The Oberlin Review

Oberlin Alumna Academizes Comics as Contemporary Literature

Grace Pullin

November 15, 2013

Professor Hillary Chute of the University of Chicago gave an illuminating presentation last Thursday on a topic that was perhaps untraditional for the English Department. As part of the Oberlin Lectures in English & American Literature series, Chute discussed her personal and professional history with graphic narratives, the term she prefers to the common misnomer “graphic novel.” Aside from Chute’s anecdotes and interesting insights into the world of comics, the lecture directly addressed her field’s at times uneasy and often questioned position within the discipline of English, as well its general place within the formal academic sphere.   Throughout the lecture, Chute contextualized her study of t...

Touring Poets Work to Create Safer Space at the Cat

Nora Kipnis

November 1, 2013

“We have an uncensored microphone and if you come up here, you can say whatever you want because it’s freedom of speech. But if you say something that hurts somebody, then please be prepared to have a non-defensive conversation with them.”   This is how Greg McKillop began the slam poetry session of the Safer Space Tour on Oct. 14 at the Cat in the Cream. The Safer Space Tour was organized by College senior Alyssa Civian and sponsored by Lambda Union, a safe space for LGBTQ students at Oberlin. Three poets from the organization, Gregory McKillop, Arwyn Sherman and Matthew Wellman, came to Oberlin on their way to a poetry slam in Spokane, WA, to run a workshop and performance.   The Safer Space To...

Budding Poet Demonstrates True Talent at Joint Reading

Logan Buckley, Staff Writer

October 11, 2013

“I’ve been walking south for many nights now, / Heading south in Bangladesh / Where the sea churns / Into a hundred deltas / And the landscape looks like a rotting nail.” So begins Zubair Ahmed’s debut poetry collection, City of Rivers. That poem was also the one he chose to open the reading he gave last Thursday in Wilder 101 alongside fellow poet Jean Valentine, telling that audience that the poem “encompasses what [the] book is about… a journey to find home.” The poem is characteristic of the book in other ways, too — the quiet tone and pastoral imagery interrupted and disturbed by the carefully selected image of “a rotting nail” introduce a technique used throughout the book wherein famili...

Roche Returns to Share Poetic Music, Oberlin Anecdotes

Nora Kipnis

October 4, 2013

“Is that bothering you guys?” singer-songwriter Lucy Wainwright Roche, OC ’03, slyly asked in her feather-light voice, as she stood in red leather boots and tuning a guitar with a borrowed strap on the Cat in the Cream stage last Thursday. The audience laughed, and it was unclear when exactly she stopped talking and started singing: “Why not put all our doubts behind us / We’ve got Brooklyn at its finest.” In celebration of the release of her sophomore album, There’s a Last Time for Everything, on Oct. 15, Roche drove to Oberlin from New York to play a reunion concert of sorts at her alma mater. “Pennsylvania, man. It’s too bad about that,” she said in a knowing voice after her first song, and al...

Powell and Glaser Flex Poetic Muscles at Reading

Logan Buckley, Staff Writer

October 4, 2013

The Main Street Readings series featured an unusual treat this weekend, as Oberlin Professor of Creative Writing Lynn Powell and her friend and fellow poet Elton Glaser read from their new work in the FAVA Gallery. Glaser, distinguished professor emeritus of English at the University of Akron, read from two books of poetry he published this year, Translations from the Flesh and The Law of Falling Bodies. Powell read “new and new-ish” poems from a collection with the working title A Scherzo for Sadness. As Powell stepped up to the podium to read, she described her recent work as “trying to sidle my way back to poetry,” after having spent the past several years at work on a nonfiction book called Framing Innoc...

America Libre Author Discusses Work, Cultural Stereotypes

Logan Buckley

September 27, 2013

“The origins of any political revolution parallel the beginnings of life on our planet. The amino acids and proteins lie inert in a volatile primordial brew until a random lightning strike suddenly brings them to life.” This foreboding quote, attributed to José Antonio Marcha, begins Raul Ramon y Sanchez’s debut novel America Libre, which was published in 2009 as the first volume of a trilogy. The sequels, House Divided and Pancho Land, followed in 2011 and 2012. It’s certainly indicative of what is to come: The novels tell the story of a Latino family in Los Angeles in a near-future United States where debates over immigration become toxic and racism toward Latinos and Latinas leads to violent conflict. The...

