Manhattanville Reid Castle In the Spring

Manhattanville College Creative Writing Students Spend Summer in Wales


Wales Trip From Left: Professor Jeff Bens, Danielle Gennaro, Breanne Post, David Wisnik, and Alicia Zadrozny, in Wales.
Four Manhattanville College creative writing students spent two weeks of their summer taking a course at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. The students were accompanied by Jeff Bens, director of Manhattanville’s Undergraduate Creative Writing Program.

The Manhattanville students were undergraduates Breanne Post and David Wisnik, and graduate students Danielle Gennaro and Alicia Zadrozny. They were joined by nine other American students participating in the course, “Dylan Thomas and a Sense of Place,” which focused on the life and work of the Welsh poet.

The students stayed at the Lampeter Campus and participated in daily workshops with Dr. Menna Elfyn, professor of Poetry at University of Wales Trinity Saint David, and Pamela Petro, MFA Creative Writing Faculty at Lesley University.

“The town that we lived in was such a magical place that no matter where you went on the grounds you were inspired,” said Post. “I learned so much from the exercises and prompts that have improved my writing skills and made my work more creative. It was an amazing feeling being around people that were extremely imaginative with their writing.”

The group traveled throughout western and southern Wales, exploring areas that impacted the life and work of Thomas. Destinations included Fern Hill, the family home where Thomas spent time as a boy that inspired his famous poem of the same name, New Quay, and Swansea, Thomas’ birthplace. They also spent a day at Hay-on-Wye, known as the “Town of Books,” during the historic Hay Festival of Literature and Arts.

Students also attended local events, including a quilt exhibit, readings with a local group Poets and Peasants, and an evening of Welsh folk song and storytelling. The group also got to spend time with Elsi Davis, mayor of Lampeter and fellow creative writing student at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

“It was a tremendous experience, learning about Dylan Thomas while surrounded by the roads he walked and the hills he gazed on. I'll always treasure the readings we attended, meeting the National Poet of Wales, and reading our own work in Dylan's house,” said Zadrozny.

“We had a fantastic time in Wales,” said Bens. “The graciousness of the Welsh, the exceptional writers and teachers at Trinity Saint David, the generosity and rigor of the program; the two weeks were challenging, fun, and, most of all, inspiring.”