Charles Crupi Memorial Poetry Contest Celebration

Please join us on Friday, April 22, 2016 from 5:00 pm to 6:15 pm  for the Charles Crupi Memorial Poetry Contest Celebration. We will hear poets read poems, teachers talk about teaching, and students talk about learning. Come for the love of words and of a beautiful human. Refreshments will be served at 5:00 pm. The ceremony will begin promptly at 5:15 pm.  This event will take place in the Bobbitt Visual Arts Center.

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2015 – 2016 Albion College Reading Series features Fiction Reading by David James Poissant

 

Orlando+Writer+David+James+Poissant+by+Ashley+InguantaDavid James Poissant is the winner of the GLCA New Writers Award for fiction for his collection of short stories, The Heaven of Animals (Simon & Schuster), which was a finalist for the 2014 LA Times Book Prize and was nominated for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. His work has also appeared in The Atlantic, The Chicago Tribune, Glimmer Train, One Story, Ploughshares, and The Southern Review, and his stories have been anthologized in New Stories from the South and Best New American Voices. He has received various awards, including the Matt Clark Prize, the George Garrett Fiction Award, the RopeWalk Fiction Chapbook Prize, and the Alice White Reeves Memorial Award from the National Society of Arts & Letters. Currently at work on a novel, Poissant teaches at the University of Central Florida and lives in Orlando. Visit him online at: www.davidjamespoissant.com.

The reading takes place on Thursday, April 7, 2016, at 5:30 p.m. in the Wendell Will Room.  The event is free and open to the public.  Learn more about the Albion College Reading Series by visiting the Albion College Reading Series page.

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2015-2016 Albion College Reading Series features Poetry Reading by Tarfia Faizullah

TarfiaFaizullahphotoTarfia Faizullah is the author of Seam (Southern Illinois University Press), which won the GLCA New Writers Award for poetry.  Faizullah’s poems have appeared in Poetry Magazine, Poetry Daily, Ploughshares, Jubilat, Kenyon Review, New England Review, and elsewhere.  She has received various awards, including the 2015 VIDA Award in Poetry, a 2015 Pushcart Prize, a Ploughshares Cohen Award, an Associated Writers Program Intro Journals Award, and the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize. A native of Midland, Texas, she earned an MFA from the Virginia Commonwealth University. Currently, Faizullah lives in Detroit, and is an editor for the Asian American Literary Review and the Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook Series. Visit her online at: www.tfaizullah.com.

The reading takes place on Wednesday, March 16, 2016, at 5:30 p.m. in the Wendell Will Room.  The event is free and open to the public.  Learn more about the Albion College Reading Series by visiting the Albion College Reading Series page.

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ROBERT H. GILDART WRITING PRIZES FOR CREATIVE WRITING

Who: All Albion College students who entered as first-year students in 2014 and transfer students with sophomore standing. What: A gift to the English department made possible the creation of the Robert H. Gildart Writing Prizes. These are cash prizes designed to honor the career of Bob Gildart, who taught at Albion College for 25 years and cared deeply about the quality of student writing. The prizes will be awarded each year to sophomores at Albion College. Up to three awards in each category will be made this year, and this notice is an invitation to all sophomores to submit their work for consideration. How: You may submit original works in one or more of the following categories: poetry, fiction, drama. Submissions for each category may contain more than one work but should not exceed 15 pages in total length (25 pages for drama). Entries that contain more than one work in a category will be judged as a whole.

Important Information: To be considered for a Gildart Prize, bring your entry to the English Office (406 Vulgamore Hall) by 12:00 PM (noon) on Thursday, March 3, 2016. Each entry should have a title page that includes the following: (1) The Gildart Prize Contest of 2016, (2) your name, (3) your student number, (4) the first line of the entry, and your KC Box #.

Note: Your name should not appear within the poetry, fiction or drama work you are submitting.  Please paper clip the title page(s) to each piece you submit.

Good Luck! We look forward to reviewing–and rewarding– some excellent student writing.

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2016 Albion College Reading Series

Creative Nonfiction Reading:  Angela Pelster Angela Pelster

Tuesday, February 2, 2016
5:30 p.m.
Wendell Will Room

Angela Pelster is the author of Limber (Sarabande), which won the GLCA New Writers Award for creative nonfiction. The Seattle Times describes Limber as “one of the quirkiest and most original books about the natural world… Filled with precise, poetical and sparse language, the essays reveal not just the life of trees but how they connect us to the greater world around us.” Pelster’s essays have appeared in Granta, The Gettysburg Review, Seneca Review, Fourth Genre, and others. Her children’s novel, The Curious Adventures of India Sophia (River Books), won the Golden Eagle Children’s Choice award in 2006. She earned an MFA from the University of Iowa. She currently lives with her family in Baltimore and teaches at Towson University.

A reception and book signing will immediately follow the reading.

This event is free and open to the public, and sponsored by the English Department and the Stockwell-Mudd Library. For more information, please contact the English Department at 517-629-0232.


