Monday, February 28, 2011

Poem of the Week [2/28/11 - 3/4/11]

As the Writing Center's official magnet poet for the semester, I've decided to start recording a poem of the week. All our WC poems are from various magnet poet kits, be they Shakespearean, Haiku, JUMBO, or all GRE words. All the poems posted can be found on the blue pipe right above the front desk in the WC.

This week's poem is:

"I curse thy codpiece,
thou villain,
and envy it much."

- Anna H, '13

Reminiscing the Past : Part III

by Millie Osburn

The area surrounding the stone is familiar to me—relaxed farm land. The rolling hills, quiet cows, and the soft breeze remind me of home and where I want to be. A car passes and I hear the crunch of the gravel—I think of my brother returning home from school. Dust remains in the air long after the car has left. The flowers that line the fence remind me of our little garden. The grass is soft and I am tempted to lie down and read. The trees sway in the breeze and my breathing becomes slow—I am at peace.

Looking at the stone, I wonder. I wonder what memories the area has for him. Did the flowers remind him of his garden? Did the grass invite him to lie down and read? I feel at home in this place that isn’t my home, but is the home of the stone and the man the stone represents.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Coe Welcomes Visiting Musicians for Jazz Summit!

I don't know if you've noticed the extra bus loads of people buzzing around Marquis today, but 78 middle school and high school jazz bands are here on campus for workshops and festivities. All of this will culminate in the 2011 Jazz Summit Finale Concert on Saturday, Feb. 26. For more information, check out the news release off the main Coe website here.

- Ben B '13

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Photo of the Week: Beethoven

Need some inspiration? Well look no further at the WC then at our bust of Beethoven. His attractive mustache will make you smile and hopefully get the creative writing juices flowing!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Reminiscing the Past : Part III

Elizabeth's Impact
By Ashley Collom '14

Elizabeth’s family misses her. That’s why her grave is decorated with pin wheels and colorful streamers. That is why her still living husband has the plot next to hers with a tombstone with his name and no Death date. That is why more than a decade after her passing she still has flowers decorating her grave. That is why when I sat on her grave, I felt the urge to apologize for invading her space, even though she was four feet below me. I would like to think that her kids and husband still think of her when they eat her favorite desert or hear her favorite song on the radio. And that when they come to this grassy patch, and hear the cows in the background, they can feel comfort knowing that it is these nuances that make us human, not our BMI and hair color. So even if she didn’t have a foundation named after her and she didn’t save someone from a burning building, she was significant. She made an impact on her family, who carry on her legacy. She is made immortal through those who loved her subtleties and shortcomings while she was here. Elizabeth shows us that you don’t have to be spectacular to be remembered. That whatever happens when we’re gone, we didn’t waste space while we were here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Welcome Prospective Students!

Well February has rolled around and Scholarship Weekend has arrived. As many prospective students come to campus we hope some will take a stroll into the Writing Center. Our bakers have been preparing goodies and we hope we can talk to some of these students tonight starting at 7:30 PM. Campus has lots to offer the prospective students this weekend such Blindspot, bowling, and a magician. We hope they have a great time here and we wish them the best of luck in choosing their college (we hope they pick Coe!).

- The Blogsters

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Photo of the Week

Coffee, a beverage you can ALWAYS find in the Writing Center.
Photo taken by Haley Welby

Monday, February 14, 2011

Transamerica Life Insurance Company requested the help of the Coe Writing Center last year to help with the revision and editing process of their book Finding Your Voice, produced by the company to promote awareness for the acceptance and encouragement of diversity among their employees. It contained a variety of personal accounts from employees describing a wide range of experiences dealing with diversity, both within the company and elsewhere. These accounts were then presented to the writing center through shared Google documents, and the staff was able to provide feedback by posting numerous comments on each piece.
The book was recently finished, and last month Transamerica sent a letter to Dr. Bob and the CWC, along with a copy of the newly published work. Included was a generous gift of $1,500 toward the endowed gift account which will help toward providing financial support for future staff trips. "Your time, commitment, and dedication to this project, went above and beyond our expectations," the letter states. "The book is so much better because of your efforts."
The combined work marked a unique collaboration between the Cedar Rapids community and the CWC, and will hopefully pave the way for similar endeavors in the future.
- Matt Barnd, '09

Reminiscing the Fall 2010 Retreat : Part II

This poem is written by Emily Hipps '11.


The tombstone inscription only discernible

to the limbs of daddy long legs

and illiterate moss.

Josof Bulicek, my best guess

what your name might have been.

I know you lived to seventy-eight.

Was your death slow, creeping,

like the hundred years that stole

the last four letters in your name?

Did those around you sense it coming,

tucking away the intangible parts of you

for safe keeping?

The skeletal facts—name, birthday,

date of death— don’t hold much of you.

You died on 26 January 1916,

but I wonder about the other date,

when the world lost the last person

carrying the fractions of you.

When did the world lose the record

of your favorite shirt, the slant

of your mouth when you were angry,

your opinions of snowy mornings?

Have those bits of you outlasted

the letters in your name?

Who can remember when even stone forgets.

Friday, February 11, 2011

An Encounter with a real live WC Baker

One of the spectacular things about working in the writing center this semester is the prevalence of baking activity under our slightly revamped organizational structure. Simply, there are people whose only responsibility for an hour is to bake something delicious for all of us (who get there in time) to enjoy. As I walked into the writing center one blustery winter afternoon, I heard the telltale sounds of the baker's craft from the back of the Writing Center. I proceeded to investigate, finding WC baker Krista Majcen making some special pumpkin cookies with butter cream frosting.

Krista told me about her weekly baking hour on Sundays, when she and fellow WC baker Caroline Burris recently arrived for their hour and produced delicious no-bake, no-edge cookies in an extemporaneous fashion. I have been told to expect variable, surprising culinary concoctions and the occasional confection. In addition to Krista's weekly staple of variable banana bread, we can expect some experimentation with candies and truffles from the pair. In as near the future as this upcoming Sunday, Krista expects to delve into a carnival theme, producing deep fried Oreos, deep fried Twinkies, and possibly even adventuring into the land of the funnel cake.

I know I will be showing up for some delicious food on Sunday. Will you?

- Ben B '13

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Alpha Nu Adventure to Iowa City

Today, Alpha Nu went to a poetry reading celebrating the birthday of Elizabeth Bishop in Iowa City.

I've been to Iowa City a few other times and I've always love the city. It reminds me of a smaller version of Madison. I feel that the University of Iowa is very similar to UW Madison, although on a smaller scale, as the city kind of becomes the campus. That's a really neat feeling but not quite the right fit for me. So I like going to cities like that and enjoying what it has to offer. I still want to get down to Iowa City on a nicer day, it was freezing cold today, and just stroll downtown checking out all the unique shops.

There were a total of four of us who went: me (Hailley), Alison, Sally, and Emily. Our first stop was Oasis, an awesome restaurant serving falafel. What is falafel you might ask? Well it's basically chickpeas that are soaked overnight and then ground with garlic, onion, and other spices. Put that on pita bread and you've got something fantastic. After filling ourselves up we walked a few blocks to Prairie Lights, the bookstore where the reading was being held. Prairie Lights is a quaint little bookstore where I know I could spend a lot of time and potentially money. There was a full house as other area authors read poetry and a smidgen of prose by Elizabeth Bishop. After the reading, the four of us wandered around the store until it closed, showing each other funny books or writing down titles of books we wanted to read in the future. Then it was back to Coe. All in all a very successful trip.

- Hailley '14

Monday, February 7, 2011

Weekly Feature : Reminiscing the 2010 Fall Retreat

So every Monday we'll be posting a picture and reflection paper from our 2010 Fall Retreat to Sts. Peter and Paul Chapel. We went to the chapel during Labor Day weekend for staff bonding, training, and overall fun.


- The Blogsters
This piece is by one of the current Blogsters, Katie Selinger.

The events that take place in this work are fictional, not a real account.

There once was a gardener by the name of Albert Pitlik who lived in the town of Vernon. His favorite specimens were the petunias that grew near in the village green. He was content doing what he loved best: being greeted by the morning sun and studying flora that surrounded him. He was particularly fascinated a purple bush that grew inches away from his favorite reading spot on the hill. He studied and observed this uniquely colored shrub, but nothing seemed to click; he had never before heard of a shrub with such an unusual color. The leaves appeared to be black, but if one approached close enough, there were definitely hues of purple basking in the sun. The leaves were grouped together in a think block, connecting by little brown branches with bark turning green. They held the plant ever so tightly, much like a weaved blanket on a loom. One day as he decided to get away from the teasing mystery of the bush he lost his favorite bookmark.

“Why don’t I use a pressed leaf from the bush?” He optimistically reached around the bush and found beside it a fair young lady in a light blue dress.

“I’m Barbara,” she said as she noticed Albert, who looked quite red. “I study the insects that live beside this bush.” She paused as she saw a hawk slicing through the blue sky with its proud dark wings. “And who might you be?”

“Uh,”Albert swallowed hard for his voice somehow became very stuck. “I-I’m Albert. I read on this hill, but I’m a gardener you see, so I wanted to find out what this fascinating bush is and also find my favorite bookmark. I-I-I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but it’s white with a painting of a wild rose,”

“I see,” said Barbara with an interested brow. “I haven’t found your bookmark, good sir, but I have a question for you.” Albert swallowed in anxiety as if he had to take a foul-tasting medicine.

“W-What’s that?”

“Have you found out what the meaning of the bush is yet?”

“I believe its,” Albert stammered as his fingers trembled like melting icicles and his legs became pillars of jelly. “This bush has told me that I have found my first love.”

And that is how it all began: the love and marriage of Albert and Barbara Pitlik. When Albert was recruited for the war, Barbara sent him letters and occasionally enclosed leaves and flowers that she had discovered. When Albert returned home, they were still right as rain despite having very little. But then came the dark time when the flu epidemic swept through the town, snatching Barbara right under Albert’s feet. That summer was very dismal for Albert, who felt so alone without his beloved friend and wife.

Years later on an August morn, he quietly wrote his will and tucked it in an envelope with the research that he and Barbara had compiled together over the years and left it all in the names of their children, Anna and Joseph. Among the dying streets, he quietly and silently took his life for he couldn’t bear the burden of the things that he had witnessed over the years: the stuff of war, grief and sadness. But the truth of the matter was that he longed for nothing more than to be embraced in Barbara’s gentle arms once again.

Barbara and Albert loved many of the things they discovered together, one of which was a rather unique, lemon-green moss. You may find this moss alongside the majestic grey stone where both Albert and Barbara’s name hide themselves in the shade and only emerge when the sun hits the tombstone just right. The stone itself stands proudly against the whispering trees and the bright sun upon the very same hill where Albert occasionally read his favorite books. For every day the sun still shines its warmth down upon the grass that always stays green and moist with the morning dew. But if you look closely, you will find that they are above a purple bush, the very same one when they first met.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Blog is Back!

After a little hiatus, the WC Blog is up and running. Expect three wonderful posts WITH PHOTOS a week from the Blog team (also known as the Blogsters). Here's some of the ideas we have brainstormed (can this count as a conference?)

- WC Photo of the Week
- Recipes from the Bakers
- Birthday celebrations
- Traditions (such as Tuesday tea and Sunday night dinner)
- Staff Profiles
- Other team project updates
- And MORE! :)

- Blogsters