Fiction Reading with Katherine Zlabek

On March 2, 2020, fiction writer Katherine Zlabek joined us in the Barry Gallery to read from her new collection of short stories and discuss fiction and the writing life with Marymount students.

A native of rural Wisconsin, Zlabek holds an MFA from Western Michigan University and a PhD from the University of Cincinnati, where she was a Taft Dissertation Fellow and a recipient of an AWP Intro Journals Award. Her story collection, WHEN, winner of The Journal’s 2018 Non/Fiction Collection Prize, is now out from The Ohio State University Press. Her stories and essays have appeared in Boulevard,The Kenyon ReviewNinth Letter, and other journals. Ricochet Editions published her chapbook, LET THE RIVERS CLAP THEIR HANDS, in 2015. She currently teaches writing and literature at Gannon University in Pennsylvania.

Zlabek’s writing is tender and haunting, wonderful and strange. She brings the Midwest, a section of the country often overlooked and underestimated, onto the page with dignity and wonder. The stories are full of surprises that make us question everything we thought we knew. A bull’s heart cooking in a crockpot, the head of a black bear cub wrapped up in a crate in an abandoned house, images that seem magical but that are utterly grounded in the real world of her characters’ fascinating lives. The normal here is anything but normal, and as we move through their various stories we find ourselves drawn into the mystery and beauty that is our shared humanity.

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20th Anniversary Shades of Blue Student-Faculty Poetry Reading

Spring 2020 fittingly witnessed the 20th anniversary of the Shades of Blue student-faculty poetry reading! On February 19th, we were very proud to showcase work by poets, scholars, and students from the Marymount community, including Holly Karapetkova, Michael Boylan, Caroline Bock, Christina Clark, Phineas Anaba, Veda Frye, Kembry McNeil-Thompson, Hanan Seid, Kimbily Warner, and Susan Mockler. Congratulations to all our poets and readers!

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Estudiantes asisten al festival de flamenco

Por: Judy Ortega (en Inglés después del descanso)

El 14 de noviembre del 2019, asistí al Festival Flamenco en el Teatro Gala en Washington, D.C., con SP301 en Marymount. Como alguien quien disfruta sumergirse en la cultura España, este evento me animó a caminar al escenario y bailar con los profesionales. En el principio del evento, una banda de cuatro personas aparecieron en el escenario e inmediatamente tocaron lo máximo sonidos relajante de la guitarra que he oído. Mientras del guitarrista tocó su instrumento, el tamborilero empezó taconear su batería pequeña muy ligeramente y después, los dos cantadores empezaron a cantar. Estos individuos tenían lo cuerdas vocales más fuertes que he oído en mi vida. Sentí la fuerza en sus voces simplemente irradian a través del teatro entero. Luego, la bailarín Flamenco caminó elegantemente al escenario con una vestida impresionante, y el bailarín Flamenco perfectamente siguió. 

Durante de la noche entera, la mujer y el hombre movieron y bailaron sus cuerpos en formas diferentes cuales no pensé fue humanamente posible. Ambos de sus piernas movieron rápidamente a través del escenario entero hasta al punto donde sentí el tapping de sus zapatos emanan hacia el fondo de mi silla y hasta mi pecho. La mujer continuamente aparecía en vestidas muy bonitas y claramente mostraba la cultura España. Como alguien quien no le gusta ponerse vestidos, de verdad, quise probar por lo menos, un vestido y intentar baila el Flamenco! 

En el semestre de otoño del 2020, voy a estudiar en Madrid, España. ¡Una de mis amigas quién ya se graduó me motivó hacer el mismo programa y tomar la clase de Flamenco, entonces en el próximo año, voy a tomar la clase de Flamenco en España! Para tener la oportunidad y ver el baile de Flamenco en la vida real antes de estudiar y tomar la clase en España me aseguró que todo va bien porque estoy la persona quien no le gusta bailar en frente del público y bailar en general, pero después de este evento, quiero intentar este tipo de baila y no me importaría si bailé en frente del público.

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Marymount Majors at the VFIC Women’s Leadership Conference

By Kembry McNeil-Thompson

The only way to become a great leader is to take the next step.

English and Criminal Justice Majors Kembry (left) and Naiya (right) at the VFIC Women's Leadership Conference

English and Criminal Justice Majors Kembry (left) and Naiya (right) at the VFIC Women’s Leadership Conference

At the beginning of November, I found myself in Richmond, Virginia, with nearly a dozen other Marymount women, en route to participate in the first annual Women’s Leadership Conference hosted by the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges [VFIC]. The foundation is partnered with roughly 14 colleges and universities around the northern and northwestern Virginia area, and each of the universities sent a few recommended students to Richmond to represent them at the conference.

The women’s leadership conference spanned three days, each packed full of leadership sessions, socializing, professional development, and fun. Each day consisted of a number of engaging sessions on topics ranging from mindfulness to networking to being a woman in the workplace and more, as well as free time and icebreaker activities. Each session was delivered by a woman who was in a leadership position of her own, and some of the speakers were from the many companies that sponsored the event. There were opportunities to connect with a number of powerful, inspirational women, and there was also time to connect with people from your own school as well as others.

So much transpired over the course of those three days that it is hard to try to sum it up, but there are three major takeaways that I will not forget from my VFIC experience: 1) there is no one way to be a leader, 2) you must lead by example, taking care of yourself as you do others, and 3) there are opportunities, adventures, and memories around every corner. Being a leader encompasses so much more than what we previously grew up believing, and the only way to become a great leader is to take the next step.

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Regie Cabico Delivers the Bisson Humanities Lecture

By Macy Pope, Class of 2022

One of the biggest events of the year hosted by the Marymount University graduate Humanities Department is the Bisson Humanities lecture.  The hallmark event brings all different types of students, faculty, and Arlington community members together for an evening to celebrate literature, language, history, art, and free thought.  

The speaker of this year’s lecture was none other than the “Lady Gaga of spoken word,” poet Regie Cabico.  A queer Filipino writer and performer, Cabico recited his poetry about mangos for his mother, his relationship with diabetes, his dating history, and his place in “the American Dream deffered,” as he refers to it. The life stories and quippy humor were a fresh reminder of the life that literature and stories hold in today’s society.  He spoke quite a bit on the “orientalizing” of asian actors in America, but also what his fluid identity means to himself and how to it can impact others. One of his most popular poems, “I’ll Check Other” speaks to the division that he and other Asian-Americans feel as their identity has been restricted only to their native ethnicity, much like only being able to check one box on a full page.  My personal favorite part of the evening was during the “conversation” portion, where after being asked a question about his worst performance, he proclaimed “Well, I don’t suck, ever.”

I believe Cabico brought a total new light to what modern humanities can be.  In a university environment where my non-humanity major friends poke fun at me for loving dusty old books and the philosophies of dead white men, this outspoken queer poet has shed a new light onto what the present and future of the humanities will be.  It is full of diversity, inclusion, and performance. It is not just for the majors and minors of what some may call expired knowledge— it is for all people to appreciate and enjoy.

Cabico also gave two spoken word workshops as part of his engagement with MU, allowing students to take an active role as spoken word creators.

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