing practices has caused the mega-media conglomerates to consolidate, while, defying predictions and the odds, scrappy small presses have been growing in number and notoriety. As more and more big-box bookstores have been forced to shutter their doors, small independent bookstores have been opening them, selling a lot of coffee and wine, and staying open. E-books have not killed print and, to everyone’s surprise, self-publishing has become a viable and respectable option. It’s a brave new world out there, full of noise and opportunity. How can we as writers and small presses of the American West help each other find our niche and thrive?

Caleb J. Seeling is the Director of Western's Certificate in Publishing. He began working in publishing in 2006 and founded Samizdat Publishing Group in Denver in 2009. The company has since expanded, forming two imprints (Conundrum Press and Samizdat Creative), publishing between 20-30 books altogether each year. An active member of several publishing and arts organizations, Caleb is also a social entrepreneur, finding ways to serve the greater community and disadvantaged youth through strategic partnerships with organizations such as Colorado Business Committee for the Arts and Youth on Record. He has also recently published his first graphic novel, The Battle Begins, with David C. Cook Publishing, illustrated by Eisner-award winning artist Sergio Cariello. The sequel, The Seeds of Struggle, will appear in fall 2015 and he is under contract for two more. Caleb is a native Coloradan based in Golden, where he lives with his wife Angela, four children, and three chickens.

Screenwriting: Ted White

Saturday, July 25, 1 pm / University Theater

“Can Studios Afford to Make Your Screenplay?”

Although Ted White’s illustrious public career has been as stunt man, double and stunt coordinator, the movie industry has turned to him countless times to serve as not only second-unit director but also script analyst, asking him, “Can we afford to make this movie?” Ted will share criteria – and war stories – about what can kill your scripts before and during development.

For more than half a century Ted White has worked with many of Hollywood’s greatest stars, directors, screenwriters and photographers. He has been an actor, stuntman, stunt coordinator, second unit director and screenwriter. He has doubled John Wayne, Clark Gable, Rock Hudson, Charlton Heston and many others and even became one of the screen’s greatest Jasons in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. Learn more about Ted and his career at


Register Now for Writing the Rockies

Graduate Program in Creative Writing, Application Information