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Are you a high school student already bitten by the writing bug? Do you write poems or stories, in class or out, but wonder how good they are, and how you could make them better? Your parents admire them and your friends are impressed; your teachers help as much as they can. But what would a professional writer, doing the same sort of work and publishing it, make of your stuff? If you’ve asked yourself these sorts of questions, read on. And if you think the Sewanee Young Writers' Conference might be a valuable experience for you, get in touch with us and we’ll be glad to send you more information. You can also find us on Facebook!
The Writer by Richard Wilbur
In her room at the prow of the house
Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden
My daughter is writing a story
I pause in the stairwell, hearing
From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys
Like a chain hauled over a gunwale.
Young as she is, the stuff
Of her life is a great cargo and some of it is heavy:
I wish her a lucky passage.
But now it is she who pauses,
As if to reject my thought and its easy figure.
A stillness greatens, in which
The whole house seems to be thinking,
And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor
Of strokes, and again is silent.
I remember the dazed starling
Which was trapped in that very room, two years ago,
How we stole in, lifted a sash
And retreated, not to affright it;
And how for a helpless hour, through the crack of the door
We watched the sleek, wild, dark
And iridescent creature
Batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove
To the hard floor, or the desk-top,
And wait then, humped and bloody,
For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits
Rose when, suddenly sure,
It lifted off from a chair-back,
Beating a smooth course for the right window
And clearing the sill of the world.
It is always a matter, my darling
Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish
What I wished you before, but harder.

 
Elizabeth Grammer, Director
Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference • 735 University Avenue • The University of the South • Sewanee, Tennessee 37383-1000
(931) 598-1541sywc@sewanee.edu