Washington Signature
[ Search and Navigation ]   [ View Full Site ]

Summer on the Moors

  • News Image
    Val Dunn '15, a double-major in English & Drama with a minor in Creative Writing, is Associate Editor for The Collegian for 2013-2014 and spokesperson for Writers' Union.
September 23, 2013
Every year, the Rose O’Neill Literary House awards two $1000 Jacoby Endowment Grants to support undergraduate work in the fields of publishing, writing, and editing.
Val Dunn ‘15 was one of two students awarded for the 2012-2013 academic year. She used her funding to pay for a literary cross-country hike through Northern England. Here, she tells us how it went:


“While walking the craggy shore of Ennerdale Waters, I realized that this hidden English lake might just be the prettiest in the world if only I wasn’t carrying a pack that weighed a third of my bodyweight. My map book indicated that I would soon walk through a “nice, mossy bit” but it was at that section I contemplated ending the trip after just three days of hiking. However, I did not stop and, having since survived and completed my 190-mile hike across Northern England, I now appreciate the difficult necessity of observing a landscape firsthand.

“I kept a detailed travel journal during my hike, initially expecting to write something like Wordsworth that would capture the genteel beauty of the English countryside. The English countryside quickly quelled my assumptions with rain, hail, sideways wind, more rain, and even sun bright enough to burn the backs of my shoulders. Around the same time that my waterproof boots ceased to be waterproof, I accepted that the earth cannot be tamed by poetic notions. I can, however, recreate the way forgotten wisps of sheep wool smell in a pasture of manure or how the moors become quiet when they see rain rushing across the east to them. I have narrowed my poetic focus so as to appreciate the way cottongrass dances on the top of Dent Hill rather than rehash generic portraits of nature. By submitting myself to the environment and living in the landscape about which I wished to write, I allowed the earth to shape me as a poet.”

Applications for this year’s Jacoby Endowment Grants are due November 5, 2013. See this page for details.

Last modified on Oct. 2nd, 2013 at 10:16am by Brittany Weaver.