Matchbook Poems: ‘The Garden of Forever’

At Thursday, April 12th’s Matchbook Poetry event, many students came forward to read poems as created from the lines in their matchbooks. Some have asked that their poems be shared on Witty English, so over the course of the rest of the semester, these poems will be released in installments.

Here is the third installment of the matchbook poems, junior Bayleigh Thompson’s poem: ‘The Garden of Forever.’

I pretend that I am a garden
Because at least the buds
Blooming from my lips
Sound like the illusion
Of forever;

Pluck the petals from my skin
And give them a name like
A memory—
When they wilt in the kiss
Of the wind, at least some part of me
Is not bound to the soil.

There are only ghosts
Of ground carnations;
There is no room for any other root
To reach me beneath the flowerbeds
With these weeds
Wrapped around my neck;
Everything sprouts withered,
But the garden never

See, there is something eternal
In decapitated stems—
Inhale the dust of drying leaves;
I can pretend that I am a garden—
Drinking memories from the sun
And find forever
In the ash.


Matchbook Poems: ‘They believe me to be empty’

At Thursday, April 12th’s Matchbook Poetry event, many students came forward to read poems as created from the lines in their matchbooks. Some have asked that their poems be shared on Witty English, so over the course of the rest of the semester, these poems will be released in installments.

Here is the second installment of the matchbook poems, sophomore Nikki Howard’s poem: ‘They believe me to be empty’.

We danced under white veils
With his wide family and those friends.
We knew it to be ours. That’s how it begins.

Consummating our history
With the encumming desire of youth
Preparing my body for the traditional use

Starving for me as if my absence twists your stomach
Into knots until the craving for my body is fulfilled
While those around you beg for your legacy to be instilled

Bruising my arms and womb
With sucks and proclamations of your thirst
Your see nothing less of a curse

It only appears as a slightly bloodied remnant
Of what the lurkers have expect my body to conceive
And when they realize I might be empty, they convince you to leave.

I am no mountain
Merely a pavement that you walk upon too fiercely
Leaving my insides dull and weary

Their satisfaction is worth more than my capability
Ignorant to the importance of my own heart
They convince you I am just a defective part

No love, just legacy
But I am not the kind to walk away from someone who has touched me
I stay and endure the ridicule of my bodily functions, I don’t leave

But you did
Even in my exhaustion I ran for you
But a legacy you could not lose

Perhaps, I am empty because I gave so much to you
You exhaust my entity and I have surrounded the pit of my being
Perhaps, this is the reasoning my womb is fleeing

We stood under the veil of the rushed traditional expectations
With his wide family and those friends.
They thought it was theirs. That’s how it ends.

Matchbook Poems: ‘do as i say, not as i do’

At last evening’s Matchbook Poetry event, many students came forward to read poems as created from the lines in their matchbooks. Some have asked that their poems be shared on Witty English, so over the course of the rest of the semester, these poems will be released in installments.

Here is the first installment of the matchbook poems, beginning with sophomore Emma Kilpatrick’s poem: ‘do as i say, not as i do’.

Because she did. Because
she asked me to
be kind, I was cruel.
She asked me to listen,
I spoke. I screamed. I fought
every word. I would not give in to
“do as I say,
not as I do.”
Because she asked me to
stay away from you,
I ran at you
full-force and the force
of the collision
shattered my ribcage.
Because she asked me to
hold still while she tried
to bandage me up,
I could only hear her tell me
to rip off the gauze,
to escape, to
Because she asked me to
relent, relax, shut my eyes,
“it’ll only hurt for a second,”
my shattered ribcage and I
carried ourselves away
and there are still pieces
of bone lodged in my heart.

Recap on the Literary Pub Fest: Awards and Superlatives For Everyone!

Tuesday evening provided the perfect amount of awards, food, and literature for the English Department’s annual Literary Pub Fest.

Juniors and SAGE Co-Presidents Jenn Ryan and Lexi Gallion hosted the event with Dr. Scot Hinson emceeing the evening.

Students, both within the English Department and out, were encouraged to enjoy the selections of food in Founders Pub while having an open bar open to students and faculty.

Hinson started off the event by first reading a poem he had written in elementary school, entitled “If I Was A Hippie,” before handing out awards for the annual Literary Awards.

Here are the winners of this year’s Literary Awards:

Ostrom Award for Sophomore: Reese Harper, ’20

Ostrom Award for Junior: Jennifer Ryan, ’19

Ostrom Award for Senior: Jayne Stone, ’18

Poetry Prize: Nikki Howard, ’20

The Sherwood Anderson Prize for Fiction: Jayne Stone

Non-fiction Prose Prize: Nikki Howard, ’20

Playwriting/Screenwriting: Morgan Beechey, ’18

The Lester S. Crowley Creativity Award: Jayne Stone, ’18

Excellence in Literary Studies: Alex Sharp, ’18, and Jayne Stone, ’18

Allen J. Koppenhaver Literary Award: Anissa Dann, ‘18, and Daniel Murray, ‘18

Both SAGE Co-Presidents, on behalf of the rest of SAGE, handed out faculty superlatives, which drew great reactions from the crowd, especially Dr. Cynthia Richards when she won her superlative, saying that it was the best award she’d ever won.

