Category Archives: Tim Mahoney

Dinty Moore Reading

Fall Poster 2014
~From Communications Intern Tim Mahoney

This semester, the Creative Writing Reading Series has brought some incredible authors to our campus. Dr. E.J. Levy, director of the series, did an amazing job at bringing a diverse assortment of creative writers, whose specialties ranged from poetry to nonfiction. As the end of the semester approaches, sadly so does the end of this semester’s reading series. One of final readings this semester took place on November 13th, and featured acclaimed nonfiction writer and editor Dinty Moore.

Moore has written several books including The Accidental Buddhist, Toothpick Men, and The Emperor’s Virtual Clothes. Moore is also the editor of the online journal Brevity, which publishes creative nonfiction of 750 words or less. Because of his distinguished career in nonfiction, it was a real benefit to attend the event and hear him read some of his new work.

dintymoorereadingThe works he chose to read that night all had one thing in common; each essay used humor to approach the extremely profound and personal experiences in his life. His first piece delved into his family’s history as Irish Catholics, in which he used humor to approach his own father’s issues with alcohol. His father’s alcoholism put a lot of strain on his family when Moore was growing up.

Moore explained that his legal name is William Moore, after his father, but has always gone by Dinty, the name of the Irish bartender from the popular comic strip Bringing Up Father from the early 20th century. All of his works were intimate, personal, yet relatable on a human level. I felt the selections he chose to read demonstrated his talent as a nonfiction writer.

After the reading, Moore was asked about the use of comedy in nonfiction: why it is a tool that writers are employing more and more in their writing, and what humor adds to the genre of nonfiction. This question was particularly thought provoking, however Moore answered the question with only a moment’s hesitation. To paraphrase: “humor is an important tool for writers because it allows them approach very difficult subjects. Both writers and audiences benefit from having humor disarm certain situations.”
dintymoorereading02Moore provided a good answer. As a nonfiction writer myself, it can be extremely hard to write about the difficult times in life, and using humor gives you some distance from the subject. Hearing Moore explain the nature of his work, and his use of humor, gave me tools to use in my own writing. For me, that is the point of the Creative Writing Reading Series.

Looking back at the different readings this semester, I have a clear picture of the lessons each author passed along. Every author has had different experiences, and each offers their own unique approach to writing. As a student I have found that observing these amazing artists and listening to their work has allowed me to learn from them, and use that knowledge to improve my writing both in academia and beyond.


Next reading in the Creative Writing Reading Series: MFA Students, University Center for the Arts, Museum, Thursday December 4th at 7:30 p.m.

Sponsors of the Reading Series include the English Department and Creative Writing Program at Colorado State University, Organization of Graduate Student Writers through ASCSU, Mike Liggett, Tae Nosaka, and the Poudre River Library District.

All events are free and open to the public. For additional information e-mail andrewnmangan@gmail.com. For a full listing of 2014-2015 Creative Writing Reading series events, please visit: http://english.colostate.edu/docs/reading-series-poster.pdf

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English Department Communications Internship: Spring 2015

Tim Mahoney

Tim Mahoney

It has been so much fun to work with Communications Intern Tim Mahoney this semester. He has done some really great work — endeavored to build community, grew the audience for department publications, shared lots of interesting ideas, is a good writer and so enthusiastic — but the semester is almost over and he’s graduating, so it’s time to find two new interns. Maybe one might be you?


English Department Communications Internship
Number of positions: 2
Internship term: Spring 2015 Semester, 15 weeks, January 20th – May 8th, 2015
Total credits: 2
Hours: 80 hours (40 per credit hour), approximately 5 per week
Stipend: $500
Application Deadline: Friday, November 21st by 12:00 p.m.

The English Department is looking for two engaged, self-motivated, responsible, creative, and enthusiastic CSU students, undergraduate or graduate, with good communication and writing skills to help tell the story of the English Department. The interns in this position will help facilitate communication and community with students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the English Department.

Interns will spend most of their time researching, interviewing, attending events, writing, and developing content — both for print and online. A major responsibility of this internship will be creating content for the department’s blog, https://englishcsu.wordpress.com/. Interns will work directly with the English department’s Communications Coordinator to meet departmental communication needs and complete various content development projects as assigned, including but not limited to creating profiles of people (alumni, faculty & staff, students), programs and projects; conducting interviews; providing event coverage (which would include attendance and photos, along with other modes of recording where relevant); and reporting departmental news and upcoming events.

