items tagged with Midwest Writing Center
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
To grasp the concept of the Midwest Writing Center’s new Spectra poetry-reading series, we might start with the 1916 book of the same name. In its preface, Anne Knish explained that the “Spectric” school “speaks ... of that process of diffraction by which are disarticulated the several colored and other rays of which light is composed. It indicates our feeling that the theme of a poem is to be regarded as a prism, upon which the colorless white light of infinite existence falls and is broken up into glowing, beautiful, and intelligible hues.”
Before you flee this article, understand that Spectra was a satiric hoax created by Arthur Davison Ficke (a Davenport native writing as Knish) and Witter Bynner (writing as Emanuel Morgan). The pair gleefully mocked the abstruse pretensions of modern free verse, but several prominent poets – including Edgar Lee Masters and William Carlos Williams – actually embraced the work, not recognizing its intent. Poetry magazine Editor Harriet Monroe accepted a handful of Spectric works before the hoax was revealed by Bynner.
Although the poems were mostly nonsense, they were compellingly playful. One opens: “Her soul was freckled / Like the bald head / Of a jaundiced Jewish banker.” It concludes: “This demonstrates the futility of thinking.” One of the most charming starts: “If I were only dafter / I might be making hymns / To the liquor of your laughter / And the lacquer of your limbs.”
And they were occasionally incisive. In one about “my little house of glass,” Knish wrote: “Sometimes I’m terribly tempted / To throw the stones myself.”
To show how this relates to the new poetry-reading series (which begins September 15), allow me to note that one of the first two featured writers, Adam Fell, closes his poem “Summer Lovin Torture Party” with these oddly familiar lines: “I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh lord. / I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life.”
Read More About Serious Fun: The Spectra Poetry-Reading Series, Opening September 15 At Rozz-Tox...
Written By: Mike Schulz
"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.
Read More About An In-Between Sort Of Place: Poet Ryan Collins Explores The Quad Cities In "Complicated Weather"...
Written By: Administrator
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.
Read More About Winners Of The 2009 Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest...
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