Here are the superlatives that were handed out to faculty this year:

Dr. Lori Askeland: Most Likely To Outlaw Love

Dr. Scot Hinson: Most Likely To Fit In Faulkner Fiction (For Fun)

Dr. Mike Mattison: Most Likely To Dress Like His Son

Dr. Michael McClelland: Most Likely To Add A Secret Lover To A Student’s Story

Dr. Cynthia Richards: Most Likely To Injure Herself While Pumping Iron With Her Son Resulting In An Existential Epiphany

Dr. Shadawn Battle: Most Likely To Run For President

Dr. Rick Incorvati: Most Likely To Be Found At A Coffee Shop

Dr. Polak: Most Likely To Know That She Is Overestimating The Reading Capabilities of Her Students / Special Award (presented by Shane Harris): Most Likely To Have A Student In Her Class Admit To Waterboarding Himself

Dr. Robin Inboden: Most Likely To Drop Everything To Babysit Willow

Prof. D’Arcy Fallon: Most Likely To Make A Bus Sound Delicious

Christina Reynolds: Wizard Behind the Curtain

Matchbooks Now Available in the Writing Center

The Matchbook Poetry reading will occur on Thursday, April 12th in Founders Pub, so stop by the Writing Center to pick up a matchbook!

Inside each matchbook is a set of instructions on how to use your given line of poetry for a poem of your own. You are the sole creator of your poem, so you can decide whether to use the whole line, part of the line, or none of the line in your creation.

At the event on April 12th, students will have the opportunity to read their creation out loud. Students will also be presented with an envelope that contains the original poem that their line was from.

Stop by the Writing Center to participate in this unique, once-a-year opportunity! From all of us at the English Department, we can’t wait to hear what you come up with!

Matchbook Poetry Flier18

“Theatre in London”: Junior Lexi Gallion’s Experience Studying Abroad

As soon as I touched down at Heathrow Airport on the outskirts of London, I had that moment of awe — I did it. I made it to England.

It looked exactly like everywhere else.

Even though it had an un-miraculous appearance, the sensation of knowing where I was and what I only just began to embark on was stuttering. Thousands of possible adventures were before me and all I had to do was begin. As Bilbo from the Shire best put it: “I’m going on an adventure!”

That first day in London was pretty awful. I arrived in terminal two, “The Queen’s Terminal,” where I would go through border control and enter the country. The long hours of the flight were beginning to catch up to me, and the anxiety I felt when clutching all of my visa papers to my chest warred with each other in a some sort of hectic tornadic emotional mess. I was exhausted. I was sweaty. My breath reeked. My pits were unmentionable. The only thing that kept me going was the prospect of a bed I knew existed somewhere in Holborn.

Thankfully, the man at border control wanted to be there even less than I did as he let me through after a quick glance of my paperwork. My 5’ 6” stature, short hair, nerdy glasses look didn’t seem all too threatening to him, of which I’m very thankful.

I got through and caught up with my travel companions, my mom and two aunts who decided to use me to get to England, and we set off to find our luggage and toilets (that’s what they call the restrooms there: “toilets”). Someone had put all of our stuff aside, because apparently we were taking too long to get through their security system and another flight’s luggage was already zipping past on the conveyor belt. This I didn’t care for much, but I did feel a little pity for whomever had to pick up my suitcase. Due to my living in London for the next four months, I had quite a bit of crap packed into my bag. The thought of how much that bag weighed still makes my back and arms ache.

At this point in time, we had found a seat on a bench in the middle of baggage claim in order to find out the best way to our hotel. One fact that I am very proud of myself is that I primarily exist on the Internet’s social media platforms, especially Tumblr. Because of this, I knew of the London underground system, lovingly referred to as “The Tube”. This was one thing about London I was super excited to experience. My entire life had been spent in Columbus, Ohio, and it’s not known for the astounding public transportation system. In hindsight, if I had known TLF (Transport for London) would have taken all of my money on a weekly basis to get from where I lived to class, I would have started out less enthusiastic.

I brought this up to my fellowship and they seemed pretty okay with riding the tube to get to our hotel, so we took the elevator down. We bought our oyster cards with pounds loaded up, and proceeded to the platform where we waited until the loud roar of the train exploded out the mouth of the underground. This first experience of riding the Piccadilly line to Holborn station is probably one of the most memorable. The ride from Heathrow to central London takes around an hour to complete, as long as there are no delays.

Even though there weren’t any, that hour long train line was brutal — we were all progressively falling asleep in the faded 90s pattern tube seats, silently fighting to keep our eyes open in order to enjoy the scenery of passing suburbias. Miles of construction mixed in with old London homes zipped by as I inched closer and closer into the heart of the sprawling city.

