amaranth | spring 2014

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

FACULTY PROFILE with English Professor Willard Greenwood AUTHOR ROGER ROSENBLATT on his literary inspiration PERSONAL ENCOUNTERS WITH

SHAKESPEARE A Bissell Symposium

Spring 2014

HIRAM POETRY REVIEW now in its 48th year

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 3, Issue 1, Spring 2014

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


Editor-in-Chief Graphic Design

Kirsten Parkinson Sarah Bianchi

contributing writers Erin Quandt ’14 Kirsten Parkinson

contributing photographers Allison Monroe Kirsten Parkinson Jeff Swenson

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

The Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature would like to thank the Hiram College Office of Institutional Advancement and the Office of Special Events for their ongoing support. Š The Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature, Hiram College



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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

spring 2014 3




Meet the Lindsay-Crane interns for the spring semester

Hiram College welcomes the Bard in February in a Bissell Symposium on Shakespeare



An interview with Hiram College English Professor Willard Greenwood





A look at Hiram’s 48-year-old poetry journal

See what’s coming to the Lindsay-Crane Center in the spring semester

From Director Kirsten Parkinson

We love to celebrate the achievements of students at the Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature. And the spring semester offers us multiple opportuni-

ties to do so, as writing contest results are announced, senior projects come to fruition, and many students have work accepted at conferences and journals. We continue to be amazed and humbled at the talented thinkers and wordsmiths who come through Hiram College’s doors, at the ways they grow while they are here, and at the amazing lives they lead once they graduate. All worth celebrating! This spring we have several events to recognize the accomplishments of our literary scholars and creative writers, and we hope you can join us for some or all of them. Coming up this month, the senior English and Creative Writing majors will be presenting their capstone projects. Please join us on Thursday, January 23 and Thursday, January 30 at 4 p.m. in the Alumni Heritage Room in TeachoutPrice Hall to hear about a poem written entirely in tweets, architecture in Charles Dickens’s Hard Times, a short story about three sisters growing up in a trailer park, a memoir about a family making meaning after a devastating car accident, an analysis of the Japanese cartoon Paranoia Agent, and many other fascinating projects. On Thursday, February 27 at 4 p.m., our five Writing minors will be reading from their portfolios in the Pritchard Room of the Hiram College Library. Last year we combined all of our afternoon receptions for writing contest winners into a single evening event called An Evening of Hiram Writers. In creating this new event, we hoped that more community members and students’ families could join us for this special occasion. It was such a success that we are doing it again. This year’s Evening of Hiram Writers will take place on Tuesday, April 8 at 7 p.m. in the Pritchard Room of the Hiram College Library. Winners of Hiram’s contests in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction will all be reading from their work, and a booklet containing the winning works will be available to all who attend. And if your interests run to the historical, the psychological, the biological, the sociological, or any of the other disciplines available at Hiram College, departments across campus will be holding their capstone presentations and celebrating the achievements of their seniors throughout the spring semester. We invite and encourage you to seek out these events and learn more about the incredible learning, research, and writing going on everywhere on Hiram Hill!

2 amaranth spring 2014

Meet the Lindsay-Crane Spring Interns Francis Sugita-Becraft

Majdal Sobeh

Major: Economics

Majors: Communication and Management

Favorite Hiram Class: Modern Political Philosophy

Favorite Hiram Classes: Public Relations, Culture and Heritage of New Orleans, Interpersonal Communications

Memorable Hiram Experience: Reading a diverse set of poems while working for the Hiram Poetry Review.

Memorable Hiram Experience: Going to Nashville with the Intercultural Forum for our annual term break trip. It was a great opportunity to experience the “country” aspect of the American culture with students from all over the globe.

Favorite Book: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison What I want to gain from the Lindsay-Crane internship: I hope to gain more experience writing in a professional setting.

Favorite Books: The Stranger by Albert Camus and The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand What I want to gain from the Lindsay-Crane internship: Work experience and challenges that allow my skills to grow.

