Biblioasis, Thursday, March 16, 2017
From Yanik Gallie’s comedic linguistic play to Abigail Roelens’ stark imagery to the multilingual interspersed French, Somali, and Japanese, RADISH is a chapbook that is full of welcome surprises.
“Todd and I were at the park, neither of us saying much, just passing the bottle back and forth. I don’t remember what it was, just that it burned like all the stuff Todd would drink.”
(Michael Mallen and Sahra Abdullahi)
The University of Windsor’s creative writing program is one of the things that makes Windsor’s literary community so vibrant and quirky. The creative writing program constantly introduces new players into the literary game, with new ideas or new spins on old ideas. Students in the program are required to attend readings in the community, and they also organize and perform in several readings each year, whether it is just to display their work and the products of their self-improvement in an end-of-the-year gala, or to launch a chapbook that they have conceived, written, edited, and produced themselves.
This year’s 498 class (the uppermost undergraduate creative writing class), led by Susan Holbrook, produced a fantastic chapbook, RADISH, based on the concept of tl;dr (“too long, didn’t read”). Each piece in the chapbook is an original work by one of the class members and has been “erased” by another author to create a new, shorter poem (the tl;dr version). In the chapbook, the words that have been “erased” appear as greyed out, while the words or letters that have been kept by the eraser appear as black and bold. The style of the chapbook means that readers get two poems sharing the same space on the page, which allows the two pieces to interact in interesting ways.
“You thought if you swallowed the waves
you wouldn’t need the air.”
(Kaitlyn Benjamin and Abigail Roelens)
RADISH’s launch event took place this past Thursday at Biblioasis and gave all of the students in the class an opportunity to show off their joint work. Yanik Gallie, the event’s MC, introduced his classmates with radish-themed bios and greased the gears as readers walked up to read first their erasure of the previously read piece, and then their original work. Highlights among these readings were Ellie Hastings’ poem “Brief Notes on Homesickness,” which was read by Susan Holbrook while Ellie herself read the many footnotes attached, and Yanik’s poem, “A Hunting Lesson with Pépère Kenneth,” which drew laughs from the crowd for its comedic portrayal of a French-Canadian boy and his grandfather.
“birthed her twins in a cornfield
the umbilical cords
untangled and dried up
fell away into the dirt”
(Abigail Roelens and Jessica Bortolotto)
RADISH was published by Biblioasis as number 5 in their South Detroit Chapbook Series in a limited print run. The chapbooks are available for $8, and if you can get your hands and eyes on one, I would suggest that you do.
Full list of readers:
by Samie Bauder
Samie Bauder is a graduate student at the University of Windsor and has worked on publications with EUSA, Generation Magazine, and several creative writing classes. She is currently working on her Master’s thesis (planets, spacerocks, gravity!) and working for ZED Press on their upcoming projects.