“The poet is the priest of the invisible.” — Wallace Stevens
In 1996, the Academy of American Poets designated April as National Poetry Month “to remind the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters.” Twenty-four years later, during this uncertain shelter-in-place April, we turn once more to poetry.
Poet Mary Catherine Harper, who gave a reading on the Warsaw campus in March, shares that during this time especially, “Poetry reading is a vital part of my daily routine. Poetry sustains me.” Adjunct English professor Shari Benyousky, who thinks of poems as conversations, says that writing poetry, “is really helpful therapy these days of being cut off from so many people.”
This year both the Warsaw and Fort Wayne campuses are actively celebrating National Poetry Month. Ivy Tech Warsaw is posting a poem a day to its Facebook page drawing from a range of poets, styles, and themes, including Lynn Ungar’s timely poem “Pandemic.”
Meanwhile, the Ivy Tech Fort Wayne Library is encouraging students, faculty, and staff to write and contribute poems to Ink Cloud, the annual poetry publication which showcases campus poetic and artistic talents. With an extended deadline of April 19th, time remains to submit!
Interested in exploring poetry and making it a sustaining part of your life? Here are some resources to start with.
This April and every month, be well and read more poetry!
The concept of scholarship as a conversation reflects the origins of learned societies and their journals. Many journals still in existence – such as Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society – began as correspondence between researchers working on similar topics. For example, the circles of Samuel Hartlib and Henry Oldenburg sent such letters to each other; both are associated with the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge (its full name), the oldest scientific society in the world. (Encyclopedia Britannica has excellent articles with sources on both these gentlemen and the Society.)
The Association of College & Research Libraries includes “Scholarship As Conversation” in its Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education. The framework, meant to be open to instantiation in different contexts, emphasizes citations as representing this conversation.
Citations help researchers to find more research, as when you find an article that was cited in another article or book or website. That sense of being “on the trail” of an idea is one of the joys of research. Even more exciting is when you formulate your own point of view on a topic, built on information others have provided. You cite their work, and your own work stands out as your original contribution. You have the last word in the conversation!
Formatting citations is not easy, and you may wonder why they are done the way they are? Again, the styles have origins in the communities of scholars that formed around particular topics. Scientists want to know how recent a publication is before reading it; also scientific reports often have multiple authors, all of whose names need to index. Thus it makes sense that the APA citation format doesn’t spell out author first names, and puts the date of publication right after them.
The library has many tools to help you with citing your sources: check out our current display board for ideas. Our online Guide gathers citations aids in many formats. If you prefer in-person help, bring your citation questions to the librarians: we are here to assist you!
Imagine, if you will, you have a paper due tomorrow. The paper will not only decide whether you pass the class; the class is contingent upon your graduation. To make matters worse, despite your desperate situation, the paper’s subject only encourages you to procrastinate, and you have convinced yourself that the increasing pressure to finish will help you focus in the two hours before the paper needs to be submitted. Maybe your situation is not this dire, but it may feel that way. Here are some tips to make starting or finishing a little less panic inducing.
- As long as it is within the boundaries of your assignment, write the paper that would capture your attention. Keep it academic, but take liberties; tell a story with your thesis; get creative. Think about why you are not connecting to the subject and use your perspective as a way to critically analyze the topic.
- Collect your sources ahead of time. Even if you have yet to write anything else, add all the references you intend to include in your paper. Think about how each reference supports your thesis and organize them accordingly throughout what will be your introduction, body, and conclusion. All you would need to do is then combine and support each with your own ideas.
- Remember how relieved you were when you last finished a paper? The final product might have even impressed you. It was not a fluke. The same prospects apply this time. Don’t let pressure cloud your impression. You wrote that paper, and you will do it again.
If preparation is less of a problem for you, but you would like to improve your writing, the following titles might interest you. Thanks to the library’s collection of eBooks, you do not even need to leave the comfort of your home to benefit from our selection.
Find those and other books on any academic subject you need through Ivy Tech Library’s catalog database, IvyCat!
Whether or not you have committed to the herculean task of scribing 1,667 words daily for a month, you have surely shared the existential dread that comes with an incomplete paper or essay staring back at you.
During NaNoWriMo‘s campaign, accomplished authors are invited to contribute insights or pep talks for fellow writers. The following are some tips that most resonated with me. If you are stuck or could just use a break, these reflections might be helpful to you too.
When you make it to the 3/4 mark of your novel, if you are anything like me, you’re saying one of two things to yourself:
1. I’ve come far enough… to stop. I mean, seriously, I basically wrote a whole novel. I could at least tell people I wrote a whole novel. It’d be a lie. But I wouldn’t feel bad about it. At least not too bad. Because it’s basically whole.
Or 2. I can see the end. I can actually see it. So now I’m going to teleport there. . . .
Anyway, the point is you are ready and willing to cram the next five chapters into the next five sentences.
Don’t do either of these things.
Just Keep Going.
Write an entire monologue with your main character if you have to. Spend a chapter just exploring the life story of an antagonist. Write a scene with nothing but dialogue between your hero and your villain. Write a steamy love scene between your favorite couple. They don’t have to be scenes in chronological order. They don’t even have to end up in your book. But they will help you to keep going.
Sometimes, when you’re writing, things come together easily and you can crank out 2,000 words in an afternoon. But other times, it’s torture just to crap out 300 words. In those rough patches, here’s something to keep yourself going: When you read the pages later, you won’t be able to tell which ones you wrote with good flow and which ones were hard. You’re creating the same quality of work in both cases. You might not believe me, but the next time it happens to you, check the results later. You’ll see for yourself. So when you’re having a rough patch, it helps to remember that you’re making progress toward a goal. The words you’re putting down aren’t wasted. They’re just as good as the rest.
Remember all those moments in which an idea brightened your mood and refreshed your outlook? Did you ever wonder where those ideas go after you let them go?
Nowhere! They have all been waiting in the back of your head, neglected but banded together in solidarity as your most loyal supporters. Well, it is that time of year again, time to rally them together to produce your masterpiece!
This year, join writers of all varieties in sharing your story of ideas during National Novel Writing Month! The goal is the same every year: 50,000 words in 30 days. Start at the harrowing finale; explore a thesis; develop compelling characters; or just practice your prose!
Even if you have not committed to all 50,000 words, it could not be a better time to join the community: https://www.nanowrimo.org/. Expect reminders, writing prompts, tips, and encouragement right here on Ivy Tech Library’s blog throughout the remainder of the month!
Our Library Information Guide has directions with screen shots showing how to format margins, paragraphs, fonts, etc. for papers in APA and MLA style. These are for Word 2016 and Google Docs. We also have model papers. All files are PDFs that can be downloaded, printed, or uploaded to course websites. We hope you find them helpful.