Photography by Bradley S. Pines
The View from Kalamazoo
The Atlantic magazine recently published a chart showing poll results for the following question: “Do you happen to be reading any books or novels at present?” In 1952, less than 20 percent of Americans responded “yes.” In 2005, about 47 percent said they were reading a book.
As a nation, we are not reading less, we are reading more. And in Kalamazoo, we have another reason to increase the reading material in our homes.
On April 9, 2012, Western Michigan University’s Lee Honors College unveiled the 11th edition of The Laureate, a literary journal featuring undergraduate poetry, fiction, nonfiction, playwriting and photography.
A reception was held at the Bernard Center at WMU in Kalamazoo. Those featured in the publication read from their work. The journal’s design, which was inspired by the gears of a watch, was executed by students in the Gwen Frostic School of Art under the direction of Paul Sizer.
|Dr. Nicholas Andreadis. (click to enlarge)|
He’s right. There’s much to enjoy, ponder and quote from in this publication.
...The sign told me I was there
That I had made it and would soon be at brother’s
It told me that soon I’d be lying on tan carpet
With my hands behind my head
About momma and daddy
And our other folks
With a crooked grin stretched across my face
‘Cause I loved it ...
It’s a far more somber mood in “Death at the Library,” by Loy Norrix High School graduate and WMU student Jesse Duke. It begins:
I watched a man die as I was sitting
at a computer at the public
library. The paramedics
never rose their voices,
the librarians never uttered
a shush, and I never finished
writing that paper.
In his short story, “Calling it Quilts,” WMU student Tom Smith writes about a tattoo artist with a secondary hobby:
I want to share one more piece. I have permission from the author to present the entire poem, “Recess at Midnight,”
I was your James Bond, crouching
in the woodchips of rocket ships and enemy fortresses,
cleverly disguised as yellow plastic —
the street light flickered orange
as electricity skipped across a florescence of puddles
not yet splashed through.
We shouted “bang” at the dark
as if telling the world to play dead would stop time,
(our words hitting the cogs and chipping the teeth
like the slide that chipped mine)
yet even the leaves are rusted
and falling while the trees shake their bare branches like bones —
(when did I outgrow this skeleton place?)
I took you to East Hall
and we watched the vines grow into the classrooms.
Everything is evolving. Everything is falling apart.
The chairs are still there —
clicking together like the clockwork of ourselves.
The author is our daughter, Allie Pines, who is dual-enrolled at Western Michigan University and Loy Norrix High School.
Marie Freudenburg and another Laureate contributor, John Withee, are also former winners of Community Literary Awards, a poetry and prose writing competition I spearheaded for 15 years at the Kalamazoo Gazette. John Withee is a graduate of Kalamazoo Christian High School and a former WMU student of mine.
|A member of the audience reads along with the author.|
We are fortunate to live in such a lively literary community, one that encourages writing and provides an attractive showcase for the words and pictures created by students.
Copies of The Laureate are available at Lee Honors College. It is free.
Here's a link to a 37-image picture gallery from this event with free downloads for personal use: