College of The Albemarle (COA) hosted its 3rd Annual Literary Festival on Thursday, April 15, 2021. The festival was held through Zoom with 70 attendees participating. Dr. Josh Howell, Assistant Professor, English, welcomed participants and discussed the agenda for the event. Dr. Howell explained that the festival provides “a celebration of all things writing,” and he encouraged individuals tuning in to feel inspired by the day’s activities and finding value in the virtual environment.
Following Dr. Howell’s welcome, participants were encouraged to choose from one of two workshops: “Wheel of Writing Exercises” presented by Olivia Buzzacco, Assistant Professor of English at COA, or “Brevity and Wit: The Art of Saying More with Less” presented by Aaron Bass, Writing Lab Coordinator at COA. Once the workshops had ended, Buzzacco provided the introduction of one of her former students, Michael Lewis. Lewis is in his final year at COA in the Associate in Fine Arts program. He is a member of Phi Theta Kappa and the National Society of Leadership and Success. Most recently, Lewis added author to his list of accomplishments; publishing a book entitled Bank on Self-Investment, Belief Deposited-Triumph Withdrawn: A Stimulus Check for One’s Self. Lewis’s presentation was entitled, “Applicability and Creativity: Two Vital Elements of One’s Writing Journey.”
The keynote was presented by Tim Seibles who served as Virginia’s poet laureate from 2016 to 2018. Seibles read a number of his poems that spanned an array of topics, but he explained that one element remains in each of his works. “I don’t write about anything that doesn’t move my heart in some way,” Seibles shared. “Poems are one way to get at the things we really feel; the things we really care about, but don’t hear spoken about, exactly, or touch on certain issues. And that’s one reason I write poems. A poem is not ideas only; a poem is certainly ideas driven by feeling.” After his reading, Seibles answered questions from attendees ranging from who (or what) inspires him in his writing process, what kind of music he enjoys, and how he got started writing.
The day’s events ended with a 2020 – 2021 Estuaries magazine release party. Estuaries is an annual publication featuring poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, photography and art created by COA students and employees and community members.