Esteemed author leaves Winter with the Writers

Photo by Alexander Knobloch

An event honoring the career of Carol Frost, director of the Winter with the Writers program at Rollins, was held on March 23. It included a reading of his works and farewell wishes from his fellow teachers.

Winter with the Writers is an annual literary arts event hosted by Rollins’ English department, which began in 1927.

During her career spanning more than 43 years, Frost has published over 13 books of poetry, received two scholarships, and won four Pushcart Awards.

According to Victoria Brown, an associate professor of English and one of the event’s organizers, Frost’s legacy lies in how “she brokered the affiliation between Rollins and the FBN. [the National Book Foundation, host of the National Book Awards]ensuring that the best writers working and being recognized today come to our annual Winter with the Writers festival.

“Carol’s tenure marked a golden period for contemporary literature on campus,” Brown said.

“On several occasions, Carol has taken students to New York for the [National Book] Awards,” Brown said. “It’s a treat for anyone interested in literature, and especially for a student writer just starting out.”

“A legacy is not for me to leave but for others to collect,” Frost said, expressing that she “appreciated [her] students especially––their fresh perspectives and in some of them a deep desire to learn.

“The story of my time in Rollins will reflect what and how people remember me, and for some, perhaps, in all the stories of my solo travels to see art: an accidental encounter with Salvador Dali and journeys into the natural world, giving me the perceptions of eerie beauty in the death of a Ridley Kemp turtle, kayaking in the dark – all the things that flavor my writing and all the things I’ve reported to my students,” Frost said.

Frost considers Winter With the Writers one of the most pivotal experiences of her career at Rollins.

She hopes “people will remember Winter with the Writers during my tenure as director for the quality of the work and the rich diversity of our guest list for fourteen years. Rollins has become the place to come to give readings and masterclasses.

Notable guests included Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, MacArthur Scholar Karen Russell and National Book Award Director Lisa Lucas.

For Frost, leading the festival has been an educational experience, and she expresses that “although she knows by reputation or personally many writers who have come to [the event]––and she knows a lot of writers––[she] started looking for authors and books outside of [her] ken, largely to give the public a broader sense of what literature was, what it says, and how writers say it.

Winter with the Writers lost its relationship with the National Book Foundation, but Frost “hopes the English department will continue to support contemporary American writing, which, in English-to-English translations, includes literature from every continent. “.

“If the college decides to re-engage in a celebration for ‘America’s Best Literature,’ we could earn back our place at one of the nation’s most prominent literary tables,” Frost said. “I will be happy to help you. »

Frost “appreciates all the energy and creativity [the Winter with the Writers interns] brought to our annual festivals.

She imagines her future involvement with Rollins after his retirement as primarily advisory, saying she will be “ready to offer suggestions on possible literary guests in all literary genres to the English Department, although [she is] guessing that Drs. Aggarwal, Brown, and Forsythe can easily find their own rosters of writers each semester on their own.

Frost also expresses interest in “acting as an intermediary between students seeking a literary experience beyond Rollins and the Florida State Poets Association”. [of which she is a chancellor].”

“There might be a way to formalize this kind of opportunity by offering a work grant to a talented poet to attend one of the Association’s biannual three-day conferences,” Frost said.

Additionally, she adds that “if a message from a Rollins student reaches my desk, [she] go read it!”

Looking to the future, Frost said she “plans to write, read and travel, destinations unknown in all pursuits, which makes them both so exciting.” She also hopes to continue gardening, commenting that she “might set up a small olive grove in the hinterland.”

For Frost, the key to fulfillment lies in “being able to shape a life by doing what you love”.

Lola R. McClure