Nuanced Poetry Addresses Nuclear Issues

Logan Buckley, Staff Writer

September 20, 2013

Washington State Poet Laureate Kathleen Flenniken hosted a reading on Tuesday in Wilder 101 of her latest collection of poems, Plume, published last year. The poems in Plume, which Flenniken said started as “a few poems about growing up” that she couldn’t stop writing, center thematically on the Hanford Nuclear Site. Hanford is the site of the first full-scale plutonium reactor in the world and is also where the plutonium was manufactured for the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki. Lyric and expressive, Flenniken’s poems explore the new moral dilemmas and failures of the atomic age and the human and environmental costs of the nuclear program. Flenniken is well-suited to take on these themes. She grew up in...

Berry, Jackson Team Up to Tackle Sustainable Agriculture, Assert Importance of Liberal Arts

Nora Kipnis

September 13, 2013

To kick off this year’s Convocation series, author Wendell Berry and acclaimed scientist Wes Jackson met in Finney Chapel on Tuesday, Sept. 10 to discuss environmentalism, sustainable agriculture and the role of a liberal arts education. Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics David Orr moderated the conversation, though he started out by saying that moderating a conversation between Berry and Jackson is “like choreographing a buffalo stampede.” The conversation was indeed forceful, with a level of connection and deep understanding between the two that was unstoppable. They frequently left the original topic of conversation behind to launch into a riff of inside jokes and passionate speeches on the environmental...

On The Record: Professor Kazim Ali on His Feature in The American Poetry Review

Logan Buckley, Staff Writer

September 6, 2013

Can you start by telling me about your profile in the September issue of The American Poetry Review? I’ve been in The American Poetry Review several times in the past, but this is the first time that I’ve been on the cover, of course. They’ve also included a feature of my work inside, five new poems. I just had a book of poems come out in March, actually, called Sky Ward, and this is one of the first publications of work that’s newer than that. And then there’s a scholar named Christopher Hennessey who did an interview with me. He’s doing a book of interviews called Our Deep Gossip — it’s a book of interviews with gay male poets. So he did these extensive interviews… it’s pretty cool to be in t...

The Winter’s Tale Delights with Modern Spin on Shakespeare

Sarah Westbrook

March 1, 2013

From Feb. 21–24, Little Theater played host to Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, directed by College senior Carter Sligh. The show was an ambitious undertaking that went off without a hitch and was a testament to the tremendous hard work put in by the cast and crew. From the first moment of the production on, the audience was incorporated into the action of the play, staged as a theater-in-the-round with seating on all four sides. The cast wandered around in character as the audience members took their seats. They approached viewers, asking them to dance or to hold their drinks. Sligh elected to set the drama in the 1950s and ’60s, in part because of the shifting moral standards those decades represent. The choi...

Collaboration Meets Conservation in Water Ways

Abby Hawkins, Arts Editor

February 8, 2013

After working ceaselessly from September to January, the 16 student participants of the Oberlin ArtS Intensive Semester, along with Cleveland Public Theatre’s Executive Artistic Director Raymond Bobgan and Education Director Chris Seibert, presented Water Ways (Part One of the Elements Cycle) at CPT from Jan. 24 to Feb. 4. The performance was the culmination of an intensive collaboration program in creative writing, dance, music and film, the first of its kind in the Oberlin arts curriculum. An OASIS of Artistic Collaboration OASIS has established a unique partnership between Oberlin and CPT. During the first two weeks of the semester, Bobgan and Seibert held sessions in which the Oberlin students particip...

Water, Warner Main, and Winter Term: An OASIS Status Update

Julia Hubay, Arts Editor

December 7, 2012

While most Oberlin students can’t imagine working as hard as we are right now until finals come around next semester, the students participating in the new Oberlin ArtS Intensive Semester program are just gearing up to put in a month of 10-hour workdays. In the final push before the culmination of their efforts, the students and faculty of OASIS will divide their time over Winter Term between Oberlin and Cleveland, producing a show called Water Ways, which will run for two weeks at Cleveland Public Theatre. Over the course of the semester, the students of OASIS have been truly immersed in all aspects of the creative processes that go into producing their devised theater piece. The OASIS program involves courses...

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