July 20, 2006
|Poetry & Fiction Series to include Annie Finch ('73), David Yezzi, Mary Caponegro and Le Thi Diem Thuy|
Annie Finch, renowned poet and author of five collections of poetry, will be the first guest in the Fall Poetry and Fiction Series. The series, which begins with her reading on September 13 at 7:30 p.m., is free and open to the public.
In addition to poetry and poetry in translation, her artistic vision has also encompassed libretto and other music and theater collaborations.
Finch's works include Calendars ( Tupelo, 2003); The Encyclopedia of Scotland (Salt Press, 2004); and a book of essays on poetry, The Body of Poetry: Essays on Women, Form, and the Poetic Self (University of Michigan Press, 2005). Since 2005, she has served as Director of the Stonecoast Graduate Creative Writing Program at the University of Southern Maine.
Finch has also edited several groundbreaking anthologies, including A Formal Feeling Comes (Story Line, 1994) and An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art (University of Michigan, 2002).
Poet Molly Peacock has this to say of Finch's work: "Mesmerizing and original, Finch occupies a unique place in American poetry: no one writing today so playfully and intelligently combines lyric and ritual."
On Wednesday, September 27, at 7:30 p.m., the series continues with poet, editor, and critic David Yezzi.
The readings take place in Blodgett Hall. For more information, please call 528-7395.
The Daniel Arts Center is Home of the Second Berkshire Fringe
By Sara Katzoff ('97)
Returning to the Rock for a second spectacular season, Bazaar Productions and The Berkshire Fringe once again bring dynamic, original, cross-disciplinary works of theater, dance, music and visual art to the Berkshires. Co-founded and artistic directed by Simon's Rock graduates Sara Katzoff ('97) Timothy Ryan Olson ('95), and Berkshire native Peter Wise, the festival staff includes Courtney Nichols ('98), Melanie Mather ('98), Aileen Kawabe ('93) and Tim Meyers ('04).
Expanding upon the success of last year's inaugural season, the 2006 season is 21 action packed days, from July 18th-August 6th, featuring six groundbreaking original performances by emerging artists from across the country: Dan Bernitt's Thanks for the Scabies, Jerkface!, Spine's All Day Permanent Red, Hotel Obligado's Dottie, Under the Table's SOLO: a two-person show, Jane Chen's The Chinese Clown Cabaret, and Workhorse Theatre's Sawbones. The festival will also host Berkshire based artists State of Play Theatre and Sharon Wyrrick as part of EarlyStages, a venue for work still being developed. Post show artist discussions, sonic innovations at :30-Live! (a free pre-show music series), and 3 FREE community workshops all add to the excitement!
On July 31st at 7p.m., STRIP: Expose yourself to the Art of the Photobooth, a one-night gala extravaganza, will serve up food, drink, music, textiles, sculptures, paintings and multi-media installations all inspired by the social phenomena of the photobooth. Co-hosted by the Lascano Gallery in downtown Great Barrington, all proceeds for admission and auction of artworks will benefit Bazaar Productions/The Berkshire Fringe.Alumni Weekend and the Berkshire Fringe
This year Alumni Weekend and The Berkshire Fringe intersect the weekend of July 28th-30th. Highlights from the weekend include Hotel Obligado's Dottie, a haunting multi-media portrait. Writer and performer Robin Marcotte uses original music, aerial work, mask performance and shadow dancing to portray a shy and timid woman whose life has been transformed by mental illness. Hotel Obligado performed St. Anthony's Body at last year's festival, and if that stunning show is any indication of the virtuosity of this company, Dottie should definitely not be missed! A particularly apt highlight during Alumni Weekend is the workshop production of State of Play's The City that Cried Wolf, a tale of a not-so-happily-ever-after kind of city. State of Play is a ferociously talented emerging theater company in the Berkshires whose members include Simon's Rock alumni Chloe Demrovsky ('01), Rebecca Jones ('01), Adam La Faci ('01), and Loren Vandegrift ('01).
