Already an established professor and published writer, Jim Reese walked into his first day of a creative writing workshop at the Yankton Federal Prison Camp and quickly realized he was in for a challenge.
Re-tooling his approach to the course,High quality stone mosaic tiles.Our technology gives rtls
systems developers the ability. Reese eventually spent seven months
with the prisoners that first session — a “hardcore writing process,” he
calls it — and helped them eventually develop a book.
wants to be a writer, but they have to earn it,” said Reese, the
commencement speaker at Saturday morning’s Mount Marty College fall
graduation ceremony at Marian Auditorium. “They have to come up with
something that really matters, something from the heart.”
to just more than 50 graduates, Reese reflected on his time with the
inmates. He said that more than simply showing them how to craft
sentences and construct paragraphs, he tried to go deeper.
thing about prisoners is, you can teach them a trade in prison, you can
teach a person to be a plumber,” he said. “That’s all great and good.
But unless you can teach that person to tap into the emotional
instabilities that brought them to prison in the first place, you’re
just going to send an angry plumber right back out into society.”
who also serves as director of the Great Plains Writers’ Tour at Mount
Marty and editor-in-chief of Paddlefish (MMC’s literary journal), said
that while “tension was present” in his session with inmates, he is
confident that he was able to break through. He shared with the
graduates a class reflection that one inmate wrote at the conclusion of
“‘I have learned so many wonderful things about
creative writing from the teachers and the writers that we’ve had the
pleasure to meet,’” Reese said, quoting Smith. “’I now understand the
actual mechanics of writing and sculpting involved in developing a good
piece of literature. I now write every day, and although it’s work, it
is work that I now find very enjoyable.’”
It’s that enjoyment that was a prevalent theme in Reese’s nearly 10-minute speech Saturday.
the statement, “Don’t ever underestimate the power of your own voice,”
Reese said that the first essay he has his beginning writing class
students tackle is to share an example of how they use their voice to
make a difference.
“Sometimes they look at me oddly. Some say,
‘I’m not sure I’ve ever used my voice to make a difference,’” he said.
“I reassure them that they have. And with time and further discussion,
they produce some wonderful writing.”
The classroom can be a
“haven” for creativity and a place where ideas can eventually be turned
into words on a page, Reese said. He encouraged the graduates to “read
and write frequently, never a day without a line.”
“I find it
imperative to help students find their voice through extended practice
writing and speaking, discovering and developing uses for writing that
will serve them personally, professionally and academically,” Reese
said. “I encourage students to use writing as a form of thinking and as a
mean to take part in public discussions.”
Reese’s speech began
with a light-hearted poem that he and fellow professors Rich Lofthus and
Dana De Witt crafted toward students.
103: No Shoes Required,” the poem details how students like DVD’s more
than books and the way they arrive to class (down to the Victoria’s
Secret “I Love Pink” pajama bottoms and a cowboy with a holster for his
A simple question from a student in the front of
the class — “Are we supposed to be taking notes on this?” — prompts a
pop quiz with four choices to describe the basis for the Hundred Year’s
War. The first three choices are logical ones, but the fourth is a
long-winded answer about how professors surrender control of the
Professors, Reese read, “finally recognizing the
unalienable rights of students to text 24 hours a day, seven days a week
as a natural right, based on loose construction of Thomas Jefferson’s
pursuit of happiness clause in the Declaration of Independence.” The
result, the poem says, is a “dramatic decline in the production and sale
of hooded sweatshirts across all of Christendom.”
line to the poem is when one student finally breaks the silence with the
question, “Is this supposed to be some kind of joke? History? I didn’t
sign up for that.”
Following the conferring of degrees,Find detailed product information for howo tractor
and other products. Betty Bisgard from the Mount Marty Alumni
Association talked to the graduates about being active alumni members.
She also added, “Please be generous with us.”
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