Despite everything happening all at once, I was excited. Ecstatic. Elated. Absolutely overjoyed to finally be in England. As I sat on that train heading to a place I had always dreamed of visiting, I had no idea just how much this adventure would truly change my life. Because of London, and Wittenberg, I was able to meet so many wildly brilliant people whom I would never have had the pleasure if I otherwise hadn’t gone. I went on so many adventures within this grand adventure, including Paris, Zagreb, Amsterdam, and the entirety of the United Kingdom, as well as the Republic of Ireland.

When I wasn’t traveling all over Europe, I was in some incredible classes. Not only did I learn so much every single day about the culture of England, but I took classes in Shakespeare where I got to attend a play at the Globe Theatre. I also enrolled in the courses “Theatre in London”, “Playwriting”, “Media and UK Politics”, and “Western Art and the Convergence of Technique and Philosophy” (a long title for an art history and drawing class).

These courses were highly interesting, not only because the subject matter and the way the professors took us all over London and the rest of the UK for our practical application of learning, but because the professors themselves had the most insane backgrounds. My playwriting professor, Marina Caldarone, is a woman who chooses the talent from all different kinds of acting schools around England, and taught Kit Harington a.k.a. Jon Snow from “Game of Thrones”. My art history professor, Lucinda Hawksley is a direct descendant of Charles Dickens, and gets so embarrassed when we bring him up as her great-whatever grandfather. My drawing professor, Andy, is a practicing artist in London and has had his own galleries. My “Theatre in London” professor, Collin, is an eccentric Scottish man from Glasgow whom we could barely understand half the time, yet knew he was wildly brilliant.

Each and every single person employed by the IES Study Abroad Program brought a vibrancy every single day we had class that made learning even more spectacular than it already is. I would wake up every single day excited for what my classes would have in store for me, and in return I learned so much from weekly theatre visits to watch another show, or the day we went to parliament to see exactly how the House of Lords and the House of Commons worked.

Every day was a new adventure, and now that I have the ability to look back on everything I did, I’m almost in shock that it happened so fast. Four months seems like a long time to be away from everything familiar and comforting, but to say that I’m glad I did it is an understatement. London has my heart, and I look forward to the day I get to return and experience another hectic first day as my plane touches down at Heathrow Airport.


Recap on A.D. Carson’s Visit at Wittenberg

Last week, Wittenberg welcomed Dr. A.D Carson with open arms as he discussed a multitude of issues ranging from police brutality, activism, and black history.

Carson is a performance artist from Decatur, Illinois, as well as an assistant professor at the University of Virginia, where he teaches hip-hop and the Global South. He is well-known as the Clemson University Alum who flipped his college dissertation into a 34 track hip-hop album, titled “Owning My Masters: The Rhetorics of Rhymes and Revolutions,” where he focuses on race, history, police brutality, and other current events.

He is also an organizer for the See The Stripes Campaign that aims to raise awareness of historic racism throughout his university. Carson has also received various awards pertaining to his dissertation, activism, and artistry including, but not limited to: the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Excellence in Service at Clemson University, and recognition by the Graduate Student Government as the 2017 Outstanding Dissertation.

Carson was on Wittenberg’s campus from Thursday, Feb. 22 until the last event concluded on Friday, Feb. 23. The first event allowed Carson and students to engage in conversation about police brutality and state sanctioned violence in philosophy professor Julius Bailey and English professor Sha’dawn Battle’s joint courses in Ness Auditorium.

The event was open to the campus community, encouraging anyone and everyone to join the imperative discussion of what is currently happening in our country. The discussion began with a video, titled “A.D Carson Second Amendment,” where he paid homage to those who were killed during acts of police brutality and discussed what would happen if those affected by these acts of malice were to arm themselves and shoot back. One thing that was discussed that specifically stuck with me was that 90% of black killings are done by black people, however, 90% of those people are indicted and convicted. The difference here is that when police officers commit the same offenses, only 1% are indicted and convicted. It was a strong statement that really propelled the discussion into police brutality.

The event was followed by an open mic event later that evening in Founders Pub. During this time, students took to the mic to rap, read poetry, and sing about the issues they were facing. There was also a dance-off that the students particularly loved. The night overall was a fun event for students to eat and engage in an informal setting.

Finally, Friday rolled in and Carson concluded his visit with a talk included in the English Colloquium series, “Boy It’s Familiar: History, Activism, and Writing Rap,” where Carson previewed his dissertation. His dissertation was a noteworthy end to a string of events celebrating black history while also spreading awareness of the current social issues facing our people and our country.

Carson’s visit was co-sponsored by Faculty Endowment Fund Board, English Department, Philosophy Department, African Diaspora Studies Department, Communication Department, Thomas Library, Multicultural Affairs, and Women’s Studies.

You can find Dr. A.D Carson on the following social media sites:

Instagram: @aydeethegreat

Twitter: @aydeethegreat


-Nikki Howard, ’20