Katy Didden, author of The Glacier’s Wake and winner of the Lena Miles Wever Todd prize, will be giving a poetry reading this Wednesday, May 15 at 4 p.m. in the Joslin Atrium. Katy Didden is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships and her poetry has appeared in Poetry, The Kenyon Review, and The Missouri Review. To learn more about her work, visit her website at <www.katydidden.com>.
A volume of essays on short story writer Raymond Carver, edited by Professor James Plath, has just been published. Critical Insights: Raymond Carver is part of the Critical Insights series put out by Salem Press. Jim not only edited the volume, but provided two essays for it, “On Raymond Carver,” on Carver’s career and influence, and a contextual essay, “The Carver Triangle: Lost in an Edward Hopper World.”
Professor Dan Terkla and Professor Joanne Diaz are among the five finalists for 2013 Professor of the Year in the annual election conducted by Student Senate. Their selection was all the more impressive given the large number of candidates identified in the first round: over 150 students submitted nominations for almost 80 faculty members.
Congratulations to both of you, and good luck as the process unfolds! We wish you could both be named 2013 Professor of the Year.
Lyrical Graffiti’s last event of the year will take place on Monday, April 8th in the Davidson Room.
The show will start at 7:00 with an open mic, then proceed to a performance by two-time National Poetry Slam champion Sierra Demulder.
Any piece of music, poetry, fiction, etc. under five minutes can be performed in the open mic session. All students are welcome to sign up, but the spaces are somewhat limited, and will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis.
For more information contact Stephen Whitfield (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Come and see the show, or better yet, be a part of it!
Submissions for the Nikki K. Pape President’s Club Award For Excellence in Writing are due by Monday, April 1, 2013 at 4:00 pm. Graduating seniors compete for a cash award by submitting to the English department a portfolio of the best, most original writing they have done while at Illinois Wesleyan. Included in the portfolio may be any or all of the following: fiction, drama, poetry, journalism, creative non-fiction, or literary criticism. Judging is by a committee of English department faculty; the winner is announced by the President during the graduation ceremony.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What kind of work should I include? Should I include work in more than one genre?
There is no set answer to this question. Consider your choices in this regard a balancing act. On the one hand, including different genres of your writing–critical work as well as creative work, for example, or Argus articles as well as poetry or creative non-fiction–can demonstrate breadth and flexibility, both of which are strengths in a writer. On the other hand, your writing will be judged primarily on its quality rather than its breadth. If including works from multiple genres would dilute the overall quality of the portfolio, you should leave out the weaker material. Turn in the work that will demonstrate your strengths as a writer, whatever they are.
Q. How much writing should I include in the portfolio?
Again, there is a balancing act here. On the one hand, a larger portfolio can can allow you to demonstrate that you didn’t just write a few good pieces, but rather have produced consistently excellent work in a variety of writing situations. At the very least, you should include enough work to comprise a genuine portfolio, not just a single paper or creative work. On the other hand, turning in a large portfolio that is uneven in quality will reflect poorly on your ability to select material and to judge the quality of your own writing. Turn in a substantial portfolio of your very best work.
Ashley Lauren Samsa’s (06) blog posting, “Say no to armed guards in schools,” was published in the prominent progressive London newspaper The Guardian on February 20. ”I pitched it to them and they accepted it,” writes Ashley. ”I work as a freelance writer in addition to teaching, so I pitch a lot of pieces to various outlets. Aside from the HuffPo article a few years ago, this is the first major publication to accept a pitch of mine, so it is very exciting.”
Responding to calls in the wake of the Newtown shooting by the NRA and congressional Republicans to increase the presence of armed guards in schools, Ashley writes, “After seven years of teaching high school in the south suburbs of Chicago, I know that the presence of police does not enhance the educational experience; in fact, it can diminish it. . . . I want to protect the safety of the students in my classroom more than anything else, but adding guns to our schools is not the way to do it. A society that polices its schools like it does its prisons can only lead to students with lives more like convicts than children.”
Congratulations, Ashley–keep up the fine work!
Janna Strain’s poem “I’d Like to See You at Thanksgiving” has been published in the online journal The Morning News. The poem is accompanied by an interview by editor Erik Bryan in which Janna discusses contemporary poetry and her own path towards becoming a poet. Discussing the use of contemporary brand names and music references in poetry, Janna says, “People sometimes write with the hope that a piece’s significance will be eternal and universal, and I won’t deny striving for that is a beautiful goal. However, I find it often limits a poem from reaching its full potential. People live in a transient world and writers, of all people, should never fear addressing it in its immediacy.”
Kudos to you, Janna!
Congratulations to Shane McGowan, who has published his braided essay, “Braided Blues,” with the national undergraduate literary journal Catfish Creek. (See the posting from September 13, below, for more information about the journal). ”I wrote [the essay] last year,” writes Shane, “as my final piece for Dr. Sainsbury’s course on the lyric essay. It introduces my experience with the blues, how I encountered it as a form of music and why I was drawn to it, and then sets about defining and describing what the blues does and how, and trying to reproduce that in essay form . . . I tried to pay a lot of attention to rhythm within the sections of prose, but, to complement that, there are four original verses written in blues form justified to the right hand side of the page and kind of woven throughout the piece.”
Shane, who is currently studying abroad at NIU Galway, notes that the experience of writing for publication changed the way he looked at his work. ”Before submitting . . . I read the piece back over and had to make some additional changes, because it seemed different to be submitting it for publication rather than for a grade. The weight of the word ‘publication’ really gave me a different perspective on what I wanted to reveal in the piece and I became more critical of myself.”
Korey Williams ’12 has had five of his poems–“Galatea,” “Libations,” “Memory Foam,” “Repass,” and “water burial”–accepted for publication in Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry. ”With these poems,” Korey writes, “which are part of a lyric narrative I’m composing, I seek to evoke ways in which the eroticism of trauma–specifically memories of rape, violence, and suicide–produces displaced, disembodied subjects.”