For these internship positions, some prior reporting or blogging experience and/or education is preferred, as well as an understanding of principles for writing for the web and strong communication skills, both in person and in text. We also prefer applicants who are familiar with the English Department, its programs, people, and events – and who are willing to learn more. Content will be developed in various modes, and therefore skill with technologies such as sound recording and photography, as well as image and sound editing experience is preferred. We are also looking for interns with good people skills, the ability to participate in effective verbal and written exchanges, understanding that as they attend events and conduct interviews and such, they are acting as a “goodwill ambassador” for the department.

Applicants should email or hand deliver to the English Department main office the following: a cover letter, résumé, contact information for three references (phone and email), and three writing samples (plus multimedia samples, if applicable) by the application deadline to:

English Department
c/o Jill Salahub: Communications Coordinator
Jill.Salahub@colostate.edu
A105 Behavioral Sciences Bldg.
1773 Campus Delivery
Ft. Collins, CO 80523-1773

Humans of Eddy: Slamogadro

image credit: Slamogadro

image credit: Slamogadro

~From English Department Communications Intern Tim Mahoney

Take a stroll down the main plaza and you are to likely see many student advertisements written in chalk on the sides of the buildings. While many such advertisements have failed to capture my attention, earlier this semester while walking into the Clark Building I happened to notice in big pink lettering a promotion for a slam poetry competition known as “Slamogadro.”

I had never been to Slamogadro, a monthly slam poetry competition hosted by CSU English majors Chris Vanjonack, Summers Baker, Andrew Walker, and Kate McHargue, along with Lauren Funai, but with the end of my collegiate career in sight I decided to attend and hear the work of my fellow undergraduate English majors.

image credit: Slamogadro

October 26th Slamogadro event at Avo’s, image credit: Haley Grace Photography

Taking place on the last Sunday of each month, Slamogadro gives undergraduate students and writers in the Fort Collins community an outlet to showcase their poetry in a constructive and supportive environment. And while Slamogadro is essentially a competition with a “winner” being declared at the end, the main focus of the night was not on the judge’s scores but on supporting the different poets and their performances.

“It’s all about becoming a better writer,” said CSU English major and poetry judge Moonier Said. “Slamogadro is about connecting with people who will push you to better yourself and your writing.”

As undergraduates, the bulk of our writing practices often take place inside the classroom, but there are ways to extend those practices into the larger Fort Collins community. Slamogadro brings together students and community members who have a shared interest in poetry, and offers writers the opportunity to read their work in front of an audience.

It was a wonderful experience seeing so many authors read their work and I can’t recommend this event enough as an outlet for authors, as well as fans of poetry and the performing arts. Slamogadro takes place at Avogadro’s Number of Mason Street at 7:30p.m on the last Sunday of the month.

Bean Cycle, image by Tim Mahoney

Bean Cycle, image by Tim Mahoney

On a related note, there is also an open-mic slam poetry competition held on the first Friday of every month at the Bean Cycle in Old Town, hosted by Wolverine Farms Publishing. Both events are free and open to the public. I encourage everyone to attend these events and support CSU’s wonderful undergraduate writers.

Writer’s Harvest Reading: Sasha Steensen and Ira Sukrungruang

writersharvest

~From English Department Communications Intern Tim Mahoney

The Creative Writing Reading Series invited authors Sasha Steensen and Ira Sukrungruang to read selections of their latest work at the Writers’ Harvest Benefit on October 23rd. For this event attendants were asked to bring in canned non-perishable food items to donate to the Larimer County Food Bank. Those who donated food items were given the chance to win great prizes from local business who also donated their goods and services to benefit the local food bank. On top of some incredible prizes including gift baskets from Whole Foods Market and Snooze, the Writers’ Harvest Benefit gave students and members of the community the chance to hear some truly amazing works of literature.

The reading, which took place in the University Center for the Arts Museum, began with CSU’s own Sasha Steensen who read selections from her latest chapbook House of Deer. The poems from this collection were about family, her childhood, and where she grew up. The book has been described as “a lyric inquiry into a personal history of the back-to-the-land idealism of the 1970s, with its promises and failings, naturalism gone awry, and journeys into the worlds of addiction, recovery, and, ultimately, family.” All of the poems Steensen read were from her new work — all except for the last, a new poem she’d been working on that very day. Her language and close attention to detail demonstrate her skill as a poet and her mastery of the craft.

sasha

Ira Sukrungruang took the podium next, and read some of his latest nonfiction essays. Sukrungruang is the author of numerous collections of nonfiction, including his memoir Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy. Like Steensen, Sukrungruang demonstrated his skills in crafting nonfiction pieces that are both wildly entertaining and thought provoking. Each essay he read offered his audience a glimpse into his personal history growing up Buddhist in Chicago, but his careful and thoughtful writing made his experiences widely relatable.

ira

As a writer I find these readings are wonderful opportunities to hear exceptional authors read their work, which often helps me in my own writing. Seeing how successful writers craft their poems and essays is a learning experience that every writer at CSU should take advantage of. CSU’s Creative Writing Reading Series will continue to bring authors to campus and I encourage anyone interested in hearing great poetry and prose to attend. Hopefully writers will take from these readings a new piece of knowledge that will help make their writing more insightful, impactful, and beautiful.