The Berkshire Fringe is inspired, in part, by the broader movement of 'fringe' theater which has popped-up in urban centers throughout North America. Larger scale festivals typically draw thousands of audience members who attend hundreds of un-juried shows at dozens of venues. The Berkshire Fringe carves its own path. Because it exists outside of a metropolitan area it operates on a smaller scale and affords itself the opportunity to provide each artist with an extensive support system and numerous resources. Because the Berkshire Fringe is a juried festival, an emphasis is also placed on the quality of works presented. In addition to providing assistance with marketing, publicity efforts, housing and technical support, the most important aspect of what The Berkshire Fringe does is presenting often underrepresented artists with an opportunity to appear in the limelight of the Berkshire cultural scene. All events at The Berkshire Fringe are aimed at attracting a diverse demographic of audiences, providing affordable tickets and inspiring a younger generation of theatergoers to support live performance. (Photo above: Hotel Obligado: Robin Marcotte performs "Dottie.")See Things Differently at The Berkshire Fringe
All events, except Strip..., take place at the Daniel Arts Center at Simon's Rock College, 84 Alford Road, Great Barrington, MA. Tickets are $15. A See3Pass is available for $39. Early Stages seats are available for a suggested donation of $10. Admission to Strip... is $25. Community workshops and :30 Live, the new music series, are free to the public. For more information visit our website at www.berkshirefringe.org or call us at 413-320-4175.
On the Road with the Provost
Early College Model
Scholarship program for students from several New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont counties
The Berkshire Regional Scholarship Program awards significant scholarships to eligible students from several neighboring counties: In Massachusetts, Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin; in Connecticut, Hartford and Litchfield; in New York, Columbia, Dutchess, Ulster, Greene, Albany and Renssaelaer; and in Vermont, Bennington and Windham. Students living in these counties who are ready for the challenge of college after the tenth or eleventh grade may be eligible to participate.
"Due to the generosity of our supporters, we are able to offer this program," said Provost Mary B. Marcy. "As we begin celebration of our fortieth anniversary year at Simon's Rock College, we are delighted to be able to offer these scholarships. The people in the Berkshire community and surrounding area continue to support Simon's Rock; we wanted to find a tangible way to show our gratitude. We are also pleased to be able to say to young people that a truly exciting opportunity is in their back yard, and we can help them to take advantage of it through this program."
The Berkshire Regional Scholarship Program was designed to offer bright, highly motivated children of area residents the opportunity to become full-time students at Simon's Rock. To be eligible for admission through this program, the student must have completed the 10th, 11th or 12th grade with a strong high school record and must be less than 19 years old. While the program will be fully operating for the fall of 2007, a few places are available for this coming academic year. Students who are interested in applying to the college through this program for the upcoming academic year are urged to do so soon, as the application process is rigorous and classes begin in late August.
Simon's Rock to Host Second Annual Early College Teaching Seminars
Summer Seminar for Early College Faculty from Schools Throughout the Country
Simonsays featured news and coverage of the Summer Seminar last August. Now called the Early College Teaching Seminar, to better represent the objective of the project, the four-day seminar will be held again in August, and we will cover it in the next issue.
The program started last year when the College received a $300,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create summer training programs for early college faculty. Thirty faculty members participated, and this year the number has doubled, with 60 faculty members signed up for the four-day intensive seminar.
To be held on the Simon's Rock campus, the ECTS will continue to train faculty from new early college programs. The 60 participating faculty work at schools in several states, including New York, California, Oregon, Virginia, Vermont, Texas and North Carolina. They will work closely with experienced Simon's Rock faculty members who have developed an expertise in working with younger students.
The Gates grant supported the creation of this program, which is intended to help faculty to develop new methodologies for teaching in early college settings. The program was developed and implemented by Simon's Rock College of Bard and Bard High School Early College in New York, in partnership with Jobs for the Future in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Clark University Park Campus School (UPCS), in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Last year, a reporter from The Best of Our Knowledge, a nationally syndicated NPR production, covered the seminars.
LIFE 406 One Student, The Life of
By Evan Didier ('05)
No matter how social or outgoing your personality might be, you'll definitely gain at least one friend in college. This friend is often referred to as a clock. (I mean this literally; I don't know of any "clock-like" people.) Whether it tells you that you really should have been in bed four hours ago or that you have less than 60 seconds to get to class on the opposite side of campus, it will always tell you exactly how bad your procrastination is and how much you like to stretch imposed time limits. Extreme cases, however, do require the addition of a calendar. At any rate, clocks are pretty useful time tools, especially at a college with a bell tower that often chimes at random intervals. I should know because, after all, I have five clocks and a watch. (There is a semi-reasonable explanation for this later on.)
