“Doing the Squid Jump” with Matthew Gavin Frank at Southern

With a vocal cadence like a motorbike and a floral, Oaxacan vest for the ages, Matthew Gavin Frank brought humor and charm to students and faculty in his reading at the IT building this Thursday night.

Reading from his book, Preparing the Ghost: an Essay Concerning the Giant Squid and Its First Photographer, Frank presented the audience with a phenomenal reading filled with gripping moments of history, science, and personal narrative. Whether regaling with the story of his initial fascination with his subject matter (it began with a single framed photo and three lines of text at the US Museum of Natural History) or how to do “the squid jump,” a danced conceived by his late grandfather, Papa Dave (it consists mostly of waving your arms in tentacular fashion), he bridged his readings with moments both clear and hilarious.

Frank possessed a singular ability to hold the listeners’ attention by bringing the words in his book to vivid life, reading with a conviction and personality that lent even more character to an already colorful writing style that rang of authenticity even when making stylistic conjectures about historical event.

At times bordering on Melville-esque, his work seamlessly winds together stories in an attempt to answer the question: Why do we mythologize reality? While answering it, though, he creates his own mythology–one that is sweeping and impressive, filled with monsters and the people who hunt them.

Matthew Gavin Frank was a pleasure and a privilege to have at Georgia Southern. Special thanks to the department for helping bring him to speak, and extra thanks to Professors Drevlow and Olson for hosting him


Sign Up for the Senior Gala Reading

Beat PoetWriting & Linguistics majors and minors, please attend the Senior Gala Reading on April 23, 2015 at 7pm in the IT 1005 auditorium.  Food and non-alcoholic beverages will be served.

Let us know if you intend to attend by filling out the following form.  You may edit your response later if you change your mind, but we will be printing programs and preparing catering based on your response, so do let us know as soon as you can whether you plan on attending. Thank you!!!!




You, Your Vacation, and Your Motivation (or Lack Thereof)

You never thought it would arrive. You thought classes were never gonna let out or that your boss was never going to give you your days off, but it happened: you’re on vacation. You’ve got all week to go to the beach, or to the mountains, or to the local Ramada, if you don’t have money for gas. It’s got a pool.

Prayer hands emoji

They’ll tell you that these emoji hands are actually “high-fiving” and not “praying,” but they’ll work in a pinch when giving thanks to your deity (or non-deity) of choice.

But wait.

Before you get too comfortable with the idea of wasting away for a week watching Netflix, or eating pork rinds, or laying around in your Summer clothes (or lack thereof) all day, every day, think about getting some writing done while you’re free.

It’s far too easy to tune out and tune off when you have a day free of the normal obligations of work or school, but making the most of your time of relaxation by writing has benefits twofold: (1.) the act of writing creatively is a cathartic one, and will improve your vacation relaxation, and (2.) writing without having to worry about external pressures and distractions results in better writing. Writing shouldn’t be a vacation responsibility, it should be a vacation activity. If done responsibly during a break, what may normally feel like work can function like play. You’ll be like Bob Ross, but with writing. And also aliveness.

Sure, you may be beating him in the “being alive” department, but in all likelihood, he’s still beating you in the “glorious afro” department.

If you’re as lazy as me, though (and I doubt you’re lazier than me–I just finished the first season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in one sitting), you might take a little more convincing in order to believe that your time off the job or school is the BEST time to be on your writing game, so here is a trio of short pointers on how to make the most of your vacation writing.

1. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Sure, when you’re writing for workshop or submission, your work should have a bit of polish to it. When you’re on vacation, though, you don’t have to worry so much about writing the perfect poem or story. It’s a free-for-all, and you should enjoy it.

2. It doesn’t have to be heavy. In fact, maybe trying to write seriously while on your time off is a bad idea for you. Your vacation is a time to unwind and mentally replenish yourself, not necessarily to fret over the dark themes of a poem or the traumatic events of an edgy fiction piece. If the piece doesn’t participate in your recovery (to quote Sordid Lives) don’t touch it during a time meant specifically for recovery.

3. It doesn’t have to take forever. You may work for five minutes at a time if you want. You’d be surprised how much you can write in five minutes. Five minutes can get a lot done. Five minutes can cook two whole Hot Pockets, individually. Don’t over work yourself. Never, ever forget–writing should be FUN! It shouldn’t be a chore. Don’t restrain yourself to concrete times and schedules on a free day, and you may just find that the restraints on your output fall away, as well.

Jamie Iredell at Georgia Southern

On Friday February 27th the wonderful Jamie Iredell came to Georgia Southern for a reading. He’s the author of Prose.Poems.A Novel. , The Book of Freaks, and I was a Fat Drunk Catholic School Insomniac. He also teaches writing classes at SCAD in Atlanta.

Jamie is a funny, charming guy who writes stories that bring us closer to our humanity and to the idea of accepting our faults . His nonfiction was touching and real, connecting us with his words through our own insecurities, love and hatred.

Jamie Iredell is releasing two new books in the upcoming year and I’m excited for his future projects.