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Linfield Fall 2012

ow to write fascinated with central Oregon’s high desert. Miles Oliveira ’12 found Keesey’s “I found it so beautiful, interesting, lessons on the process of writing The Keesey file strange and different in its feel,” she said. eye-opening. Keesey focuses on the “It has a kind of mysterious charge for me.” importance of details in writing, which She calls it a “triggering point” – a made him a stronger essay writer, and he •At Linfield since 2007 town, landscape, an animal, weather learned that a good story rarely appears in •Renshaw Distinguished Professor of or something that can make the the first draft. Literature and Writing imagination whirl. “Anna tells you she wasn’t always •Education In her Linfield classroom, she a great storyteller,” Oliveira said. “She B.A., Stanford University helps students find their own triggering teaches the process of writing and tells K-12 Teaching Credential, UC Berkeley points – those images that send their her students that we are going to write, M.F.A., Iowa Writers’ Workshop, minds spinning. Many of her students rewrite and keep drafting over and over University of Iowa have a good sense of language. Her role is until we have something really good. She helping them create a repertoire of words trusts her students to do that and helps by •Recipient of National Endowment for and phrases that they can use to build a giving great advice. The good writers are the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship sentence or create a scene. the ones who revise the best. And that’s •Published in: Best American Short She’s succeeding, according to her important because when you look at her Stories, other journals and anthologies students. Calling her one of the best writing, she’s always tinkering and making •Residencies: MacDowell Colony, teachers she ever had, Jamie Lyon ’11 something really good.” Bread Loaf, Yaddo, Provincetown said Keesey creates an environment in concerns, make jokes and engage in the St. Louis, Northwestern University journeyTeaching: Washington University-•Long ask questions, voice to safe it iswhich learning process. “Anna has a way of •Academic interests: American couching her instruction in the belief Writing and publishing Little Century literature, short fiction, historical that her students are more than equal was a long journey for Keesey, and her life fiction, pedagogy of creative writing to the task,” Lyon said. has changed dramatically. She was in the Keesey’s workshop style of teaching, process of adopting her son, Joaquin, now in which students look closely at their 6, and planned to return to the Northwest work and the work of others, helped when she was hired by Linfield’s English own creative work and draft a new novel much Lyon learn the mechanics and structure department five years ago, bringing her more quickly. of fiction writing. “It brought into sharp full circle back to Oregon and family. The “I can have the best of both worlds – relief the techniques, both instinctual and book is dedicated to Joaquin, because, continuing to teach and be involved with learned, that we used and allowed us to “writing the book and becoming Joaquin’s students and faculty, continuing to be a learn from others,” she said. mom were huge commitments I made on presence in my department and in the creative The lessons carried over into Lyon’s my own and the two most intellectually writing major, yet having a substantial period other classes at Linfield and even now as and emotionally demanding things I’ve of quiet each year, when my mind can be filled she applies to graduate schools. done in my life as an individual.” with my own thoughts and stories instead of “Constructing a piece of fiction She’s thinking ahead to her next those of others,” she said. requires you to balance a number of book, a contemporary story most likely The appointment is a win for Linfield as things – plot, setting, character, pattern, set in post-9/11 Portland and again well. Keesey said donations from alumni and dialogue – you can’t leave any of that touching on issues of political control and others that create endowments such as this are to chance,” she said. “You have to force the importance of water in the Pacific important because they allow faculty to pursue yourself to think all of the time about Northwest. significant scholarship work that invariably connectivity, about linkages. In Anna’s And, thanks to a new endowment, energizes their teaching and collaborations class, as in all the writing and literature this fall she was named the first Renshaw with students. classes I took, I learned how to think Distinguished Professor of Literature and critically and communicate well, two Writing. The endowment will allow her – Mardi Mileham skills that are invaluable in every aspect to be released from teaching one semester of life.” each year, meaning she can pursue her Fall 2012 l i n f i e l d m a g a z i n e - 1 5


Linfield Fall 2012
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