Held during fall and spring semester, Meacham Writer’s Workshop is a three day conference which invites lovers of poetry and prose to listen and interact with its authors. Founded by the late Jean Meacham, a former UTC professor, it was Jean’s dream that the workshop be a free and public event where both professional and amateur writers could communicate and grow in their work. In previous years, Meacham has boasted readings by Pulitzer Prize winning poets such as Philip Levine and James Tate alongside some of our own published and highly awarded creative writing professors like Earl Braggs and Rebecca Cook. This year on Oct. 24th through the 26th multiple Meacham’s readings were given throughout the day within seminar halls around campus and in local downtown venues. The final morning of the conference concluded with a workshop in which writers who had submitted their pieces were given the opportunity to hear constructive criticism from visiting writers.
Meacham Writer’s Workshop is a community where writing is shared, appreciated and nurtured. Cody Taylor, student coordinator of Meacham from Hendersonville TN., elaborated on this idea by stating, “[Meacham] is the cornerstone of the creative writing community. It’s an opportunity you don’t get at other colleges. It allows students and writers to interact as peers.” The appeal of the conference is not solely for those trying to improve their writing skills, the conference is a free occasion to be entertained by some of the greatest writers in the business. From non-fiction writers to poets the genres are varied and vastly unique. Halley Corapi, a junior at UTC from Knoxville TN. and a spectator at Friday night’s reading, had this to say about Meacham, “It’s always great even if I’ve heard the poem before. I feel like I’m getting something new from it each time.” There is something time honored about Meacham in a time where writing programs are underfunded or nonexistent. As Carrie Meadows, assistant director of Meacham Writer’s Workshop, explained, “I think there is a consistency about Meacham, people get captivated by it. It’s an anchor for writer’s to know that it will always be there.”
— Valerie Johnson