Every December, the creative writing faculty and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellows at the University of Wisconsin-Madison participate in a Secret Santa party organized by chief elf, Amy Quan Barry. It’s hard to tell, but my present was a collage of photos celebrating A Reunion of Ghosts, including photos of my US and British book jackets and me on my book tour. Thank you, Secret Santa!
As for the rest of the gang, they are, from left to right (back row): Poets Josh Kalsheur wearing one of the many fake mustaches he received; Ron Wallace (soon to retire) with a scrapbook filled with loving comments from 43 years of teaching; Sean Bishop with ceramic red Solo Cup for years of beer consumption; and Amaud Jamaul Johnson with custom-made rubber stamp bearing Amaud’s favorite admonition to his student’s: “I may have given you an A, but that doesn’t mean I respect you”; followed by fiction writers Ron Kuka with framed photo of his idol Dan Gable; me, hiding; Danielle Evans with hot pink coffee thermos decorated with shoes (sooo Danielle); Jordan Jacks with Star Wars mug; and Mary Fiorenza with metal chicken candle. Kneeling from left to right: fiction writer Mika Taylor with pink squeaky pig; and poet Karyna McGlynn with a copy of Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. Missing: Amy Quan Barry, who was taking the photo; actor, playwright, and director Jen Plants, who was teaching; and Jesse Lee Kercheval who was home sick, but whose photo we put up on the Smart Board so we could pretend she was in the room with us.
I just thought you might like to see some of the people I love.