Wednesday, November 30, 2011
|Retrieved from: Bluesilver Video Productions|
By Alissa Perske
To celebrate Thanksgiving, the Center for Creative Writing held a Thanksgiving reading of poetry and prose concerning food in some way, shape, or form. The reading took place at Main Street Books on Monday, November 21st, at 7:00pm. The event did not require monetary admission, but a donation relating to the event itself—food. All donations went to the Frostburg Pantry Partners.
The book store was filled with laughter and friendly chatter as people came, took their seats, and enjoyed the provided snacks and beverages. Once the time came to start the reading, Jessica Palumbo stood before the small crowd and made the introductions. “There are eight selected people, and then we’ll move on to open mic,” she explained. The first reader was Mina Forsythe, who read two pieces, one of them being by Pablo Neruda. Next, Dr. Keith Schlegel read Sylvia Plath’s “The Thin People.” “The poem addresses the hunger that still haunts us,” Schlegel said. The topic of the absence of food still has to do with food, and this topic related closely to the goal of the reading: collecting food to donate to the hungry. Barbara Hurd followed him with the reading of “Octopus in the Freezer” by Lee Roripaugh. Gerry LaFemina graced the audience with his presence after Hurd, bringing laughter when he introduced “Refrigerator, 1987,” the first poem he would read. “Thanks to technology, I now have this on my phone,” he shared. He then read “Cooking Italian” and ended his reading with the short poem “Watermelons” by Charles Simic. The readings continued with Stephen Dunn, who read “Praises” by Thomas McGrath. “I think why we don’t know too much is because [McGrath] lived in North Dakota,” Dunn joked as he introduced the poem. Andy Duncan captured the audience’s attention next with the first prose reading of the night, the introduction for one of his stories, The Big Rock Candy Mountain. Melanie Michael read one of her own poems, one she wrote for her grandmother, after Duncan. Finally, Jenn Merrifield wrapped up the selected readings of the night with “Thanks” by W.S. Merwin, a very appropriate poem for the event.
After a short break where the audience and readers mingled, Jessica Palumbo took the podium again to return to the program. At the start of the event, a sign-up sheet was available for members of the audience who wanted to participate in the open mic portion of the night. These readers included Kurt Detwiler, Jennifer Brown, Sherry Noonan, Nick Gaudio, and Darcy Gagnon, with such works as 1659 by Emily Dickinson, “Telephone Booth,” “Hunter,” “Applesauce,” and William Matthews’ “Onions.”
The Thanksgiving reading was brought to a close by Jessica Palumbo. She thanked everyone again for attending and for donating. The majority of the audience and readers stayed behind to have more snacks and beverages and to discuss books, food, and everyday life after one final announcement was made about Story Slam, a public reading held on December 1st at 7:00pm at Dante’s Bar on Main Street.
For more information on the Center for Creative Writing and their upcoming events, visit their website.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
There was a time when African Americans couldn’t vote because they were considered property as oppose to citizens. Most of them couldn’t read because of the literacy laws, so that was another hindrance for them. Even after slavery ended, there was still a lot of discrimination that kept African Americans from voting. The opportunity wasn’t given until the 14th amendment was passed in 1868, which states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law, which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” After this law was passed, they passed the 15th amendment in 1870 to emphasize the right to vote by simply saying, “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Because of these reasons, and others, everyone has the opportunity to vote and have their opinion matter.
At the end of the day, the bothers of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity encouraged 30 people to register to vote. Marcus Wilson, a student here at Frostburg State University (FSU), says, “I don’t know why it took me so long to register but I’m glad I did. It makes me feel empowered.” It was refreshing to see students actually interested in receiving the information from the table. I thought they would just pass by, but they took the time to ask questions and really get an understanding of why voting is important. Frederick Ramsey, another FSU student, said “I didn’t expect this when I came out today, but it surely can’t hurt me to register to vote, so why not?” The brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity did a great job with this program and in the end, they had a wonderful turn out.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
By Marissa Nedved
FROSTBURG – On Thursday night, nonfiction author Lee Gutkind visited Frostburg to read from his memoir Truckin’ With Sam. Gutkind opened the floor to questions from the audience after the reading. The event took place at 7:30 in at the FSU Foundation building at 20 E Main Street.
