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Arts & Culture

Winter With the Writers showcases a lively mix

Rollins’ annual literary festival aims to strike a balance between ‘excitement and disquiet’

Photo: Courtesy photos, License: N/A

Courtesy photos

Charles Simic

Photo: , License: N/A

Justin Cronin


various times, Feb. 6-27 | Rollins College, 1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park | 407-646-2000 | rollins.edu/winterwiththewriters | free

“Imagine, I thought, if WWW this year featured a best-selling novelist two-thirds done with his post-apocalyptic vampire trilogy, the 2007 poet laureate with a Pulitzer and uncanny insights into the human predicament, a celebrated short-story writer who graduated from [Rollins], another novelist with his own trilogy – historical fiction set during the Haitian Revolution – and a very funny poet?”

That’s Carol Frost’s description of the design of this year’s Winter With the Writers, Rollins College’s annual star-studded literary festival. The month-long program is a mix of master classes and readings open to the public (every Thursday in February) and a behind-the-scenes opportunity for a dozen or so students in Rollins’ English department to work closely with some of the leading writers of their time. Professor Frost oversees the process and crafts the mix. With the suggestions of her colleagues and WWW’s “loyal and discerning” audience in mind, Frost says, “I read a lot of books, looking for the most original voices.” Frost sees her brief in booking the festival season as “strik[ing] a balance between excitement and disquiet.” Regarding the mashup of genres and forms (not to mention ages) she’s put together this year, she advises a flexible perspective:

“Certainly there are people who think that without meter and rhyme, the result isn’t poetry. There are readers who won’t go near vampire fiction and others who look at flash fiction and wonder what the fuss is. One aim of Winter With the Writers is to present the best writing that can be found in as many genres as there are. We’ve had playwrights before, and we will again. I’d like to invite a songwriter some year,” Frost says. “Flash fiction, prose poetry, song, found fiction, genre fiction, literary fiction, free verse poetry, classic poetry, play, skit, translation, mini-saga, new media poetry – it’s a wide world of literature, full of possibility, and Winter With the Writers embraces that possibility.”

Charles Simic, Feb. 6
Master class 4 p.m. Bush Auditorium | Reading, on-stage interview and book signing 7:30 p.m., Bush Auditorium

Poet Charles Simic was born in the former Yugoslavia and emigrated to the United States in 1954. He has published more than 60 books, including 20 volumes of poetry, and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. After winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for The World Doesn’t End, Simic was appointed the 15th Poet Laureate. “Simic has been a favorite for many years of my students at Rollins, who particularly enjoy his prose poetry,” Frost says.

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