Clark Hosts First Literary Festival

By Savannah Scott in A&E

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Clark is hosting its first “Subtext: Literary Festival” to represent collective efforts of students, faculty and staff to bridge the gap between the art and English worlds May 18-22.

On Monday the festivities kick off at 10 a.m. with a panel discussion titled “Writing for Comics,” where a panel of successful writers for comic books will discuss the joys and struggles of their field, according to the Clark website. Also,  the recent explorations of a comic class offered at Clark will be discussed. This event will be held in PUB 161.

Nam Le, author and fiction editor of “The Harvard Review” will do a reading on Tuesday at 11 a.m. in PUB 258C. Le is  internationally acclaimed and is the author of “The Boat,” an award-winning short story collection.

“I’m really looking forward to attending the Nam Le Reading next week,” said Alexis Nelson, Clark English professor and festival coordinator.

The English and art departments are adding diversity to the festival by hosting a fiction, nonfiction and poetry reading throughout the week, Nelson said.

The annual unveiling of “The Phoenix” is one of the biggest events of the week. “The Phoenix,” originally titled the “Egg” in 1959, is Clark’s student-led award-winning journal of art, fiction and poetry that comes out every May.

Mary Szybist is scheduled to read her original poetry during Wednesday’s event in PUB 258B at 11 a.m. Karen Karbo, Oregonian book award winner, is scheduled to read on Thursday evening.

“I’m excited to be a part of all of the event planning,” said Nelson. “The Karen Karbo reading is going to be our first evening event and we’re even having it catered.”

The reading by Karbo will conclude with a mini writing award ceremony to credit the Clark English students from 5:30 – 7 p.m. in PUB 161.

“The Phoenix” release party is a time for artists to showcase their art and literary journals and also allows Phoenix contributors to read and present their own work. The party will take place at 3 p.m. on Thursday in PUB 161.

“The goal of the release party is to shine a spotlight on the writers and artists that have been working so diligently this year,” said Jennifer Avens, the Fine Arts Editor of “The Phoenix.” “The things that were submitted this year are seriously amazing and I am so excited to watch these people shine.”

“The week-long event festival will be about celebrating the literary world and all the work students and faculty have put in this year,” Nelson said.

Participants will also use the festival as a way to celebrate the year ending on a good note.

“After realizing that no one stood up for the gallery during the budget meetings, I realized how important it was that we come together as an art community during the festival,” Avens said.

Archer Gallery officials failed to submit their 2015-16 program budget to the ASCC Services and Activities Fee Committee by the deadline, and won’t be granted a budget for next year according to Sarah Gruhler, director of Student Life. However, Director of Archer Gallery Senseney Stokes, said she plans to apply for one-time funding.

After reflecting on the group’s work this year, Avens said that they have improved.

“I think that the bridge that’s being built between the art and literary world is extremely necessary and must be done,” Avens said. “It’s really nice to look back on the things we’ve worked on as a publication and realize that it’s better because it’s not so one sided, the literary side of things just makes the art side so much stronger and vice versa.”

“Clark Crossings” will close out the festival and all Clark students, staff and faculty will have the opportunity to read their own work and receive feedback from each production.

“I’m expecting a pretty good turnout for each event,” Nelson said. “It’s overwhelming right now with all the fine tuning happening but I’m really excited to see how everything comes together.”

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