Professors Benjamin Drevlow and Chris Smith from the Department of Writing & Linguistics, and the Department itself, are all delighted to announce the stellar winners of the 2017 Fledge First-Year Writing Awards. The winners are as follows:
- For Memoir & Personal Essay, Gabrielle Darr held her own and dominated
- For Fiction & Poetry, Conner Kirsch astounded and dazzled
- Erin Maurer left the judges awestruck in the Analysis and Criticism category
- And last, though certainly not least, Ana Morer presented a beautiful piece for the Synthesis and Argument category
Darr, Kirsch, Maurer, and Morer were all hard-working students, determined in their pursuit of the Fledge Writing Award. All of these fantastic young writers, as well as the other equally gifted writers who have been chosen to be published in the 2017 issue of Fledge, will read at the Fledge First-Year Writing Awards ceremony, which will be held on Wednesday, April 26, of this year. The ceremony will take place in the Nessmith Lane building, in room 2911, beginning at 7:00pm and ending at 8:00pm. All contributors, students, and faculty are invited, and anyone else who would like to listen to amazing first-year writing. If interested in more information about Fledge, or the Fledge awards ceremony, please do not hesitate to contact Benjamin Drevlow. He would love it.
Lastyly, congratulations to every single one of you! May you all continue to achieve, and to make the Department of W&L, and yourselves, proud every step of your journeys.
“The world only exists in your eyes. You can make it as big or as small as you want.”
As I read this quote by the late American short story writer and novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, I like to think that he was talking about us writers. In particular, about how our creative worlds are completely in our hands. That we have the power to make stories, events, lives as big or as small as we want them to be. That with our pencils, our wild imaginations, and a space to let it all go, we can become the embodiment of freedom.
It is quotes like these from writers who have come before my time that motivate me when I need motivation, or that remind me of my power when, in the moments I am facing a creativity block, I feel powerless. Authors, novelists, and poets before me, I believe, hold wisdom in bountiful bushels, that will remain in abundance for the generations to come. With this being said, my fellow writer-Eagles, I believe it is important for us to look back sometimes and to tap into this wisdom.
We cannot even begin to hope to become the writers we desire to become if we are not willing to take the advice of those who have gone before us. Those who have trodden on the road that now stretches out in front of us. Those who have gotten their butts kicked with rejection after rejection, but who have continued to show up and return, all the more determined.
With this, writer friends, I encourage you on your journey, to never stop learning, to never stop being guided, and to never forget how the world exists: only in your gifted, powerful, and unlimited eyes.
The Powell Award Committee is proud to announce the winners and finalists of the 2017 Roy F. Powell Award. The award is named after Roy Powell, the University’s first creative writing teacher, and is sponsored by the Peter Christopher Creative Writing Fund.
Judges for this year’s award were: Dr. Terry Welford, Creative Nonfiction; Prof. Burney Marsh, Fiction; Prof. Christina Olson, Poetry.
The following are the winners and finalists:
Winner, Creative Nonfiction: Devan Pride
Devan Pride is a senior Writing and Linguistics major and previous Powell Award winner from Adamsville, OH. She’s also an editor and co-founder of Moonglasses Magazine, and, when not writing, can often be found playing video games and beating really tough boss monsters on the first try. Dabbling in many forms of creative writing, such as screenwriting, nonfiction, and poetry, fiction is where her heart lies, and she plans to pursue an MFA in the genre after graduating.
Honorable Mentions in Creative Nonfiction: Kenneth Lee and Kelsey Allman
Kenneth Lee is a senior multimedia journalism and writing major from Richmond Hill, Georgia, with a forthcoming publication in Entropy Magazine. Lee enjoys David Sedaris, Nas, and fitted Brooks Brothers shirts that he can’t afford. He’s also too cold to hold, and too hot to handle!
Kelsey Lynn Allman is a senior in Georgia Southern’s Writing and Linguistics program, specializing in nonfiction writing, with her eyes set on graduate school. When not writing, she can always be found somewhere near the water, attempting to cook something she isn’t allergic to, or desperately trying to teach her dog to speak English.