But my time spent outside of class isn't entirely consumed by collecting clocks, nor is all of it spent writing papers and completing assignments. While academic commitments definitely consume a large portion of any day, there's often substantial time to have intelligent/intellectual conversations with others, catch up on the latest and greatest Rocker gossip (relationships are almost always intriguing because you usually know all of the people involved), or just hang out with people and have fun passing away the time through movies, games, or other similar (legal) diversions. Many a meal extends from the 10 minutes needed to consume the actual food to two hours spent discussing whether modern-day women really think and act like the women portrayed in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice who wouldn't want to marry a rich and handsome guy with a decent personality?or whether the surrounding mountains are real mountains. (A few students I've met from the Midwest often refute the notion that the nearby Appalachian Mountains are real mountains because they're not very pointy.) (Photo of Evan Didier by Joe Corso)
My weekday usually starts about 45 to 60 minutes before my first class (this meant 9:30 a.m. this past semester, hurray!), which allows me to get up, get dressed, get packed, and (hopefully) get some breakfast. Somewhere in there, I usually find someone to fill me in on anything fun and exciting that happened the night before (example: the Electronics homework kept people up 'til three and nobody has it done). Then there are classes throughout the day with lunch stuck somewhere in the middle. For those of us who arrive early to a class, the discussion usually focuses on the latest assignmentbe it a reading or an essayor the day's developing news stories (i.e. gossip). I've learned from experience that it is really rather easy to have a very long dinner sustained by noteworthy dialogue because it provides a fairly valid excuse to delay doing homework. The evenings are consumed by academic obligations and, at some point, I take a shower and get to sleep. (I would elaborate on the meaning of "some point" except that I think my parents think I go to bed somewhat earlier than I do.)
Weekends generally come with more free time and provide an opportunity to escape academics for a day or so and just recharge by socializing with other people, playing video games and watching movies from somebody's impressive cinema collection. For those of us without cars, weekends are a time for figuring out which of your friends has a vehicle, and if they can be cajoled into taking you somewhere. When the weather is nice, it's actually not that bad to just walk into town, as long as you can drag a few other people with you. Weekends were made for sleeping in, and it really isn't all that unusual for people to get up at noon, one-o'clock, or two o'clock, go to the cafeteria for brunch, and then take a nap until dinnertime.
Up to this point, I've left out a very notable person in any residential college student's life, and that would be a roommate. Simply put, roommates are strange creatures and really are their own challenging learning experiences. They come in a variety of styles and can range from the one who is always in the room and has all of his friends come and visit him (all of the time, of course) to the one who only counts as a roommate because he stores his stuff in the same room as you. This is also a time when you learn that four checkmarks on a sheet (morning/night person, neat/messy, smoking, and willing to live with a smoker) don't always correspond to compatibility. The first roommate I was matched up with had all of the same checkmarks (morning, neat, non-smoking, not rooming with a smoker) but it didn't work out, and would have continued for another semester under a much-too-late roommate contract that was about two pages full of narrowly-tailored rules and obligations, and to a casual observer, probably would have read like the text of a cartoon strip.
Back to the Clocks
That's how I've ended up with two extra clocks, one from a friend who didn't want a battery-powered clock anymore and one from another friend who threw her alarm clock across the room when its alarm beeped too loudly one morning, jolting the LCD display out of place. (I taped the display back to show the time properly.) The other three clocks are found residing on my telephone display, computer desktop, and then there's the one actual clock that I brought from home to tell time. Thus, I've garnered a stackable three-shelf piece of plastic furniture, a shoe rack, a wireless pair of headphones (that do work), glossy photo paper, innumerable pens and pencils, sticky-note pads, books, a plastic crate intended for soft drink bottles, an entry rug, a small furry rug, a mug, two umbrellas, a notebook carrying-case, quite a few posters, and probably at least 10 other items that I can't quite remember at this time. They all came to me for free, either from other students getting rid of them or through requesting them online from various companies. Someday, I'm going to have to devote a section of my home (not the garage, because that's for cars) to all the little trinkets and doohickeys that I'll have accumulated over my lifetime because, the really sad part is, I usually can't bring myself to throw any of it away.
