Alum wins poetry and fiction prizes

Richard Spilman (’68) has won the Sacramento Poetry Center Award for In the Night Speaking, which was published by SPC Press in November. “Spilman’s poems never force their intelligence and never slack, never misstep,” wrote judge Dennis Schmitz, “so that you are carried away by the music before you are entirely aware of it.” The book is available at the usual places, including Amazon.com.

Spilman, who teaches in the MFA program at Wichita State University, is also the author of a chapbook, Suspension, which won the New American Press Award in 2006, and a collection of short stories, Hot Fudge, which was a New York Times Notable Book in 1990.

“I have many fond memories of IWU,” Spilman writes. “I came in as a chemistry major, pre-med, but the pull of literature and my irritation with the memorization and math of the sciences led me away. The old woman who lived across the street from my parents and cleaned houses for a living cried when I dropped out of the pre-med program. I grew a beard at about the same time, and my mother remarked, “You used to be such a clean boy.”

“Of the many fine professors (and perhaps one or two not so fine) I remember particularly Joe and Doris Meyers. Joe taught creative writing and told wonderful anecdotes—of writers and of the Europe he occasionally traveled in. Where he was quiet and insidiously wonderful, his wife Doris was a force of nature. She sat on the front of the desk in a dress of some solid color with a brooch to set it off or invaded the aisles other teaches left to us, and made us believe, in spite of all common sense taught us, that Plato and Aristotle were relevant to our lives.

“While at IWU I was the editor of the literary magazine, The Black Book. There was no English House or any place for the magazine to call home, so both years I was editor I would sit in the Dean’s office every couple of days, and if he would see me, I would ask for some place to house the literary magazine. Both years the Dean became so exasperated with my presence that he gave us a fine house recently bought by the university, and it became an English House of sorts—a place where English students could congregate.”

Spilman’s most recent book, a collection of short fiction titled The Estate Sale, won the George Garrett Prize just this month and will be published by the Texas Review Press in 2010.

Holiday party draws fewer students

Maybe it was the cold snap that deterred students from walking to Prof. Muirhead’s house for the annual holiday party, or maybe they were so swamped with end-of-semester papers and finals preparation that they didn’t think they could spare the time.

But the 30 or so students who did come to the party enjoyed a marvelous buffet and had a good time chatting with their professors and fellow students. As usual, Prof. Bowman made her famous cheesecake, and students who were over 21 could enjoy a beer or glass of wine.  But the highlight of the evening for most students was the department’s annual “book grab,” where every student got to leave with a book donated by faculty. In the photo, students are checking out the titles, no doubt hoping that the ones they want will still be there when their number is picked.

As it turned out, there were enough books so that everyone was encouraged to take seconds. Same with the food!

Marie Huey won this year’s holiday poetry contest with a clever haiku, and she got to pick her prize from among several DVDs. So, Marie, you picked vampires over Chekhov? We’ll have to talk.

Grant-writing internship still available for spring

Chestnut Health Systems, a nonprofit behavioral health organization in Bloomington, is looking for a business/grant-writing intern to work 10-15 hours per week. Duties include but are not limited to writing and editing material for foundation and corporate grant applications. Applicants should have excellent writing and communication skills. Good working knowledge of Microsoft Office programs, especially Word and Excel, is required. Interns will receive regular supervision; schedule is flexible. Illinois residents are eligible for payment ($8/hr) for the internship through a grant from the State of Illinois.

Interested applicants should submit a resume and cover letter through Titan CareerLink or email directly to: Joan Hartman, Central Region Manager, 1003 Martin Luther King Dr., Bloomington, IL 61701, jahartman@chestnut.org.

Internship opportunity announced, deadline Dec. 8

Country Financial is offering an internship in their Corporate Communications division right here in Bloomington, and they’re taking applications now.

Responsibilities include:

– Writes assigned communications which meet the needs of internal and external audiences, including, but not limited to financial representatives, employees and clients.

– Applies journalistic and Web content development skills following best practices.

– Secures appropriate approvals for assigned communications which meet legal, compliance, brand and other standards.

– Works comfortably in a fast-paced, multi-tasking team environment.

– Participates in communications brainstorming sessions.

– Confers with editor, supervisor, designers and developers, as needed, to enhance communications.

– Assists with other duties as assigned.

Required Skills:

– Excellent written and verbal communication skills

– Associated Press Style knowledge

– Creative, some graphic design experience helpful

– Detail oriented

– Strong organizational skills

– Proficient in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint

– Ability to learn our Web publishing tool, ContentCenter

Additional Information:

– This is a paid internship, available to current college students.

– The internship begins in January 2010. The internship will be part-time (15-20 hours per week) during the semester and full-time (38.75 hours per week) during the summer. Internship may be extended through December 2010.

– Scheduled hours will be based on the intern’s class schedule.

– The internship is located in Bloomington, IL.

-Interested candidates should apply online at by December 8, 2009.

Questions should be directed to Renee Haning, College Relations and Employment Coordinator at renee.haning@countryfinancial.com