BETHEL — Inaugural poet Richard Blanco’s recently announced Visiting Writers Program and Retreat at Gould Academy will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 6, in Bingham Auditorium at Gould Academy.

Poet Spencer Reece, the first participating writer, will be introduced by Blanco and give a public reading.

A book signing by Reece in the Sanborn Family Library in Hanscom Hall will follow the public reading.

Tucker Kimball, director of communications at Gould Academy, said the event is free.

“I have been a fan of Spencer’s work for quite some time,” Blanco said in a recent press release. “He visited me in Bethel last year, and I am thrilled to welcome him back to share his work. I am sure his moving and pure-spirited poems will inspire and enrich our community.”

Blanco’s Visiting Writers Program was announced to the public Feb. 20.


Kimball said the program is made up of three parts: the retreat, working with students and working with the public.

“The visiting writer will stay for two weeks at Blanco’s private cottage, where he’ll have a chance to relax and work on his craft,” Kimball said. “During this time, there’ll be an education component, where the writer will engage with the students and host different writing workshops. Finally, there will be a community piece, in the form of public readings and other events.”

“I think that it’s great that the students will be able to read the works from contemporary writers, while they’re in the midst of their craft, versus the typical writers they read in their classes,” he said. “It’s a novel approach to reading and learning about writing.”

Kimball said Gould Academy is, “excited to see how this goes,” and would like to host the program “more than once a year” if it goes well.

Reece’s debut collection of poems, “The Clerk’s Tale,” was published in 2004 and received the Katharine Bakeless Nason Literary Publication Prize for poetry, selected by U.S. Poet Laureate Louise Gluck and awarded by the Middlebury College Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He is also the author of the collection “The Road to Emmaus” published in 2013.

Reece was also ordained as an Episcopal priest in 2011, received a Fulbright grant to live and work with orphaned girls at the Our Little Roses orphanage in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, where he was able to teach them how to write poetry.

While participating in the Visiting Writers Program, Reece and Blanco will team up to co-edit an anthology of poems written by the girls from the Our Little Roses orphanage.

Reece’s honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, grants from the Fulbright Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Council, a Witter Bynner fellowship from the Library of Congress and a Whiting Writer’s Award.

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