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Fischer, Joan (ed.) / Wisconsin Academy review
Volume 51, Number 3 (Summer 2005)

Upfront,   pp. 4-11


Page 4

From Fond du Lac to Wiesbaden 
It's a writer's dream come true. 
Imagine receiving a generous stipend 
and free lodging in an elegant villa in 
Germany for three months to write, 
reflect, and serve as a cultural ambas- 
sador for your state and country. 
That dream will be Paula Sergi's life 
starting in August. The writer, poet, and 
registered nurse from Fond du Lac has 
been selected by the Hessen Literary 
Society (Literaturrat), a state cultural 
agency in Hessen, Germany, to spend 
August through October living and 
working in Villa Clementine, a 19th- 
century former home now used by the 
state as a residence for literary and 
cultural exchange. Sergi will receive a 
stipend of 1,000 Euros each month from 
the Hessen Literary Society, which is 
offering the residency free of charge. 
The residency is part of efforts to 
build cultural ties between the German 
state of Hessen and its sister state, 
Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, the effort is 
being coordinated by Hessen-Wisconsin 
Writers, a group of poets and writers 
from Wisconsin and members of the 
German Writers Union's Hessen chapter. 
Villa Clementine is located in 
Wiesbaden, the capital of Hessen. It is 
about 18 miles west of Frankfurt in 
central western Germany. 
"I feel honored and well prepared for 
this adventure," says Sergi. 
She comes to the adventure with a 
clear sense of mission. In her applica- 
tion, Sergi wrote: "I understand how 
writing reaches what is human in all of 
us, facilitates the impulse to share, and 
ultimately promotes the reality that we 
are all world citizens." 
Besides writing-she plans to work 
on a book-length manuscript of 
poems-Sergi will participate in work- 
shops, hold readings, visit schools, and 
work toward strengthening ties between 
Wisconsin's and Hessen's literary and 
cultural communities. 
"In Germany I hope to trace how 
cultural institutions-the family unit, 
communities-are derived from histor- 
ical experiences such as literature and 
education, and to observe how tones, 
gestures, and attitudes are reflective of 
the culture," says Sergi. 
Sergi's husband will stay home in 
Fond du Lac with their 16-year-old son. 
Sergi is already looking forward to 
family visits. Her apartment in Villa 
Clementine can comfortably accommo- 
date multiple guests, and writers in 
residence are welcome to bring their 
families for the entire stay. 
Four finalists were selected by a 
Hessen-Wisconsin Writers Exchange 
steering committee of representatives 
F___  th  fl-  A     -  -  ~l -  +I,- 
the Max Kade Institute at the University 
of Wisconsin-Madison. The final selec- 
tion was made by the Hessen Literary 
Society. 
The Hessen-Wisconsin Writers group is 
hoping to reciprocate by offering a resi- 
dency in Wisconsin to a German writer 
next year-and hopes to send another 
Wisconsin writer to Germany in 2007. The 
best way to stay informed about the 
exchange is to sign up as a member of 
Hessen-Wisconsin Writers. Membership 
is free of charge. For more information, 
visit www.hesswiscwriter.org or 
www.paulasergi.com 


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