How the World Exists

“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. 

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Congrats to Students and Faculty!

 

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 Yummy World of Linguistics

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. 

Powell Award Submissions

 

Dear Writers,

Associate Professor Laura Valeri would like to remind you all:
“Don’t forget to submit your awesome work to the Powell Awards.  The deadline is Monday, and the prize is $100 in each category of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction.  Moreover, you get honored at a reading and recognized at Honors Day.
I hope you will take advantage of this great opportunity to have your hard work recognized and to earn a cash prize.
You have nothing to lose by submitting, and everything to gain.
Attached you will find the flyer with all details.  Good luck, and hope to see work from everyone.”
Onward, Brave Writers!

Introducing Kim Addonizio

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!

 

Encouragement [Poems] for Writers

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,

Wonder,

Delicious mystery.

The kind that only you can produce.

The kind that you have shown to produce time and time again.

Why not one more time?

Another Reminder

Are you aware that

Through the glides of your pen

You are infinite

Imagination beats on

Storytellers never die 

Announcing 2017 Powell Creative Writing Awards

Georgia Southern University’s

Department of Writing and Linguistics

 

2017 Roy F. Powell Awards

 

Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction

Writing Competition

 

$100 prize in each category

Recognition at Honor Day

A Featured Reading on March 23rd

All Georgia Southern University students are eligible

 

Deadline for submission: February 20, 2017 @4pm

email to: LValeri@georgiasouthern.edu

 

 

The Rules:

  1. The competition is open to all Georgia Southern University students.

 

  1. You may enter any or all categories by submitting
  2. three poems, and/or
  3. one short story no longer than 1300 words, and/or

c .  one creative nonfiction piece no longer than 1300 words

 

  1. All entries must be original and unpublished.

 

  1. All entries must be typewritten. Poetry should be single-spaced; fiction and creative nonfiction must be double spaced.

 

  1. Submit entries as an email attachment (doc., docx., or pdf) to: lvaleri@georgiasouthern.edu

In the body of your email include your name, email address, phone number, and the category (or categories) of your submission—poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction

For poetry, submit the three poems as a single file

If you enter in more than one category, attach each category as a separate file

 

  1. All entries must be received by 4:00 pm, Monday, February 20th, 2017. Winners will be notified by March 10th and will read from their award-winning work the evening of March 23rd   

 

Why Writing is Good Stuff

Sometimes Creative Writing gets a bad reputation. More than likely we have heard how pursuing a writing degree (or any liberal arts degree) is not a worthy cause, and that those foolish enough to enter will be heading towards a fruitless future. However, despite what has been said, there are actually good things to come out of being a writer.  

For one, it is through the process of writing that we refine our communication skills. Without knowing how to efficiently communicate with one another, we cannot expect to succeed as a society or even as a world.

Secondly, the more that we write, the better we are able to make meaning out of the events happening in our communities, societies, and in the world around us. It is through the outward observation of the state of affairs occurring here on planet Earth, as well as the inward exploration of the affairs happening within ourselves, that we can acquire the material needed to form our stories and understand our lives.

Thirdly, when we are writing, we are sharing our knowledge, our thoughts, our emotions, and other valuable parts about ourselves or perspectives. By doing this, we may come across numerous similarities among each other, which can lead us to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, we’re not as different as we had previously thought. As a result, we are better able to understand our own human nature, along with those of our neighbors.  

It is also through the process of writing that we are able to yank our imaginations from out of our minds, and lay them out for ourselves and for our fellow humans to observe. When we do this, we invite others, and the entire world, into our worlds. We allow them to dabble in homelands built out of our fantasies, and to explore and adopt lives to which we have given birth. When we produce our stories, whether we are aware of it or not, we are in agreement with the truth that we are world-creators; that we are earth-shakers; mystics with the pen.  By sharing ourselves like this, we are giving our planet a mighty and irreplaceable gift.

To write means to connect with ourselves and others.  To write means to seek understanding and meaning in our lives. To write means to have fun with our imaginations. To be a writer means to leave the world a little better than how we found it.

As a side note: the Department of Writing and Linguistics here at Georgia Southern is home to an abundance of classes, and a treasure-trove of professors whose desire is to push and inspire students to be the best writers they can be. Come and see us sometime!

Awards, Awards, Awards!

On January 26, the Brannen Creative Writing Award and Georgia High School Writing Contest winners were recognized.

Firstly recognized were the 2017 Georgia High School Writing Contest winners. The Georgia High School Writing Contest, which is sponsored by the SUPER-amazing Department of Writing and Linguistics, rewards the best high school creative writing in the state of Georgia. Highly competitive, but without bloodshed, our winners were announced and honored handsomely throughout last night. 

The 2017 judges for the Fiction and Poetry category were Professor Jared Yates Sexton, and Professor Claire Nelson, respectively.

Winning out the Fiction category, Briana Hayes gifted us with a dynamic and fiery reading of her short story.

Claiming her rightful place as a poetry-writer, Bianka Ortega delivered her piece in a lovely, soft-spoken tone.

Congratulations, you wonderful writer-beings!!

The Brannen Creative Awards, begun by the amazing George Brannen, rewards writers who are either writing majors, minors or are in the Bachelor of General Studies Program, with a concentration of writing. The 2017 judges for the Fiction, Poetry, and Non-fiction categories were Professor Laura Valeri, Professor Christina Olson, and Professor Benjamin Drevlow, respectively.

The winner of the Fiction Category was Tonya Richardson, who reeled us all in for an emotional reading of her based-off-a-true-story piece, Saints’ Row.

Tralen Rhone, won out the Poetry Category with his beautifully well-written piece.

Danae Hildebrandt took the throne of the Non-fiction category with her heavy, yet touching true story of living with an alcoholic parent.

Wonderful job to you all! Thank you for putting your best foot (and pens!) forward to make GSU proud!

Special thanks to:

  • George Brannen
  • Dr. Ban Bauer
  • Miss Pat Byrd
  • Prof. Benjamin Drevlow
  • Prof. Claire Nelson
  • Prof. Christina Olson
  • Prof. Jared Yates Sexton
  • Miss Bettye Stewart
  • The Department of Writing and Linguistics
  • The great souls who showed us their work! May you all go on to do marvelous things!