Review of Janet Kauffman’s, Eco-dementia and Joanna Ruocco’s Fiction Reading

By: Maria Kornacki

The main takeaway I got from Janet Kauffman’s Eco Dementia reading was the power of bringing people and environments together through writing.  Not only through writing, but through visual media to help make connections to our world. Janet Kauffman began her reading performance with defining her own term “Eco-Dementia” as being the “condition of humanity; a love of the living world while causing hurt and suffering its destruction”.

If I hadn’t gone to this reading or been a part of the creative writing community, I probably would not have gained insight from her thoughts about the environment.  The ability to share my personal view about society and the world is a writer’s gift, which has helped shape me into a better writer.  I have been gradually getting better at sharing my inner thoughts with others instead of just writing them down or not writing anything at all.  Her presentation was successful in fostering a sense of community and shared endeavor because we are all capable of learning from our surroundings through our senses.  Learning through observing, feeling, smelling, hearing, and even tasting allows us to make connections to the world around us.  Janet Kauffman explained the environment she lived in that was sort of a carley for how Eco-Dementia came about.

Kauffman is surrounded by land and described the importance to protect farmlands and wetlands in Michigan.  Kauffman’s environment placed prominence on connecting to the sense and physical world.  I thought it was a key note when she said she dislikes it when her poetry is described as “nature poetry” because it sounds more flowery in terms of really getting underneath all of the dirt and issues that come along with nature, which is what Eco-Dementia exhibits.

I then attended Joanna Ruocco’s reading on October 24th at 6pm.  Her reading was successful not only in fostering a sense of community, by helping foster young writers’ individual voices.  The pieces she read were lengthy, but each sentence was packed with experimental language to keep the audience engaged.  I noticed several people, including myself that laughed and smiled while listening to her read, particularly “My Future Boyfriend”(her “Dan” excerpt was also humorous).  This piece formed through a response to artwork, which is a similar to a writing/photography class exercise I have participated in at our EMU galleries.  If I have learned anything about Joanna Ruocco’s work, it’s to hone in on finding your voice as a writer while also being open to other possibilities for different styles of genres.

As a creative writing major, my college experience has been about finding my voice through writing and both bathhouse readings have helped me learned how to think outside the box in terms of getting the audience to be invested in my own writing style.  Expansion of the mind and the words on the page go hand-in-hand.  Ultimately, writing should be a way to bring an audience together and leave them thinking about the meaningful questions the work provoked.

Recap: 2nd Fall 2017 BathHouse Event featuring Joanna Ruocco

Thank you to all of those in attendance at our 2nd Fall 2017 BathHouse event featuring Joanna Ruocco and a special thank you to all of those who participated in the discussion following her reading.  Pictures from the event are posted below. Keep in mind that we are still accepting submissions for reviews.

CRTW Graduate Showcase

CRTW Graduate Showcase 2013It excites the Creative Writing blog to announce the Creative Writing Graduate Showcase on Thursday, April 18th from six until eight in the evening. This blessed event will be hosted in the Carillon Room in the Halle Library on EMU‘s campus. The graduate performances promise to “blow down doors and hurl windows from the highest of towers.” Those performing include Nicholas “Mr. Electric Ocean” Mourning, Arthur “Ace” Challenger Oemke, and the articulated semtex-man Gerard Breitenbeck. Each will be performing an aspect of their Creative Masters Thesis projects. Mourning’s work is a an ethnographic mapping that bisects poetics and the electric self. Oemke’s can best be referred to as debauched fiction that attempts to undermine the authority of the sensorium. Capping the event, Breitenbeck will showcase new forms which break stale narrative sculptures and blast through our rectangular age with a re-percussive return to the early eighties.