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Eldridge Woman Wins National Library Essay Contest PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Literature
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 06 January 2010 09:07

Leslie Powell-SkinnerLeslie Powell-Skinner of Eldridge, Iowa, last month was named the winner of the American Library Association's At My Library Creative Essay contest. She won $350 for her poem "A 'Cents'ible Resource."

 
An In-Between Sort of Place: Poet Ryan Collins Explores the Quad Cities in "Complicated Weather" PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Literature
Written by Mike Schulz   
Friday, 09 October 2009 10:41

Ryan Collins"I think everyone has a complex relationship with where they're from," says Ryan Collins, the Moline native currently serving as Quad City Arts' poet-in-residence. "Especially if you've left and come back, which I've done more than once. But the prevailing opinion seems to be that there's nothing to do here. That it's kind of an in-between sort of place, you know?

"We're like a crossroads," he continues. "A place in between places. There's the state capital, the University of Iowa ... . These things are close, but, like, what's here?"

The question of "What's here?" in the Quad Cities is both directly and indirectly addressed in Collins' new chapbook, Complicated Weather. And the answer, as expressed in this thoughtful collection of poems, is as complex as the author's feelings about the area.

 
Winners of the 2009 Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Literature
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 14 July 2009 15:43

2009 marks Midwest Writing Center's 36th-annual Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest. This year Max Molleston, longtime contest administrator, passed the reins to local poet Kristin Abraham, author of Little Red Riding Hood Missed the Bus. Kristin reconfigured the contest to contain just two categories: regional and national.

A total of 349 poems were entered - 165 for the national category and 184 for the regional. Out of these entries, 25 finalists were selected to be judged by our regional judge, former Quad Cities Poet Laureate Rebecca Wee, and 25 were sent to our national judge, May Swenson Award-winning poet F. Daniel Rzicznek. From these entries our judges each selected first-, second-, and third-place winners as well as honorable mentions. First-place winners received $200, second-place winners received $150, and third-place winners received $75. The first-place regional winner also receives the Max Molleston Award, created by local artist Dee Schricker. All of the poems that were selected as finalists will be printed in Off Channel, Midwest Writing Center's Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest anthology, due out before the end of summer 2009.

The Midwest Writing Center accepts entries for the Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest from January 1 through March 31 each year. More information is available online at MidwestWritingCenter.org.

A reception and reading will be held on Saturday, July 18, from 7 to 9 p.m. in our conference room at 225 East Second Street in Davenport -- the Bucktown Center for the Arts. All individuals who submitted poems to the contest are invited to read their work.

 
Harry Potter & the Pretty Tall Compost Pile: John Granger Lectures on J.K. Rowling’s Modern Classic PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Literature
Written by Stephanie Grider and Ellie Ryan   
Tuesday, 21 April 2009 08:08

(Editor's note: John Granger, the author of The Hidden Key to Harry Potter and Looking for God in Harry Potter, will present two lectures in the Quad Cities on Thursday, April 23: "From Muggle Lead to Spiritual Gold: The Literary Alchemy of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter Novels" at 10:30 a.m. in Augustana College's Centennial Hall (3703 Seventh Avenue in Rock Island), and "Why Reading Matters: Good Books & the Life of Christ" at 7 p.m. at Broadway Presbyterian Church (710 23rd Street in Rock Island). What follows is the transcript of an interview of Granger by Augustana students Stephanie Grider and Ellie Ryan. For more information on Granger, visit HogwartsProfessor.com.)

Ellie Ryan: You have said that readers of the Harry Potter novels experience what you call "apotheosis," or a kind of spiritual transformation via their identification with Harry as they are reading. Please say more about that.

 
History, by the Book: James W. Loewen Talks About “Lies My Teacher Told Me,” April 15-17 PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Literature
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 09 April 2009 10:16

James W. LoewenThe cliché says that history is written by the winners, but that's not true when it comes to history textbooks.

For the most part, they're not even written by the "authors" whose names grace the covers. Instead, they're written by employees of or freelancers for publishing companies deathly afraid of controversy -- fearful that a passage offensive to virtually any constituency will result in their books not being adopted in schools.

James W. Loewen's Lies My Teacher Told Me -- first published in 1995, and revised and updated in 2007 -- documents how badly the most popular high-school textbooks teach American history. As part of the Quad City Arts Super Author program, Loewen will discuss his work at seven programs from April 15 to 17. (For a list of events, click here. To read about Chris Crutcher -- the other Super Author visiting our area next week -- see "Innocence, Ignorance, and Experience: Quad City Arts 'Super Author' Chris Crutcher Discusses His Controversial Young-Adult Literature.")

Loewen has also written Lies Across America (which tackles historic-site markers the same way he attacked history textbooks) and Sundown Towns, about communities with written or unwritten laws designed to keep them free of racial minorities. And he co-wrote a textbook on Mississippi history that gave him his first insight into the textbook-adoption process that avoids controversy at the expense of truth.

Accessible, passionate, detailed, and often startling, Lies My Teacher Told Me documents the errors, lies, and omissions that mar history textbooks -- opening with Helen Keller's ignored radicalism and expanding its scope from there, dealing extensively with society's treatment of Native Americans and blacks and also critiquing the presentation of more modern events, including the wars in Vietnam and Iraq.

Beyond the details that are wrong, the core narratives in these textbooks are problematic, Loewen said in a phone interview last week. He said history textbooks suggest "unrelenting, automatic progress," the idea that "we started out great and we've been getting better ever since."

 
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