If you’re a Hiram student looking for more information about internship opportunities with the Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature, contact Kirsten Parkinson at

June 21, 2014 3

”There is



A BISSELL Symposium Hiram College | February 6 & 7

4 amaranth spring 2014 5



By Kirsten Parkinson

illiam Shakespeare may have died almost 400 years ago, but his plays and poetry live on in theaters and classrooms throughout the world. The bard will come to Hiram College this semester in “Personal Encounters with Shakespeare,” a two-day Bissell Symposium co-sponsored by the Theatre Arts Department and the Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature and funded by an endowment founded by Howard S. Bissell. Unlike many academic events, this symposium will consider how literature and theater professionals became personally, rather than professionally, involved with Shakespeare’s canon. “I have always felt an unusual attachment to him as an author,” said Rick Hyde, Professor of Theatre Arts and Howard S. Bissell Chair in the Liberal Arts, who is co-organizing the events. “I feel more personal about his works than I do about any other playwright, and I wondered if others felt that way too. I am also intrigued that there are at least two whole groups of people who spend their lives on him.” The other group, of course, is literary scholars, represented by Hyde’s co-organizer, Associate Professor of English Paul Gaffney, who discovered Shakespeare in high school. “I remember thinking that there must be something to Shakespeare because of his reputation and status,” he said, “but when I first tried to read Macbeth I found it a real struggle. As the class spent more time with the play I found it opening up to me in surprising richness that more than repaid the effort I put into it.” Both Hyde and Gaffney emphasized viewing a live production as the best way to encounter

6 amaranth spring 2014

Shakespeare for intimidated readers and audiences. “Although we may not understand every word,” Gaffney said, “a good production should be quite understandable and enjoyable to most adults.” The February symposium will include readings and performances of key scenes from Shakespeare’s work, and the Theatre Arts Department will stage All’s Well That Ends Well in March. Hyde is also teaching a year-long course in which students are reading all of Shakespeare’s plays, and the two faculty members will be team-teaching a spring 3-week course in England that focuses on Shakespeare. Shakespeare still has much to offer modern readers and viewers, and this point is the central one that Gaffney and Hyde hope that attendees will take away from the symposium. “There is life in the old boy yet,” Hyde said. “His characters and their actions still provide us with a way into humanity that is unique to him, and he inspires us to keep growing.”



12:30 - 1:30 pm

4 - 5 pm

The Renner Theater

The Renner Theater

How Shakespeare Chose Me

Searching and Researching the Plays



7:30 pm

10 - 11 am

Kennedy Center

The Renner Theater

Shakespeare WTF: (What’s the Future?)

So What Are You Going To Do About It?

For a complete listing and description of all events, visit us at 7

keep a little fire

BURNING An Interview with Professor of English Willard Greenwood By Erin Quandt ’14

