Over the weekend, the University and Shaman Drum Bookshop toasted the English Department’s Master of Fine Arts program in writing, as the program celebrated its 20th anniversary. The celebration also functioned as a class reunion for all MFA writing graduates. Alums from all over the United States gathered at the University to see old classmates and faculty.

Shaman Drum Bookshop, where many published alums have read their works over the years, held a reception for the graduates, as well as current and past faculty of the program.

“This is a great opportunity for MFAs to get together and read each other’s work,” said Raymond McDaniel, the publicity manager at Shaman Drum. McDaniel also works as a lecturer in the University’s English department and graduated from the MFA program in 1995.

Displayed throughout Shaman Drum were published novels and poetry collections of graduates of the program, including Kathryn Stern’s “Another Thing About the King” and Cammie McGovern’s “The Art of Seeing,” as well as works by current and former English faculty members, including Charles Baxter, Peter Ho Davies, and Eileen Pollack. The reception was open to the public as well as program graduates.

After the reception, the MFA program held a public reading by former members of the MFA faculty in the Modern Languages Building.

Readers included 1996 National Book Award-winning short story and novel writer Andrea Barrett, and poets Jill Rosser and Al Young. English Prof. Nicholas Delbanco introduced the readers and emphasized their importance and contributions to the MFA writing program, “to which many of (them) have contributed so much.”

“We are utterly delighted that they have come back,” Delbanco said to the audience.

Most of the readers spoke enthusiastically about their return to Ann Arbor.

“It’s a great pleasure to be back,” writer Rosellen Brown said before reading her short story “All This.” Poet Timothy Liu dedicated his reading “to writers in the program who like to get soused at the Heidelberg.”

Poet Al Young culminated the readings with a dynamic reading of his poem, “Detroit, Moi.” Before reading, Young spoke of his experiences at the University in the late 1950s, comparing the scare of communism then to the current terrorism threats.

Other events included several panels that were open to the public on Friday and Saturday, which featured MFA alumni panelists and were moderated by English faculty.

The panelists discussed topics including careers in nonfiction, writing in community settings, and alternative professions for writers.

The reunion ended Saturday night with a reception and dinner party for alums and faculty in the Michigan Union Ballroom.

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