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Showing posts from September, 2014

Frank Conroy, Nantucket, and Travel Writing

Just this morning while feeling the need to procrastinate, and to further avoid grading some student essays, I picked up Frank Conroy’s 2004 entry in the Crown Journeys series on his summers and brief year long residency on Nantucket.  This slim meditation on his life on the island and the changes he observed from the 1950s to the 1990s would not likely have caught my attention when I found it in the $1 bins a few weeks ago if I had not just been reminded of Conroy’s centrality to the Iowa Writer’s Workshop in the n+1 essay collection, MFA vs NYC.  I assume that MFA programs continue to study Conroy- he published a memoir, an essay collection, and a novel between 1977 and 1993 which rate as among the finest books from any writer’s writer, but aside from many literary essays and those three volumes (including only a single novel) it seems his major career was training young writers in Iowa and teaching along with other literary giants such as Raymond Carver, Kurt Vonnegut.