The Oberlin Review

Shane McCrae Debuts Vulnerable Poetry Collection

Shane McCrae Debuts Vulnerable Poetry Collection

September 12, 2014

In a charming office of the iconic Yellow House on Tuesday morning, Shane McCrae, Oberlin’s newest assistant professor of Creative Writing, asks if it would be all right if he ate string cheese during his interview. An unconventional breakfast, perhaps, but one expects nothing less from an addition to one of the quirkiest departments on campus. His public introduction was no less engrossing: McCrae read selections from his most recent compilation of beautifully violent poetry, Forgiveness Forgiveness, in Hallo...

Slam Poets Deliver Honest, Moving Performances in Accessible Environment

Slam Poets Deliver Honest, Moving Performances in Accessible Environment

April 25, 2014

As the lights dimmed, the excited chatter of faculty and students filled the tiny Lord Lounge in anticipation of Oberlin’s OSlam! Poetry Showcase on Tuesday, April 22. Three illuminated microphones sat in wait for performers. Abruptly, the chatter burst into explosive applause as the group members appeared on stage and the show began. Part of Oberlin’s slam poetry group’s mission involves creating a space where art can be shared and accessible in a safe environment, a goal which it definitely...

On the Record with Editors-in-Chief on 50th Anniversary of ‘Plum Creek Review’

On the Record with Editors-in-Chief on 50th Anniversary of ‘Plum Creek Review’

April 25, 2014

This semester, the Plum Creek Review — Oberlin’s oldest literary and arts magazine —will be celebrating its 50th anniversary with a special edition to commemorate its history and longstanding presence on campus. The Review spoke with Editors in-Chief and College seniors Ryann Eastman and Zack Knoll to get the inside scoop on the production of the Plum Creek Review and what to expect in the anticipated 50th anniversary edition. Can you tell me a little bit about the Plum Creek Review? ...

Everett Eschews Convention, Laughs at Lit Theory

Everett Eschews Convention, Laughs at Lit Theory

April 11, 2014

According to Percival Everett, a novel is a little like jazz: “You know it when you see it; you know it when you hear it.” Everett ought to know, as the author of over 20 novels, most recently 2013’s Percival Everett by Virgil Russell. Everett, who is a distinguished professor of English at the University of Southern California, came to campus for a two-day visit. While Everett was often a little hard to follow — intentionally or otherwise — attendees knew when they heard and saw Everet...

“Tales By Moonlight” Showcases African Literature and Folktales

Rosie Black, Production Manager

April 11, 2014

“You have an event in your life that wakes you up, and not just you but all the people around you,” College sophomore Sophie Umazi Mvurya said, explaining why she’d chosen to read a passage from Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Purple Hibiscus. The setting was “Tales by Moonlight,” a low-key and eclectic reading sponsored by the African Students’ Association as part of Africa Week; Mvurya was one of many students who took to the Cat in the Cream stage Tuesday night to share their diverse selections. Selections were drawn from both modern literary sources and traditional folktales, and although the evening got off to a rocky start, it eventually found a sweet spot in the combination of the...

Annual Friendship Day an Artful, Varied Meditation on Companionship

Clara Shannon

April 11, 2014

Despite the chaos that always ensues after spring break, Oberlin students and faculty alike came together to celebrate and honor the meaning of friendship at the Cat in the Cream on Tuesday afternoon. Friendship Day showcased student performers of many forms and genres, including spoken word, jazz, folk, didgeridoo, speech and poetry, all of which focused on the topic of friendship. Along with the entertainment, attendees were encouraged to eat free food, doodle with a friend, make friendship bracelets and relax in the warm, positive environment. Friendship Day was originally created in the spring of 2010 and has remained an Oberlin tradition since then. The two-anda-half hour event was organized by Oberlin’s Friendship...

On the Record: Prof. Tim Scholl, director of annual Translation Symposium

On the Record: Prof. Tim Scholl, director of annual Translation Symposium

April 4, 2014

On Tuesday the Comparative Literature department will host its annual Translation Symposium. The Review sat down with Tim Scholl, professor of Russian and Comparative Literature and this year’s director of the event, to talk about its history, impact on students and what to look forward to next week. Tell me a little bit about the Translation Symposium and its background It is an opportunity for students to create and perform their own translations. Students will read the original, then t...

On the Record: Steve Roggenbuck

On the Record: Steve Roggenbuck

March 14, 2014

This past Saturday, poet Steve Roggen­buck, renowned for his use of the Internet to create a new form of poetry and relation­ship with an audience, held a workshop and poetry reading in Oberlin. As soon as he arrived in Oberlin, the Review sat down with him in DeCafé to ask him about the Internet as an artistic realm of expression, building a readership and making a living as a poet. Why did you choose the Internet as a medium for sharing your poetry? I like the Internet because it reaches p...

McBride Pays Homage to Abolitionist John Brown

McBride Pays Homage to Abolitionist John Brown

March 7, 2014

To call James McBride, OC ’79, a writer is to capture only a small fraction of what the man is capable of. While his 1995 memoir The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother spent over two years on the New York Times bestseller list and his most recent novel, 2013’s The Good Lord Bird, won the National Book Award, McBride is also a prolific musician and an award-winning composer. Fortunately for fans of music and the written word, both of McBride’s exceptional talents were on disp...

Subtlety and Detail Define Traci Brimhall Reading

Mary Fischer

February 14, 2014

In spite of the long list of awards and fellowships she has received, including the Barnard Women Poets Prize in 2011 and the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry in 2013, poet Traci Brimhall’s reading in King last Monday revealed a writer very humble and sincere, unaffected by success. As a candidate for a new position in Oberlin’s Creative Writing Department, Brimhall read a range of works and shared her creative process with a small audience of students and faculty, but never gave the impression of wanting to impress, a quality that also came through in her poetry.   Brimhall’s reading began with a few poems from one of her latest works, Our Lady of the Ruins, which tells of journe...

Poetry Reading Showcases Cooperation Between College Students and City Schools

Logan Buckley, Staff Writer

December 6, 2013

“I believe this is what they call a capacity crowd,” said Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Lynn Powell to a packed house at the Cat in the Cream on Monday night. The crowd, which was composed of all ages and left little room even to stand, had gathered to hear poems written by Langston Middle School students. The poems were written during residencies with College students — both Creative Writing majors and non-majors with strong interests in writing — in Powell’s Teaching Imaginative Writing course. During the first half of the semester, students in the course studied pedagogy and practiced designing lessons and writing exercises. In the second half of the semester, they worked in pairs with...

First OSlam! Open Mic Showcases Young Poetic Talent

Ruby Saha

November 22, 2013

A profoundly personal art form, effective slam poetry relies on the performer’s ability to draw stories from deep within themselves, requiring an incredible amount of resilience and courage. OSlam!, Oberlin’s newest slam poetry group, seeks to create a space where poetry can be accessible and shared in a safe and interactive environment, as it did at its Open Mic Night at the Cat in the Cream on Monday. Composed of first- and second-year students, the group performed to a large and enthusiastic crowd who remained engaged throughout the night, snapping their fingers along to particularly clever or powerful wordplay. OSlam!’s first major event of the year alternated between performances by its members and talented...

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