In Honor of April Freely
We have created this page for sharing memories of Writing Center Associate April Freely, along with supportive words for April’s family and our community. If you would like to leave a tribute, please post it as a comment.
The CSSW community mourns the loss of April Freely, who passed away unexpectedly in early July 2021.
April worked as an associate in CSSW’s Writing Center from Fall 2019 to Fall 2020, consulting with CSSW master’s and PhD student writers while earning praise for her patient and encouraging support as well as her practical guidance.
April joined the CSSW Writing Center team while completing her Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry at New York University. She received numerous awards and honors for her writing, which appeared in publications including Gulf Coast, Ninth Letter, The American Poetry Review, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series.
In 2020, April was appointed as the executive director of the Fire Island Artist Residency (FIAR), which brings emerging lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer-identifying visual artists and poets to Fire Island each summer.
In a tribute posted on its Home Page, FIAR said: “April was a caring and thoughtful organizer, an enthusiastic mentor, and a wonderful friend. She was deeply committed to supporting LGBTQ poets and artists and expanding access for BIPOC communities.”
Friends Jennifer Cheng and Spring Ulmer also described April’s generous spirit in a GoFundMe campaign they have organized for her family. “She had an uncommonly kind heart, clear on the world’s complexity and brokenness, yet full of love for it and her communities,” Cheng and Ulmer stated.
At CSSW, April’s loss is felt deeply by her Writing Center colleagues, who remember her kindness, warmth, and brilliance. “April was a special person, and I feel fortunate to have worked with her,” wrote Writing Center Director Adam Pellegrini in an email to students. “She was an experienced educator and administrator, a talented and accomplished poet and writer, a committed advocate, and someone who engaged thoughtfully and critically while carrying herself with humor, humility, and grace. She will be greatly missed.”
Sara Elkamel, an NYU MFA student who worked alongside April in the Writing Center, shared the following statement:
“April was uniquely present and attentive. When I saw her at the Writers House at NYU or the Writing Center at Columbia, she’d ask how I was with genuine interest; she made me feel heard and held. I think that her impossibly radiant smile, the space of care she effortlessly created for everyone she encountered, and her gorgeous language will stay with me for a long time.”
CSSW extends its heartfelt condolences to April’s family and all those who loved her.