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Kyra

Kyra: A Day in the Life

One thing I love about Linfield–and I’m sure I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it many times more–is the plethora of fantastic opportunities they provide for our students. Our faculty works so hard to ensure that we have chances to experience life in the field of our choice. This past Tuesday, several students from the English department, along with two of our Professors, were able to spend the day in Portland and attend events/a lecture by Salman Rushdie, author of the infamous “The Satanic Verses” and most recently, a memoir of that experience, “Joseph Anton”.

In the morning, I met up with two other senior English majors–Lee and Summer–to drive up to Portland. We met up with two of our professors, Dr. Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt and Dr. Daniel Pollack-Pelzner to attend OPB’s “Think Out Loud” radio interview with Salman Rushdie on Joseph Anton. Last year, I was able to attend a similar event for the literary critic, Stephen Greenblatt, so I jumped at this opportunity.  The space is very small and intimate. It was amazing to be so close to a legendary author. He talked about his experience in hiding after the fatwa and discussed the content/writing process of his works versus the new memoir. Our professors were able to ask some pretty fantastic questions and time passed very quickly. Rushdie is an engaging storyteller, and I hardly noticed the hour go by.

To listen to the radio broadcast, follow the link and check out the OPB website: http://www.opb.org/radio/programs/thinkoutloud/segment/salman-rushdies-years-as-joseph-anton/  The page also contains a link to several pictures taken at the session–which highlight Dr. Dutt-Ballerstadt and Dr. Pollack-Pelzner.

Salman Rushdie reading an excerpt from "The Satanic Verses"

Salman Rushdie reading an excerpt from “The Satanic Verses”

Lee, Summer, Dr. Dutt-Ballerstadt and I at "Think Out Loud"

Lee, Summer, Dr. Dutt-Ballerstadt and I at “Think Out Loud”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the session finished, Summer, Lee and I spent the rest of the day in Portland–we explored the downtown area, ate at the Food Carts, went to Powell’s, grabbed coffee at Stumptown while studying for our Senior Thesis midterm (which is today!) and grabbed dinner before heading over the next session!

 

 

Studying hard, or hardly studying?

Studying hard, or hardly studying?

Nomming at the food carts

Nomming at the food carts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We headed over to the Arlene Schnitzer Auditorium for his Literary Arts lecture on his work. The lecture was funny, poignant and very enjoyable. He discussed the power of free speech, interspersed with funny anecdotes from his time in hiding and a long diatribe on “The Davinci Code”. Afterwards, we attended a reception in his honor with the Oregon Historical Society. It was such a fun and exciting experience, I could hardly describe it. I’m just so grateful to have a wonderful circle of fellow English majors and professors willing to put up with us. The following photos are courtesy of Reshmi’s husband, Ralph.

 

 

Attempting to get an autograph

Attempting to get an autograph

Our whole group at the end of the night--all from the English Department!

Our whole group at the end of the night–all from the English Department!

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Kyra: Rain and Other Notable Events

Fall at Linfield is here! We’ve made it through the first monsoon-like weather of the season and the leaves are really beginning to turn. After an uncommonly  warm summer, this is a pretty big adjustment, but I love rainy and brisk Fall weather, so I’m really looking forward to these next few months. Apparently though, it rained so much this weekend, that a tree fell on our Bike Co-op! They’ll still be running, but per email request now, which I think really proves their dedication! It’ll be interesting to see what other surprises this rainy season will offer us. Despite the crazy weather, fall at Linfield also means that we’re getting a lot of great speakers and presentations throughout the week here–which is an awesome opportunity for us. This past week, I was able to attend several wonderful lectures and readings.

 

Last Monday, for the PLACE (Program for Liberal Arts and Civil Engagement) initiative we were able to have several Hiroshima survivors, along with experts on Fukashima, come and speak. It was amazing, albeit saddening, to hear their firsthand stories about surviving the A-bomb and its consequences, particularly in light of current events. As a peer advisor, I encouraged all of my freshman students to go–it’s not only just educational, but honestly, how many opportunities will we have to hear firsthand from those directly affected by Hiroshima? For more information on the event, follow the link: http://www.linfield.edu/linfield-news/hiroshima-survivors-to-give-linfield-talk/

One of the delegates reading from her mother's memoir of Hiroshima.

