“We were gratified that the university moved quickly and got this program launched and established,” Shapiro said. “I’ve had good feedback from people both at Wesleyan and elsewhere. It has generated a bit of a buzz.”
Bit of a buzz, yes. Enough of a buzz, no. More on what you can do at Shapiro after the jump!
Shapiro is run by three people: Kim-Frank Writer-in-residence and Director of the Shapiro Center Amy Bloom ’76, Senior Fellow Izzy Rode ’14, and Junior Fellow Amanda Distler ’15. They are Shapiro’s backbone, arms and legs, and heart, respectively: Professor Bloom’s in charge (and chose the smart wall art and blue-painted walls). Izzy stocks the coffee and snacks. Amanda spends a ton of time there and answers questions with the most grace. A note from Amy Bloom:
Good news, writers and readers! If you are enrolled in any creative writing class at Wesleyan (from sonnets to screenplays), you are eligible for access to the wonderful Shapiro Center, an oasis for studying, a great place for group meetings and home to some of the best classes around. If you want Wescard access, please contact Izzy Rode (email@example.com) or Amy Bloom (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Worthwhile things that happen at 167 High:
1. Table Talk with Amy Bloom– begins Thursday, February 6th
Once Table Talk begins each semester, it is held every Thursday at 5pm. Table Talk is a chance to sit with Professor Amy Bloom, peers, and a table full of quality snacks and discuss any writing on which you may be currently working. No further description required. It’s different every week. I’ve gone and heard from peers writing television scripts, badass graphic novel senior theses (hey-oh Jason Katzenstein ’13/love of my life), and fiction pieces about absurd subjects. No pressure to talk, just students bouncing ideas and notions off of Professor Bloom and each other.
2. Game Night– begins Monday, February 3rd
Once a week, the Shapiro Center welcomes every student to come over, play word games, and win prizes. The list of games:
Apples to Apples
The prizes are bought and mixed up every week. Examples of the fillings of the prize bucket: Moleskine notebooks, a box of sidewalk chalk, fancy chocolate, fuzzy socks, games (like Farkle or Uno)… The winner of every game played that game night– and team in the case of Taboo– wins a prize!
Last semester game night was run by the one-and-only Eliza Kingsley-Ma ’15. This semester two freshmen known for killin it, Zach Smith ’17 and Rosie Wilkin ’17 will be running game night.
3. The Offices of/Classes with Visiting Writers
This year, the Shapiro Center brought two great visiting professors to campus and their offices were located and class held in Shapiro. Fall semester, Alex Gilvarry visited Wesleyan to teach Techniques of Fiction and it was a great success. This semester, Porochista Khakpour‘s office will be in Shapiro and she’ll be teaching Techniques of Nonfiction. You should definitely check her out on Twitter.
4. Masters Classes
New this academic year, the Shapiro Center is hosting a Masters Class each semester. The classes consist of three meetings throughout the semester with a well-known writer. Plus, dinner’s provided. Fall 2013 featured award-winning poet Mark Doty. This spring, Michael Cunningham (back after a great talk in 2011) will join 12 lucky students to talk about fiction. Here’s some feedback from students in the Mark Doty Masters Class last semester:
“I had an overwhelmingly positive experience in the Mark Doty Master Class (he’s brilliant). I always looked forward to class. The space felt intimate, inviting, and informal without ever being unimportant — there was a sense that what we were doing, discussion, reading and writing really mattered.”
“It was really nice to be able to write work and share it with others to get feedback. Also helpful to get feedback and suggestions from Mark. The coolest part was being able to hangout with him and talk about his work.”
The folks that work there invite you to stop by. It’s a cozy study space on campus that often gets overlooked.