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The Oberlin Review

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...

Second-Person Prevails in Pagel’s Occult, Political Poetry

Second-Person Prevails in Pagel’s Occult, Political Poetry

May 5, 2017

There is something haunting about Caryl Pagel’s poetry — and it’s not just the gravestones that frequently appear in her work. Pagel’s writing is heavily steeped in the occult and references to Gothic literature, which she weaves into poetry that is both lyrical and feminist. In addition to having authored two collections of poetry, 2014’s Twice Told and 2012’s Experiments I Should Like Tried At My Own Death, Pagel is also the co-founder and editor of Rescue Press, a poetry editor at j...

Poetry Picks

Poetry Picks

April 14, 2017

https://issuu.com/theoberlinreview/docs/4.14.2017_final/8

Intersectional Comedian D’Lo Brings Variety Show to Oberlin

Intersectional Comedian D’Lo Brings Variety Show to Oberlin

February 24, 2017

A unique blend of stand-up comedy, poetry and storytelling awaits guests at the Cat in the Cream Sunday as actor and comedian D’Lo brings his touring variety show, D’FaQTo Life (pronounced “de facto”) to Oberlin. The show will be his first in Oberlin since 2013, when he performed as part of Colors of Rhythm, and he’s since gone on to perform roles in HBO’s Looking and the Netflix original series Sense8. Co-sponsored by the South Asian Students Association, International Students’ Organi...

Slow Train Hosts Romantic Annual Multilingual Poetry Event

Slow Train Hosts Romantic Annual Multilingual Poetry Event

February 17, 2017

Some say that love is a universal language. This idea was explored Monday evening at Love in Many Tongues, a multilingual poetry reading at Slow Train Cafe. The Oberlin Center for Languages and Cultures organizes Love in Many Tongues each year as a way to promote the dozen languages offered at Oberlin — as well as others not offered — while simultaneously celebrating Valentine’s Day. Oberlin students, faculty and community members read poems and sang songs in a wide array of languages — r...

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...

Nautical Poetry Tells Tale of Hurricane Sandy

Matías Berretta, Staff Writer

April 1, 2016

Filed under ARTS, Literature & Poetry

Chair of the Creative Writing Program Kazim Ali began a poetry reading by Margaret Ross and Robin Beth Schaer on March 10 by asking those in attendance if they recognized the metrical pattern of the radiator’s rhythmic banging — a trochaic beat. This was a fitting observation, as both Ross and Schaer’s work draws on the rhythm of their experiences. Shane McCrae, assistant professor of Creative Writing, giddily introduced Margaret Ross. McCrae confessed that when he met Ross at a workshop with Jorie Graham at Harvard University, he experienced the kind of jealousy a poet feels when they meet a 19-year-old who’s better than they were at the same age. McCrae lauded Ross as a genius, insisting that hers was the ...

Multimedia Poet Taps into Subconscious Realms

Multimedia Poet Taps into Subconscious Realms

March 11, 2016

Poetry has long existed as a multimedia art form. Homeric poems, for example, used to be performed with musical accompaniment. The relationship between poetry and other art forms was evident last Thursday in Dye Lecture Hall when New York-based performance poet Adeena Karasick wowed the students present with nothing but her voice, a projector and a glitchy microphone. Kazim Ali, chair of the Creative Writing department, introduced Karasick as a multi-genre artist working at the intersection of performance...

Smith’s Poetry a Bible Verse, Queer Anthem

Louise Edwards, Arts Editor

March 11, 2016

Filed under ARTS, Literature & Poetry

Slam Poet Danez Smith, hailing from St. Paul, MN, opened their performance at the Cat in the Cream Saturday with “Genesissy,” a piece that was part Bible verse, part hymn and part queer anthem. They balanced humorous lines like, “And on the tenth day, God wore a blood-red sequin body suit, dropped it low, named it Sunset,” with serious sentiments like “Jesus wept at the mirror, mourning the day his sons would shame his sons for walking a daughter’s stride.” Like a church service, Smith transitioned from reading their own recreation of the Bible to singing a mournful prayer: “I am on the battlefield for my Lord, for my Lord.” The dynamic textures of Smith’s work make it clear why Smith is a widely...

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...

OSLAM Switches Focus with Love-Centric Slam

OSLAM Switches Focus with Love-Centric Slam

February 19, 2016

The night before Valentine’s Day, the Cat in the Cream filled with excited OSLAM fans. The large audience spilled onto the floor; friends huddled in from the cold with coffee and cookies. OSLAM is best known for its gripping political and emotional poetry, but the group’s Feb. 13 performance focused on love and positivity. In keeping with the romantic theme, the group also held a “Date a Poet” raffle where, for $1, audience members could win the chance to go on a friend date with their favorite...

WITS Poetry Residencies Expand

WITS Poetry Residencies Expand

December 4, 2015

Seventh-grader Leo Carter read his poem “Sequoia Trees” at the Langston Middle School poetry reading and book launch at the Cat in the Cream Monday. “So tall, it looks like they could / shishkabob the sky. So wide, / the shadow is like an eclipse / over the ground,” Carter read. His poem, part of Barbara Stadler’s class anthology, “As Deep as a Submarine Can Go,” was created in one of several 10-day residencies in sixth, seventh and eighth grade classes led by Director of Oberlin’s...

Established 1874.