Poetry Reading:

Tarfia Faizullah

Tarfia Faizullah

Wednesday, March 16, 2016
5:30 p.m.
Wendell Will Room

Tarfia Faizullah is the author of Seam (Southern Illinois University Press), which won the GLCA New Writers Award for poetry. Faizullah’s poems have appeared in Poetry Magazine, Poetry Daily, Ploughshares, Jubilat, Kenyon Review, New England Review, and elsewhere. She has received various awards, including the 2015 VIDA Award in Poetry, a 2015 Pushcart Prize, a Ploughshares Cohen Award, an Associated Writers Program Intro Journals Award, and the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize. A native of Midland, Texas, she earned an MFA from the Virginia Commonwealth University. Currently, Faizullah lives in Detroit, and is an editor for the Asian American Literary Review and the Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook Series. Visit her online at:www.tfaizullah.com.

A reception and book signing will immediately follow the reading.

This event is free and open to the public, and sponsored by the English Department and the Stockwell-Mudd Library. For more information, please contact the English Department at 517-629-0232.


Fiction Reading:

David James Poissant

David James Poissant

Thursday, April 7, 2016
5:30 p.m.
Wendell Will Room

David James Poissant is the winner of the GLCA New Writers Award for fiction for his collection of short stories, The Heaven of Animals (Simon & Schuster), which was a finalist for the 2014 LA Times Book Prize and was nominated for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. His work has also appeared in The Atlantic, The Chicago Tribune, Glimmer Train, One Story, Ploughshares, and The Southern Review, and his stories have been anthologized in New Stories from the South and Best New American Voices. He has received various awards, including the Matt Clark Prize, the George Garrett Fiction Award, the RopeWalk Fiction Chapbook Prize, and the Alice White Reeves Memorial Award from the National Society of Arts & Letters. Currently at work on a novel, Poissant teaches at the University of Central Florida and lives in Orlando. Visit him online at:www.davidjamespoissant.com.

A reception and book signing will immediately follow the reading.

This event is free and open to the public, and sponsored by the English Department and the Stockwell-Mudd Library. For more information, please contact the English Department at 517-629-0232.

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The State of the State in Poetry (cross post)

[Cross posted from Ian MacInnes’ blog, Free Range Teaching]

As we leave April behind, I find myself reflecting on the Charles Crupi Memorial poetry competition, which I have judged now for many years. It is perhaps the only state-wide poetry competition open to Michigan high school students, and it produces a LOT of poetry. This year we had more than 1200 contestants. My job is to read all the poems and narrow them down to 100 or so for our final judges. As you might imagine, the experience of reading all these poems is daunting, even exhausting, but I always find it strangely uplifting. It’s not just the occasional brilliant poem that makes it worthwhile. It’s the sum total of all that young poetic expression. Of course, not everything we get is actually a poem. Occasionally someone will even submit a photograph, and we get a few prose passages from essays and quite a bit of “if it rhymes it must be poetry.” And every year we get at least one poem called “I’m only writing this poem for extra credit,” a title that could lead to a deliciously ironic award winning poem, were it not always so true. But overall our high school students are deeply sincere, and for me sincerity has the power to elevate even the humblest poem. Lines such as “Please dear Lord have pity / Don’t take my kitty”(1) may not be part of a winning entry, but you can’t deny their touching authenticity.

It’s impossible to read 1200 poems without realizing that they fall into definite genres. Some are traditional to lyric poetry like the “I’m sorry you’re dead” poems or the “Do you love me?” poems (2). These can be either wonderful or awful, but either way they show that these young writers know something of the work that poetry can do in the world. Even teen angst is oddly touching. These are the endless poems about the corruption of the world or the “when-you-said-you-loved-me-you-were-lying” poems. Their cynicism is happily false. Those who are truly jaded by “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” no longer see them as a subject for poetry. Our contestants, on the other hand, like Hamlet, still have the grace to be appalled by the world. The other aspect of the competition that gives me faith in the future is the love of language that runs through the entries like gold, emerging here and there in brilliant seams and nuggets. Most of all this reminds me of the gifted high school teachers who stand behind many of these young poets. Michigan owes these teachers a debt of gratitude. They are the ones who are teaching our children the power of poetry to imagine the world anew.

(1) Loosely remembered from an entry some years ago.
(2) I attribute these phrases to Harvard scholar Helen Vendler, from a public lecture long ago.

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ROBERT H. GILDART WRITING PRIZES FOR CREATIVE WRITING

Who: All Albion College students who entered as first-year students in 2013 and transfer students with sophomore standing. What: A gift to the English department made possible the creation of the Robert H. Gildart Writing Prizes. These are cash prizes designed to honor the career of Bob Gildart, who taught at Albion College for 25 years and cared deeply about the quality of student writing. The prizes will be awarded each year to sophomores at Albion College. Up to three awards in each category will be made this year, and this notice is an invitation to all sophomores to submit their work for consideration. How: You may submit original works in one or more of the following categories: poetry, fiction, drama. Submissions for each category may contain more than one work but should not exceed 15 pages in total length (25 pages for drama). Entries that contain more than one work in a category will be judged as a whole.

