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Wyoming Residents Invited to Workshops Led by UW Eminent Writer in Residence

February 6, 2013
Mark Nowak

Mark Nowak, an award-winning poet, social critic and labor activist, will present “Working in Wyoming,” a series of three free public writing workshops, this month in Laramie. No previous writing experience is required to attend.

Nowak is the first spring semester Eminent Writer in Residence with the University of Wyoming’s MFA Program in Creative Writing.

“Working in Wyoming” workshops will take place in the Laramie Plains Civic Center conference room, located at 710 East Garfield St. The workshops are 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20; Saturday, Feb. 23, from 2-3:30 p.m.; and  6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27.

“Working in Wyoming” will conclude with a reading at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, in the in the Laramie Plains Civic Center’s Gryphon Theater.

“’Working in Wyoming’ is a community-building, creative investigation of what it means to labor in Wyoming,” says MFA Program Director Beth Loffreda. “In these workshops, Wyoming workers of diverse backgrounds will have the opportunity to collaborate with others in the community to create a short piece of creative writing such as a poem, a parable, a short story or a piece of flash fiction or nonfiction.”

Workshops will be facilitated by Wyoming writing instructors and MFA Program in Creative Writing students.

“At the reading, working people from across the state will have the opportunity to share what it means to work in Wyoming by presenting their work from the workshops,” Loffreda says.

In addition to leading the writing workshops, Nowak will give a free public reading  and sign books at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, at Second Story Books, located at 105 E. Ivinson St.

Nowak’s writings include the New York Times “Editor’s Choice” for “Shut Up Shut Down” and the acclaimed book about coal mining disasters in the United States and China, “Coal Mountain Elementary.”

He is among a dozen poets to be included in the seminal anthology “American Poets in the 21st Century: The New Poetics." Poet Adrienne Rich heralds Nowak for "regenerating the rich tradition of working-class literature.”

Nowak is the director of the graduate creative writing program at Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y.

Previous Eminent Writers at UW include John D’Agata, Colson Whitehead, Ed Roberson and several others.

For more information about “Working in Wyoming,” contact Gwynn Lemler in the MFA Program in Creative Writing office, at (307) 766-6453 or email

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