8 amaranth spring 2014


ne of the warmest, most pleasant experiences I’ve had in ary Theory, American Literature II, and Great Works of Literature. I a Hiram College class was in Willard Greenwood’s Intro- ask him—a bit unfairly—what his favorite course is, and he strugduction to Literary Studies course during my first year. It gles to answer. It ends up being a three-way tie between Craft and was ironically on a day when most local schools cancelled classes Technique: Poetry, Introduction to Literary Studies, and a Firstdue to snowy weather, the power was out, and Year Seminar called Sports and Literature, my classmates and I were huddled in the parlor but I can tell that this was a difficult decision in Bonney Castle. I don’t recall which novel we for him to make. were discussing that day, but I do remember According to Greenwood, the most that the professor had brought his two sons rewarding parts of being a professor are helpwith him. It was strange to see my professor, ing his students develop their intellects and who always seemed a little stern to me, treat his learning something new every day while children with such gentleness. He let them play teaching. “It is an incredible luxury to be able in his office unattended, even though it meant to study literature,” he says, and he recognizes he had to clean up piles of upturned papers and how lucky he is to be able to teach so many difbooks afterwards. ferent aspects of literature to his students. He Now, the weather is warmer—warm also recognizes his responsibility as an English enough that I can leave my room without drying professor: “I place a lot of importance on how I my hair, wet from the shower. I regret that hasty present information in the classroom.” Greendecision as I head to Bonney Castle to interview wood constantly tries to improve his methods the very professor with whom I had spent that of teaching, which are affected by the students afternoon that was both frigid and warm. he works with. His students, he states, are the Greenwood is seated in his office, clutmain reason he enjoys working at Hiram. “I In this moment, with tered with books and student essays. Although like all of my students, which is good, because the sun streaming he seems at ease, I am suddenly very nervous. they don’t all like me!” He amends this statethrough the office I feel a droplet of water slide down my neck, ment when he sees one of his students outside ` him.” cold as sweat. If Greenwood notices, he says his office: “Except for Tristan. I don’t like window and illuminating nothing. As I take a seat, I notice a book lying Fortunately, Tristan doesn’t seem to mind the dust on my laptop on his desk: William Shakespeare’s The TemGreenwood’s sense of humor, and we all share screen, I remember a pest. He mentions that he is teaching it in his a laugh. similar warm moment.... I Great Works of Literature course. Although it In this moment, with the sun streaming am reminded of a quote is Greenwood’s first time teaching the play, he through the office window and illuminating by Cormac McCarthy, studied it while getting his Master’s degree in the dust on my laptop screen, I remember a one of Greenwood’s Renaissance poetry at Georgia State University. similar warm moment, on a cold winter afterJourneying north to Purdue University in Indinoon. My hair is dry now as I stand to leave, favorite authors: ‘Keep a ana, he focused more on his love of American thanking my professor for his time and inlittle fire burning; authors while getting his Ph.D. in American sights. As the sunlight warms my body, I am however small, literature (with a concentration on Creative reminded of a quote by Cormac McCarthy, however hidden.’ Writing). one of Greenwood’s favorite authors: “Keep Greenwood lived in several different states a little fire burning; however small, however during his childhood, including Vermont, hidden.” Although it may not seem like GreenMaine, and Arkansas: “We moved around a lot because of my dad’s wood affects much by teaching English at a small liberal arts college work.” Because he is so well-traveled, I was surprised that he was able in Ohio, it is clear to me, through his words and interactions, that he to find a school as small as Hiram. He discovered Hiram College in is keeping his little fire—his passion for literature—burning in all of 2001 and confesses that “Hiram was actually the only school to make his students. me an offer!” When I ask Greenwood about his classes, his eyes light up. At Above: Professor Willard Greenwood Hiram, he has taught a variety of courses, including Advanced Liter- 9

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HIRAM’S ESTEEMED NATIONAL JOURNAL: Hiram Poetry Review By Erin Quandt ’14


ne of Hiram College’s well-kept secrets is the

to yearly publication to better accommodate the students

Hiram Poetry Review, a nationally known

helping out as editorial assistants.

poetry journal that’s entering its forty-eighth

These students, whom Greenwood considers an

year of continuous publication. Hiram Poetry Review, or

“incredibly valuable help,” have several responsibilities,

HPR as it’s affectionately called around Bonney Castle, was

including processing and critiquing submissions and

founded in 1966 by late Professor of English Hale Chatfield,

updating the magazine’s list of subscribers. As one of

in connection with the Black Arts Movement in Cleveland.

Greenwood’s “ace readers,” Matt Margo ’14 has been

This literary magazine publishes “distinctive, witty, and

involved with Hiram Poetry Review for the past few years.

heroic” contemporary poetry, according to its tagline, and

Although he has worked as a volunteer the past two years,

reviews of recent collections of poems.

he was an intern for the 2012 issue.

For a period in the 1990s, Chatfield put all of the issues

Margo told me how working on HPR could help

on CD-ROM, which Professor Willard Greenwood, the

him gain experience for a future career in the publishing

current editor, finds “charmingly outdated, like bellbottom

industry: “My favorite thing about being a part of the Review

jeans.” Now one can find many of the older issues online

is the invaluable experience that I’ve gained. Working with

(at, and hard copies

Professor Greenwood and my fellow editorial assistants

of new issues are sent out to 140 institutional and private

not only helped me to learn the tricks of the trade but also

subscribers every spring. According to Greenwood, the

allowed me to discover my passion for editing, formatting,

magazine used to be printed biannually, but it was changed

and publishing.”

