Author Archives: acorn

English Department Creative Writing Faculty Reading


Join the wonderful creative writers of the English Department for a reading on February 18th. Hear work by Rone Shavers, Hollis Seamon, Kenneth Krauss, Barbara Ungar, and Daniel Nester. The reading will take place at 7 p.m. in the Standish Rooms.

Hope to see you there!


Daniel Nester on “Desiderata”

Desiderata_coverYou’ve almost definite heard of the ubiquitous feel-good poem “Desiderata.” Professor Daniel Nester has just been published on the Poetry Foundation’s website, in search of the origins of this famous poem.

He writes,

You remember “Desiderata.” Maybe you heard its sweet strains on the radio. Or you recall key phrases—“you are a child of the universe” or “be gentle with yourself.” Chances are you have an aunt who hung a plaque of the poem set in calligraphy, its first words, “Go placidly,” standing out in decorated capitals. Or maybe we’re just talking about my aunt.

Check out the rest of the essay on the Poetry Foundation, and if you would like to hear him speak on the subject of “Desiderata,” go to Opalka Gallery tonight, October 16th, at 6:30 p.m. Opalka is located at 140 New Scotland Avenue.

No matter what you do, go placidly.

Congratulations to Jackie Craven!

A member of our MFA family, Jackie Craven, has been chosen as the Omnidawn 2014 Fabulist Fiction Prize Winner! Her winning manuscript, Our Lives Became Unmanageable, was selected by Kate Bernheimer, and will be published in fall of 2016. Congratulations, Jackie!

Intern Profile: Asia Ewart at the Flim Forum Press


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.

Frequency North Presents: Stevie Edwards

Stevie Edwards will be reading for the next installment of the Frequency North Reading series on Thursday, April 23 at 7:30pm. The reading will be held in the Standish Rooms, located on the second floor of the College of Saint Rose’s Events and Athletics Center.

stevieStevie Edwards is a poet, an editor, and an educator. She currently is a Lecturer in the English Department at Cornell University, where she recently completed her MFA in creative writing. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Good Grief (Write Bloody 2012) was awarded the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) Bronze Prize for Poetry and the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award. Her second poetry collection, Humanly, is forthcoming from Small Doggies Press in 2015. She is the Editor-in Chief of MUZZLE Magazine and Assistant Editor in Book Development at YesYes Books. Her poetry has appeared in Verse Daily, Rattle, Indiana Review, Devil’s Lake, Salt Hill, BODY, Vinyl, and Aim for the Head: An Anthology of Zombie Poetry. See more on her website, located at

All readings are free and open to the public. Frequency North events are funded in part by Poets & Writers, Inc. with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

For more information, visit or follow on Twitter @frequencynorth.