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amaranth News and stories from the Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature at Hiram College



am a ranth noun

1. a Vachel Lindsay poem published in The Congo and Other Poems in 1914 2. an imaginary flower that never fades 3. a highly nutritious golden seed 4. any of various annuals of the genus Amaranthus having dense green or reddish clusters of tiny flowers

Volume 5, Issue 2, Fall 2016

amaranth is a bi-annual publication of the Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature


Editor-in-Chief | Kirsten Parkinson, Ph.D. Graphic Design | Sarah Bianchi | sylversea design

contributing writers Kirsten Parkinson, Ph.D. Hallie Chavez ’18 Sara Shearer ’17 Maya Watkins ’17

contributing photographers Kirsten Parkinson, Ph.D. Samuel Adams David Anderson, Ph.D. Jeff Swenson, Ph.D.

mailing address Hiram College P.O. Box 67 Hiram, Ohio 44234

© 2016 the Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature, Hiram College


On the cover: the Brainerd Stranahan bench in the gardens behind Bonney Castle

amaranth News and stories from the Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature

AND...WE’RE BACK! Cover photo: The completed exterior renovation on Bonney Castle. See the process from beginning to end on page 10. Above photo: The campus outside the Kennedy Center.

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A snapshot of his journey into Cleveland’s arts scene

Maya Watkins ’17 writes about the upcoming convocation with classicist Denise McCoskey, Ph.D.





Hallie Chavez ’18 examines the new essay collection that is rich in Hiram College connections

Get an up-close look at the exterior renovation of Hiram’s oldest building


Another busy year has started at the Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature. We hope you’ll join us for one of the intriguing events we have profiled in this issue or some of the other great activities we have planned for this academic year: Associate Professor of English Mary Quade, M.F.A., recently published her second volume of poetry, Local Extinctions. She’ll be reading from her collection on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 4:15 p.m. in the Pritchard Room of the Hiram College Library. The New Yorker’s Mary Norris, M.A., author of Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, will speak about her life as an editor and grammarian on Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. in the Pritchard Room of the Hiram College Library. We will celebrate the winners of our many writing contests, including the third year of our nonfiction contest for high-school students, at an Evening of Hiram Writers on Tuesday, April 4 at 7 p.m. in the Alumni Heritage Room of Teachout-Price Hall.

In addition, this year marks the last year of our Challenge Grant with the National Endowment

for the Humanities. This $75,000 grant provides us with permanent funds for our community reading programs, like last year’s countywide reading of Into the Beautiful North, and opportunities for a scholarin-residence. Consider making a donation to help us meet our match at http://www.hiram.edu/giving and earmarking your gift for the Lindsay-Crane NEH Challenge Grant. Such programs enrich the educational experiences of all Hiram College students.

Thank you for your support of the Lindsay-Crane Center’s many initiatives to connect students to the

wondrous world of words. We look forward to seeing you at our events.

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hen Michael Gill, M.F.A., ’86 was a Hiram College student studying English and creative writing, he and his friends started an underground newspaper titled The Slobbering Doberman with

Great Big Teeth and a Wagging Tail Weekly in response to the College’s regular publication The Terrier. At the same time, he took part in an internship that landed him his first job out of college working at a federal government office in Washington, D.C., where he wrote press releases and radio scripts.

“All the things people say about the liberal arts—the ability to learn, to ask

questions and to deal with a range of subjects—are certainly true,” Gill said when I asked how Hiram College had prepared him for the world of work. Gill’s varied

The Literary Leanings of Alumnus Michael Gill, M.F.A., ’86 By Sara Shearer ’17

career as underground newspaper editor, poet, federal worker, public relations director, journalist and now publisher of an arts magazine also demonstrates the flexibility that a Hiram College degree offers.

Two years after graduation, Gill earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from

Eastern Washington University, solidifying his love of poetry, and he moved to Quito, Ecuador, for immersion in Spanish.

“The graffiti of Ecuador in the early nineties is a phenomenon worthy of a long

discussion, and maybe it is the liberal education I had behind me that prepared me to take advantage of the discovery,” Gill says. The graffiti he transcribed in Ecuador inspired him enough to create a chapbook, The Solution to the Crisis is Revolution, and several articles that were published in literary magazines.

When Gill returned to Ohio, he worked as the public relations and marketing

director for the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood. Then it was back to alternative newspapers when he became a staff writer for the Free Times in Cleveland. He moved up to senior editor and eventually to arts editor until the Free Times merged with Scene, another alternative publication, in 2011.

Gill wondered about what to do next until he realized that while Cleveland

had a booming arts industry, there was little to no coverage of it in the media. Thus, along with the director of Zygote Press, he created CAN (Collective Arts Network) Journal. The first publication of CAN Journal came out in June 2012; it is now a successful nonprofit with 85 member organizations and a quarterly print circulation of 10,000 copies.

