Friday, October 22, 2010

Founder of WC's Literary Program Featured in "Chestertown Spy" Video Profile

CHESTERTOWN—Robert Day, Washington College professor of English emeritus, is the featured video interview this week in the online Chestertown Spy. In the interview, filmed by Kurt Kolaja (father of Karly Kolaja ’11), Day talks about his Kansas roots, the earliest days of the Sophie Kerr lecture series and his founding of the Rose O’Neill Literary House and the Literary House Press at Washington College. Day spent nearly four decades at the College, retiring in May of 2007.

In introducing the video profile, the Spy summed up Day’s contributions to Washington College and Chestertown this way:

“Students and colleagues have described Washington College professor and writer Bob Day as incorrigible, controversial, impossibly stubborn, radical, and egomaniacal. It’s also common for the same people to say he is an exceptionally gifted educator and writer, who is brilliantly persuasive, entrepreneurial, genuinely funny and quite ‘real’ in contrast to the rarified world of higher education academic life.

With almost forty years of living in and around Chestertown, the best-selling author and teacher delights in telling stories of battles won and lost with college presidents, English departments, and colleagues in his field of literature. But there is no greater proof of his unique impact on the community than his founding of the creative writing program at Washington College, and the creation of the O’Neill Literary House and Literary Press on Washington Avenue.

With a potent mixture of funding from the writer Sophie Kerr and Kansas chutzpah, Day made Chestertown a literary destination for such writers as Alan Ginsburg, Katherine Anne Porter, William Stafford, Toni Morrison, Joseph Brodsky, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Anthony Burgess, Edward Albee, poet Billy Collins and William Kennedy. The end result of his effort and vision has left Washington College with one of the most distinguished writing programs in the country. His most recent essay, ‘We’ll Always Have McSorley’s’ currently appears in American Scholar magazine.”

To watch the video, click here.

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