Important Information: To be considered for a Gildart Prize, bring your entry to the English Office (406 Vulgamore Hall) by 12:00 PM (noon) on Thursday, March 5, 2015. Each entry should have a title-page that includes the following: (1.) The Gildart Prize Contest of 2015, (2.) your name, (3.) your student number, and (4.) the first line of the entry. Note: Your name should not appear within the poetry, fiction or drama work you are submitting.Please paper clip your title-page/s to each of your poetry, fiction or drama work/s.

Good Luck! We look forward to reviewing–and rewarding– some excellent student writing.

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2014-15 Albion College Reading Series Continues with Fiction Reading by Monica McFawn

Monica McFawn

Monica McFawn

Monica McFawn lives in Michigan and teaches writing at Grand Valley State University. Her fiction has appeared in the Georgia Review, Gettysburg ReviewWeb ConjunctionsMissouri Review, and others.  Her collection of short stories, Bright Shards of Someplace Else, won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. She is also the author of a hybrid chapbook, A Catalogue of Rare Movements, and her plays and screenplays have had readings in Chicago and New York.

The reading takes place on Thursday, February 5, 2015, at 5:00 p.m. in the Wendell Will Room. Albion College Reading Series events are free and open to the public. Learn more about the Albion College Reading Series by visiting the Albion College Reading Series page.

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2014-15 Albion College Reading Series Opens With a Creative Nonfiction Reading by Joe Wilkins

Joe Wilkins

Joe Wilkins

Joe Wilkins is the author of the memoir The Mountain and the Fathers (2012), a 2012 Montana Book Award Honor book and winner of the 2014 GLCA New Writers award. He is also the author of two poetry collections, Killing the Murnion Dogs (2011) and Notes from the Journey Westward (2012), winner of the White Pine Press Poetry Prize and the High Plains Book Award. His work has appeared in many magazines and journals, including The Georgia Review, The Southern ReviewThe Missouri Review, and Slate, and has also been anthologized in Best American Magazine Writing, Writing Today, New Poets of the American West, The Southern Poetry Anthology, and Best New Poets 2006. The recipient of the Richard J. Margolis Award of Blue Mountain Center and the winner of the Boyden Wilderness Writing Residency from PEN Northwest, Wilkins was born and raised in eastern Montana. He earned his MFA in creative writing from the University of Idaho, and he currently teaches at Linfield College.

The reading takes place on Monday, October 20, 2014, at 5:00 p.m. in Bobbitt Auditorium. Albion College Reading Series events are free and open to the public. Learn more about the Albion College Reading Series by visiting the Albion College Reading Series page.

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Dan Albergotti’s Poems by Jess Roberts

One of the best decisions I made last fall was to go to the Albion College Student Farm to make candles. Why? It’s not because I stood with my love next to a hot fire under a cold sky or because I watched my kiddo watch hot wax harden and thicken and take on its candle shape, though I am glad both those things happened. It’s because of a question Jake and Angie DeCola asked me.

Here’s the question: have you read Dan Albergotti’s poems?

I hadn’t, but soon I would.

Their question sent me in search of Dan’s poems, poems he will read aloud tomorrow night in the Wendell Will Room.

By the time I got his book in the mail, I knew a bit about what to expect. Jake and Angie had told me that he (Dan) loved poet Jack Gilbert, a love I (and many others) share. I had also poked around on fishhouse.org, a website that showcases new poets, and found some of his words, all of them quite lovely.

Even still I was unprepared for some of the poems that make up the pages of his beautiful book The Boatloads. He does in his poems something that I love: he goes inside the minds and selves of literary characters and bids them to speak, to speak again.

In one of my favorites, Dan gives voice to Cain whose brother Abel lies dead at his hands. In Dan’s lines, the Biblical character whose inner life is not subject to much description in the Book of Genesis finds harrowing expression:

When I lifted that sheep’s skull to the sky
and brought it down on my brother’s head,
I was just being the rough beast that the Lord had made me.
My God, my god—He sowed deep that hard seed
of death. I merely reaped its dark read fruit.

The cry “My God, my God” seems both a plea and an accusation, a cry of longing and of anger. In that cry, I feel as though I hear a deep voice—Cain’s voice, yes, but also a voice that lives somewhere inside me, maybe inside all of us.

I am not sure why I love so much poems that give voice to characters whom others have created: I think it has something to do with my own enduring belief that literary characters are real. Their being the product of imagination does not lessen their reality for me, and when poets like Dan or Jack Gilbert or Wallace Stevens, whose poems Dan has clearly read and loves, take up those characters, I feel as though I am given greater access to their fullness and so to my own and to those around me.

I hope you will join us at Dan’s reading tomorrow at 5pm in the Wendell Will Room. There you may hear a humor and lightness that do not characterize “Testimony” but do characterize so many of his poems. There you may hear the many characters of our literary past speak in voices that are, thanks to him, so present. It promises to be a lovely night.

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