Next reading in the Creative Writing Reading Series: Dinty Moore, University Center for the Arts, Museum, Thursday November 13th at 7:30 p.m.

Sponsors of the Reading Series include the English Department and Creative Writing Program at Colorado State University, Organization of Graduate Student Writers through ASCSU, Mike Liggett, Tae Nosaka, and the Poudre River Library District.

All events are free and open to the public. For additional information e-mail andrewnmangan@gmail.com. For a full listing of 2014-2015 Creative Writing Reading series events, please visit: http://english.colostate.edu/docs/reading-series-poster.pdf

Humans of Eddy: Joelle Hamilton

joelleThis past summer, senior English major Joelle Hamilton traveled to Mexico to map and write about the hiking trails that wind through the Sierra Madre mountain range. This might not sound like the typical kind of work an English major would find themselves doing, but Joelle found that her English studies greatly aided her during her time abroad. Joelle recently discussed her internship and her experiences working in Mexico with English Department Communications Intern Tim Mahoney.


What was the internship about?
My internship was a collaborative trail writing project in Southern Mexico. I produced eight descriptions of trails in the Sierra Madre Range to promote tourism in the area. The trails ranged in difficulty from a dramatically inclined mountain ascent through primary forest, to a mildly winding path through remarkable stands of Ficus and Mezcal.

That sounds incredibly interesting. How did you find this internship?
The internship didn’t exist before — I worked with the generous support of Eduardo Bone of the Center for Conservation Leadership at CSU and the Mexican NGO Pronatura to create my role.

Was this your first time working abroad?
This was both my first time working abroad and my first time traveling by myself. There were challenges, (a mighty bout with food poisoning jumps to mind) but there were also extreme joys: communicating in a new dialect of Spanish with coffee farmers, learning to ride a motorcycle, and working with incredible specialists in birding and mapping at Pronatura.

How did your English studies help you?
My English Literature studies proved a great asset when writing the actual narrations of the trails. I was able to give attention to things like varied sentence structure, intelligible grammar, and concise description — practices I have learned through earning my degree. Studying English also bolstered the communication skills I needed in the initial phases of planning both the internship and the final deliverable product.

Why is it important to study English and the humanities?
More largely, I think studying English Literature teaches us about stories and storytelling. Stories articulate the past and foresee the future, and storytelling exists in every part of the world. You are one yourself! As an English major working abroad, I began to see myself as a storyteller, a transmitter of spoken and written information in a larger, more global context. I brought this more expansive, impactful sense of myself back home.

Faculty Profile: Doug Cloud

Assistant Professor Doug Cloud, Composition Program Faculty: B.S. magna cum laude, Journalism, Ohio University. M.A. and Ph.D., Rhetoric, Carnegie Mellon University.

Professor Cloud teaches courses in rhetorical and composition theory, style, public writing, and argument. His research focuses on the rhetoric of social change, particularly the representation of marginalized group identities in public discourse. His current projects concern the use of identity categories in environmental discourse and the ways that language practices of marginalized groups are adapted and translated for new contexts. His work has appeared in Argumentation and Advocacy and Language in Society. He is a Founding Editor Emeritus at The Silver Tongue, a rhetoric and public affairs blog (www.silvertonguetimes.com).

dougcloudFaculty Profile: Doug Cloud
by Tim Mahoney

This semester, I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Doug Cloud, a new addition to the English Department, in his office in Ingersoll Hall, where many of the Liberal Arts faculty have moved while Eddy is being renovated. I am currently taking his Principles of Writing and Rhetoric course, and although I see him every Tuesday and Thursday, it was a nice change of pace to speak with him about his research and work.


What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Lev Grossman’s Magician series. They are kind of like a grown up Harry Potter, but that’s an oversimplification. I recently finished Vincent Bugliosi’s Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. That was one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read. I’m also reading Stephen King’s hard-boiled novel Mr. Mercedes, which is his first novel of the kind. After reading it, you will never look at ice cream trucks the same way.

Tell me about your education.

