This year, the library invited faculty who are retiring in Spring 2021 to share their work with our community.
This exhibit highlights the scholarship and creative work of three professors whose combined teaching careers at Hollins total an amazing 90 years. While the extraordinary careers of such experienced and beloved faculty cannot be fully expressed by an exhibit, the Library is still proud to celebrate with Cathy Hankla, Kathleen Nolan, and Ernie Zulia as they prepare for their next career as faculty emeriti!
First year at Hollins: 1982, as a filmmaking instructor; I taught two classes in filmmaking that year. In 1983, I began teaching creative writing; I returned to Hollins in 1991 after teaching two years at Washington and Lee University.
Favorite Hollins memory: In 1985, parts of the Hollins campus were flooded and classes had to be cancelled until the campus could be cleaned up. Faculty from all departments lined up in waders and rubber boots to relay precious books from Fishburn Library (then located in the building where the VAC is now). We managed to salvage quite a few items by working together in a conga line dance.
Favorite place on campus: On front quad, in the Meditation Chapel, or Beale Garden, you can find my spirit wandering happily around.
Proudest professional accomplishment: My mentoring and guiding writers over the years has given me profound satisfaction, especially as I’ve seen former students’ projects come to fruition in their many, many published books and literary awards. Aside from my students’ successes, my own publication record of fourteen books (with the 15th forthcoming) in three genres is a testament to how I’ve spent every summer, sabbatical, and break: butt in chair or traveling for inspiration and research.
Plans for retirement: My plans are formulating from what I love to do: write, paint, travel, and coach writers. Somewhere pursuing these occupations, you will find me.
I chose this interview (linked above) because it’s with my Hollins classmate and fellow English major, Kathy Brown Ramsperger, who has always been so thoughtful and astute as a reader and writer. The interview focuses on "Lost Places: On Losing and Finding Home", Mercer University Press, 2018, Memoir in essays, and the writing life.
I chose this story from Fortune Teller Miracle Fish because it’s a good sample of my lyrical style of fiction. “Powerful Angels,” is included in this collection and the story was also selected for the “other distinguished stories” list in Best American Short Stories, 2001.
These readings are part of a planetarium show, “Poetry Under the Stars,” first presented live at the Radford University planetarium in January 2018 and later recorded by Brent Stevens (of Hollins). This project is a collaboration with Dr. Rhett Herman of Radford University and features work from my collection Galaxies (Mercer University Press, 2018). The completed program will be available to planetariums across the nation and internationally.