SwampFire Retreat for Artists and Writers


Geromina (Jerri) Courtney

Jerri Courtney is a creative nonfiction writer and blogger who attends SwampFire Retreat on a regular basis. She is currently working on autobiographical reflections about her Italian heritage and grappling with the problem of versions of her family stories sometimes conflicting with each other or missing needed details. She is a retired literature instructor and a member of SwampFire Writers' Group, made up of six professional writers who gather regularly to critique each other's work.

Courtney showcases her work at the following two sites:

Deviant Art Wordpress Blog

As a member of SwampFire Writers' Group, Courtney participated in a reading at 510 Studio and Art Academie, Defiance OH, on 1 April 2012. Here are photos of that event.

Just getting started

In the middle of her reading

A rapt audience

Another venue for the presentation of Courtney's creative writing is the annual conference of the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature, which supports both creative writing and literary interpretation. Here she reads at the organization's 2011 conference and makes a point during a discussion with students who come to the conference to engage with professional writers and academic researchers.

Besides creative writing, Courtney engages in research on matters of language and literature. One of her major lectures, titled "Politely Correct," was part of the Defiance College Dialoging in Defiance Series. Held on 16 March 2011, Courtney referenced her own experiences as she explained the power of language over individuals and groups. She engaged audience members in discussion, prompting them to identify and analyze the types of language that may be used with good intentions but have negative effects, causing individuals to feel constrained or even rendered invisible by labels.

Those attending the session grappled with the conflict between various groups, including power groups and marginalized populations. Courtney and her audience identified both benefits and drawbacks to the social regulation of loaded language. Throughout, Courtney stressed the difference between focusing on the political aspects of "correct" language and focusing on motives of respect and politeness.

These photos of the lecture show the engaging manner of Courtney, and her passion for her language-focused topic.

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