The English Faculty Reading Spectacular

On April 25, Professor Jonathan Montgomery opened the second annual English faculty reading with, “We’ll show you we weren’t hired for nothing!” The reading was an opportunity for the English faculty at Front Range Community College to share their own pieces of writing with the community.

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Pictured left to right: Tino Gomez, Randy Russell, Jonathan Montgomery, Kate Spencer, Michelle Medeiros, Mark DuCharme

 

The room reserved for the event at College Hill Library overlooked sweeping views of the Front Range on the western horizon. Inside the room were rows of chairs for the audience, a table full of odd hats and stuffed birds, a podium and a guitar and amplifier, all signs that the reading was more than a typical lecture.

Over the course of an hour or so, six faculty members read more than 20 different poems and stories. Along with Montgomery, the host and M.C., Michelle Medeiros, Tino Gomez, Kate Spencer, Randy Russell and Mark DuCharme read literature to the audience members.

Many of the stories were personal, rooted in events in the readers’ respective pasts. Some of them were hilarious, while others held more series and contemplative tones. Some were performed, like spoken-word events, while others were shared as if in a coffee house.

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Randy Russell

Gomez’s Your Tongue, My Son examines his life growing up in a household where his mom spoke only Spanish and he spoke mostly English. In contrast, Russell’s hilarious recount of his experience with a vasectomy in Capt’n Eunuchs Doomed Privates left the audience laughing to the point of tears.

Some of the pieces were polished, published writings, and others were brand new, having been written in the days or weeks before the event. Many of DuCharme’s readings came from books that he has published. Spencer’s reading was a non-fiction, short story which, for her, was a new style of writing, as she moves away from poetry.

Montgomery kept the mood light with his banter between readings and his encouragement that the performers use the goofy hats and the stuffed, singing birds as props. Montgomery a natural performer, paid his homage to Prince, who had passed away recently, as he wore purple and comically used the late musician’s biography as his own during his introduction. He also used the guitar and amplifier as he closed out the show with his work All the Great Rock-stars are Gonna Start Dyin’.

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Jonathan Montgomery

Montgomery introduced each of the presenters with a brief biography and a few fun facts and also led the audience in a mid-performance energizer activity. During his dramatic readings, the table served as his make-shift stage.

On this cloudy, rainy night, a few flashes of lightening added effects to the performances, and the cool, rainy weather gave the warm room a cozy feeling. Events like these allow students and faculty a chance to interact outside of the classroom, and are especially fun when teachers act goofy or share serious parts of their pasts. The faculty reading afforded students the opportunity to see their instructors as more than instructors, but to actually get to know them on more personal levels.

Written by Alex Liethen

Photos from Alex Liethen

Howl Release Party at College Hill Library

Front Range Community College-Westminster creates a student driven, campus-wide journal titled Howl every two years. This year the third edition was released at the Howl Release Party on April 21, in the College Hill Library. The event had music by FRCC’s Gypsy Jazz Trio, a free copy of Howl, and refreshments that were served. Attendees could meet the writers and artists, while also listening to the authors read their works.

Howl’s name embraces our school’s mascot, the gray wolf. Its name also gives respect towards Allen Ginsberg, a Colorado local and author of Howl, a poem which calls young writers to embrace a fervid writing style.

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Alpaca by Jie Shen – Front cover of Howl

The first volume was published by Randy Russell, a professor in the Westminster Campus English and Communication department. For consecutive volumes, Tino Gomez, chair of the Westminster Campus English and Communication department worked together with Russell as staff editors.

As the book embraces student involvement, Olivia Orr, a student designer, worked together with design supervisor Mike Ruberto, art submissions editor Lydia Brokaw, as well as Gomez and Russell to design the journal.

Howl is a pinnacle of student work, and is filled from beginning to end with artfully chosen creations. Each part of the journal embraces student involvement and the growth of creative art. Howl is a physical manifestation of what an organized group of students and staff artists can construct. The staff act as a catalyst, as the students are the ones truly in control of this masterful entity.

The student and staff work ethic can be described as “the culmination of energy directed at one common goal, to support and be a part of the magazine,” said Gomez.

Overall, the development of the book relies on the amount of creative writing classes available at Westminster. If more creative writing courses are available, more students will submit their works and hopefully the book can be created annually instead of the two year development process currently in place.

The ability for students to develop and enjoy a physical creation of this quality is spectacular to view as a fellow student. “It’s a labor of love for all of those involved,” said Gomez, “often times this is the first time a student has been published.”

Gomez would like to thank the administration for offering fiscal support throughout the entire process of creating this professional journal. Without these critical funds, students would be unable to grow together through this artful piece.

Students interested in publishing their works can email randy.russell@frontrange.edu or tino.gomez@frontrange.edu.

Written by Jacob Hallberg