The Oberlin Review

College Mentors Work with Elementary, Middle School Students

College Mentors Work with Elementary, Middle School Students

December 7, 2018

Rarely have I smiled so hard as I did at the Cat in the Cream this past week at not one but two fantastic performances by students from local Oberlin schools.  Kids from Prospect Elementary School and Langston Middle School wowed packed houses on Monday and Wednesday — Monday night’s offering was a poetry reading by the middle school students, and Wednesday’s was a dance performance by students from both schools as a culmination of the afterschool program Girls and Boys in Motion. Both of ...

A Little Bit is Better Than None: Teaching Self-Care in Ella Causer’s ExCo, “How to Be David Sedaris Himself”

A Little Bit is Better Than None: Teaching Self-Care in Ella Causer’s ExCo, “How to Be David Sedaris Himself”

September 21, 2018

A love of barn owls shared with a well-known humorist led College sophomore Ella Causer to develop and teach the ExCo “How to Be David Sedaris Himself.” “He’s one of the authors that can make me laugh out loud,” said Causer. She became exposed to Sedaris’ work relatively recently and has developed a strong appreciation for it. Causer once sent Sedaris fan mail, and he responded by complimenting the collage she’d sent along with her letter, as well as providing her with a list of...

Emily Barton and Thomas Israel Hopkins, Oberlin’s Newest Creative Writing Faculty

Emily Barton and Thomas Israel Hopkins, Oberlin’s Newest Creative Writing Faculty

September 21, 2018

Professors Emily Barton and Tom Hopkins are the two newest faculty members of Oberlin’s Creative Writing department. Barton is currently an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing — one of the two recently hired tenure-track faculty, the other of whom is Chanda Feldman, who was hired as a visiting assistant professor last year. Hopkins is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing. The professors are married with two children. Both Barton and Hopkins graduated from Harvard College. Ba...

Students Bare Innermost Thoughts During Diary Reading Open Mic Night

Students Bare Innermost Thoughts During Diary Reading Open Mic Night

September 21, 2018

Brave students recited their diary entries aloud to the audience of the Cat in the Cream at the Diary Reading Open Mic last Friday night. The excerpts could be from any time period in their life. Some entries were funny, others emotional; still others were deeply poetic or revealing. Each one was a window into how exactly self-reflection works when we don’t particularly believe anyone will see. Jordan Bettencourt  College junior This is an excerpt of a diary entry from my junior year of h...

Oslam Open Mic Highlights Talent of New Poets

Kate Fishman, Arts & Culture Editor

September 14, 2018

Filed under ARTS, Literature & Poetry

Each time a poet took to the stage and announced their name and pronouns followed by “I’m a first-year,” the audience erupted into a chorus of snapping and cheering. This was “Back 2 School Open Mic,” hosted by OSlam, Oberlin’s poetry collective. The event, which occurred last Friday at the Cat in the Cream, was the first opportunity this academic year for Oberlin students to hop on stage alongside OSlam’s three current members and share some of their work. “I’ve worked a lot of open mics because I work at the Cat in the Cream, and it can be really hard,” College junior Amy Sahud said. “The energy can definitely dip, [but] I feel like we sustained it. I thought [the audience] was really supportive,...

“Citizen Illegal” Rejects Generalizations of Immigrant Experience

Nathan Carpenter, Editor-in-Chief

September 7, 2018

Filed under ARTS, Literature & Poetry

  The current immigration system in the United States is a hopelessly broken contradiction. We demonize immigrants and yet rely on and exploit their labor to sustain our economy. Our highest court upholds policy that uses the arbitrary justification of borders to dictate who is banned from entering our country. It is within this context that Citizen Illegal — a stunning debut by poet José Olivarez — exists. As its title suggests, the collection of poems focuses significantly on immigration, borders, home, and movement, particularly in a Mexican and Mexican-American context. Olivarez’ work is so powerful, however, because of its personal anecdotes and its commentary on how our national contradictions complica...

