So not only did you teach me about writing memoir, you also taught me about reading and thinking about how others write memoir. Thank you so much! Rebecca
Showing posts with label Dana Wildsmith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dana Wildsmith. Show all posts

Saturday, August 13, 2022



Do you want to hear both sides of the border issue? Dana Wildsmith teaches English as a second language to immigrants to this country. She takes us inside the hearts and minds of those who struggle to make it to the United States and safety from the dangers in their homelands.

We hear so much talk of building walls along our borders to keep people out but seldom do we hear the migrants' stories that accompany such dangerous journeys--like the vulnerability of giving up your child to a stranger, the tragedy of dying in the desert, or the constant fear of getting caught. Dana Wildsmith's Jumping captures the experiences of what happens when "illegals" try to cross into the United States, "jumping" the border. 

Cesar, the main character, is especially powerfully portrayed with his humor, intelligence, and desire to provide a better life for his family. Read this novel for a good story, for a better understanding of our neighbors, and to know what it means to be human.

Dana Wildsmith’s writing has its roots in literal soil: the earth of the old farm she works to keep alive, as documented in her collection of poems, One Good Hand, and through her environmental memoir, Back to Abnormal, or along the desert sands of our southern border, as told in her novel, Jumping, a story which grew from Wildsmith’s work as a teacher of English Literacy to non-native speakers. 

Her most recent collection, One Light, follows the journey of her mother, Grace, down dementia’s rocky road. Wildsmith has a new book forthcoming from Madville Publishing which took root as the pandemic flourished and we all searched for tools to help us cope with this unprecedented epic. With Access to Tools explores the role of tools in our lives: traditional farm tools, tools of the digital age, and cerebral tools such as patience and memory. 

Wildsmith is a highly sought-after teacher of creative writing and has garnered residencies at the Hambidge Center, the Lillian E Smith Center, Grand Canyon National Park and Everglades National Park. Her website,, is the home of a widely read blog mostly centered on teaching and writing.

Wildsmith's books are available on 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Teaching Adults to Write about their Lives - fascinating and fun

Dana Wildsmith, excellent writer, poet and teacher, writes about her week at the John C. Campbell Folk School, and for a few minutes I long for those times when I taught there, when I ate at the family-style dining tables and talked with strangers I would likely never see after the week ended. The folk school is a magical place, and if there are ghosts, I know they live in those buildings and walk those grounds so lovely in the evening and early morning fog.

At the end of this post by Dana she tells us what her students say about taking her class and writing personal essays. Like me, Dana teaches students to write about themselves, tell their stories and put words to paper on subjects they would never have thought to write about had they not registered for her writing class.

Tonight my group at Tri-County Community College was thin as one student had to drop out and another was absent. But the writing by those present was thick and heavy with family stories and happenings from their youth.

“I would never have thought of this if it hadn’t been for you,” Roger said as he explained how he came to write the story, The Smell from Hell. He was a stock boy in a store, just a teenager, and worked for $1.00 an hour in south Florida. In a short page of writing he entertained us, made us laugh, informed us of what life was like back then, and enlightened his readers with knowledge and history of gender specific jobs and how in today’s world a stock boy has a new politically correct title – inventory engineer- or some such thing. Roger has written serious, thought-provoking articles as well as hilarious stories of his youth. He submits opinion pieces regularly to the Graham Star, his local newspaper, and he is a political news junkie.  

Diane also wrote a humorous piece for tonight. She chose the prompt, Write about stories that are told and re-told in your family. She took us on a trip across country in an old VW Bus loaded with a bunch of kids and her Aunt Elaine who confronted a bear in the campground one morning. The trip changed Aunt Elaine’s life forever. Diane has writing experience, but in this class she has learned to take her skills further and deeper as she explores the use of the five senses and includes details as well as dialogue in her creative nonfiction. In another story she wrote, we all fell in love with her Irish Grandmother.

Kathy brought one of her children’s stories – What if?  Kathy is a dedicated writer who will one day be well-published. I can see this manuscript illustrated by a good artist and in the hands of children who will love it. Kathy has also brought us to tears when writing about her pet squirrel.

Like my mother and my sister, June, I delight in hearing the unique stories about the lives of others. I think June enjoyed her life at Assisted Living because she met so many people and heard their personal stories. I liked for her to tell me about them and often I had the chance to meet them as well. 

I thrive on seeing my students’ work improve each week. I will miss these creative writers over the winter. My next class at the college is scheduled for Fall, 2017. But I hope to teach at my home studio next summer.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Rebecca recommends Dana Wildsmith's class - Register now

Rebecca Gallo, writer, blogger and world traveler said this about Dana Wildsmith.