Vanity Fair has dubbed Gutkind has the “godfather of creative nonfiction.” Creative nonfiction, according to Gutkind’s own website, “heightens the whole concept and idea of essay writing.” The genre allows artistic techniques traditionally used by fiction writers, such as dialogue and detailed descriptions, to be utilized in factual accounts. Gutkind believes in immersing himself in his subject. For his writing, he has followed scientists working with robotics, young people with mental illnesses and surgeons performing organ transplants.
“It is really cold,” Gutkind told his Frostburg audience Thursday night. “I don’t like it. So far, I’ve hung out in your coffee shop. I’ve drank four espressos and two coffees, so if I seem a little crazy, that’s why.” He then explained the backstory of Truckin’ With Sam. Sam is his son, who is currently attending Carnegie Mellon University. The term “truckin’” actually comes from a Grateful Dead song, but the meaning is a bit different for the Gutkinds. To them, “truckin’” means “getting out of life’s way and doing what is unexpected.” For several years, every summer break, Gutkind and his son have set out on adventures exploring the world. Their travels include trips to almost every continent, including Europe, Asia and Australia.
Gutkind chose to read samples of his work that demonstrated his desires to mold his son into a strong and independent man while at the same time, hoping to hold him close. The first excerpt Gutkind read described a bike accident Sam had in Africa and his subsequent hospital trip. The doctors told Sam he should return to the states and receive surgical treatment for his leg. Sam insisted he would not, because that would ruin their plans to climb the infamous Mt. Kilimanjaro.
The most moving excerpt was of the Gutkinds journey up the African mountain. It took six days and five nights. Lee and Sam wore every bit of clothing they had packed. His son limped the entire way up, due to his bicycle accident a week prior. Gutkind considered this adventure Sam’s transition into adulthood and expressed his pride in him. By the time they reached the top of the mountain, they were far too exhausted and cold to feel the excitement and they still had to make the trek down. This was when Gutkind turned to his son and said, “Limping, gasping or even crawling, we’ll get there.”
During the question and answer session, Gutkind emphasized the power of nonfiction and writing in general. He encouraged his young audience to find their passion and put it into words. “Books are power,” he said. “Books will always be power, whether they are paper or electronic.”
For more information, visit Lee Gutkind’s website at http://www.leegutkind.com.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
An Evening with Lee Gutkind, by Kindra Mason
On Thursday, November 17, author of creative non-fiction, Lee Gutkind held a reading of his newest book Truckin’ with Sam at the Lyric Theater on Main Street. Gutkind has written two memoirs; Truckin’ with Sam is his second and he wrote it with his son, Sam Gutkind. His latest book is about life as a father and the responsibilities fathers have to their sons. Gutkind defined the word “truckin’” as a “way of getting out of life’s way and living spontaneously.” The journey started in the summer of 2003 and continued every summer until 2009. Lee Gutkind and his son went “truckin’” around the United States and went through almost every state and various countries around the world. During the trips Gutkind had the opportunity to bond with his son and learn more about him. Gutkind referred to himself as an “old new dad” because he became a father much later in life.
Gutkind read many excerpts from Truckin with Sam. The first was about a trip to Mt. Kilimanjaro where Sam was in an accident. The pair was planning on climbing the mountain to the top, but Sam was in a small accident and was taken to the hospital. Everything with Sam turned out to be okay, but Gutkind was not sure they should still climb the mountain. Sam was not willing to accept that and the two soon climbed to the very top of the mountain together. His second excerpt was about a time he watched his son, who was 13 at the time, fall down while he stood in line inside a coffee shop in New Jersey. He watched Sam pick himself up off the concrete and clean himself off. When Gutkind came out of the coffee shop he did not say anything about watching Sam fall down and Sam didn’t bring it up. Gutkind said this experience helped him to understand when to show emotion and when not to show it. On a later excursion to Tibet, Gutkind and Sam heard bursts of gunfire and later looked out the window to see soldiers with riot gear. At that moment he said to himself, “What have I done to him this time?” referring to putting his son in dangerous situations.
