Dr. Hope Maxwell Snyder, poet laureate of Shepherdstown, has been named Shepherd’s first poet-in-residence. Snyder, who taught in the Department of English and Modern Languages between 1995-2003, is leading a new initiative, The Society for Creative Writing, which will bring national and international poets and fiction and nonfiction writers to Shepherd to encourage literary dialogue while exposing students to a multicultural writing community.
“I am very excited to be able to bring a program like this to Shepherd,” Snyder said. “My goal is to enrich the lives of the students by exposing them to established writers from different parts of the country so they will be able to learn diverse ways to approach the writing profession, and to give faculty opportunities to enrich their own teaching and interact with other writers. This will also add to the artistic community that already exists in Shepherdstown.”
The Society for Creative Writing will host its first event on February 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Marinoff Theater with a poetry reading featuring Snyder and former Maryland poet laureate Michael Collier. Snyder is also planning a literary festival October 10-13, which will bring poets and fiction and nonfiction writers from across the country to Shepherd to participate in readings, workshops, question-and-answer sessions, and book signings. Snyder believes offering events like these are important to the intellectual and spiritual development of the community.
“I think they’re important for education, because they remind us of the arts and their value,” Snyder said. “We can receive an education, we can work, we can be very successful, but I think that the arts bring a layer of something very important to our lives, whether we’re students, faculty, or professionals. They just remind us of who we are—of our humanity, really.”
“Shepherd University is extremely honored to work with distinguished scholars, like Hope Maxwell Snyder, our faculty and staff, and members of the community—who collectively recognize the powerful impact their efforts will have on the next generation,” said President Mary J.C. Hendrix.
The Society for Creative Writing is supported by the Shepherd University Foundation’s Scarborough Society and the President’s Club. Snyder is looking for support from corporations, companies, and private donors, and the society is open for membership to interested students, faculty, staff, and community members.