Thursday, May 21, 2009

CVCC Students In Mule and Goose

“Musings” for May 14

I was in graduate school before I had my first real publication as a poet. The poem was called “Preserving the Horn,” and the journal was Southern Poetry Review. It was a big day for me. I was finally able to say that I was a “published poet,” and I felt like I must have finally figured something out about the world of writing and publishing poems.

One of the things I try to do with my own creative students is help them find the concrete encouragement to keep writing that publication brings. I’m very proud to say that this year, nine of my students at CVCC have had or are having their work published in two online journals. As of May 1, five students’ work went online in the journal Dead Mule, at The students and their poems are as follows:
Keegan Blankenship: “Note to Life,” “Junkie,” and “Failed Remorse;”
Heather Carl: “Fleeting Innocence;”
Jacob Gryder: “Mirror,” “Ours Is the Night,” “The Story of a Rock,” and “Upon Having Read His Own Poem Aloud in Class;”
Theodora Netza: “For Maurice Krafft” and “Nightmare;” and
Kristen Sealy: “Dash.”

In a few weeks a new issue of the journal Wild Goose Poetry Review will also go online and will feature poems from six of my students, including Keegan’s “Steve,” Jacob’s “Like Van Gogh But More Ears,” and four others as follows:
Jenni Conklin: “Freckles” and “If You Ask Me Why I Brought a Bowler Hat to a Funeral;”
Houa Lee: “Helplessness” and “Scribbles;”
Deanna Mullins: “Self Service;” and
Graham Ponder: “Icarus.”

One of the joys of teaching creative writing at a community college is having the opportunity to see the wide variety of people who are still interested in poetry. This group is no exception to that variety. Keegan, from Hickory, is a dual enrollment homeschooled high school student preparing to attend UNCG to major in theater. Heather is from Newton and will dual major in English and Business at UNC. Jacob, from Alexander County, will major in Comparative Literature at ASU. Jenni is a Challenger High School student at CVCC who wants to study illustration at Rhode Island School of Design. Houa, from Taylorsville, wants to study political science at UNCC. Deanna is another Challenger student who wants to study forensic anthropology at Western Carolina. And Graham is a product engineer from Claremont with a degree in business administration from UNC Asheville.

I’m very proud to reprint two of these poems below:

Upon having read his own poem aloud in class
by Jacob Gryder
the man reads,
not a poet anymore
just a vocalist—
an orator
his oration no longer
a piece of his soul.
clears the throat,
but still the words
are whispered,
creaking phlegm
infiltrates his meaning.
and mournful silence falls
his peers wear quiet contemplation
as he sports a blush,
ruddy face and a million quiet heart beats,
his fate will, here, be decided.
in his chair he does not move,
but in the boy his spirit writhes
“out with it” he yells,
echoes resounding in his mind.

A note to life
by Keegan Blankenship
Next time you are feeling generous,
keep your lemons to yourself.
If you are freely distributing fruit,
I would much prefer grapes.
For with these grapes
and ample time,
we can sit on my back porch
and get drunk on the wine.
And then when you are good
and drunk;
that’s when I’ll take full
advantage of you.


  1. The Dead Mule is happy to have had poems from your students for the second consecutive year.

  2. Scott, I'm also in the Hickory area and teach at CCC&TI. Am I right to assume you're also the Scott Owens I've seen on Poetic Asides? I do need to check out the poetry going on around here.