One thing about Wyoming’s MFA program is visiting writers. We get some amazing people here, like, every single semester. Joy Williams is a regular, of course. Rattawut Lapcharoensap is (yes!) back for a second year. John D’Agata is coming soon, as are Ed Roberson and Camille Dungy. It’s all so wonderful. It is.
Colson Whitehead just left. His was a two-week residency. He consulted with some fiction and nonfiction writers. He stayed in a small cottage next to some (noisy) chickens. He even checked out the local roller derby, which included an after party, which included some punk bands, which were good.
There was also an after-after party, which included dancing at a saloon.
I guess this is a recap, of sorts.
Colson recently finished competing in, and writing about, the World Series of Poker. I don’t remember how far he got along in the tournament—I think it was maybe the second round. It’s pretty good, if you ask me. Before he left, at any rate, he also played a little poker with some of us students. My guess is he let us win, though he says differently. I made a little. I got some groceries.
Did you know that Colson has a book about zombies coming out next month? There’s an excerpt over at Harper’s. Check it out.
From the excerpt: “It was, naturally, to that night his thoughts fled when on his return from Atlantic City he opened the door of his parents’ bedroom and witnessed his mother’s grisly ministrations to his father. She was hunched over him, gnawing away with ecstatic fervor on a flap of his intestine, which, in the flicker of the television, adopted a phallic aspect. He thought immediately of when he was six, not only because of the similar tableau before him, but that tendency of the human mind, in periods of duress, to seek refuge in more peaceful times, such as a childhood experience, as a barricade against horror.”
If you haven’t read Colson’s work before, Zone One is as good a start as any. All the novels are so very different. The difference is admirable, in fact. It kills me. The guy is good.
Colson also has a fine Twitter account, if you’re into that sort of thing.
This might be a poor recap. Apologies if it is. What else is there? I should have kept a journal for two weeks. I was never one for that.
Well, he talked novels with us over dinner. He watched some silly blues band outside. He bought us pizza. We bought him pizza (a few times). He bought us beer. We bought him beer. He visited classes, talked shop, gave a funny and poignant reading.
I don’t know. I get so nervous when these writers come. Then they’re here and they’re human beings. They’re nice and helpful and real.
Maybe that’s all I want to say.