THANK YOU to everyone who attended, participated, and supported the Roethke Poetry and Arts Festival Poetry Slam!!! It was a wonderful event, and it wouldn't be possible without the community's attendance and support. Alexa Foor, a tutor at the SVSU Writing Center and all around wonderful human, served as a judge at the event. Alexa also served as a tutor and facilitated the Creative Writing Studio at the Saginaw Community Writing Center. Here, she shares some thoughts on the event. Alexa writes:
"The poetry slam was the perfect way to kick off this year’s Roethke festival. I’ve served as a judge for a few poetry readings now, and I’ve never had as much trouble deciding on winners as I did at this event. Everyone was confident in their presentations and read poetry that was interesting and engaging. I heard calm nature poems, wild and loud poems about the cosmos, and even calls to action that reflected current social justice issues and in this variation came a common theme of trust and unity that really struck me. I laughed as much as I was moved. The night was only made more beautiful with the addition of music by Casey Lane. With a packed house at around 90 attendants, I think the importance of events like this is highlighted because it shows that the community really does benefit from gathering together and sharing art from so many unique and different voices. The diversity of voices showcased at this event is apparent when looking at the winners: Cbxtn Fig, Evan Waddell, and Serena Pittman. They all read poems that were incredibly different but still exceptional in their execution."
WOW! The talent in our community is overwhelming. Thank you to all who shared your work with us at the Still Life Release Celebration and Open Mic Night Tuesday, January 23rd at Counter Culture. We had over 80 people in attendance, which was absolutely amazing!
The event allowed those published in Still Life to read their pieces and had an open mic night competition. Congratulations to the winners!
1st Place: Hope
Prize: Gary’s Shoe
2nd Place: Amy
Prize: copy of Words You Should Know 2013: The 201 Words from Science, Politics, Technology, and Pop Culture That Will Change Your Life This Year
3rd Place: Floet
Prize: Four disposable eyelash curlers
As you can tell by the prizes, the event had its whimsical elements, courtesy of our host. We would like to extend a massive thank you to Counter Culture, specifically our host and one of the Still Life winners Ben Champagne. Ben has always been a supporter of our Community Writing Centers and writing in general. We asked Ben to share some thoughts on poetry slams. Take a look at what he said:
“Poetry Slams and literary events are lightning rods for creativity. The format gives itself over to the whim of the crowd. Writing is at once, a solitary endeavor and an absolutely universal one. We write with many motives, for ourselves and for an audience. When we get together to share our stuff, we receive validation and inspiration. It takes a lot of guts, to get in front of a crowd and bare your soul. Or to hear crickets at a line you intended to be funny. But when the crowd responds to your punchline, or they lean back in their seat when the metaphor sets in, or you return to your seat and your nerves settle a bit, that is when the magic happens. You get to be in a group of people who get it. That know language is a tool for communication and at the same time, art. Poetry Slams should be happening at every work break, in schools, funerals, and the steps of your local politician. Poetry Slams are the reward for hard work conducted in emotions and whimsy. Literary readings allow us a sense of the deeper meaning to life. We work and toil, but for what? For moments like those.”
If you could not attend but are interested in getting a copy of Still Life, no worries! We'll be making issues of Still Life available throughout the community in the coming weeks, but if you can’t wait, you can pick them up at the following locations:
Again, thank you all for your support, and keep writing!
The Bay Community Writing Center is back on Tuesday, January 16th from 4-8pm to work with anyone and everyone on their writing! Stop by the Wirt Library to work with a writing tutor for FREE!
The Bay Community Writing Center is proud to announce that the inaugural issue of Still Life, our community literary arts journal, is being shared for the first time on Tuesday, January 23rd! Thank you to all who submitted your work for this amazing publication. Please join us to celebrate the release and hear writers share their work, and maybe even share your own writing. You won't want to miss it! This event is open to anyone and everyone, so please help us spread the word. See the flyer for all details.
The Bay Community Writing Center would not be able to exist without the support of community members. One member in particular has been extremely helpful in the implementation of and creation of our Center in the Wirt Library. Trish Burns serves as The Bay County Library System Director, and we are very grateful for all the work she has put in to help the BCWC! Here, she shares some thoughts on the Bay Community Writing Center and how it has impacted the library and its patrons.
"Our Bay County libraries are cultural hubs that transform the community by providing vital opportunities connecting people, ideas, and information. To stay aligned with that mission statement, we always look for chances to collaborate with different organizations to offer new and innovative programs for our patrons. A conversation with Helen Raica-Klotz, Director of the Writing Center at SVSU, was the impetus to provide free tutoring sessions for our patrons – regardless of age, skill level, or type of writing.
"The Bay Community Writing Center opened to great use in September of 2017 and has been successfully pulling patrons in for one on one sessions and special writing seminars. The low hum of conversation in the library between tutors and patrons is great to hear, and our patrons love the service. Nowhere else in the community can you find this sort of assistance – the Center is providing a much needed and well used service for our county.
"Patrons have shared their stories with staff members here. Each patron comes to the Center for tutoring for a different reason. A few examples - a grandmother came to get advice on the book she is writing for her grandchildren, a teen wanted some reaction to her poetry, and another student brought their idea for a term paper and received direction on how to grow the topic into a viable product. The work that the SVSU tutors do at our Center is professional yet personal and makes a difference in the lives of the people they help."
Emma Kirsch is the Coordinator for both the Saginaw and Bay Community Writing Centers. As Coordinator, she not only develops and facilitates workshops, partners with community members, and distributes promotional materials, but also works alongside tutors both in the community and as a tutor at Saginaw Valley State University’s Writing Center.