Writing Peace Corps (1): Readings by Writers

FRIDAY, MARCH 25, 10:45am-12:00pm  (75 minutes)

The Art of Travel
Katherine Case
San Francisco Center for the Book                  
RPCV Ghana, 1994-96

I will read poems about how our experience of Africa changes our perception of America and vice versa.

Katherine Case is a poet, printmaker and former Peace Corps Volunteer whose poetry has appeared in numerous national publications. She has taught letterpress and relief printmaking at the Academy of Art University and the San Francisco Center for the Book, where she currently works keeping the Vandercooks running and spreading the word about the art of the book. She received an MFA from Mills College in 2000 and a BA in art and English from the UW-Madison in 1994.

In Bed with Epifani
Erica Bleeg
Department of English, James Madison University
RCPV Benin, 1997-99

From 1997-99,  I served in Benin, West Africa. Of that time, Americans often ask, “What did you do over there?” yet my stories tend to explore a question a child once asked me, “Who did you go there to meet?”  “In Bed with Epifani” is a nonfiction narrative that traces my unlikely friendship with an outsider living in a secluded hamlet, far from her family and the city where she raised, far from a language she knew. 

Erica Bleeg is a graduate of the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program and has a Masters in Humanities from the University of Chicago. Her nonfiction has appeared in The Missouri Review, The Iowa Review, The North American Review, and Barnstorm.  “Obedience,” a story set in Benin, West Africa, won the 2006 Editors Prize from the Missouri Review. She teaches at James Madison University.

Cooking Crocodiles
Bonnie Lee Black
University of New Mexico - Taos     
RPCV Gabon, 1996-98

While serving in the Central African rainforest, I taught health, nutrition, and cooking to local women.  The story of this gratifying adventure has just been published by Peace Corps Writers, titled How to Cook Crocodiles.  I will talk about this adventure — joining the Peace Corps at 50, after having been a food writer and caterer in NYC for many years — and about the process of writing Peace Corps memoirs (aimed at fulfilling the Third Goal).

Bonnie Lee Black earned a BA degree from Columbia University in New York and an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University-Los Angeles. She is the author of the memoir Somewhere Child (Viking Press)as well as the newly published How to Cook a Crocodile.  Her essays have appeared in a number of published anthologies and literary journals.  She now lives in Taos, NM, and teaches English and Creative Nonfiction Writing at UNM-Taos