The Oberlin Review

Visiting Professor of Creative Writing Naomi Jackson shared excerpts from her newly published novel The Star Side of Bird Hill at Afrikan Heritage House on Feb. 25. The novel focuses on themes of cultural authenticity, mental illness and immigration.

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

“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

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

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...

Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Shane McCrae is the department’s newest addition. McCrae gave a reading of poems from his latest collection, Forgiveness Forgiveness, to a rapturous audience of students on Wednesday in the Hallock Auditorium.

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...

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