My second writing class at JCCFS was with Dana Wildsmith (my first was with Glenda Beall).
As an experienced teacher, Dana comes to class extremely prepared and organized. Her lessons are well thought-out and come from her years of experience as a writer and poet. In addition to learning a lot and writing a lot, I got valuable feedback from both Dana and my other classmates that helped to improve my writing. I'd highly recommend a class with Dana Wildsmith. 

Dana teaches at Writers Circle in  Hayesville, NC on April 25, Saturday, 10 - 1:00 p.m.
Words are all we have - title of Dana's class for all genre writers. 
$35.00 for three hour class. Contact Glenda Beall - 

Friday, April 10, 2015


Saturday, April 25, 2015

10 - 1:00 p.m.


Mail check for $35.00  to Writers Circle, 581 Chatuge Lane, Hayesville, NC 28904

Call 828-389-4441 for more information. 

Words Are All We Have

Samuel Coleridge once defined prose as "words in the best order," and poetry as "the best words in the best order." Whichever you're working on, prose or poetry, it all comes down to making the right word choices and putting them in an effective order. 

In this multi-level workshop for writers of prose or poetry, fiction or non-fiction, we will spend some time talking about how to make the wisest word choices we can, and then how to arrange those words in the best possible order. 
We'll preface and follow discussion with short writing prompts. Bring your questions, your problems and your ideas!

Come out and meet Dana on Friday, April 24, 4:30 p.m. Joe's Coffee Shop, 82 Main Street, Hayesville, NC 28904. She will talk about her writing, answer your questions, and read some of her work. This is free and open to  the public

  • Dana Wildsmith's environmental memoir, Back to Abnormal: Surviving with An Old Farm in the New South, was Finalist for Georgia Author of the Year. 
  • She is the author of five collections of poetry, including most recently, Christmas in Bethlehem
  • Wildsmith has served as Artist-in-Residence for Grand Canyon National Park, as Writer-in-Residence for the Island Institute in Sitka, Alaska, and she is a Fellow of the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Our fragile writer's ego

One of my favorite writers is Dana Wildsmith and I subscribe to her blog because all of her posts are extremely interesting to me as a writer.
I want to share this one because it hits on the universal reaction we have when we think our writing is threatened in any way by another writer.
In this case, Dana's friend is afraid someone has "written her book" which is in progress.
Click on this link to read Dana's post.
Dana will teach at Writers Circle studio this summer.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Words Are All We Have - Dana Wildsmith

Dana Wildsmith will be teaching Words are all we Have at Writers Circle around the Table on Saturday, April  25. Mark that date on your calendar now.

To see some of her work and see the way she thinks as a writer, visit her blog site:

Friday, March 28, 2014

Don't miss Dana Wildsmith - Saturday, April 12, 1 - 4 p.m.

April 12, Saturday, 1 - 4 p.m. 2014: Dana Wildsmith - Writers Circle, Hayesville, NC
Fee: $45


All we have to work with when we set out down fiction's road is the stuff of our lives, but that's enough. Every one of us has a couple of horror-story-worthy relatives, and we've all lived through years of high drama in our lives. The material is there, for sure, but the rub lies in figuring out how to use that material when memoir is not our aim. In this class, we'll talk about ways to use those three crazy uncles of yours to flesh out one strong character for a story or novel, how to conduct and make use of interviews, and a little about scene-writing. This will be a class for all levels of fiction writers.

Bio: Dana Wildsmith's environmental memoir, Back to Abnormal: Surviving With An Old Farm in the New South, was Finalist for Georgia Author of the Year. She is the author of five collections of poetry, including most recently, Christmas in Bethlehem. Wildsmith has served as Artist-in-Residence for Grand Canyon National Park, as Writer-in-Residence for the Island Institute in Sitka, Alaska, and she is a Fellow of the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dana Wildsmith at Writers Circle in 2014


Dana Wildsmith, a writer and poet I admire, lives outside Atlanta on an old family farm. She has been teaching at John C. Campbell Folk School for years but I've not been able to catch one of her classes.

So I recently asked her to teach at Writers Circle next year, 2014.
She said she would love to. We have been working on a date for her class which is to be for non-poets, memoirists, novelists, etc. as Dana writes poetry and prose. 

Today, she sent me an email and I was delighted to see that my friends at FutureCycle Press are publishing her new poetry book,
Christmas in Bethlehem.

I think we will have to have Dana come back in the fall and teach a workshop on poetry, don't you?