Drawn to a young college full of promise and unencumbered by traditional academia, the alumnae, faculty, and administration of Kirkland College were among the first generation to study creative writing, American studies, women’s studies, and other disciplines. Known for innovation, Kirkland offered written evaluations rather than grades, independent studies, and self-designed concentrations. However, after a tumultuous merger with coordinate partner Hamilton College, Kirkland ceased to exist in May 1978.
With the knowledge that Kirkland’s alumnae are finite, editor Jo Pitkin resolved to gather the Kirkland community together once again. She set out to help coordinate Kirkland Voices, the first-ever alumnae reunion reading. Pitkin then went a step further, soliciting work from the contributors to Kirkland Voices and utilizing social media, the Internet, and word of mouth to reach out to alumnae who had not been able to attend Kirkland Voices. Lost Orchard preserves the legacy of Kirkland College pioneers with poetry, drama, stories, creative nonfiction, and more.
Pitkin is the author of The Measure and Cradle of the American Circus: Poems from Somers, New York. She received her B.A. in creative writing and literature from Kirkland College and MFA in poetry from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. She lives in Cold Spring.