12 Days at Sewanee
July 19-31, 2016
Dr. B.H. "Pete" Fairchild
Pete was my mentor/primary worshop leader. He's the author of Such Holy Song: Music as Idea, Form, and Image in the Poetry of William Blake and several books of his own extraordinary poetry. He grew up with a machinist father and the rest of the machine shop men, hard-edged, who never used the word "beauty" -- but he knows beauty when he sees it, and he describes it in a shining lyricism.
Mrs. Patti Fairchild
Patti is reader for Sewanee and one of the loveliest and most intriguing people I met during the conference. She sat at my table at dinner on the first day, as I recall, and I did not know who she was, so when she asked about my workshop experience and my faculty, I answered honestly --- and I'm happy to say that my honest words were in admiration of Pete. I said he was brilliant, and she said, "Oh, don't tell him that," and then she told me about when he came to Sewanee the first time.
He didn't get the faculty mentor he had wanted, and he nearly quit and went home, but she said, "No, you're not," and it turned out for the best because he had half-hoped to be told that his poetry wasn't any good so he could quit spending so much time on it and get back to regular life, but that's not what happened.