This past spring, as a member of the Lindsay-Crane Center’s Resource Council,

Gill created a CAN Journal internship opportunity that was filled by Mackenzie Barry ’16, a senior majoring in English and Spanish and minoring in theatre arts.

Gill offers reassurance for any student writer who doubts their ability to find

Photo: Top: Michael Gill Bottom: The

work after college, including myself. And he makes me confident that the education

cover of the fall 2016 issue of his arts

I’m receiving at Hiram College is worthwhile. “I have to say that it takes vision—

journal, CAN.

the ability to see the big picture—that enabled me to create CAN,” Gill said of his accomplishments. “Hiram certainly gets credit for instilling that.” hiram.edu/lindsaycrane 3


WHITENESS Modern Lessons from the Ancient Worlds of Greece and Rome

A Preview of the Talk by Professor Denise McCoskey, Ph.D. By Maya Watkins ’17 In modern America, discussions about race are unavoidable, but the topic can also be inflammatory. Hiram College’s ethics theme for this year—Race, Identity, and Community—is therefore a relevant yet controversial one, especially because of the common reading book, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s National Book Award-winning Between the World and Me. continued on the next page

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Many excellent and challenging conversations have already

Dr. McCoskey is also interested in the connection between

taken place around campus about the book and the ethics theme,

history and ethics, particularly as it applies to race, saying that

both in class and out. Hiram College will continue facilitating

when we uncritically accept notions about race we “become

these conversations throughout the year, in part through visiting

active participants in a longer process” that leans toward

speakers and presentations.

disenfranchisement and inequality. “I hope people will take from

To that end, Hiram College will welcome Professor Denise

my talk a more critical perspective on race overall,” she says. “Not

McCoskey, Ph.D., Professor in Classics and an Affiliate in Black

take its existence for granted in the modern world, but learn how

World Studies at Miami University of Ohio on Thursday, Oct. 13.

to ask questions about when certain racial structures of thought

She will present her talk, titled “Race Before Whiteness?: Modern

came into play and (more importantly) how, why and with what

Lessons from the Ancient Worlds of Greece and Rome,” in the


Pritchard Room of the Hiram College Library. Dr. McCoskey’s visit to Hiram College is co-sponsored by the Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature, the Robert Sawyer Classics Fund and the

Photo: Below: Denise McCoskey, Ph.D., Professor of Classics and an Affiliate in Black World Studies at Miami University of Ohio.

History Department.

Classicists study ancient Greek and Roman civilizations,

which are generally considered to be the foundation of Western culture, but they have increasingly begun to study the lower classes and various minorities of the ancient world. In this way Dr. McCoskey’s talk relates directly to this year’s ethics theme. She will be discussing the ancient Greek and Roman concepts of race and how the idea of “race” has changed drastically over time. Dr. McCoskey says this “is an important reminder that our own

Race Before Whiteness: Modern Lessons from the Ancient Worlds of Greece and Rome

concept of race is an historical and sociological invention—a set of ideas that have been invented over time to provide an (ostensibly) ‘scientific’ rationale for claims of superiority by certain groups and for reinforcing inequality.”

Dr. McCoskey has published numerous articles and books on

this topic, including Race: Antiquity and Its Legacy, and she has won several awards, such as the Winkler Memorial Prize, given to the best graduate essay in a “risky or marginal field” of classical studies.

The history of beliefs about race and how they have changed

over time is also a repeating theme in this year’s common reading book by Coates, so attendees of Dr. McCoskey’s presentation will have the opportunity to make interesting connections between the talk and Between the World and Me. Hiram College’s Visiting

with Denise McCoskey, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Classics Matthew Notarian, Ph.D., says that

Oct. 13, 2016 | noon

Dr. McCoskey’s talk “will illustrate how Classics still has much to

Pritchard Room, Hiram College Library

teach us about our own society’s struggle with ‘Race and Identity.’”

www.hiram.edu/lindsaycrane hiram.edu/lindsaycrane 7 5



lmost do

everything involves




some another.

Our fingertips are always pushing and typing at something, and these machines have become a sort of natural part of our world. Our machines become a part of us, a basic need, even if we don’t fully realize it. The women authors contributing to the anthology From Curlers to Chainsaws reflect on their own machines and what those machines mean for their selves and identities. Co-editor, contributor and Hiram College professor emerita Joyce Dyer, Ph.D., wrote in an email interview that creating a collection of essays of women and their machines was organic and fun, “though the hard kind that includes both laughter and the high price of joy.”

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Everyone has an experience with a machine, and new and established writers alike offer their own obsessions with

machines. The collection explores relationships with all different types of machines—including lawnmowers, prosthetics, chainsaws, vibrators and phones—and shows that, as Dr. Dyer put it, “conversations with machines begin, continue, change, transform, evolve, lovingly thicken, sometimes end with a casting off.” Through writing, these women began to work through what we want from our machines, what we need from our machines, if they “electrify us or sap our strength.”

