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Father, daughter to receive degrees in creative writing from SFSU this month



Matt Itelson
SFSU Office of Public Affairs
(415) 338-1743
(415) 338-1665


Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs


Sebastopol residents grow closer, inspire each other by going to college together

SAN FRANCISCO, May 14, 2003 - Molly Albracht and her father David Albracht both will receive master of arts degrees in creative writing from San Francisco State University this month, thanks in large part to her inspiration to express himself through poetry.

"You tend to think it's a father being the mentor of his children, but Molly has been the mentor for me throughout this entire program," said David, 54, a Sebastopol resident. "She's just been keeping me going and she's definitely been an inspiration. I wouldn't be writing any poetry if it weren't for her."

David's mother is a key inspiration for both of them. Mary Albracht, who grew up in the Great Depression and raised David and his five siblings, wrote beautiful poems and was an avid reader despite having only a sixth-grade education. She kept her poetic talent to herself until she gave a collection, compiled in a worn spiral notebook with about 18 poems, to Molly as a college graduation gift in 1996.

Molly, 32, also a Sebastopol resident, attended five colleges before earning a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Sonoma State University. About five years ago, she encouraged her father - a tile-setting contractor by day - to join her writing group and overcome his shyness through poetry.

After David nurtured his talent in several extension classes at Sonoma State, Molly encouraged him to join her in applying for the master of arts program in creative writing at SFSU for fall 2000. They both were among the 10 percent of applicants accepted into the prestigious and highly competitive program, for which they were required to submit 15 to 20 original poems.

Since then, the Los Angeles natives have continued to support each other in classes, writing and life in general. They have developed a close friendship that most parents and grown children can only dream of. They have taken classes and carpooled to campus together, provided feedback on each other's poems, and enjoyed the occasional beer together.

Creative writing faculty have also enjoyed their presence in the classroom.

"I think that both are remarkable in being so able to be open around each other and not display a competitive nature," said Maxine Chernoff, chair of the Creative Writing Department. "Seeing their relationship in the class, their respect for each other, for instance, was very instructive for the other students about the issue of trust."

Other students also enjoyed having a father and daughter in their classes.

"We are always a little oddity in the classroom, but people end up talking to us because we are father and daughter," said Molly Albracht, who also teaches poetry workshops for children and adults at schools and community centers. "People say things like, 'Oh, I wish my father would take classes with me.'"

Molly was raised in a home where full bookshelves stood wall to wall and reading was a way of life. She fell in love with reading at age 4, after her father "had me march around the kitchen memorizing words on flash cards," she said. By the fourth grade, she was reading Franz Kafka and "War and Peace."

After Commencement, David and Molly will begin to pursue master of fine arts degrees -- the highest degree possible in creative writing -- together at SFSU this fall. Molly, who performs on a trapeze, sings and plays several instruments as hobbies, is determined to write and teach poetry in any capacity, for as long as possible. David hopes to travel and write a poetry cookbook with his wife Diane, a pastry chef at an Anderson Valley casino.


NOTE: To arrange interviews with David and Molly Albracht, contact Matt Itelson of the SFSU Office of Public Affairs at (415) 338-1743 or They will not attend the SFSU Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 24. A transcript of SFSU's Commencement will be posted online shortly after the conclusion of Commencement on May 24 at:

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Last modified April 23, 2007, by the Office of Public Affairs