Winner in Poetry: Ashanti Hardy
Ashanti Hardy is a senior Criminal Justice Major and Writing minor from Stone Mountain, Georgia. She enjoys writing because it allows her a chance to create a different relationship with the world. She is inspired by the works of Mahogany Browne, Donte Collins, Audre Lorde and James Baldwin to name a few.
Poetry Honorable Mention: Summer Kurtz
Summer Kurtz is a poet from Warner Robins, Georgia, hoping to get into graduate school. She is inspired by the mysteries of the universe and is always trying to find a way to write about space.
Winner in Fiction: Ena Mangon
Ena Mangon is a self proclaimed escapist. She has been writing for most of her life and loves to consume stories in all forms, be it writing, film, or the latest tv show she is binge watching. Though she has switched majors a couple of times through her college career, she has returned to studying writing as it has always been her passion.
Honorable Mention in Fiction: Aleyna Rentz
Aleyna Rentz was once described by Jonathan Franzen as a bright young lady. This is really all you need to know about her, but in case you require more information, she’s a senior writing and English double major from Bainbridge, Georgia, where she grew up with her six siblings. Her stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications, and she is one of the founding editors of Moonglasses Magazine.
Winners and honorable mentions will read from their submissions this Thursday March 23 at 7pm in IT 1005. The winners will also be honored the University’s Honors Day on April 5, and each will receive a prize of $100.
The Georgia Southern Department of Writing & Linguistics is delighted to announce that:
Alumna Selby Cody had her first fiction piece “Man on the Moon” published in GNU: The National University Student Literary Journal.
Undergraduate W&L major Courtney Sylvester was featured as a guest contributor for Feminist Wire with her story “1 in 4”. Her other story “Red Checkered Flannel” was published in The GNU, as well.
Wonderful jobs, Selby and Courtney!
As for our amazing, and hard-working W&L faculty:
Professor Christina Olson had her second book of poetry, Terminal Human Velocity, published and released by Stillhouse Press.
Dr. Joanna Schreiber had her article Toward a Critical Alignment with Efficiency Philosophies published in the journal Technical Communication.
Terrific for all of you! Thank you for your own passions for writing, and for contributing to the wonderfulness that is the Department of Writing and Linguistics. You’re making us proud!!
The field of linguistics is a rapidly expanding and intensely fascinating area of study. But just how much would you say you know about it?
Although linguistics has made numerous significant impacts on other fields, (such as anthropology, cognitive psychology, computer science, philosophy, sociology, and quite a bit more), the average person on the street might be clueless as to what exactly linguistics is, if you were to mention it. If we didn’t know any better, we could be tempted to say that those who are linguists are grammar experts or, possibly, someone who is a fluent speaker of languages.
In actuality, linguistics is simply the study of human language. It centers around the processes of human thought, and also around the structures that form the foundation of language. Because of linguistics, we are able to study how we communicate with one another, and the factors that go into play in the usage of language. Linguistics is broken down into several subsections, such as:
- Morphology, which is the study of the formation of words. When studying morphology, the main goal is to understand the way in which the words of a language are constructed, and to find out if those words consist of smaller parts that still hold meaning.
- Pragmatics, or the study of language usage in its context. MacMillan English Dictionary provides a more thorough explanation, defining pragmatics as just, “how people use language… describing the connection between language and human life.”
- Phonetics, which is the study of sounds produced in human speech, and Phonology, which focuses on the study of patterns of sounds in languages. Both of these center around how sounds are produced (by humans), and are perceived (by humans).
- Semantics, the study of meaning, or how we, as humans, use words and grammar to construct meaning.
- And Syntax, which refers to the study of the formation of phrases and sentences.
Although the field of linguistics is often overlooked, it is because of linguistics that we are better able to understand how we understand one another, communicate with one another, and, ultimately, connect with one another. Now, go and tell your friends about its wonders.
