Thursday, October 19, Wagner’s English department welcomed guest writer Emily Skillings to campus as part of its expanding creative writing programming. In the morning, Professor Eric Dean Wilson’s EN215: Introduction to Creative Writing hosted Skillings for a class-length reading and in-class workshop. In the evening, Skillings read poems in the Manzulli Boardroom to an audience of students and faculty that was invited to join in reading their own work, too.
Emily Skillings is the author of the book-length poetry collection Fort Not, published by The Song Cave in 2017, which Publishers Weekly called a “fabulously eccentric, hypnotic, and hypervigilant debut.” Her poems have appeared in significant literary journals, including Poetry, Harper’s, Boston Review, Granta, and the Brooklyn Rail. In addition to her own creative work, Skillings is the editor of Parallel Movement of the Hands: Five Unfinished Longer Works by John Ashbery, which was published by Ecco/HarperCollins in 2021. She is a member of the Belladonna* Collaborative, a feminist poetry collective, small press, and event series. A resident of Brooklyn, she currently teaches creative writing at Yale, NYU, and Columbia.
As the guest in the EN215 class, Skillings opened by reading some of her own work and then conducted a writer’s workshop with Wilson’s students. In the evening, Skillings read her work for students and faculty in the Manzulli Boardroom while Professor Wilson moderated. Then, Skillings invited everyone in the room to read a poem of their own. Soon after the students and other faculty pulled up poems from their bags or from their cell phones, the room was buzzing with shared creativity.