Hiram Poetry Review is published every spring. Subscriptions are $9 for one year or $23 for three years and can be ordered by sending a check payable to Hiram Poetry Review to P.O. Box 162, Hiram, OH 44234 11

A Convocation with Roger Rosenblatt Tuesday, February 25, 2014



Storytelling with Author Roger Rosenblatt

By Erin Quandt ’14

6 amaranth spring 2014


y first encounter with acclaimed author Roger Rosenblatt, who will be visiting Hiram College in February, did not take place under the best of circumstances. I interviewed him over the phone, and the sound was grainy due to long distance and the fact that

he was driving while we talked. Having researched him beforehand, I knew that he had traveled extensively, and I imagined him journeying to some exotic and distant locale. In retrospect, he was probably just driving to his teaching job at Stony Brook University Southampton, but my opinion of him as a worldly traveler and writer made me too nervous to ask him.

As we talked, however, I found Rosenblatt to be incredibly easygoing. He told me that he was

inspired to begin writing at a young age: “My grandfather, who came from Germany, was a sign painter with a shop in the Bronx. He would tell me stories every night, until one night when he asked me to tell a story.” Rosenblatt began to tell a silly story—at one point, he and a polar bear hid out in a cave and ate cotton candy—when he noticed how enthralled his grandfather was. “That was the moment when I learned the power of words.”

Since his first experience with storytelling, Rosenblatt has published 16 books, including

novels and the best-selling nonfiction works Making Toast, Kayak Morning, and Unless It Moves The Human Heart, a book on the craft of writing. He’s also the author of six plays and essays for Time, the NewsHour on PBS, and The New Yorker. His work has won numerous prizes, such as the Emmy, Peabody, and George Polk Awards. His book Children of War won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

When I asked how he begins writing in such varied genres, he confessed, “I don’t have a

different approach, but you get yourself in a different mindset.” For example, when writing novels, he takes a more satirical approach, yet he also tries to address issues he wants to change. “You have to go at the enemy with a light touch,” he told me. “You want to make your reader laugh at the enemy.”

Memoirs, however, may be his favorite genre to write: “Memoirs combine everything I

want in writing—seriousness, wit, poetry—in order to examine a subject. I guess my memoirs are more meditations than memoirs.” Writing memoirs can also be a therapeutic process for

Top: Roger Rosenblatt

Rosenblatt. For example, in Kayak Morning, he finally wrote about his feelings at the sudden

Bottom: The Boy Detective

death of his daughter. “I felt a sense of relief when writing Kayak,” he said, “because I never wrote about my personal grief.”

Rosenblatt also told me about his new book, The Boy Detective: “It’s about me as a young boy, growing up in New York.”

Rosenblatt revisits his childhood in the Bronx, where he explored the city and followed different people around. “New York City is my favorite place; it’s so big and varied and dreamlike. I never get tired of it.” He also wanted to experiment with his writing style: “I wanted to create a rhythm for the reader, but at the same time, I also wanted to keep them alert by throwing them curves and surprises each chapter. If the reader goes on this journey with me, then I have done what I intended.”

I asked Rosenblatt if he had advice for young writers. He responded that, even though it can be hard at times, the best way

to improve one’s writing skill is by working at it every day. “Even if the piece you’ve written is wonderful, you should always be able to build on it.” He also gave me this reassuring piece of advice: “One never really learns how to write.” Writing, according to Rosenblatt, is a journey of self-discovery, in which people learn something new—both about the process of writing and about themselves—each time they write. 13

Spring Events at a Glance Tuesday, February 25, 2014 Kennedy Center Ballroom, 7 p.m.

A Convocation with Roger Rosenblatt Nonfiction Author, Novelist, & Journalist

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pritchard Room, College Library, 7 p.m.

Save the Dates Hiram College’s 7th Annual

Emerging Writers


An Evening of Hiram Writers Selected Readings by Contest Winners

June 17-21, 2014

Hiram College Campus

june 17-21

Emerging Writers Workshops

June 21, 2014


Kennedy Center, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Western Reserve Book Festival

About the Lindsay-Crane 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. 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, Director of the Center, Jenifer Warren, Assistant Director of Major Gifts,

Lindsay-Crane 330.569.5323 330.569.5280


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