For this week of National Poetry Month, we are featuring spoken word poetry and poets.

Image by Jhayne

Hearing a poem read by its author adds an additional dimension to any work.The inflection, the empty spaces, the tone. All of these pieces work together to create the art of spoken word.

Shane Koyzcan was born in 1976 in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. At the National Poetry Slam in 2000, he won the Individual Championship title, making him the first Canadian to win. From there, he continued to garner success for his slam poetry. He went on to publish his first full-length poetry collection in 2005 called Visiting Hours. This work brought together a collection his spoken word and poetry, all dealing with the “intricacies of human emotions.”

His collection made The Guardian’s “Books of the year” list in 2005 for Koyzcan’s “ability to take you straight to the heart of what on the surface may seem like mundane actions but which turn out to be much more complex. He makes you feel the depth of love, joy, and pain in everyday life. Love, after all, is in everything.”

In 2010, he performed a portion of his “We Are More” piece at the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. In 2014, he released a digital spoken word album titled Silence Is A Song I Know All The Words To. Beyond the audio element, artist Gareth Gaudin illustrated his poems into a graphic novel of the same name.

Koyczan went viral online with his 2013 “To this Day Project.” The spoken word, set to an animated video on YouTube, addresses Koyzcan’s personal experiences with bullying. The video brought further attention to Koyzcan as a slam poet, and raised awareness about bullying.

Video: Shane Koyczan reads “To This Day”

As Koyczan explains, “My experiences with violence in schools still echo throughout my life but standing to face the problem has helped me in immeasurable ways. Schools and families are in desperate need of proper tools to confront this problem. This piece is a starting point.”

Through this project, Koyczan hopes to bring attention to the ongoing issue of bullying and its presence in schools today. As his poem explains, he grew up “surrounded by people who used to say/ that rhyme… about sticks and stones/ As if broken bones/ hurt more than the names we got called,/ and we got called them all.”

Spoken word has a way of sticking with people, hearing the words spoken with speed or suspended through dramatic silence. Koyzcan used his own stories to shed light on a problem children still have today. But, “to this day,” there’s still more we can do to help.

Shane Koyczan is currently on a Canadian and International tour that started in April and is continuing through June. This tour promotes his new album titled Debris. He will make an appearance at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado on June 16-19. (For more information: http://bit.ly/2nNHrE6.)

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Today, April 17, is National Haiku Day (image by Jill Salahub)

  • The Crisis & Creativity Workgroup, comprised of writers, artists, scientists, and community members, has had a proposal exploring species extinction through poetry/art awarded a grant from the School of Environmental Sustainability — Dan Beachy-Quick and Cedar Brant are principal investigators with this project. More information can be found here: http://source.colostate.edu/school-global-environmental-sustainability-announces-global-challenges-research-teams-resident-fellow-awards/
  • Roze Hentschell attended the annual meeting of the Shakespeare Association of America in Atlanta, April 6-8, where she discussed her paper, “John Marston at Paul’s,” an examination of Marston’s plays written for the boy actors at St. Paul’s Cathedral in the early seventeenth century.
  • EJ Levy was interviewed as part of her recent visit to UMass-Lowell; the interview appears here: https://www.uml.edu/News/stories/2017/EJ-Levy.aspx
  • Dan Robinson’s third novel, Death of a Century, will be re-released in paperback next week.  Of the novel, The Manhattan Review of Books wrote, Robinson “deals with the main character’s shellshock with a great deal of care and sympathy, while paralleling the brutality of the world off the battlefield. This is a book not to be missed; it is a mystery, thriller, historical drama in one package,” and Publisher’s Weekly wrote, “Robinson’s atmospheric tale of betrayal and revenge paints a passionate picture of the Lost Generation…”
  • Barbara Sebek contributed a paper, “Archy’s Afterlives: Temporal Mash-ups During Times of Crisis,” to a seminar at the Shakespeare Association of America conference in Atlanta, Georgia.  The paper discusses the traces left by King James’s court jester, Archibald Armstrong.
  • One of Maurice Irvin’s MFA thesis stories was accepted for publication in Portland Review‘s upcoming Spring Issue.
  • Kylan Rice will be pursuing a PhD in English Literature at UNC Chapel Hill in the fall.
  • What Goes Down” by Kayann Short (BA 81, MA 88) has just been published in Rooted: The Best New Arboreal Nonfiction (Outpost19). Her flash fiction story “When It Was Lost” will appear in the spring issue of Dash.
  • Over the past year, we have lost quite a few members of our English department family.  Each year, CSU hosts a Rams Remember Rams Service.  Here are the details: Our campus community is invited to a candlelight ceremony Monday, April 17, 5 p.m. honoring CSU students, faculty, staff, and retirees who passed away this academic year.  The 15-minute ceremony will be held on the north steps of the Administration Building and will include a reading of the names – along with time for silent reflection. The Danforth Chapel will be open until 6 p.m. as a quiet place for personal contemplation.

CSAL Roundtable Discussion 

Sue Doe wishes to announce that the Center for the Study of Academic Labor (CSAL) will host a roundtable discussion of the CSU “Proposal for Re-Envisioning Faculty Appointments” (authored by the Committee on Non Tenure-Track Faculty –CoNTTF) featuring leaders of the academic labor movement on April 27 at 3 PM. Visiting campus will be Maria Maisto of the New Faculty Majority, Joe Berry, faculty member in the Chicago Labor Education Program and  author of Reclaiming the Ivory Tower, John Curtis, former research director of the American Sociological Association, Marisa Allison, founder of the Women & Contingency Database and doctoral candidate at George Mason University’s Public and Applied Sociology Program, and Jim Walsh, University of Colorado-Denver Political Science Professor, social justice activist, and founder/director of the Denver Romero Theatre Troupe.

Reading

New York City author Deborah Clearman and CLC’s Mary Ellen Sanger read from their books on life “south of the border” at Wolverine Letterpress and Publick House on Thursday, 4/20 at 8pm. Deborah writes evocative stories of Guatemalan realities, and Mary Ellen writes of the women she met when unjustly imprisoned in Mexico. There will be wine and beautiful cookies!

TEFL/TESL Advocacy Week 

On behalf of the TEFL/TESL Student Association, we are proud to promote our yearly event, Advocacy Week!

This week helps us achieve our central goals of promoting intercultural, linguistic, and literacy awareness in the community. To give back to the community, we have chosen to run a bookdrive for the Larimer County Jail. Bring in used or new paperback books to stock their shelves! Donation boxes can be found in the English Department office and around campus.

To engage the larger community, this week will feature presentations from Dr. Sue Doe, Dr. Fabiola Ehlers-Zavala, Dr. Kristina Quynn, the TEFL/TESL MA cohort, and TEFL/TESL alumni, focusing primarily on L2 and interdisciplinary writing. Find more details in the “2017 Advocacy Week Schedule” flyer.

Click to see a larger version

Lastly, we are excited to welcome our keynote speaker, Dr. Eli Hinkel to present “Teaching and Learning Vocabulary for Academic Writing” on Friday afternoon. Dr. Hinkel comes to us with over thirty years of experience and multiple publications which have influenced her work with ELL writers.

This year’s guest speaker

We look forward to hosting you at another successful and engaging Advocacy Week!

The Human Library 

The Fort Collins Rotaract Club will be hosting an event on Friday, April 21 from 4:30-8p.m called the Human Library.

The Human Library is a concept created in Copenhagen 17 years ago in order to establish a safe conversational space, where the people are the books. A “Living Book” is someone who represents various backgrounds, beliefs, and experiences. Books challenge prejudice and help connect people through respectful conversation with those who come to borrow them as “readers”. Each Book has a title that relates to their experiences, backgrounds, and/or identity. However, we challenge people to not judge a book by its cover and come with an open mind!

Conversations during the event are offered for 5-15 minutes, depending on what questions the reader has for the Living Book. Checking out a Book is a first come, first serve basis so people can come and go as they please.

Come engage in the conversation! If you would like to participate in an event that creates an atmosphere of storytelling, promotes community building, and celebrates differences then we would love to see you there.

Some featured Living Books include:

My Life in 2 Bathrooms
Muslim Citizen
Chief of Police

CSU Location: Lory Student Center Cherokee Park
Event Contact Name: Lisa Evans
Event Contact Email: levans2@rams.colostate.edu
Event Contact Phone: 9704818230
Audience: Alumni, Community, Faculty, Retiree / Emeritus Faculty, Staff, Student, Youth, Other
Cost: Free!

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