Intern Profile: Asia Ewart at the Flim Forum Press


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For the spring 2014 semester, Asia Ewart was the public relations intern for the independent poetry press Flim Forum Press, as well as its monthly reading series, Yes! Poetry and Performance. This is her experience. 

Flim Forum prints one book of poetry every year, so promotion is essential when a title is released. The book released during my internship was Clarity Speaks of a Crystal Sea by poet Afton Wilky. My responsibilities while working for Flim Forum included updating the Facebook page twice a day with “daily blasts” about Clarity Speaks; promoting events for past Flim Forum poets; writing up press releases for Yes! readings and sending them to various arts publications and websites like Metroland and Keep Albany Boring; setting up and attending the Yes! series at the Albany Center Gallery every month, and looking up potential independent bookstores to carry Clarity Speaks.

The latter took the most time. I had 30-plus page list of bookstores in every state in the U.S. Being a public relations intern was a giant step out of my comfort zone. Time-wise, it actually coincided with a position I took here on campus as the public relations officer for a school club.

The purpose of a public relations representative is to spread the word of whatever it is they’re representing. Posters are made, Facebook events are made, phone calls are made; you have to put yourself out there and interact with others. I’ve never been good at interacting with others; I can be shy and some interactions have pushed me to the point of anxiety. When senior year began, however, I knew that I would soon be out in the real world, so I wanted to push myself a little further.

Taking an internship that required me to work with people outside of my college community was like putting me in the real world. It wasn’t like my previous internship where I was always at the comfort of a desk indoors and away from large groups of people.I couldn’t have my shyness holding me back now. During this internship, I think I’ve benefitted from being made to interact with others, mainly at the Yes! reading series. At the readings, I’d have to meet the colleagues of my internship boss and people attending the readings, as well as those performing; as the semester went on, it became easier to hold a conversation because I was now used to these people.

I also believe working with Flim Forum has given me better confidence in connecting with others. A lot of personal issues have always had me thinking that what I did had no worth, whether it was an assignment or a piece of personal writing. When I would write up my press releases, I felt trusted and like others would hear what I had to say about Yes!. When my boss would review them, he’d compliment my writing style and how they were put together. I was also able to bring myself to speak to others at the readings. My knowledge of what I was promoting and continuous interactions with individuals strengthened my voice in person and in emails.

I’d say that internship that stands out to me the most would be the first Yes! reading I attended. It was at the end of January, at the Albany Center Gallery on Columbia Street. The entire process of getting there and setting up for something I helped spread the word about solidified my role as an intern then. My internship boss, Matthew Klane, introduced me to the tech team who would be filming the reading and some of the poets as the intern. I felt a part of something so much bigger than myself and loved that feeling. The first reading I attended contained poetry performance types I wasn’t even aware of, like visual poetry, or “vis-po.” It was very artistic and displayed in such a professional way.

Flim Forum is an independent poetry press; they don’t follow conventional rules in publishing and cater to the preferences of the poet whose work they are publishing. Poetry is what the poet makes it; a poet can choose to follow forms or make the writing style and wording their own. When Clarity Speaks was published, the words printed on each page were haphazard, placed in every corner of the page, and contained many pictures, and this is because Afton Wilky wanted it this way.

What I’ve learned from being an English major is that you can take any piece of literature and, with the proper proof, convey any ideas you have about it. I’ve read pieces closely and used theories to solidify ideas that I didn’t even know could come from a text. Poetry is what a poet makes it and literature is what a reader makes it. When I go into journalism as a career and am working on an opinion piece, I’ll have in the back of my mind the reminder that whatever information I’m working with always has the option to be my own work and be said in my own words.

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone; you never know what you’re going to learn when you go that extra mile. Having an internship is such a rewarding experience and can have a huge effect on what you want to do in the future. Always be observant, and at the end, write down everything you’ve learned.

 

Barbara Ungar’s “Immortal Medusa” in Kirkus Review

immortalCongratulations (and happy birthday!) to our very own Barbara Ungar on her starred Kirkus review for her latest book of poetry, Immortal Medusa. Kirkus describes the book as “entrancing,” and calls Barbara “a contemporary poet of the first rank.”

The full review is available to read on the Kirkus Reviews website.

Immortal Medusa was published by The Word Works in April 2015 and can be purchased here.

Intern Profile: Leah Chamberlin at the Senior Services of Albany

Leah Chamberlin1Leah Chamberlin spent her Spring 2014 internship with the Senior Services of Albany. This is her account.

I interned in the Development and Marketing department at Senior Services of Albany. This organization is a county-funded, not-for-profit organization geared toward providing various services to senior citizens in the Capital District. Some of these services include such activities as grocery shopping assistance programs, senior day programs, activities that help engage seniors’ minds and bodies, and transportation. Senior Services also runs one of the state’s largest Meals on Wheels programs. In order to keep all of these programs running, Senior Services holds three major fundraising events each year.

