Meeting with Stewart Conn and the Genesis of this Site
I met Stewart Conn while studying abroad near Edinburgh, Scotland in Dalkeith through a program at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. But it actually goes a bit further back than that. While I was studying in Scotland I wanted to take an independent study course on Scottish literature. Before I left I asked one of my professors, Joel Pace, if he would set up a program plan for me. Joel Pace had met Conn when he visited our UW-Eau Claire campus to give a poetry reading in March 2000. It was then that Mike Huggins made the recording of Conn reading the seven poems that are available on this site.
Part of my assignment while in Scotland was to read some of Conn's poetry, write about it, and then contact and interview him. I was to ask questions about the poetry and then use the information I gained to create his first official website and here it is!
Stewart Conn and his wife Judy were able to come to the mansion where I was studying, which was Dalkeith House in Dalkeith, Scotland. I was able to speak with him and ask questions about his series of poems, Luncheon of the Boating Party, which I planned the site to revolve around. I had a great time talking with him and learning about his reasons, inspirations, and methods for writing those delightful poems. That was when we had these photographs taken (more below).
After we talked, he gave a poetry reading where he read works by other poets such as Robert Burns and Alastair Reid, before reading his own poetry. The selection of his poems that he read included, "On Craigie Hill," "Bedtime Story," "Case Histories," "Air and Water," and the first three poems from Luncheon of the Boating Party.
After I returned home I began working on building this website by compiling the poems, my writings about the poems, the audio files of Stewart reading his poems (Thanks to Mike Huggins for making the recordings in March 2000), the biographical information on Stewart written by himself, research on Renoir, and related images and photos. This site has become what it is today with the help of Joel Pace, Dennis Jerz, the webmaster of the UWEC English department website, and Kelly Marcks, whom Dennis Jerz supervised in editing this site.