Ben Franklin Closes Poetry Month with OSlam Reading

Ben Franklin Closes Poetry Month with OSlam Reading

May 4, 2018

Ben Franklin and MindFair Books hosted a small, intimate poetry reading featuring OSlam poets in their mid-store gazebo Monday. This wasn’t a regular performance with a large crowd and deafening applause, but more personal, as listeners sat beside speakers. The event was evidence of Ben Franklin’s efforts to overcome the alleged college and town divide. The reading, held in this particular space, welcomed students into the town, creating a warm atmosphere through a shared love of poetry. The s...

New Pullman Novel Fails to Live Up to Earlier Work

Kirsten Heuring, Staff Writer

March 30, 2018

Filed under ARTS, Literature & Poetry

I attended Catholic school for 12 years, and my first act of heresy involved the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman. A high fantasy series rooted in the tradition of Milton’s Paradise Lost, the trilogy is set in a parallel world dominated by a powerful theocracy that suppresses dissent and free thought, commonly referred to as the Church. The world is full of wonderful details, like souls that live outside of people’s bodies in animal forms, powerful armored bears, and magic particles that glide and swirl through the air. But the series is also a scathing critique of the Catholic Church, and in 2007, the Catholic League actively campaigned against the first book in the series, The Golden Compass (titled ...

“The Tangled Lands” Explores Feminism, Environmental Justice

Julia Peterson, Arts & Culture Editor

March 2, 2018

Filed under ARTS, Literature & Poetry, Recent Stories

The Tangled Lands, a new dystopian fantasy novel by award-winning authors Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias S. Buckell, has no right to be as good as it is. Conceptual, morally ambiguous, and incredibly timely, The Tangled Lands explores well-wrought narratives of feminism and environmental justice in a beautifully-crafted fantasy world that drips with rich lore and details at every turn. The Tangled Lands is the first collaboration between these authors, but it is a natural one, as both Bacigalupi and Buckell have been lauded for their fantasy or science-fiction exploration of social justice issues. Bacigalupi in particular has a history of exploring environmental justice in novels like The Water Knife, which is set in a dy...

Japanese Literature Sheds Light on Issues of Violence

Japanese Literature Sheds Light on Issues of Violence

February 23, 2018

The two-day annual conference of the Association for Japanese Literary Studies was themed “Violence, Justice, & Honor in Japan’s Literary Cultures” this year. Panel topics ranged from written Japanese literature, manga comics, gaming, and photography, among various other forms of visual art, all revolving around the theme of violence. “Minds are brutal places,” said Norma Fields, University of Chicago Robert S. Ingersoll Distinguished Service Professor in Japanese Studies and East Asia...

Soul Session Kicks Off Celebration of Black History Month

Soul Session Kicks Off Celebration of Black History Month

February 16, 2018

“A talent show with much more soul.” So described by College sophomore and organizer DaQuan Williams, Soul Sessions is an ABUSUA, Oberlin’s Black Student Union, initiative held in the Lord Lounge of Afrikan Heritage House on select Friday nights. These sessions are a significant part of A-House’s cultural tradition and involve a night of showcasing talent — Black talent in particular. It is a time for the Africana community to gather and celebrate their culture through any medium of the...

Tamora Pierce Pens Triumphant Return to Tortall Universe

Julia Peterson, Arts & Culture Editor

February 16, 2018

Filed under ARTS, Literature & Poetry

After a long hiatus and much anticipation, acclaimed fantasy author Tamora Pierce has finally released a new book set in her Tortall universe, Tempests and Slaughter. The book is the first in her long-awaited new series, The Numair Chronicles. Pierce, whose books in the Tortall universe have frequently enjoyed long stays on New York Times bestseller lists and have earned a wide variety of prestigious awards, has proven time and again that her imagination is bound only by the careful structure that she weaves through her writing. Each of her many series is cohesive with and enriched by every other. With Tempests and Slaughter, she breaks away from a number of the patterns that she set in her previous works, offering ch...

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