One of the delegates reading from her mother’s memoir of Hiroshima.

On Thursday, I was also able to attend a reading from our newest  faculty member in the English Department–Professor Joe Wilkins. I’m currently taking Non-Fiction from him, which is absolutely amazing. I’ve never really taken or written non-fiction before, I much prefer poetry and fiction, but he’s a wonderful teacher and I’m really enjoying the new experience. At the reading, he read excerpts from this non-fiction memoir,  “The Mountain and the Fathers: Growing up on the Big Dry”. It was fantastic hearing all of his work for the first time! I’m really looking forward to working with him more in the future. He’s also the faculty advisor for CAMAS, our literary magazine, which I finally have time to work on this semester! For more information on Prof. Wilkins and his work, follow the link: http://www.linfield.edu/linfield-news/new-linfield-professor-to-read-from-memoir/

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I think these next few weeks will prove to be just as packed and exciting! Next Tuesday, I’m heading up to Portland to attend a radio session at OPB’s station “Think Out Loud” and attend a lecture at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall from Salman Rushdie! Several of my friends, sponsored by the English Department, are going together, so I’m really excited. This is another great opportunity! I’m definitely planning on reading up and researching more of his work by next Tuesday, so I’ll be prepared. Now, I just need to make it through the rain to all my classes!

 

 

Kyra: Concerts, Chaos and some Necessary slices of Pizza

No one really warns you how hectic senior year will be–this week so far I’ve had a research presentation, am writing three different papers on top of my regular reading, and am juggling work! It’s been quite the ordeal to say the least, so keeping myself balanced is becoming more and more important. Sometimes, it’s just really nice to take a long mental health break–or even a nice mental health day to recharge and reassess your life. Since I knew last week that this week would be incredibly long, I made sure to take my breaks then, so that I would be much better prepared to handle the stress of this week.

Last Wednesday, I had tickets to a concert–for a band called Why?–in Portland at the Wonder Ballroom. It’s been a long time since I’ve been up, so my friend Robin and I drove up together to see the show. Robin works on a campus for a company called Uhaul CarShare which allows Linfield students to rent cars and drive them around the greater McMinnville and Portland area. Since neither of us have cars on campus, it was a really convenient way to get up to Portland without taking the bus or having to crash in the city overnight–we both have early morning work and classes, but we really like the band so we figured the late night would be more than worth it. The concert, drive up, and the crowd were amazing! I’m really glad we took the time to go up and see them. After the show, we took some time to explore Portland at night and found a fantastic late night pizza joint in the Mississippi area. I cannot stress enough how much I love pizza, so it was a wonderful end to the night–great music, one of my best friends, and a great slice of pizza.

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Kyra: Shakespeare, Senior year and Being Generally Sentimental

It’s the first semester of my senior year at Linfield. It almost seems surreal–I can hardly believe that four years ago, I was an incoming freshman, so excited and nervous for the year to start. In some ways, the feeling remains the same. I’m both excited and nervous for the year to unfold. Classes, work, and friends will soon pick up and I’ll be caught in a whirlwind of keeping myself busy while trying to keep myself sane. They say that senior year is supposed to be the most fun, yet the most stressful (I’ve yet to figure out who “they” are, but we’ll just call it the general rumor and consensus). All of my friends are graduating with me this year–we’re all trying to do as much as we can with each other while we’re all in one place and before we scatter across the country. We’re working on weekly friend dinners and study groups. If we get the balance just right, I think it will prove to be a great semester.

