Just Buffalo Literary Center could not survive without the support of donors. Thanks to the generosity of the following, Just Buffalo has risen to the top, earning national recognition as one of the leading literary centers in the nation. Our deepest gratitude is extended to everyone listed here.
Writer. Lover. Grandmother.
Olga Karman was born in Havana, Cuba and left in 1960, two years after the triumph of the Revolution and just months after the night she and a handful of fellow students had stopped Fidel Castro’s car on a remote country bridge to plead that he not close their University. Olga attended Connecticut College and Harvard University, where she earned her Ph.D. in Latin American literature. After moving to Buffalo in 1976, she taught at Nichols School before joining the D’Youville College faculty, where she taught for almost 3 decades. During those years she became a Hispanic community activist.
“Just Buffalo opened doors for me. I was among the first to be given the opportunity to read poetry at the Allentown Community Center, where Just Buffalo was based in the 1970s. It was my first time to have an audience, my first time to tell others—and others were responding! I was filled with energy and the desire to write more. I felt my writing had value and was appreciated. I owe my beginnings in poetry to Just Buffalo, and I am very grateful.”
One of Olga’s favorite experiences at Just Buffalo was volunteering at the Just Buffalo table at The Elmwood Arts Festival. “Just Buffalo had a tent, a table, and I was given the opportunity to talk about Just Buffalo to whoever wanted to listen. I felt I was spreading the good news . . . all kinds of people . . . a beautiful, sunny day.”
Richard Blanco’s BABEL appearance was another highlight. “I met Richard Blanco at the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference 15 years ago. We hit it off right away and decided to do an impromptu reading. Just the two of us. When I learned Richard was coming to BABEL, I just about fainted. It was a wonderful reunion and a uniquely “Cuban-American-Just Buffalo” experience!”
In 2014, Olga helped develop the Stadnitski Gardens Senior Writing Club. “For years, I’ve served on boards of directors (including Just Buffalo). I sat in rooms and helped make decisions. I wanted something additional now. I wanted to get out there physically—to be doing work in a community. [This program] three of us JB board members created was a dream opportunity. Seniors deserve to have their voices heard. [Our work together] built incredible trust and opened the floodgates. ‘Just write,’ we tell them! And isn’t this a part of Just Buffalo’s credo? ‘Just Read, Just Write, Just Dream, Just Buffalo.’”
“I will give even after the day I die [referencing the Creeley Society and her commitment to Just Buffalo in her estate plans]. I believe in Just Buffalo’s mission. 100%! When I saw BABEL outgrowing the auditorium at Babeville, I fell in love with Buffalo all over again. Not only do I believe in our mission, but our community believes in it. I want to continue to be a part of Just Buffalo and to contribute in any way I can.”
Read more about Olga on www.olgakarman.net.
Gifts Over 3 Years (As of June 30, 2015)
* JB40 Donor (Learn more »)
^ Creeley Society Member
“ Literary Leadership Circle Member