After 14 years as an English teacher and director of Winter among writers in Rollins, Carol Frost is retiring. An event on March 23 paid tribute to his career, with a reading of his works and farewell wishes from fellow teachers.
According to Victoria Brown, an associate professor of English and one of the event’s organizers, Frost’s legacy will live on 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.
Winter with the Writers began in 1927 as Rollins’ annual literary arts event.
During his career spanning more than 43 years, Frost has published more than 13 books of poetry, received two scholarships and won four Pushcart Awards.
“Carol’s tenure marked a golden period for contemporary literature on campus,” Brown said. “On several occasions, Carol has taken students to New York to [National Book] Awards. 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 said she hopes “people remember Winter with the Writers during [her] management for the quality of the work and the rich diversity of our guest list for fourteen years.
Notable guests on the program 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.
“Although I know by reputation or personally many writers who have come [the event]––and I know a lot of writers––I started looking for authors and books outside of my acquaintances, largely to give the public a broader idea of what literature was, what she says and the way writers say her.
Winter with the Writers was cut from Rollins’ budget due to COVID-19. As such, Rollins has lost his 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 literatures from all the continents”.
“If the college decides to recommit to a celebration of America’s finest literature, we could earn back our place at one of the most important literary tables in the country,” Frost said. “I will be happy to help you. »
Frost said she imagines her future involvement with Rollins after his retirement as primarily advisory, saying she would be “willing 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 expressed interest in “acting as a conduit 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.
Looking ahead, 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”.