I earned my undergraduate degree in journalism from Ohio University. I really enjoyed studying journalism because I loved the process of tracking down facts and sources, and compiling everything into a piece of writing. Despite my love for the subject, I was unsure if I wanted to pursue journalism as a career. There is a stigma about journalists now, a certain distrust people have when meeting journalists. Luckily, I had a mentor in the English Department who suggested I give rhetoric and composition a try — he suggested Carnegie Mellon. I hadn’t been in the English Department as an undergrad, but took a creative writing course and loved it; it was fascinating to see how differently people approached writing. That experience definitely helped inspire me to earn my graduate degree, and Ph.D. in rhetoric and composition. I actually wasn’t sure that I wanted a Ph.D., but once I started as a graduate teacher at Carnegie Mellon, and got into the classroom setting, I knew teaching was for me.

What brought you to CSU?

This is a great school. Fort Collins is a friendly town, and people seem to like each other a lot here. Back in the East, people don’t like it if you slow them down or get in their way, but the people here are more relaxed.

What are you teaching?

Currently I am teaching E305-Principles of Writing and Rhetoric, and CO401-Writing and Style.


What is your favorite part about your job? If I’m to be one hundred percent honest, it’s talking and working with students. I know it sounds like the perfect answer, but it’s honestly what I enjoy the most.


What other work do you do besides teach at CSU?

There is a teaching, research, and service aspect of being a professor. Currently, I am researching the rhetoric of social change; looking at the ways in which certain marginalized groups use rhetoric to change public discourse. I have been working on an article for Argumentation and Advocacy analyzing the rhetorical techniques of the marriage equality debate. I specialize in the rhetoric of social change, so I’ve been looking back at Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and analyzing the changes in public discourse. Investigating past rhetorical issues is like looking at ice-core samples of public discourse.


Why do you think it is important to study English, or the Humanities for that matter? I think most of the problems facing humanity are not technical; that is, we don’t face many issues that we can’t find technological solutions to. Our weakness isn’t finding solutions to problems, but getting everyone to agree on a single, or set of solutions. We aren’t good at shared decision making because we live in a society where face to face communication is impractical; we can’t get everyone in a town hall meeting to agree on a course of action. It’s hard to solve the global issues facing humanity because we just don’t see the consequences of our shared decision making, which often have far reaching, but unforeseen implications. People are more alike than we are different, and by studying the humanities, we attempt to reconcile our values and our actions, and tackle the ideological problems of our society, and our world.

What is something that not everyone knows about you?

Well, I am a Lego enthusiast. I really like working on large, complicated builds. I’m an avid runner. And I can also insert a pop-culture reference into almost any situation.

dougcloud02

What’s the best advice you have ever received?

Someone once told me that “Life is about learning how to like people.” I really liked that and it has stuck with me.

Humans of Eddy: The Hall Monitor Herald

By Tim Mahoney

hallmonitorheraldprintThis week, rather than highlighting a single student, I had the opportunity to speak with the group of English majors responsible for publishing The Hall Monitor Herald, a student-led press, whose articles can be found in the Collegian on Fridays. Their work can also be found at thehallmonitorherald.com, and booklets of their work can be found on campus, being handed out by a man in a gorilla-suit as part of their “guerrilla marketing campaign.”

As a senior, I wish that I would have been involved in something like this earlier on in my collegiate career. The Hall Monitor Herald, and other writing communities like it, give students a chance to work with other English majors outside of class, and creates a community in which new writers can hone their skills and gain valuable experience. Any student interested in being a part of this publication can email them at thehallmonitorherald@gmail.com. They’re looking to bring new writers on as soon as possible.

______________________________________________________________________________

I first experienced The Hall Monitor Herald in the third floor restroom of Allison Hall, where copies had been taped to the walls. Then it was known as The Water Closet Weekly, and would appear intermittently throughout the semester, always in the same place: the restroom. Before the end of my first year, I moved across campus to Newsom Hall, where the sounds of perpetual construction could not disturb me, leaving behind the mysterious Water Closet Weekly and the talented group of writers whose quick wit and eye for comedy made it all possible.

Flash forward to last semester, the spring of 2014. I left Eddy Hall (back when it was more than a shell of building) and was headed to my next class when I was stopped by a man in a gorilla suit handing me a pamphlet. As a general rule, I do not take things people try to hand me while on campus, but then again those people are not usually dressed as gorillas. I took the small booklet and continued on my way, unaware that that I had discovered something truly special. That night I read the entire booklet cover-to-cover, only pausing to wipe away my tears of laughter and catch my breath. Still, I had no idea who the gorilla-man was, or the true value of the booklet in my hand.

Gorilla Marketing: Chris Vanjonack

Gorilla Marketing: Chris Vanjonack

It wasn’t until I met English major Chris Vanjonack, one of the minds behind The Hall Monitor Herald, that I was able to learn more about this amazing community of writers. Chris had this to say:

We started in Allison Hall the spring semester of our freshman year. