Tag Archives: Events

~from Michaela Hayes

Rekindle the Classics Flyer

Recently, representatives from the CSU English department and the Poudre Valley Public library gathered to lead a discussion on Toni Morrison’s acclaimed novel Beloved. The discussion was the first of the season for the Fort Collins book club appropriately named “Rekindle the Classics.”

Rekindle the Classics was started several years ago by CSU English professor Ellen Brinks. As stated by Lynn Shutters, also a professor of English at CSU, “The basic idea behind the program is that a lot of people are curious about ‘classic’ literature, but might be a little intimidated by it, or might want someone with whom they can talk about it, or might just want to have a regular monthly meeting to encourage them to actually read that book. Rekindle the Classics is a program for those people.” Rekindle now meets once a month during the academic year, always at the Wolverine Farm Letterpress & Publick House, to discuss a new (or old!) book.

Copy of Beloved the book and cup of coffee

Each discussion is led by a different member of the CSU English department, faculty and students alike. This particular discussion was led by Kelly Weber, an MFA student in the poetry program. After the meeting, Weber spoke to her love for the novel and how it has inspired her transformation as a poet: “It was the first book that really got to me. I think it’s the book that introduced me to real poetry before I liked poems.” As Weber led the discussion, her enthusiasm for the novel radiated from her in waves.

Lynn Shutters and Kelly Weber (top left) discuss Beloved with a group of interested readers

Lynn Shutters and Kelly Weber (top left) discuss Beloved with a group of interested readers

As a fellow English student, I understand this enthusiasm fully. There’s a very specific and very beautiful light that only a person talking about their favorite book can emit. We English majors live for it.

Rekindle the Classics will be meeting again in October, but with a different discussion leader and book. Next month, they will be discussing The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft. Anyone in the community who would like to come is welcome; the more diverse the group, the more lively the discussion. As put by Lynn Shutters, “ Everyone has something to bring to the table. Discussions are lively and fun, smart but highly accessible. I encourage anyone who’s interested to show up for a session and check it out.” This English major agrees.

 

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august

A powerful tale. ~Kirkus

Told in vivid, heartbreaking detail and filled with strong, developed characters, this novel tackles an important theme in a compelling way. In Kiri, young readers will find a protagonist who, although at times afraid, finds the courage to do what she believes to be right. ~Booklist

Earnest, heartfelt, and passionate, this book will likely inspire new environmentalists.  ~Bulletin

The Last Panther, Assistant Professor Todd Mitchell’s latest book, was officially released this week. A book launch party is being held tomorrow, Friday the 25th, at Everyday Joe’s Coffee House, 5-6:30 pm, (find out all the details here). Even though it’s a busy week for him, Todd was kind enough to take the time to answer a few of our questions about the book, his process, and his advice for aspiring writers.

Where did the idea for this book come from?
For years, I was looking for a book that could be used to discuss, with young people, our connection to the greater ecology, and the ways we can act to address some of the biggest environmental problems we currently face. I wasn’t able to find the sort of book I was looking for, though. Most novels that addressed issues like climate change, resource depletion, and species extinction were for older audiences. And the books I did find that addressed such issues were often apocalyptic and depressing. Then, one day, it hit me: Why not write the book I’m looking for? Why not create a story where I could explore, from all angles, the issues I care most deeply about?

It’s funny how long it took me to come to that conclusion. I think I spent a long time avoiding writing about the issues closest to my heart because I feared it would be too difficult to explore such issues in an entertaining way. I wanted others to shoulder the burden of figuring out how to tell such a story. However, writing this book wasn’t a burden at all. Once I gave myself permission to tell the story I wanted to tell, it became the best writing experience of my life.

You mentioned that you wrote this book with your daughter. How was that process different from writing your other books?
This is what made writing this book so much fun: I knew exactly who I was writing for. My daughter, Addison, was ten at the time I developed the first draft. Every night, I’d read a chapter to her and get her feedback on what she liked, what confused her, and what other ideas she had for the story. Then I’d revise that chapter, keeping her feedback in mind, and how she reacted to the story as I read it.

The book’s “co-author” Addison on the left.

I think having a clear audience in mind is vital for any writing project. This was the first time, though, that I was able to read to that audience on a nightly basis and get her feedback. I’m grateful for all that Addison added to the book (the pet rat was her idea, BTW. And she’s the one who named him Snowflake).

Is there an ongoing theme (or themes) in your books? Is there a common thread or message in the stories you tell?
I usually write books to explore questions that interest and trouble me. So if there’s a common theme among my books, it’s that every book began with a question I couldn’t stop asking myself. With The Last Panther, that question was “What is a species worth?” How far would you go to keep a species, like the Florida panther, from extinction? How far should we go as a society to do this? And how do we value other parts of creation? Each of the main characters is brought to a point in the story where he or she must decide what they value most. And each comes up with a different answer (sometimes this answer surprises them). Writing this book helped me to understand the deep, often unstated values that underly many of our current conflicts.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Write the story you’re most afraid to tell. The difficulty here is that sometimes, you don’t even know what you’re afraid to talk about until you discover that something’s holding you back. I think it’s important to give yourself permission to speak and write about the things you care most deeply about, even if you sound ridiculous doing it. This is a hard thing to do, because we’re afraid to be criticized for what we care about, or because we’re afraid to explore what’s difficult, or because we’re afraid to put ourselves at risk this way. But as the poet, Lee Upton, put it, “Our risk is our cure.” This is how you find the stories that mean the most to you. And if you can do that, you’ll probably find stories that mean something to others, too.

 

Join us in congratulating Todd on his new book, and for the release party!

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~From intern Katie Haggstrom

august

The beginning of August means that fall classes start in less than three weeks. But there are still plenty of literary events happening around Fort Collins, both before and after school starts. From Fort Collins own Comic Con to a release party for English Professor Todd Mitchell’s new book, there are plenty of things to do between classes. Let us know if you’re going to a literary event not on our list! 

August 3 – Book Talk with Peter Maeck. Stop by Old Firehouse Books in downtown Fort Collins at 6pm. Visit the event page for more information. 

August 7 – Old Firehouse Books will host a book talk with Danya Kukafka. Kukafka, a Fort Collins native, will be discussing her new book Girl in Snow. The event starts at 6pm, visit the Facebook event page for more information.

August 17 – Summer Bike-In Cinema Series: “Get Out.” Bring your friends out to New Belgium Brewing from 6-10pm for a screening of the horror film “Get Out.” Tickets are $2 per person with proceeds going to Wolverine Farm Publishing. More information is listed on their event page

August 24 – FoCo Drink & Draw at the Wolverine Farm Letterpress from 5-7pm. The event invites people to “drink a few beers and draw a few pictures.” While some of you many see yourself only as writers, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your inner artist. Visit their event for more details. 

august

August 25 – Our own English Professor Todd Mitchell will have a release party for his new book The Last Panther. Come help him celebrate at Everyday Joe’s Coffee House in downtown Fort Collins, starting at 5pm. The Facebook event page has more information. Read our Faculty/Alumni profile to learn more about Mitchell and his works.

August 26-27 – Fort Collins Comic Con. All tickets proceeds go toward the Poudre River Public Library District. Spend the weekend celebrating your favorite book fandoms. Visit the Comic Con website for ticket and event information. Visit their Facebook page to get a sneak peak of who’s attending. 

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~From intern Katie Haggstrom

July events

July is usually celebrated with fireworks and Independence Day events. But that doesn’t mean that the literary world comes to a halt, especially in the Fort Collins area.

There are some amazing literature-related events happening this month, including the release of a new book from English department professor Camille Dungy. Some amazing authors and poets will be here to share their work, so make sure to mark your calendars. If you find something exciting that we’ve missed, please share!

July 6 – Daryl Gregory will share from his latest book, Spoonbenders, at the Old Town Library in Downtown Fort Collins. Kirkus Review praised Gregory’s book as “a skillfully written family drama that employs quirk and magic with grace.” The reading begins at 6pm, visit the Facebook event for more information.

July 7 – The Poetry Slam at Wolverine Letterpress and Publick House is a great place to share your own work and hear other’s original work. The event starts at 8pm, visit their listing for more information on this and other events.

July 8 – Dana Leigh will be in Fort Collins to sign copies of her book at Old Firehouse Books, starting at 1pm. Visit Firehouse’s Facebook event for more details.

July 13 – Old Firehouse Books will host a Book Talk with the young adult author Sandhya Menon. She will she talking about her debut novel When Dimple Met Rishi. According to Publisher’s Weekly, the book surrounds “two intellectually gifted teens from traditional Indian families who meet at a summer tech conference in San Francisco. The twist: Dimple and Rishi’s parents have arranged their marriage.” For more information about her Book Talk, visit the Facebook event page.

July 14 – Famous poet and writer Roxanne Gay will visit the Tattered Cover in Fort Collins to share from her book Hunger. As Gay explains, “I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble…I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.” The reading begins at 7pm, visit the event page for more information about this event.

July eventsJuly 19 – Camille Dungy, one of our CSU English department professors, will be sharing from her newest book Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood, and History at Old Town Library. CSU’s SOURCE explains that Dungy’s “book is about the intersection of multiple identities, the convergence of various histories, and the rich diversity of place…Dungy says she writes about ‘what is happening around me, and has always been happening around me.’” The reading begins at 6:30pm. Learn more about Dungy and her new book from CSU’s SOURCE.

July 28 – I AM Open Mic at the Bean Cycle in downtown Fort Collins. This event brings together “musicians, poets, comedians, storytellers, [and] anyone with something to say or do.” Their page has more information on this and other events.

July 30 – Who doesn’t love a Book Club Mixer? Stop by Old Firehouse Books from 4-7pm to “mingle with other books lovers, learning about hot new book club picks and upcoming literary happenings.” To join the event or learn more information, visit their Facebook event.

 

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~From intern Katie Haggstrom

While the school year is over, there are still plenty of local events happening throughout the summer. The OpenSpace: A Music and Reading Series will have their next event this Saturday, June 17th at 7:30pm. The event will feature some familiar faces from the CSU English department.

Our own alumni Felicia Zamora will be sharing an excerpt from her new book Of Form & Gather, the winner of the 2016 Andres Montoya Poetry Prize from the University of Notre Dame Press. Zamora was also selected as the 2017 Fort Collins Poet Laureate.

Read our alumni profile for Felicia Zamora to learn more about her achievements and time with the English department.

Poet Joanna Doxey is also an English department alumni and will read from her Plainspeak, WY publication. As OpenSpace explains, this book “documents the brutally harsh winters of the Wyoming landscape and is a mediation of self as wilderness.”

What makes the OpenSpace series stand out from other poetry readings is that it combines poetry with music. Two musicians, Porlolo and The Ugly Architect, will perform alongside these poets. Porlolo formed in 2002 and has toured nationally, just releasing their EP, Everything Barely. The Ugly Architect will include various players from Fort Collins, and have set a strong precedent for the Northern Colorado indie-folk scene.

This event will take place at the Wolverine Farm LetterPress & Publick House in downtown Fort Collins. Visit their event calendar for more information on this event and other upcoming events held through the summer. 

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~from Jill Salahub

Tomorrow the English department will be holding a very special celebration. Bruce Ronda is retiring this year, and as sad as we are to see him go, we are sending him off with our best wishes at this upcoming event. To honor him here on the blog, I’ve been collecting memories and well wishes from a few people who studied and worked with him over the years.

I myself had the honor of learning from Bruce as a graduate student, taking one of my very first classes with him, and have enjoyed his company and his leadership as I stayed on to work in the department. At one point, he guided and supported me through a very difficult time, an experience that had the potential to end my career at CSU. With Bruce’s help it instead allowed a space uniquely suited for me where I could thrive, matching what I was good at with what the department needed, and I am forever grateful to him for that.

I will miss Bruce’s dedication, trustworthiness, wisdom, and kindness, and wish for him only the best of things as he moves on. What follows, in no particular order, are more memories and good wishes.

Bruce Ronda talks with faculty and staff at the first walk through of the Eddy Hall remodel

From Professor Matthew Cooperman: I was the first TT [tenure track] hire, under Bruce’s tenure as Chair. I will always be deeply honored by the trust he showed in me, and have thought of him as a paragon of integrity. He’s been there for me, and for my family, during my time at CSU. And he’s a helluva banjo player.

Bruce Ronda and Leslee Becker at an awards ceremony in 2015. Leslee says of Bruce, “I’ve been in his house!”

From Associate Professor Pam Coke: The poet Arthur O’Shaughnessy wrote, “We are the music-makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.”  Dr. Bruce Ronda will always have a special place in my heart.  He is a dreamer of dreams, and he helped make my dreams come true.

It was Christmas Eve, 2001, an era where few people had cell phones.  Suffice it to say I did not have a cell phone.  Bruce called me at my parents’ house, in Dubuque, IA, on Christmas Eve, to offer me a job as an Assistant Professor of English Education.  It was the best Christmas present ever.

I have never regretted accepting Bruce’s offer.  It has been an honor to work with a man as intelligent, as principled, and as caring as Bruce.

I have been reminded of this many times over the past fifteen years.

It was September, 2003.  I had requested to meet with Bruce to discuss “a situation.”  I was not sure how he would react to my news, but when I told Bruce that Ken and I were pregnant, he smiled and told me that I had just made his week.  In that moment, I felt less afraid, less unsure.  It had been a while since any women in the department had had a baby, let alone an untenured faculty member.  I was uncertain what that would mean, but with a warm smile and a gentle hug, Bruce let me know that everything would be okay.

That is one of his many gifts.  Bruce is an active listener and a compassionate leader.  He is ethical and humane.  He is wise and wonderful.

Bruce, you have been a mentor, a colleague, and a friend to me.  Thank you for all of your advice and support over the years.  I will always remember having a cup of coffee with you when you stepped down as English department chair.  When I thanked you for hiring me, you said, “It was one of the best decisions I made as chair.”  I will treasure these words for the rest of my career, as I will treasure you, Bruce.  I wish you every happiness in the years ahead.  Enjoy retirement.

Three department chairs: Louann Reid, Bruce Ronda, and Pattie Cowell

From Assistant Professor Todd Mitchell: Thank you for all your years of service, leadership, and inquiry. You’re a true scholar, and an inspiration to many. May you continue to inspire others to be their better selves in the next chapter in your life. Best wishes.

From Associate Professor Dan Beachy-Quick: One of the things I’ve realized about Bruce, trying to write an anecdote about him, is how the man himself feels immune to anecdote. That is, something about Bruce refuses—for me at least—to fall into a short moment remembered that captures some essence of the man. Instead, when I ponder the gifts Bruce has given me, they seem in their largeness and constancy to escape the confines of the form, and so it only feels apt, at this pivot in career and life, to thank him largely for large generosities. When I was hired at CSU Bruce was chair. Coming from an art school, I realized I had no idea about how academic life actually worked. I think Bruce sensed this, and in the kindest of ways, and in the subtlest of ways, became for me a mentor—and in that mentoring, showed me the importance of long vision and patient listening, of not making a show of oneself but helping others be more seen. On lucky occasions when we could both make time, we’d coffee or a beer, and simply talk—about what each of us working on, of course, but talked in a way beyond research agendas and publishing hopes. Instead, it was (and is) a conversation in which you get a glimpse of the intellect not as a resource but as a life. That’s a mentoring, too—to see what it looks like to be involved in one’s work outside of any other motive than to do the work. It’s a vision of happiness, or so it felt to me, and feels to me still. And I owe Bruce a large debt for the vision.

Bruce at John Calderazzo and Sue Ellen Campbell’s retirement ceremony one year ago

From Graduate Programs Assistant Marnie Leonard: Bruce Ronda is an exemplary scholar, a supportive leader, and a pleasure to work with.  These descriptions are deceptively simple, yet each encapsulates a wealth of experience and insight and each engenders confidence and trust. Bruce’s contributions to the Department of English and to the College of Liberal Arts have helped make our part of CSU the best place to be.

From Professor Barb Sebek: Bruce has been a supportive colleague and good friend since I first came to CSU in 1995.  At several crucial moments in my career, he provided much needed professional insight and encouragement.  I admire his commitment to producing fine literary and cultural scholarship while also fulfilling the many duties of department chair and associate dean in the CLA.  In addition to serving together on various MA projects, faculty searches, and departmental and college committees, I’ve borrowed from his syllabus and assignments for the graduate literary research methods course and benefited from his teaching advice on countless occasions.  It’s hard to trace the influence of a colleague that has been so pervasive and so reliable.  Beyond department life, Bruce has provided many happy occasions over the years for making music together—from Purcell, Mozart, and Puccini to Gershwin, Woody Guthrie, and Hank Williams.  Bruce’s great talent on piano and strings is matched by his knack for organization to keep his fellow musicians on task—binders and folders with song lists and lyrics, and, on some occasions, exquisite martinis to ensure a warmed up and appreciative audience.  I will really miss Bruce at CSU, but look forward to more musical adventures ahead!

Bruce in front of the fully remodeled Eddy Hall

From Instructor (Senior Teaching Appointment) James Roller: Professor Ronda was inspiring to me during my graduate studies in a spectrum of ways. His depth and breadth of knowledge in American Studies, his gentle guidance and academic patience, his enthusiasm for the growth of his students, and his continuing curiosity for his subject were at once mystifying and encouraging. He impressed upon his advisees that a world of fascination awaited discovery in every text and every new anecdote that lay beneath the leaves of literature and history. My favorite memory of Bruce Ronda spoke of his unparalleled work ethic. As I was finishing my master’s thesis, I recall sending Bruce a draft of some 120 pages of written research, only to be amazed when he returned it to me the very next day with comments on nearly every page! He is a model academic who teaches by example and shows us all what is possible with a lifetime of dedicated service to the academy.

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As National Poetry Month comes to a close, we’d like to spend the final days focusing close to home, on our very own English department poets — Matthew Cooperman, Sasha Steensen, Dan Beachy-Quick, and Camille Dungy.

CSU professor Matthew Cooperman is the author of four chapbooks and five full-length books of poetry, including A Sacrificial Zinc (2001), DaZE (2006), Still: Of the Earth as the Ark which Does Not Move (2011), Imago for the Fallen World (2013), and his most recent, Spool (2015), which won the New Measure Prize.

Professor Cooperman did his undergraduate work at Colgate University in New York. He then went on to receive a master’s degree from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D. from Ohio University.

His work has received the Jovanovich Prize from the University of Colorado, the Utah Wilderness Society Prize, an Academy of American Poets INTRO Award, the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize, the O. Marvin Lewis Award, and the Pavement Saw Chapbook Prize, among other honors.

In addition to teaching literature and poetry courses at Colorado State University, Cooperman is a founding editor of the literary journal Quarter After Eight and a co-poetry editor for the Colorado Review.

You can check out some of Matthew Cooperman’s poetry on his website. You also might want to read his recent faculty profile.

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Bean Cycle, image by Tim Mahoney

“Spoken word poetry is the art of performance poetry. I tell people it involves creating poetry that doesn’t just want to sit on the paper, that something about it demands to be heard out loud or witnessed in person.” -Sarah Kay

We’ve spent this week celebrating the form of slam poetry and spoken word. We have our favorite performances, but there are also countless local opportunities to get involved with slam poetry. We’ve compiled a list of places around Fort Collins where you can hear slam poetry, and even share some of your own. Let us know if you’ve found other fun ways to get involved with poetry, we’d love to know!

Places to share and exchange poetry

  • Poetry Slam at the Bean Cycle, Fort Collins: On the first Friday of every month at 7:30pm, visit the Bean Cycle where you can listen to or share your own spoken word. For the last 12 years, the event has been hosted by Larry “Booger” Holgerson. The Rocky Mountain Collegian says “this accepting social poetry environment is a great place to meet poets and reach a larger audience.” Read the Collegian’s article for more information about these slams.
  • Slamogadro at Avogadro’s Number, Fort Collins: This slam poetry competition happens on the last Sunday each month at Avogadro’s Number. Readings start at 7pm. Follow their Facebook page for more information.
  • I AM Open Mic, Fort Collins: This open mic happens on the last Friday each month at the Bean Cycle Roasters. People are encouraged to “come and share their expressions with the Fort Collins Community.” This event is not limited to poetry, working to bring together musicians, poets, comedians, storytellers, and all creative artists. Open mic starts at 8pm.
  • Lo Co Poetry Slam, Loveland: Make the trip down to the Lo Co Artisan Coffee House on the third Saturday of each month for a local poetry slam. Visit their events calendar for more information on events at the coffee house.
  • Punch Drunk Press, Denver: This organization is located in Denver and hosts various spoken work and poetry events. If you’re interested in Denver and Boulder’s poetry scene, watch their Facebook page for upcoming events.

 

Places to hear poetry

  • ForkSocket Reading Series, Fort Collins: This reading series is hosted by the MFA students at CSU, taking place at the Wolverine Letterpress & Publick House. It is an “attempt at an atypical reading structure intended to inform if not challenge conventional ideologies that have been associated with the negative situation.” These events happen multiple times throughout the school year so watch their Facebook page for event information.
  • The Creative Writing Reading Series, Fort Collins: While the series ended for the school year, the CSU English Department brings in poets and writers both from within and outside the Fort Collins community. Watch the English Department Facebook page for information about next school year’s series.
  • Dead Poet’s Society, CSU Fort Collins: CSU’s own Poet’s Society meets at the Wild Boar on alternating Friday’s from 7-9pm. Visit their Facebook page for more information about this group.
  • Greyrock Literary Club, CSU Fort Collins: This purpose of this club is to “spread awareness about the literary publishing community.” To learn more about this organization, visit their page.
  • The Greyrock Review, CSU Fort Collins: The GreyRock Review is the undergraduate literary magazine at CSU. Check out what others are writing, and submit some of your own creative work! Visit their website for more information.
  • Creative Writing Club, CSU Fort Collins: As their page explains, this club is “for writers who want to improve and share their work in an encouraging and constructive environment.” For more information about meeting times, you can visit their page.

Other ways to get involved locally

  • Front Ranges Writers: This is a group created to compile different readings and events around the Fort Collins area. Visit their Facebook page for more information.
  • CSU English Calendar of Events: For events that are happening at CSU, and within Fort Collins, you can watch our calendar of events for information on upcoming events or speakers.
  • Wolverine Letterpress & Publick House: This local non-profit literary/arts organization is a great source for all things creative. From a calligraphy class to knitting session and Poetry Slams, make sure you check their calendar of events for any upcoming events.

 

Next week is the final week of National Poetry Month 2017. We’ll be featuring local poets, those near and dear to our hearts.

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Image from rupikaur.com

Artist and poet Rupi Kaur was born in Punjab, India, in 1992. When she was only 4, her parents emigrated to Toronto, Canada. Her artistic and creative ability was something that emerged when she was a young age. Kaur began to draw and paint, inspired by her mom and would write poems for her friends, and even crushes.

As Kaur reflected in an interview, “I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on. I was moved by the ability of books to pull one out of their reality and into someone else’s…I want to put words to feelings we have trouble putting into words. Like the breath before the kiss, I want to make the mundane beautiful.”

At the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Kaur was able to pursue this passion by studying Rhetoric and Professional Writing. She then began posting her poems on social media sites, like Tumblr and Instagram. Through these venues she gained popularity and published her first collective works in 2015 titled milk and honey. 

The collection has received much attention for the voice she brings to violence, abuse, love, loss and family. Huffington Post said that “reading the [Kaur’s] book, is like getting the hug you need on a rainy day, the catharsis you crave after a tragedy.”

From the success of her first collection, Kaur has a contract for two more books with one slated for fall of this year.

While her poetry perfectly captures a wide breadth of powerful moments, it’s not without lots of time and sweat on Kaur’s part. As she explains, “The words get in the way of writing.” Her process often involves “Freewriting. Rewriting. Entering. Backspacing. Coping. Pasting. Until I stop. Until it feels like I’ve gotten out everything that needed to be written and then I will put it away.”

Rupi Kaur has made waves in both the poetry realm and within larger feminist work. In 2015, she posted a controversial image on Instagram of her lying on a bed with an obvious menstrual stain on her sweatpants. This was part of a Visual Rhetoric course at the University of Waterloo.

Through her art, Kaur fights to bring attention to these taboos of society, becoming a powerful messenger for many women without a voice of their own.

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The name Sylvia Plath incites thoughts of deep, depressive poetry and a woman who abruptly ended her life. But her raw, revealing writing has inspired and influenced generations of new writers and poets.

Born in 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts, Plath had always been drawn to language. From the age of eleven, she kept a journal and published poems in her regional newspapers and magazines. In 1850, following her high school graduation, Plath’s first national publication was printed in the Christian Science Monitor.

Plath completed her undergraduate degree at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. After graduation, she moved the Cambridge, England as a Fulbright Scholar where she met Ted Hughes, whom she married in 1956. One year later, she returned to Massachusetts and studied with the writer Robert Lowell. From there, she had success publishing her first poetry collection, Colossus, in England and had two children named Frieda (1960) and Nicholas (1962).

Most of Plath’s poetry and writing drew from her personal experiences and struggles. While attending Smith College, she spent a disastrous summer living in New York City. Her experiences from that summer worked as the basis for her semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar, released in 1963. The novel was originally published under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. By sharing her deeply personal experiences, Plath had a great impact on the genre of confessional poetry.

Her tragic death left behind many unpublished works. Those poems were gathered and published posthumously in 1982 as The Collected Poems. Unfortunately, she was not alive for the moment that collection won her the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Plath’s words continue to stand out in time, providing insight into the darkness of life and Plath’s experience of life. Plath was deeply connected to her consciousness and self, something that carried depth within her writing. As Sylvia Plath describes, “I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am. I am. I am.”

 

Video: Sylvia Plath reads her poem “Daddy”

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