My other little quirk (that I'm willing to share) is that sometimes I like to dress nicely and try to find an excuse for wearing a dress shirt and tie (or at times, a suit and tie) at least once a month: It makes me happy when I look proper and formal. Admittedly, I'm really at the wrong place (no dress code and a casual fashion atmosphere) at the wrong time in my life (college) for fulfilling this whim, but I try my best to invent semi-plausible reasons as to why I need to dress up nicely for certain events or for a certain day. To justify all of this, I tell myself that it's all these little harmless idiosyncrasies that make each of us unique and memorable.
Aside from developing personality traits, there is also the development of serious relationships, both the friends type and the "more than friends" type. Simon's Rock is small enough that it is fairly easy to accomplish both of these (although the latter of the two has yet to happen to me, even though certain rumors have it that I've already been in one and that I'm currently in another). It's pretty easy to maintain friendships since there's a very good chance you'll see your friends everyday and it's hard to create excuses for avoiding people. It's quite likely you have at least one class with them and despite what other generations might think, it's quite possible to get to know people over a video game or movie. Romantic relationships are a bit trickier because there's a decent chance that they've already dated somebody you know at the college (this can create awkward moments when faced with their ex) and a decent chance that you'll break up at some point in time (this also creates awkward moments because you have to see them everyday and anybody who takes an interest on campus is going to know the two of you split up). I should add that there are a surprisingly high number of long-term relationships (one or more years) that actually exist and, every now and then I hear, work themselves into marriages.
There are a lot of life skills to be learned outside of the classroom. College brought about the first time in my life that I actually really cooked something edible that didn't involve a microwave or a pre-packaged mix and, while I'm far from being a chef, I'm told that I cook pretty well for a college student. On the cleaning end of things, I've also learned from doing my own laundry that leaving pens in a pocket is a really, really bad thing to do. (Luckily, the ink only took down one shirt.) Online comparison shopping becomes a much more necessary activity than before if you regularly went shopping at discount stores on weekends before you came to college, because out here, you're either going to have to get to the local Kmart, make do without, or buy it online. (I'm sort of curious as to how much stuff Amazon.com ships to us during the course of a year.) And for a number of us, especially because of our age, Simon's Rock will also be the first place that we hold a steady job and get a regular paycheck, which definitely brings its own set of responsibilities. Often, it seems, college actually does teach you a lot about life, as long as you're willing to try to learn it.
Simon's Rock hosted a lot of "firsts" for me: the first time I was away from home or my parents for more than 24 hours; the first time that I ever watched a live dance performance; the first time that I ever watched live play; the first time I ever played Risk; the first time I ever attended a professional musician's piano concert; the first time I ever used a calling card; the first time (and perhaps the last, thankfully) I ever filled out IRS forms to create a 527 political organizationthe Simon's Rock College Democrats Chapter of the College Democrats of Americaand the first time in my life that I actually had a social life and identity outside of academics.
My first year of college has now faded away into the recesses of my past and I look forward to another year of learning at Simon's Rock, from things like standard deviations to the actual deviations that life presents to us for learning. Because, like they all say, college is a place for learning.
Evan Didier is a rising sophomore at Simon's Rock and can be contacted at email@example.com or by writing to him (mail makes him very happy) at 84 Alford Road, Great Barrington, MA 01230-1978
[Note: the slide show is down for the time being.]
Andrea selected and arranged the images. Russell was responsible for the technical setup.
Add a Rocker: Become a Rock Star!
Last year Simon's Rock alumni and parents referred 60 wonderful young people to the College, 14 of whom enrolled! We haven't received as many referrals from you this year but we still have a few weeks left to equal last year's numbers. Many apply during the summer and a number of these students come to us through alumni referrals. So, we're presenting this challenge:
If a student you refer is accepted and matriculates for Fall 2006, they will receive the full benefits of the Alumni Referral Program (a waived application fee and a $1,000 Alumni Scholarship annually) and you will be a "Rock Star!" What does this mean? A gift of $1,000 will be added to the College's Alumni Scholarship Fund in your honor. This challenge is an anonymous donor's way of recognizing your exceptional qualities, both at The Rock and in Life After the Rock.For more details about the Alumni Referral Program call us at 800-235-7186 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.