“You can’t grow as a writer, or as a reader really, unless you’re willing to take risks,” says Gloria Biamonte, who teaches both writing and literature. Gloria’s background in 19th and 20th century American literature and popular culture enriches her own writing interests and her classes at Marlboro. “I am really grateful that here I get to do both things I love. They inform each other so much.” She likes working with students who are curious, and also those who are tentative but really want to go someplace with their writing.
“Writing is a vehicle for discovery,” says Gloria. “You don’t write about what you know, you write in order to find out what you know.” Encouraging students to find their voices as writers, she creates an environment in her classes that fosters openness and risk-taking. “Trying to give shape to your thoughts and perceptions on paper can be both scary and exciting. You are reaching inward to understand and form your ideas, while reaching outward to communicate with your readers.” Believing that writers are, most importantly, readers, Gloria teaches students to read and think about literature while helping them explore their options as writers. In her writing seminars, Gloria examines authors ranging from Mark Twain to Zora Neale Hurston to Elie Weisel, grapples with texts that blur the line between fact and fiction and even considers what makes a good mystery novel. “My writing seminars on autobiographical narratives allow students to explore the meeting ground of memory and imagination and to move toward understanding their own writing as a site for learning.
Gloria is a reader for the journal Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, and recently published her own work, an essay called “Things I carry…”, in the Winter 2009 issue of Peregrine. She has presented papers and moderated panels on literature at the conferences of the Northeast Modern Language Association and the New England Popular Culture Association. Gloria is currently working on a book about her father’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, inspired by a class on creative nonfiction she team-taught with writing professor John Sheehy. “The one thing that links all of my work comes from my seminar called Ways of Telling: how writers put words to things that seem unspeakable.”