A portion of my work as an intern was helping to promote two of these events: Travers Wine Tasting and The Third Age Achievement Awards. In order to help prepare for these events, I created web pages for the Senior Services of Albany website using WordPress to advertise the events and made and edited multiple excel spreadsheets to use in a mail merge for letters for both events. I also helped to edit letters and stuff envelopes, and I compiled information and wrote and edited biographies of award recipients for the emcee to read at the Third Age Achievement Awards.

I benefited greatly from this experience. I was fortunate to be able to share an office with my supervisor and, one some days, another employee in the marketing department. From this, I gained a first-hand look at the various tasks and situations that were done in the office. It was beneficial for me to be able to communicate with her in both a formal and informal way. I gained insight into many of the inner workings of the organization and what is done behind the scenes. My supervisor was able to verbally communicate about what it’s like to work in her position and I was also able to more easily ask questions because I shared a space. I learned about the benefits and drawbacks of working at a non-profit company, and I enjoyed getting to work with different types of people in a small office space.

One memorable moment from my internship was during a trip to Newgate Adult Services, a day program for seniors. While there, I spoke to the woman who runs the program and received information about how the program is run. This was helpful to me because I needed to make the brochure, but I also gained insight into how some of the major programs that Senior Services offers are put together. Also, I was able to meet with some of the seniors while they were doing a craft activity. One of the seniors was from a foreign country and claimed to be able to speak seven languages. She sang us a folk song from her home country and lit up the room with her voice and energy. I felt lucky to be able to be a small part of the process to get seniors to these programs.

This internship helped me to use my skills as an English major is many ways. Firstly, being a good writer is a great skill to have for any job, especially ones in marketing and development. My editing, compiling, and writing skills helped me with many of my tasks. My internship taught me to work more slowly and meticulously when need be; not everything needs to be rushed. However, in order to meet deadlines, it is important to learn how to manage my time and to use my judgment to decide what needs more time and attention.

Companies such as newspapers and news channels that work with non-profits often require that advertisements and mailings be free of error and sent out by a specific date. This is something that I was able to see my supervisor and other employees struggle with and I believe that being an English major equipped me with the skills to do this type of task more efficiently.

After college, I want to work for a non-profit organization. One reason for this is because it is my ultimate goal to help people. I also plan to go to graduate school. My advice for any student who is taking this class and doing an internship is to always act professionally and put your best foot forward.

Attention Undergraduates!

Have you recently finished writing a really great research paper? How about a poem or a short story? If so, I bet you’re wondering where you could have it published. Well here’s your answer! Keene State College has compiled a list of Undergraduate Research Journals and Literary Magazines all looking to publish works by undergraduates just like YOU!

Check it out!

You might also consider submitting that research paper to Saint Rose’s Journal of Undergraduate Research. 

Check that out, too!

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to have your work published!

An Interview with Graduating Senior Abbey Barker

Congratulations to Abbey Barker! She will be graduating in May with a Bachelor’s degree in English. We took this opportunity to ask her a few questions about her time here at St. Rose and what her plans are for the future.

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What made you decide to become an English major?

I was originally a Communications major with a Journalism concentration when I started at Saint Rose. After my first six weeks of classes, I realized that switching my major would be the most beneficial thing for me in the long run. Dr. Cailin Brown was incredibly influential in my decision to transfer over to the English department. She said to me, “Abbey, I have three degrees on the wall and none of them are for journalism. Become an English major and it will be the best decision you’ll ever make.” She was so right.

Why Saint Rose?

I’ve lived in the Albany area for most of my life, so Saint Rose has always been in my periphery. When the time came to observe the school, I loved the small class sizes and the familial atmosphere that makes Saint Rose a wonderful place to grow and learn.

What was your experience like as a St. Rose student? Any particular classes or moments that stand out?

My experience at Saint Rose was a bit different than most English majors: Throughout all four years I’ve had either an internship or job located in Manhattan, so most of my time has been spent there continuing my education outside of the classroom. Inside the classroom, my greatest memory was English 311, Writing Creative Non-Fiction, with Professor Nester in the fall semester of my sophomore year. Nester really challenged all of us, pulling out our true potential – I’m still learning from that class nearly three years later. Other standout moments are my literature and theory classes with Dr. Sweeney and Senior Seminar with Dr. Morrow. I can’t say enough wonderful things about both Dr. Sweeney and Dr. Morrow; I am so thankful to have been able to learn from them.

Do you have an area of concentration?  What are you most interested in, with regard to English studies?