As students of writing, we are often given opportunities to learn about writers we may not have ever heard about. Ones with styles unique to our own, who can give us new insight into how we may present our writing to the world or how to improve our own writing techniques. For most of us Eagles, it’s likely that we’ve often been instructed to read, study, and analyze the writings of mainly European or American writers. Although there are numerous talented writers that are American or European, it is best to not forget that writing and writers are just as diverse as the populations of the earth, meaning that we ought not to limit ourselves in our studies. The field of writing is open for all writers of any nation, of any descent.
Meet, for example, novelist and physician Khaled Hosseini. Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, Hosseini and his family were quite accustomed to the refugee life. When Hosseini was eleven years old, he and his family were forced to relocated to France because their home-land was invaded. Four years later, because they were still unable to return to Kabul, Hosseini’s family applied for and were granted political asylum in the United States, and shortly after were given citizenship.
While Hosseini was studying medicine in the United States, he also worked on his first novel, The Kite Runner, a work of fiction which centers around the life of an adult Afghan refugee who tries to heal from the trauma he experienced as a child. It centers around the themes of the violence and warfare; its effects on family and children; and how those affected can learn to accept and recover from the violence. Hosseini, however, was quite unaware at the time that his first novel would become an international success, becoming available in over sixty countries, and remaining on the bestseller list of his own country for well-over a year. When being interviewed about what aspiring (and veteran) writers can do to improve their craft, he presented us all with his simple, but worthwhile advice:
“Read a lot. Read new authors and established ones, read people whose work is in the same vein as yours and those whose genre is totally different. You’ve heard of chain-smokers. Writers, especially beginners, need to be chain-readers. And write every day. Write about things that get under your skin and keep you up at night.”
Hosseini is just one of the many brilliant examples of writers we may not hear too much about. However, fellow Eagles, let not our sights become narrow to the writers who are just like us. We will never grow that way. Instead, let us collectively open up our minds to exploring writers who are totally different from us. We have so much to learn.
During the second night of February of this year, phenomenal poetess and author Kim Addonizio graced the House of Georgia Southern with her electrifying presence. Addonizio, proud mother-author of two novels, two story collections, two poetry-writing instruction books, and of seven poetry collections, gave public readings of her poetry from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., courtesy of The Department of Writing and Linguistics and The Georgia Poetry Circuit.
Little in stature, but mighty in the word, Addonizio’s presentation was likened to that of lightning: Brilliant. Captivating. Undeniably powerful. As she read to the audience from her latest poetry collection, Mortal Trash (W. W. Norton), she allowed us access into her world. More importantly, into her life, her story, and into the moments that made her become who she is.
Following her readings, she bestowed upon us audience members the opportunity to ask her questions, and to have them answered. When asked about how did she arrive at the position of courage that allowed her to so boldly become raw with her poetry, she responded simply and wonderfully that “this is what literature is about – being human.” She furthermore went onto explain that as writers, or those who aspire to become writers, it is imperative for us to become comfortable with “telling our stories however way we can tell it.” Addonizio mentioned how in poetry, “everything is fair game,” meaning that anything from our lives could be written about, if we so choose.
Lastly, although most importantly, she eloquently reminded us all, myself included, that in order to get anywhere with our writing, we need to “not worry whether people are going to react [or not],” but to mainly do it for ourselves. So that we are using our gifts. So that we are putting our literary treasures out into the world.
Overall, having Kim Addonizio visit Georgia Southern University was an absolute pleasure, and we hope we can have her back here again sometime soon. Addonizio is also the award winner of two Pushcart Prizes, fellowships from the NEA, and also from the Guggenheim Foundation. She was a finalist for the National Book Award for her masterful poetry collection Tell Me (BOA Editions, 2000). She enjoys teaching and speaking across the country, and internationally.
In addition to her awesomeness, she also a member of the musical group Nonstop Beautiful Ladies, in which she plays the harmonica. May she continue to be so amazing!
For When You Start to Give Up
Remember your accomplishments:
You’ve given life to paper.
Made universes from drops of ink.
Formed souls out of thin air.
Like how the body swirls the blood,
Inside of you swirls Enchantment,
The kind that only you can produce.
The kind that you have shown to produce time and time again.
Why not one more time?
Are you aware that
Through the glides of your pen
You are infinite
Imagination beats on
Storytellers never die