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This weekend, folks who live in New York get to attend the Pen World Voices Book Festival. Novelist Martha Southgate is keeping a blog of the event. I’ll warn you, the blog interface they’re using over at Pen isn’t the easiest to follow, but just keep clicking for her reports. It’s the next best thing to being there.
I wonder if teachers of creative writing get more than our share of students who seem a bit “off”. In light of the tragedy at Virginia Tech, the issue of troubled students has been on my mind. As many people know, Nikki Giovanni threatened to resign if Cho Seung-Hui wasn’t removed from her class. To many people, this should have been enough of a red-flag to have the student removed from school.
In my experience as a university professor, I have dealt with quite a few disturbing students. Each time, I have gone to the supervisor. The responses have ranged from “Oh, don’t worry, a lot of people have had problems with him. It doesn’t develop into anything.” OR “Him? I’ve taught him before and he’s a nice kid.” It’s as though past incidents mean he is harmless, as does a clean record.
Nikki Giovanni delivered the closing remarks at the memorial convocation at Virginia Tech on yesterday. She struck a perfect ballance between honoring the sadness particular to the Tech campus and linking it with the horrors around the world. So many people in the world are suffering; as she says, “no one deserves a tragedy.”
Just yesterday, I was thinking of all the bombings happening in Iraq. How often do we hear “twelve killed”, “twenty killed”… Maybe one thing we will learn from this tragedy at Virginia Tech is a greater degree of empathy for the suffering all over the globe. And once we have felt the sorrow and mulled its implications, maybe we will act.
I am posting the YouTube here, but there is a clearer video over at CNN.
Like the rest of the nation, I was horrified by the news of a massacre at Virginia Tech University. I was concerned on a personal level as I gave a reading at Tech a couple of years back and have maintained a friendship with a few of the professors there. I am very relieved to report to you that I spoke with Virginia Fowler this morning and she assured me that both she and poet Nikki Giovanni are safe and sound.
It doesn’t even matter. Cosmogirl has determined that there have been “one of more instances of tampering” with the on-line voting for the young filmaker contest. So, all of the votes are going to be thrown out. The editors, apparently, will just pick a winner.
I try not to be a paranoid conspiracy monger. I really do.
I went to the site. It’s perfectly legit to vote everyday. So VOTE for her.
Remember the film, “A Girl Like Me” by a young film maker, Kiri Davis? In her film she asked her peers about thier feelings about skin color and at the end, she recreate the famous experiment in which she asked children which doll they preferred, the white one or the black one? Heartbreaking and serious stuff. And to think that the Kiri Davis is just a teenager.
Well, Cosmo Girl is sponsoring a contest for best youth-made film. Let’s all trot over there and vote for Kiri Davis. You know she will put the $10,000 prize to good use.
**UPDATE: I went over there and voted. Kiri is really taking a beating. Let’s try and get some votes for her. (This is not the appropriate venue for a lecture on the DIGITAL DIVIDE, but I have a feeling that we are seeing it right here.