Creative non-fiction and memoir are the areas I have tried to focus the most on throughout my time here. Thanks to Dr. Sweeney, however, I have also become interested in cultural theory and criticism.

What’s next for you?

A few days after graduation I will be moving to Brooklyn and continuing to work at Bob Mackie Design Group as their Administrative Director.

What are your long-term goals for your degree?

Ultimately, my goal is to write for television and film. Within the next year, I am going to start taking improv and sketch writing classes at Upright Citizens Brigade in Chelsea (where Amy Poehler started out) and hopefully make the transition from there to television. I would also love to be a staff writer for a fashion magazine at some point along the way. I have a few areas of deep interest, so I’m thankful for a degree that can carry me through whichever creative field I decide to land in.

Any advice for new or prospective English majors at St Rose?

The greatest advice I can give to new English majors is simply to intern. Interning is not just a plus for your resume and experience levels, but it ensures that you’re not merely going through the motions of college. Internships can either make you fall in love with your major and goals post-graduation or it can show you that you don’t love it and want to take a different path. If it weren’t for my internships, I would have stayed a communications major. An internship a year or each summer can work wonders for students, on both education and personal fronts. The English department is incredibly supportive of their students who chose to take their studies into the real world and truly make themselves available to help you find the best placement.

An Interview with Graduating Senior Jessica Lamoureaux

Congratulations to Jessica Lamoureaux! She will be graduating in May with a Bachelor’s degree in English. We took this opportunity to ask her a few questions about her time here at St. Rose and what her plans are for the future.

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What made you decide to become an English major?

I’ve always loved reading. Writing was the natural next step – after reading so many stories, I had plenty of my own to tell. When I went to college, though, I was hesitant to declare an English major. I loved analyzing literature in high school, but I knew there was a stigma attached to the major. What would I do with it? To buy myself time, I decided to remain undecided. I actually ended up declaring my major at orientation, when I found out that the Exploratory Program for undecided students mandated some sort of class on time management. I figured, why beat around the bush? It was easily one of the best decisions I made in college. English is definitely where I belong.

Why Saint Rose?

Our department. The English faculty members at Saint Rose are beyond phenomenal. They’re all brilliant, and their passion and knowledge have spurred me on every step of the way.

What was your experience like as a St Rose student? Any particular classes or moments that stand out?

I’ve been pretty busy these past four years. I loved all of my classes, especially Critical Theory, Afrofuturism, and Native American Lit. My senior seminar, Satan in Literature, was awesome – it led to my Summer Research Grant, which allowed me to write my paper that’s being published in the Journal of Undergraduate Research. I was in eight drama productions, two web shows, and a handful of student films. My semester abroad in England was easily the best adventure I’ve ever been on; I studied Shakespeare in London, wandered street markets in Versailles, and stood on the battlefield that marked the last battle between the English and the Highland Scots. I brought home tons of stories (which everyone is tired of hearing!) and a newfound love of travel. This semester, I completed my senior writing project, which consists of three short stories and a novella that play with themes from fairy tales and quest stories. I won the Senior Writing Award and was named my class’s Outstanding Senior in English. I guess I kind of did it all.

Do you have an area of concentration?  What are you most interested in, with regard to English studies?

I would say I have concentrations in creative writing and postcolonial literature. I love looking at books as tools of expression and picking apart language to identify the kinds of things that it constructs. Postcolonial theory provides a base from which to explore the systems embedded in our world; it helps us recognize the constructs that have been put in place to regulate society. I’m a total nerd for theory in general.

What’s next for you?

A break! I’m taking a year off before I go to graduate school.

What are your long-term goals for your degree?

I want to either work in publishing or become a college professor. Or both!

Any advice for new or prospective English majors at Saint Rose?

Read widely and wildly. Get involved – check out the drama program or sneak into an English Club meeting. Oh, and use lots of sticky notes!

Barbara Ungar Reading May 21

College of Saint Rose English Professor Barbara Ungar will read from her work at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany on Thursday, May 21 at 7:30PM.

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Barbara Ungar has published four books of poetry, most recently Immortal Medusa and Charlotte Brontë, You Ruined My Life, both Hilary Tham selections from The Word Works. Her prior books are Thrift and The Origin of the Milky Way, which won the Gival Press Poetry Award, a silver Independent Publishers award, a Hoffer award, and the Adirondack Center for Writing poetry award. She is also the author of several chapbooks and Haiku in English. She has published poems in Salmagundi, Rattle, The Nervous Breakdown, and many other journals. A professor of English at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, she coordinates their new MFA program. For more information, please see Barbaraungar.net.

The event also includes an open mic.

Sign-up starts at 7:00PM, with the reading beginning at 7:30.

The suggested donation is $3.00.