English students, local poets hone their craft at public reading

March 31 2006

MEDIA RELEASE

Wordsmiths of all sorts gathered at Cunningham Memorial Library on the campus of Indiana State University on Thursday (March 30) to share their original works at the Student Writers Salon.

"One of the best ways for anyone to refine and gain confidence in their own writing is to share it with others," said Tony Wilhelm of Sullivan, an ISU junior English major who coordinated the event.

Here is an excerpt from "Another Indiana Winter," one of the poems Wilhelm read at the Salon.

"...Blackened streets flicker from streetlamps
littered up and down the edges of ice forming
in gutters as temperatures plummet to new
nighttime lows for the season to salt the
highways and feed the rust under the cars..."

Not every poet is majoring in English, or is even a college student, which Wilhelm kept in mind when planning the event.

"I made this reading open to the community and any students, graduate and undergraduate, because I know there are many writers on campus who are not English majors," Wilhelm said. "For the community on the whole, it's a great opportunity to see and hear the trends in writing, in an informal setting."

Steve Kash, a teacher and freelance writer from Terre Haute, read several of his poems, one of which was very fitting for this time of year. It is titled, "A Long Drive Home."

"Hoosier hysteria hackles the heart
of a hometown basketball rooter,
when the ref makes a bad call
and a moment later the fan's team
is knifed to death at the buzzer
by a three-pointer."

For literature and creative writing students, though, these events are for more than entertainment. They serve as experiential learning opportunities, said Doug Martin, ISU assistant professor of English.

"It's important for all writers to read aloud to an audience to get a sense of when sound and syntax break down," said Martin, who is teaching an upper-level poetry workshop this semester.

Martin says that the writer needs to travel a sentence as one travels a snow road - free of bumps, mud and all regrets.

"An audience enables the writer to focus their energy on the sentence, but at the same time, find mistakes as they read aloud," he said. "They can go back later, and during revision, add it to the final drafts."

The Student Writers Salon was sponsored by Arion, the ISU Student Creative Writing Association; the ISU English Department and Creative Writing Program; and the ISU Library.

Martin and Wilhelm said they hope to hold similar public readings in the future.

--30-

Photo: A publication-quality photo is available at:Student Writers Salon photo

Cutline: Steve Kash, a teacher and freelance writer from Terre Haute, read several of his poems at the Student Writers Salon at ISU, which was open to the general public.

Contact: Doug Martin, assistant professor of English, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3157 or dmartin21@isugw.indstate.edu; or Juliet Kerico, ISU assistant librarian, (812) 237-2629.

Writer: Katie Spanuello, media relations assistant director, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3790 or kspanuello@isugw.indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

Wordsmiths of all sorts gathered at Cunningham Memorial Library on the campus of Indiana State University on Thursday (March 30) to share their original works at the Student Writers Salon.

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