Rachel Jeantel, Rammellzee, Basquiat, and the Art of Being an Equation

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Oct 102013

A number of people in FYWP have been or will be teaching June Jordan’s essay from Reading Culture to their WR101 classes, so I thought this essay from the Los Angeles Review of Books might provide a useful complement:

FOR FIVE HOURS, Rachel Jeantel, a childhood friend of Trayvon Martin, sat on the stand and tried to recount the last conversation they had before he was murdered. They had known each other since they were in elementary school. Rachel Jeantel was still a high school student when she not only tragically lost her friend but also became the lead witness for the prosecution in the highly publicized murder case that polarized America. It was a trial that would decide if George Zimmerman, the man who murdered Trayvon, would face justice. That she was just 19 years old, a teenager, shell-shocked and in mourning, were a few of the least-discussed qualities of Ms. Jeantel. Instead her size, her color, and her speech thrust her into the headlines. Jeantel is a heavyset young woman with brown skin. In the aftermath, even smart publications could not resist drawing comparisons between Ms. Jeantel and director Lee Danielss unconfident, abused, broken bird Precious. It was a comparison that told us almost nothing about Rachel Jeantel and much more about people’s expectations of women who look like Rachel Jeantel: primarily, that if you are heavy and have dark skin in America you shouldn’t dare exist in real life. It was pretty inconvenient then, that on the stand, Ms. Jeantel — sotto voce too — refused to be anyone but herself.

FYWP faculty news

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Sep 232013

Some recent accomplishments and announcements from FYWP faculty members:

Cheryl Buchanan‘s essay “From Crowd to Community:  We are Boston” is forthcoming in the anthology Twitter to Tahrir Square: Ethics in Social and New Media Communication, published by ABC-CLIO.

Anne Champion‘s second poetry collection, Small Wreckage, was a Semi-Finalist for the Black Lawrence Press Hudson Prize.  She has recently had publications appear in Verse Daily, The Pinch, The Poetic Pinup Revue, A-Minor Magazine, Broad!, The Smoking Poet, and elsewhere.  She’s also recently published book reviews in PANK, Bookslut, HTMLGiant, and Pleiades.  She has participated in many reading series this summer to promote her first collection of poetry, Reluctant Mistress.

Amy Fant‘s story, “A Fabric of Tiny Foxes” was published in Weave Magazine.

Steve Himmer published a novel excerpt in Fiddleblack #11, and a review of Dennis Mahoney’s novel Fellow Mortals at Ploughshares. He was also interviewed recently by Delphi Quarterly.

Jon Irwin‘s book Super Mario Bros. 2 will be published this winter by Boss Fight Books, after a successful Kickstarter campaign to help launch the new small press.

Ashley Rivers has published recent articles in Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Spirit, and Dance Teacher. Also, along with Molly McGillicuddy and Pamela DeGregorio, she was recently hired as a Writing Coach for the Master of Public Policy program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Wes Rothman has had poems appear or accepted and forthcoming in The Rumpus, Inter|rupture, Breakwater Review, Paper Darts, Phantom Limb, Crab Orchard Review, Harpur Palate, Thrush, Asheville Poetry Review, 32 Poems, PANK, Similar:Peaks::, Drunken Boat, and The Harvard Divinity Journal. And a couple reviews to appear this fall on the Ploughshares Blog, The Rumpus, and in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Claudia Ward-de Leon‘s story “Six Reasons Why That Waitressing Job Didn’t Work Out” included in the anthology Flash Fiction Funny, edited by Tom Hazuka. A local reading to launch the book is coming up this fall, with details to be shared soon.

Essay on starting off a mentoring relationship

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Sep 222013

Any way you slice, I find myself constantly surprised by the fact that most senior professors readily acknowledge that mentoring is critically important to success on the tenure track, and yet mentoring means very different things to different people and most new faculty members feel like they are not getting what they need.

@ Inside Higher Ed

The Impact of Digital Tools on Student Writing and How Writing is Taught in Schools

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Sep 212013

A survey of teachers who instruct American middle and high school students finds that digital technologies are impacting student writing in myriad ways and there are significant advantages from tech-based learning.

Some 78% of the 2,462 advanced placement (AP) and National Writing Project (NWP) teachers surveyed by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project say digital tools such as the internet, social media, and cell phones “encourage student creativity and personal expression.”

via Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project

Everyone Should Teach ‘Freshman Comp’

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Sep 202013

What I’ve found is that returning to teaching a class as elemental as first-year writing has forced me into a state of greater mindfulness about writing in general, and my own writing in specific. When trying to consider how to best help my students learn and then internalize the principles and practices of effective writing, I’ve been forced to deconstruct my own approach to the task.

As a result, I’ve learned about as much as anyone. I’ve been reminded that writing isn’t something that “just happens” or is something that we’re naturally good (or bad) at. I’ve become much more conscious of audience, who I’m talking to and why, what I want them to walk away with from my writing.

~ John Warner @ Inside Higher Ed.

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