This week, award winning Michiganauthor Anne-Marie Oomen willbe visiting Saginaw Valley StateUniversity (SVSU) and the surroundingcommunity to promote literature andwriting.
Oomen is a dramatist, poet, memoirist,and teacher. She won A WP’s Sue WilliamSilverman Award and a Michigan NotableBook award for her recent memoir ‘AsLong As I Know You: The Mom Book.’Other titles she has authored include‘Love, Sex, and 4-H’ and ‘Lake MichiganMermaid.’
Christopher Giroux, professor ofEnglish, received a grant from the DowVisiting Scholars and Artists program to host Oomen.
The purpose of the Dow Visiting Scholars and Artists grant is to bring scholars and artists into SVSU and the surrounding community to offer scholastic enrichment. Giroux believes the events planned with Oomen achieve just that.
“This whole program reminds us what a university does,” Giroux stated. “[It] sends a nice message about what we value as an institution.”
Oomen will be leading a writing workshop on Wednesday, April 5.
Workshop participants will walk away with newly crafted pieces of writing.
At the workshop, the topic of discussion and practice will be ekphrastic writing, a technique that involves using works of art as inspiration.
A characteristic of ekphrastic writing is that it often considers different perspectives to viewing that art. The writing tends to be poetry, but this is not always the case.
In addition to the writing workshop, Oomen will be talking with education, social work, and creative writing students.
Giroux feels discussion of her work ‘As Long As I Know You: The Mom Book’ will be especially relevant to social work students due to its themes of memory, aging, and end of life concerns.
“It is a very moving story,” he said as it details the triumphs and trials of navigating life with an elderly parent.
For such relatable themes that come through her work and her ability as a teacher, Giroux believes bringing Oomen to SVSU will reach a wide audience.
“[There are] lots of different ways she could connect with the community,” he said.
In considering what Oomen has to offer as a writer and the nature of the Dow Visiting Scholars and Artists grant, Giroux said he “made a real effort with the grant to plan events at the university, but also in the community.”
This includes a reading for the public by Oomen at Wirt Public Library in Bay City.
Giroux encourages students to attend these events; he has attended workshops himself led by Oomen in the past and found them to be beneficial and insightful, citing “[she is an] amazing writer, [an] amazing teacher.”
Another point of encouragement for attendance that Giroux offers is Oomen’s Michigan roots; in addition to being from Michigan, she taught at Interlochen Center for the Arts, founded the Northern Michigan literary magazine Dunes Review, and frequently promotes other Michigan artists.
“Oomen is dedicated to promoting ‘Michigan literature,’” Giroux said. “She’s local, she’s ours. She’s Michigan!”
Oomen’s writing workshop will run from 1:30-3:30 p.m. on Wednesday April 5 at the Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum. Her reading at the Wirt Library on Thursday April 6 will take place at 7 p.m.
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