While many of the stories Gutkind read were about his relationship with his son, some were about the relationship he had with his own father. He talked about his father’s own attempts at intimacy with him and his father explaining things like breasts and the word ‘fuck’ as beautiful things. One story he read was about his coming to understand a woman’s period from seeing “buckets of blood” in the toilet left by his mother.
After the reading, Gutkind answered questions asked by the audience about different topics. One person asked if it was hard to publish his first book and Gutkind said it was harder to publish his most recent book in comparison. He said, “These days publishing is much more difficult.” Gutkind talked some about how he enjoyed living his life because he got to experience other people’s lives from writing about them and constantly being around them in the background. He said that, “When they trust you, they no longer see you.” The different books that he has written in the creative non-fiction genre have been the result of spending large amounts of time with different people.
Gutkind spoke about his pioneering of the creative non-fiction genre. He said that the word ‘creative’ was hated by journalists because they thought it meant the stories were made up. He said that he had to constantly defend creative non-fiction to his colleagues. Creative non-fiction is now the most popular genre in publishing. Creative non-fiction is now used in fields from medicine to law. The evening finished with a round of applause for Lee Gutkind.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
By Celina Bevington
Frostburg State Students combated brutal winds and twenty degree weather Thursday, November 17th in order to support the Western Maryland Food Bank during the RHA sponsored Homeless Camp Out. The Camp Out, led by Frostburg State Student Brett Shepherd, was held on the Lewis J. Ort Library front deck. As students passed by the encampment they were urged by the campers to donate any bit of change they were willing to give in order to support those less fortunate. Sean McNalley, Assistant Director of the Residence Life Office, said that this event gave “student’s information about something they may not be aware still existed. It also gave them a chance to donate to a worthy cause, the Western Maryland Food Bank.” Most participants did not realize that it was going to be in the twenties that night, but armed with sleeping bags, boxes, coats, blankets, and positive attitude’s they all stuck it out until two in the morning. Frostburg State Senior Kenneth Crisman, a major in Mass Communication, donated a dozen Cup of Noodles to the cause. He believed that this was a great chance to donate to something amazing because, “there are others that are less fortunate than me. I think that what we have we shouldn’t take for granted. I have enough food to support myself, so why not share the extra with others.” Most students who donated also shared Mr. Crisman’s belief, and by the end of the night the campers had raised a total of $101.60 to be donated along with the food to the Western Maryland Food Bank.
Brett Shepherd, a senior majoring in Mass Communication with a minor in communication studies, is the mastermind behind the Homeless Camp Out. Mr. Shepherd said that being from Baltimore and seeing so many around him going without he began to have a soft spot for homeless people. He also mentioned that the other day he and his father were out on Main Street and saw a homeless man sleeping out in front of Dante’s bar, “It just really hurt to see someone sitting homeless outside of a bar.” Brett goes on to say that he hopes this will become a Frostburg State tradition and that he wants to repeat the act at his grad school. Some of the participants were also providing incentives for students to donate to the cause. Psychology Major Brittney Burton sang and offered to dance with any student who donated even a penny to the camp out. Ms. Burton also has a special reason for participating in the event, saying that it was important to do “because I have been without a home and without necessities before, so I don’t want other people to have to go through it. It’s hard.”
Occasionally there were a group students who would walk by the encampment who would shake their heads and continue walking, ignoring the pleas of help from the campers. This was taken in stride by each of the campers who kept their positive attitude throughout the night by bursting into singing Christmas carols or just laughing. Overall, the night was a great success, with more than a dozen students camping out in support, and numerous food, clothing, and monetary donations collected to donate to the Western Maryland Food Bank.