The Oberlin Review

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...

Interaction Outside Classroom Not Always Abusive

Louise Edwards

February 16, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

To the Editors: On Feb. 9, 2018, The Oberlin Review published Emily Clarke’s Letter to the Editors (“Matambo’s Mentorship Lacked Boundaries”), which describes interactions that Clarke had with former professor of Creative Writing Bernard Farai Matambo. Matambo recently resigned from Oberlin College due to sexual misconduct allegations. From Clarke’s perspective, the interactions described in the letter made their student-teacher relationship “insidious.” I understand that all of Matambo’s students had different experiences with him; however, to me, the actions described in the third paragraph of Clarke’s letter do not seem like boundaries crossed, with the exception of showing up to Clarke’s house at 1...

Creative Writing Program Unfairly Accused

Milena Williamson

February 9, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

On Dec. 1, The Oberlin Review broke the news of allegations against Professor Bernard Matambo (“Matambo Resigns Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations,” Dec. 1, 2017). The Review followed up with an editorial on the importance of preventing sexual misconduct (“Oberlin Faculty, Administration Must Be Active in Preventing Sexual Misconduct,” Dec. 8, 2017). It is this editorial that I am responding to now. I firmly believe that Oberlin faculty and staff should do everything in their power to protect students from sexual misconduct. I also want to address the problematic statements that were presented in this editorial by the Review. The editorial demonstrated unethical journalism through the implication that other profes...

Matambo’s Mentorship Lacked Boundaries

Emily Clarke

February 9, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

To the Editors: I’m writing to share my experiences with Bernard Matambo, in the hope that making it public will continue to open up space for the kind of reflection and change that Sarah Cheshire called for. Bernard shaped my time at Oberlin and my values and stances as a writer. He was my advisor and someone I thought of as a mentor, but looking back, the dynamic doesn’t seem like mentorship. I was trying very hard to be a close friend rather than a student, and he did nothing to discourage and much to encourage those efforts. At the time, I felt a powerful kind of approval from feeling “worth” the phone calls, long one-on-one meetings at coffee shops and restaurants (never his office), and late-night con...

Oberlin Faculty, Administration Must Be Active in Preventing Sexual Misconduct

Editorial Board

December 8, 2017

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

Editor’s Note: Language in this editorial has been updated to clarify the sources used in its writing and more explicitly express the views of the Editorial Board. Some of the most important relationships at Oberlin are those between students and members of the faculty and staff. Faculty, advisors, and deans all take meaningful roles in the lives of students that they work with — which is how it should be. After all, students come to small liberal arts schools like Oberlin for the accessibility of mentorship and guidance, as well as research opportunities predicated on working closely with faculty members that are not readily available to undergraduates at large universities. With these relationships comes...

Safia Elhillo Delivers Sharp, Candid Poetry Performance

Ananya Gupta, Arts and Culture Editor

September 15, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Literature & Poetry

“As usual, I was thinking about race; I wrote a poem.” said Sudanese-American performance poet Safia Elhillo as she delivered her sassy wit in a soothing voice last Friday at the Cat in the Cream. Author of the full-length poetry collection The January Children, Elhillo is an acclaimed slam poet who has performed at the South African State Theatre, the New Amsterdam Theater on Broadway, and at TEDxNewYork, and has competed nationally with the New York University collegiate championship slam poetry team and the DC Youth Slam Poetry Team. Having earned accolades including the 2015 Brunel University African Poetry Prize (co-winner) and the 2016 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, Elhillo, though young, is truly...

Fang First Femme of Color to Win Howell Poetry Prize

Fang First Femme of Color to Win Howell Poetry Prize

May 6, 2016

College senior Dana Fang won this year’s annual Emma Howell Memorial Poetry Contest, awarded by Oberlin’s Creative Writing department. Fang is both the first femme of color and the first Asian-American poet to win the prize, which honors Creative Writing and Comparative Literature major Emma Howell, an Oberlin student who died during her sophomore year in 2001. Howell’s father, poet Christopher Howell, judges the submissions along with Creative Writing professors, and the winner is awarded...

Off the Cuff: Gary Shteyngart, OC ‘95, Author and Professor

Off the Cuff: Gary Shteyngart, OC ‘95, Author and Professor

April 1, 2016

Gary Shteyngart, OC ’95, has written several novels and recently published his first memoir, Little Failure. His novels include works such as The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, Absurdistan and Super Sad True Love Story. Shteyngart previously taught writing at Hunter College and now teaches at Columbia University. He is a Jewish Russian-American immigrant, an experience that often comes through in his novels, and was born in what is now St. Petersburg, Russia. Shteyngart has been awarded the Stephen...

Visiting Professor Celebrates Bird Hill Release

Visiting Professor Celebrates Bird Hill Release

March 11, 2016

The Creative Writing and Africana Studies departments hosted Visiting Creative Writing Professor Naomi Jackson on Feb. 25. She read excerpts from her newly published book The Star Side of Bird Hill. The book, a coming-of-age novel that moves from Brooklyn to Barbados, was characterized by Jackson as “a meditation on the ways in which family can be really good and really terrible, sometimes in the same moment.” The book touches on, among other things, assimilation into a multiplicity of Black...

Poetry Promotes Honesty, Reveals Feelings

CJ Blair, Columnist

February 26, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

“Poetry is more than just words in a strange order, CJ.” These were the words of my uncle, a well-known poet in my hometown, after reading my earliest attempts at poetry. I had written a handful of poems in high school but didn’t start writing in earnest until I decided to try and enter Oberlin’s Creative Writing program. To prepare myself, I started reading and writing poems for at least an hour a day. I had no intention of liking poetry, but I found that practicing it necessitates a way of thinking that was more honest and sobering than any I had tried before. Because of this, I realized I had to keep writing poetry to better understand my emotions and myself. It makes sense that my uncle made the commen...

McCrae Depicts Survival, Self-Doubt Through Verse

Louise Edwards, Arts Editor

November 13, 2015

Filed under ARTS, Literature & Poetry

Director of the Creative Writing Program Kazim Ali and Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Shane McCrae gave a reading together at Afrikan Heritage House on Thursday, Nov. 5 that featured works from their new books, both published this year. McCrae, who went first, read the poem “How You Are Owned” from his book The Animal Too Big to Kill. “Growing up black white trash you grow up / knowing there are / Two kinds of white in the world one black / the / White like the crayon / You grow up calling flesh / that colors everything the color of imaginary peaches / and the white like every other white thing / Lord and the black like what your skin is like the / Black like what bad guys wear,” he read. Much of McCra...

Hong’s Language Gives Poetic Sound New Meaning

Louise Edwards, Arts editor

October 9, 2015

Filed under ARTS, Features, Literature & Poetry

Cathy Park Hong, OC ’98, opened the first poetry reading sponsored by the Creative Writing department last Friday with “Roles,” the first piece from her book Dance Dance Revolution. “Opal o opus, / behole, neon hibiscus bloom beacons! / ‘Tan Lotion Tanya’ billboard . . . she / your lucent Virgil, den I’s taka ova / as talky Virgil . . . want some tea? Some pelehuu?” she read. In a foreword to the book, Hong writes in the voice of one of her characters, a historian, who explains the context of the following poems, which are written in a new creole language created by Hong. The historian says, “In the Desert, the language is an amalgam of some three hundred languages and dialects imported into th...

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