I’m transitioning into the fall from a summer of research. I spent my days, and quite a few of my evenings, this summer working on a project focused on Shakespeare and Gender. A fellow student (Kate McMullan ’13) and our Professor, Dr. Daniel Pollack-Pelzner researched the role of women in Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” and his contemporary/successor John Fletcher’s “The Woman’s Prize, or the Tamer Tamed”. We did our own personal research into the plays and assisted the Portland Shakespeare Project’s production of these plays as dramaturgs. My work focused primarily on “The Tamer Tamed”, so I attended the majority of rehearsals for the production and assisted the director/cast with the text, answering or researching any questions they might have about plot, context, pronunciation or the meaning of any unfamiliar phrases. It being a Renaissance play, there was quite a bit of unfamiliar language, so I had my work cut out for me. However, I had an absolutely amazing time working as a researcher and as a dramaturg. I was able to split my time between the McMinnville campus and Portland so I could straddle my own research and my position as a dramaturg. At the end of the summer, DPP, Kate and I had the pleasure of accompanying the Alumni Shakespeare trip to Ashland’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival! We were able to see five different productions, including a modern rockabilly adaption of “Taming of the Shrew”, which Kate and I were then given the opportunity to teach the alumni about.

I’ll be able to continue this research throughout this semester through various presentations, and I’m hoping to use the Gender Studies research I’ve accumulated to my senior thesis. I’ll also be working on an honors thesis in the Spring, in which I’m hoping to continue the Shakespeare and Gender theme. In addition, I’ll be DPP’s teaching assistant for his Shakespeare: Tragedies and Tragicomedies. I’m really looking forward to the ways this will help me throughout the rest of my time here at Linfield–especially in all the experience this position has given me. I plan on going to graduate school for Literature, so working on a research project like this gives me excellent experience in the field, studying areas in my interest. Plus, getting paid to do just the thing you love is amazing. I wouldn’t have had any other job this summer.

Working on research throughout the summer has kept my mind fresh and active, so I think that bodes well for all of my classes this term. My senior thesis is centered around Literary Theory and Charles Dickens’ last completed work, “Our Mutual Friend”. We’re working on sending all of our papers to an undergraduate literary conference at the end of the course, so class has gotten to a very quick and intense start. It’ll be a lot of work to juggle, but definitely worth it. I’m also working on finishing up my second minor–Creative Writing. I finished my first minor–Visual Culture–last semester, and I just need two more Creative Writing classes to complete this one. Luckily, I love everything I’m studying so the work isn’t tedious or tiresome. I’m taking Non-Fiction this fall, which is a genre I haven’t really experimented with in the past, so I’m looking forward to testing my writing abilities.

Overall, this semester has already taken me up and swept me along. It will be an interesting experience to see where everything leads, but it’s my senior year and I’m excited to see where this takes me.

 

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The heart of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland

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My Non-Fiction textbooks–the life of a Lit major and Creative Writing minor is a constant flux of reading multiple books.

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“Our Mutual Friend” by Charles Dickens, the theme to my senior seminar in the Literature major and the summation of aspirations for the best descriptions ever, “literary man with a wooden leg”.

 

 

 

Kyra: Summer and even more of Shakespeare

It’s hard to believe that this is the last week of classes! The semester has gone by so quickly. In about two weeks, several of my close friends will be graduating, I’ll become a senior (A SENIOR), and summer will begin.

Instead of going home for the summer this year, I’ll be living on campus again, doing research with the English Department! I’m really excited, it complements my field of study perfectly. Through the Linfield Center for the Northwest (or the LCN) my professor, Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, was able to secure a research grant for another English major and I to research Shakespeare and Gender Studies. We’ll focus on Shakespeare’s comedy, “The Taming of the Shrew” and compare it with a later sequel (written by another playwright in the 1700′s) called “The Tamer Tamed”. We’ll look at the performative and technical aspects of the plays, as well as apply Gender Criticism–comparing contemporary gender theory to that of Shakespeare’s time to see if our discomfort with the events in “Taming of the Shrew” comes from a modern viewpoint or if it’s actually embedded in the text.

I really can’t imagine a better way to spend my summer than living with my friends, reading Shakespeare, seeing plays and so much more. I’ll have time to go on trips with my friends throughout Oregon, I’ll go to see my extended family in Hawaii, and the LCN is paying for a trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in August with Linfield Alumni! I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to explore my academic interests, while getting paid, and while having enough freedom to explore my last summer before I graduate from college.

Life is happening so quickly and it’s absolutely amazing.