Donato Mancini’s time at the University of Windsor provided him with something many writers yearn for — the opportunity to focus exclusively on his craft.
“That’s what everybody craves and wishes for,” the writer-in-residence said. “It’s why people take themselves off the grid and unplug for weeks at a time.
“The amount of progress you can make in a few really focused weeks is so much more than a whole year of working in fits and starts and in time off.”
Dr. Mancini is nearing the end of his tenure as UWindsor’s writer-in-residence and will recite some of the poems he wrote during his time on campus at a year-end reading and celebration today at 4 p.m.
Self-described as an “exploratory” poet, Mancini creates visual poetry, procedural poetry, and visual art.
His focus centres around nonfiction and poetry, but he said working with various writers over the past four months has helped him to grow.
“I don’t think I would have known for sure before starting this that I could actually teach people how to write fiction but I found it perfectly interesting and fun,” Mancini said.
Over the course of this semester, Mancini has worked with more than 40 writers to help them perfect their style and find their voice.
One thing he said surprised him was the number of people from outside the University who utilized his time in Windsor.
“It’s been a pretty even split between students and members of the community,” Mancini said.
“Basically, it’s all people under 22 or over 65 and quite a few on both sides of that huge gap. That gap is your work life, career, family, and so once they get to the other side they have time to focus on writing.”
He said a challenge for every writer is identifying what drives them to write.
“Everyone wants something from their writing, through writing, and it’s more than just their written work,” Mancini said. “In order to really help people, you need to try and grasp that as well, to understand what they believe writing will add to their lives.”
The poet is moving on from his post in Windsor to Baltimore in January for postdoctoral work at Johns Hopkins University.
The year-end reading and celebration will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at McPherson Lounge, Alumni Hall. The free public event will also celebrate the release of Nicole Markotić’s new young adult novel Rough Patch and Daphne Marlatt’s Intertidal: The Collected Earlier Poems, 1968-2008 edited by Susan Holbrook.