Come to the Lyrical Graffiti meeting on September 1

Lyrical Graffiti, a registered student organization promoting slam poetry and spoken word performances, is holding an informational meeting on Thursday, September 1, at 7 PM in the Underground.  “We work to bring performers to campus and organize poetry slams for the students of Illinois Wesleyan,” write Lyrical Graffiti organizers Natalie Lalagos and Stephen Whitfield.  “Poetry is loud, powerful, exciting, hilarious, serious, mysterious, and welcoming.  Spoken word is a medium that invites people to enjoy and to explore.  There are student slams and we also bring professionals to campus.”

This semester’s lineup of performers includes Robbie Q. Telfer (September 22), Tim Stafford (October 6), and Dennis Florine (December 1).  At the September 1 meeting the group will begin preparations for these events and student poetry slams.  “If you are not a slam poet,” Natalie and Mike write, “that’s fine!  Most of us are not.  We just enjoy seeing our fellow English members getting out there and trying their hand at performance poetry.”

Alumni Update: Betsy Phillips

“Frank,” a short story by Betsy Phillips (96), will be published next month by Apex Magazine, one of the preeminent sci fi/fantasy/horror magazines in the US.  “When I pitched the story to them,” she writes, “I told them it was the story of an evil doctor’s zombie henchman teaching a woman to drive. But it’s also like what would happen if a woman had to go rescue her husband from Wade Davis, if Wade Davis went bad.”  (Wade Davis, for those not up on their zombies, is the ethnobotanist whose controversial book The Serpent and the Rainbow claimed that Haitian zombies were people witchdoctors maintained in a trance state by pharmacological means.)

In her interview with Stephanie Jacob to be published in the same issue, Betsy spoke about the uses of horror and fantasy genres.  “I told her…that while none of us are going to have to rescue our husbands from zombie-henchmandom, a lot of us will have to deal with loved ones whose personalities change when they some form of dementia.  Horror and fantasy, I think, lets us focus on an exaggerated portion of the Truth in order to better understand it.”

Check out “Frank” in the September 2011 issue of Apex. In the meantime, you can read more of her insightful and often hilarious writing on her blog at

9/8/11 update:  the story is now available online at