Collegeville Book Review

Two years ago, I finished writing my book. I was at Collegeville Institute when I closed the final chapter, finished the table of contents, and said, “It’s done!” I never imagined that some day they would love that book enough to do a review on it and put it up on the website. But they did. And I am blessed. Collegeville Book Review by Sari Fordham.

Writers need time. Writers need friends. Writers need food. All three of these basic needs were provided for me, in a more than basic manner, two years ago at Collegeville Institute. I applied for the workshop, sent in some sample writing, and was accepted.  It was an all inclusive scholarship: travel expenses, lodging, food, and teaching. I studied under the wonderful Michael Dennis Browne,: poet, librettist, scholar. I had eleven classmates including: Victoria Barnett, fluent speaker of German and editor of many of Bonhoeffer’s books; Natalie Vestin: poetic nonfiction writer, dreamer, scientist/artist; author and lover of water Mary Jean Port, and Patricia Tull: pastor, thinker, author, traveler. Ann Conway, writer at Image Journal and author with a great sense of humor and knowledge. The amazing poet and author Bo Niles. The Eastern Orthodox pastor and writer William Mills.  And pastor and poet Andrew Schep.  Elise Erickson Barrett: Pastor, musician, writer. Three other great writers (whose websites I cannot find) Mary, Mary, and Mickie made up our crew. For one week, we were a team, a cheering squad, a group of writers come together to learn.

Can you image spending a week with a group of funny, intelligent, witty, people of faith from all walks of life, who love to write? Dinner conversations, late night sitting on the floor discussions, walks along the forest, star gazing on a sandy beach. It was a magical week. Once in a life time. It’s not very often one gets to debate if an end-stopped line in a poem might better be enjamed. To Oxford comma or not? The art of being a librettist. Like I said, it was magical!

Collegeville’s website states that it promotes “Scholarship, leadership, creativity, & community among people of faith.” And it does. Each summer they host various writing workshops. Here’s the upcoming list for the Collegeville Writing Workshops. Check it out! It might be just the place for you … maybe you will finish your book, too.

A special thanks to Carla Durand who oversaw the program, organized the interns, saw to all the details and made the week feel like what it was: a grand, rare, and wonderful working vacation.


PHOTO: My Collegeville Writing Workshop Class, 2012, with teacher Michael Dennis Browne

Jill Kandel
  • Gianna
    Posted at 10:13h, 26 February Reply

    You ‘n’ me will have to chat about these things once.. you know… the college-sucked-dry bank account is less sucked dry, lawls. And once I’ have settled my lil bum in the mountains.

    Anyway. That’s the most gorgeous review I’ve read of your book yet.

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