The “Write Your Future Michigan Governor” postcard campaign was held in October 2018, prior to the gubernatorial election. The idea behind this postcard writing campaign was simple: we asked our Michigan residents to share their hopes, dreams, and concerns about our state with the incoming governor.
This project was a collaboration between the Bay and Saginaw Community Writing Centers, the Great Lakes Bay Region YWCA, and the SVSU Center for Community Engagement.
Over 3,500 postcards were distributed throughout the Great Lakes community; most of these cards were mailed out to local K-12 schools, with 51 teachers from 18 different school districts requesting postcards for their classroom or school. Over 1,500 postcards have been returned to date.
“We had anticipated receiving a few hundred postcards at the end of this campaign, said Helen Raica-Klotz, the Writing Center Director. “We were surprised – and very happy – with the number of postcards we did receive.”
Some hopes for the new governor expressed by the writers included addressing the Flint water crisis, fixing the deteriorating roads, addressing the lack of affordable health care, preventing school shootings, protecting the Great Lakes, and providing more funding for local schools. These postcards are currently on display in the SVSU Writing Center, 250 Zahnow, and will be mailed in mid-January to the incoming Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
“This campaign was important because it gave voice to many of our Michigan residents who are still elementary, middle, or high school students and are not able to vote – but they will one day soon. I hope by writing this postcard, each student understood that they can participate in the government by communicating their ideas through writing,” said Raica-Klotz.
We are proud to announce the winners of the “Get to Work” Flash Fiction contest. We received many entries, and the judges’ decision-making process was difficult.
Congratulations to our winners:
-Kelli Fitzpatrick for “Fish Bones”
-Jake Miller for “Post-Life Corporation”
-Lisa Gregory for “Waiting”
As an extension of this contest, anyone and everyone is invited to participate in an open-mic reading on Thursday, November 15, 2018, at 7 pm at Counter Culture, which is located 602 Gratiot Avenue, Saginaw, MI 48602. The event will feature other artwork connected to the theme of work, including “Blood, Sweat, and Gears” (a photography exhibit by Nyesha Clark) and “A Body of Work” (a film by Elisa Urtiaga-Medina). Please join us for a night of photography, film, and fun! You don't want to miss it.
Congratulations, again, to our three winners and to you as well; we encourage you all to keep writing. We hope to see you on the 15th!
The community literary arts journal Still Life is published annually by the Saginaw Community Writing Center, the Bay Community Writing Center, and the Writing Center at Saginaw Valley State University. Recognizing the power of the written word, Still Life collects poems from writers of all ages who live in Saginaw and Bay Counties (or who are participants at the Saginaw and Bay Community Writing Centers).
Originally funded by a grant from the Center for Academic Innovation at SVSU, Still Life is now made possible through the generosity of Dr. Debasish Mridha of Saginaw. Still Life 2018 will be released in early 2019. Thank you to all who support Still Life, and a special thanks to those who shared their work with us!
For the second issue, we received over 70 submissions and are happy to feature the work of the following poets from the area:
Alexander “Cbxtn Fig” de Verdoni
Jean Marie Learman
Beyond these poets, there will be a few more poems (from the Write Like Roethke contest) and a few flash fiction pieces from the Work contest.
In addition to featuring the work of many local poets, Still Life also entails a contest component. We are happy to share the winners of this contest! The judges were impressed with all of the entries for Still Life, and their decision-making process was, as always, challenging, but our winners are…
Chris Giroux, the assistant director of SVSU's Writing Center and the brains behind the final product you receive, shared:
"Still Life celebrates the artistic richness and talent found in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Although many critics write off Saginaw and Bay City as 'rust belt' towns, Still Life reminds us that there is still life--and still a rich artistic life--in our communities. Including writing by local residents and art by SVSU students, the journal, we hope, provides a important service by giving individuals in Bay City and Saginaw with a new venue from which their voices can be heard."
Sam Geffert, a SVSU Writing Center tutor and former BCWC tutor, shared these thoughts about her role as a judge for Still Life:
"As a Literature student, I have done a fair amount of work with analyzing the poetry of writers across historical periods. However, what I like about judging for Still Life is the ability to open my mind from a wider variety of voices that are specific to the local area. I am able to connect to the works in Still Life in a way that I can’t always do in The Norton Anthology of English, and I appreciate the fact that I feel this sense of community in each submission."
Stay tuned for the second issue of Still Life, coming Winter 2019. Congrats again to our winners!
Over one year ago, on September 19, 2017, we put up this sign at the Wirt Library in Bay City. That’s when the Bay Community Writing Center opened. The idea was simple: a few of our SVSU Writing Center tutors would come to the library twice a month, and provide free tutoring and writing workshops to any community member. Over this past year, we have served nearly 170 community residents in our tutorials and workshops. We’ve helped writers of all ages craft poems, short stories, and memoirs, resumes, cover letters, and personal essays. We’re very happy to have been a part of the Bay community for this past year, and we’re grateful to the Bay Area Community Foundation and the Wirt Library for their support.
Although our sign is a little rough for wear, we’re still here – the first and third Tuesday of every month, from 4-8 pm here at the Wirt Library. Come and see us, and help us celebrate another year of writing in Bay County!
The Bay Community Writing Center is glad to share this opportunity to learn from and write with Anne-Marie Oomen. The Mid-Michigan Writers are hosting this lovely event for the 14th year! Please see the flier for the details, and the contact information for this event is also listed on the flier. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Payment and registration is due October 3rd.
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.