Sundberg's new essay, "The Shape of Other People," has been published recently in the anthology Grabbed: Poets and Writers on Sexual Assault, Empowerment, and Healing (Beacon Press, an imprint of PenguinRandomHouse). The collection is edited by Richard Blanco, Caridad Moro, Nikki Moustaki, and Elisa Albo and has an afterword by Anita Hill. Other contributors include Jericho Brown, Eileen Myles, Rita Dove, Denise Duhamel, and Richard Blanco.
Congratulations, Dr. Sundberg!...Read more
According to their website,
VONA (Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation) is the only multi-genre workshop for writers of color. VONA centers and honors the traditions and aesthetics of writers of color to provide a space for their work and learning. Through our focus on this expanded definition of craft, VONA fosters the open and honest expression of personal and political writing often marginalized almost everywhere else. Our organization and writing classes engage the work of social justice and build a global community of writers of color.
Dr. Mondal shares her experience in the workshop below.
Q: What was the structure and content of the workshop and how long did it last?
A: This year the VONA summer workshop could not happen in person in Miami as planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The normally week-long workshop was condensed into an online 3.5-day intensive, conducted through Zoom and Slack, that included panels, faculty readings, a Restorative Justice and Healing Circle, a lounge for socializing with other writers, craft sessions, daily workshops with one’s instructor, and a final reading/presentation.
My instructor, M. Evelina Galang, organized a superb and rigorous self-workshop format because the condensed timeline did not permit for a traditional workshop in which writers read and offer feedback on one another’s work. Evelina guided us through a series of detailed exercises to evaluate conflict, plot, and character in our manuscripts. We brought back insights about these exercises to our discussions in addition to exploring how authors like James Baldwin navigate such issues in their own work. I also had the opportunity to have a one-on-one session with Evelina that was very helpful for discussing broader issues...Read more
When I begin working on a course, I begin with two questions (and these are questions I keep emphasizing to my students when they write too): Who are these people and what do I want to do to them? The "who" for incarcerated students meant that a LOT of them speak AAVE (African American Vernacular English) as their first language (which really impacted the design of the grammar lessons) and many Black or Latino students had not...Read more
By Brian Stevens
Class of 2011
English and Journalism major
Court-Appointed Guardian and Volunteers Coordinator
I graduated from Ashland University in spring, 2011. After a brief stint in direct marketing, I left for South Korea to teach English as a Second Language. I had a wonderful time in Seoul. When I had the chance, I hostel-hopped around Cambodia and Vietnam. After completing just one contract in Korea, however, I returned to the US. I meant to be overseas again soon, specifically Malaysia, even taking TESL classes to boost my application. I found “temporary” work coordinating a volunteer program for a small hospice in Cleveland.
I recruited, trained, assigned, and supervised hospice volunteers. I also had plenty of client visits of my own and quickly learned to love the work. My hospice team was incredible. Their dedication and caring inspired me to take up new direction for my life and stick around Cleveland for a while. I sometimes sat ‘vigil’ with our actively dying patients. Those were strangely peaceful, still nights spent at dimly lit bedsides. I offered whatever comfort I could. Often that meant just being there.
It took a while, but I learned that the only work for me is with people in need. After several years at my “temporary” job, I was offered a position at a much larger hospice. They had no functional volunteer program and meant to change that. With big plans in mind, I established a growing population of qualified volunteers. Barely into my new position, I was suddenly laid off as our programs were rolled back statewide. I had another opportunity to reinvent myself, and I did.
Throughout my short-lived hospice career, I noticed that many of our patients were without family or close friends. They often had a guardian appointed to them, so that they had one...Read more