From Curlers to Chainsaws is specially connected to Hiram College. The editors and contributors include professor

emerita Dr. Dyer; alumnae Elizabeth MacLeod Walls, Ph.D., ’96, Diana Salman, M.A., ’11, and Jen Hirt, M.A., M.F.A., ’97; and Associate Professor of English Mary Quade, M.F.A. Hiram College’s Michael Dively Endowment for Scholarly Publications funded the photographs, images and illustrations. A reading by several contributors to the volume, including Dr. Dyer, Salman, Hirt and Quade, will take place on Thursday, Sept. 29 in the Pritchard Room of the Hiram College Library. The reading is co-sponsored by the Lindsay-Crane Center, the Garfield Center for Public Leadership and the Office of Alumni Relations, and copies of From Curlers to Chainsaws will be available for purchase and signing.

As a collection written and edited by women, Dr. Dyer and her co-editors Walls and Jennifer Cognard-Black, Ph.D., hoped

to fill in parts of women’s incompletely written history. Dr. Dyer wrote that “women, for instance, can know their own history with greater poignancy and understanding by looking at the machines that were used by mothers and grandmothers—by all their progenitors.” The collection captures women’s complex relationships with machines, exploring how women’s bodies themselves are seen as machines and when they have been used to maintain a role. Dr. Dyer wrote, “Machines have too often been forced on women to impose the expectations of the culture and society—devices that define what beauty ought to be, what work should look like to be prized, how health for women can best be maintained.”

As an editor, Dr. Dyer knew that the experiences written of in the collection could not be easily summed up. Machines

are as varied as women are, and there are no common experiences with machines. From Curlers to Chainsaws gathers the voices of women cooking collards on a gas stove, carrying a handgun, reflecting on what an iPhone signifies. Women wrote of listening for their mother in an old sewing machine and of realizing the significance of a radio in wartime Lebanon. Nothing Dr. Dyer or the editors could write would be enough to describe the worlds reflected in the essays. Dr. Dyer wrote, “That recognition, oddly, is perhaps the very one that assures you a collection has its own life, and that the editing is done.”

Readings from the essay collection:

From Curlers to Chainsaws with readings by Monica Berlin, M.A., M.F.A.; Jennifer Cognard-Black, Ph.D.; Joyce Dyer, Ph.D.; Jen Hirt, M.A., M.F.A.; ’97, Mary Quade, M.F.A.; and Diana Salman, M.A., ’11

Sept. 29, 2016 | 7 p.m. | Pritchard Room, Hiram College Library www.hiram.edu/lindsaycrane hiram.edu/lindsaycrane 9 7


Bonney Castle A Photo Essay Thanks to funding from the Harley C. and Mary Hoover Price Foundation and additional support from other Hiram College donors, the oldest and much beloved building on campus, Bonney Castle, saw new life through a complete exterior renovation in 2016. Contractors began work not long after classes let out in the spring and completed their work throughout the summer. The renovation featured new HardiePlankÂŽ siding, new windows, a refitting of the gutters and new paint, all in keeping with the historic look of the house.

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Photos: Top and above: In late May, workers removed the old wooden siding, revealing 160-year-old vertical sheathing underneath. Right: Before installing the new HardiePlankÂŽ, Bonney Castle was wrapped in TyvekÂŽ, which will protect the interior from moisture and help with insulation.

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Photos: Left: The Greek Revival details around the front door were scraped and freshly painted. Below: The third-floor dormer windows were painted and damaged wood soffits were repaired. Bottom: The well-known red door was painted a brighter shade, and Bonney Castle was ready to welcome a new generation of Hiram College students in August.

DID YOU KNOW THAT... Hiram College offers one of the few undergraduate creative writing majors in the state of Ohio?



Courses in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, and more Small, supportive workshop environment Multiple writing contests judged by published authors One-on-one mentoring by faculty members Internship opportunities both on and off campus For more information, visit www.hiram.edu

About the Lindsay-Crane Center The Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature is named for two poets who had close ties to Northeast Ohio. Nicholas Vachel Lindsay attended Hiram College from 1897 to 1900, and Harold Hart Crane was born in nearby Garrettsville, Ohio. The Lindsay-Crane Center offers special opportunities for Hiram College writers and readers in every discipline. The Center implements the College’s writing across the curriculum program (one of the oldest in the nation), brings professional writers to campus for intimate interactions with students and the public, mounts on-campus and regional writing contests and vigorously supports the importance of a liberal arts education in the 21st century. In addition, it offers students, community members and other friends of the College rich experiences outside the classroom that contribute to intellectual and artistic pleasure and growth and maintains a deep commitment to interdisciplinary ventures with other departments and Centers.

To contact or support the Center: Kirsten Parkinson, Ph.D., Director, parkinsonkl@hiram.edu | 330.569.5323 Kathy Luschek, Director of Operations, luschekk@hiram.edu | 330.569.6118


Profile for Lindsay Crane Center

amaranth | Fall 2016  

a bi-annual publication from Hiram College's Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature

amaranth | Fall 2016  

a bi-annual publication from Hiram College's Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature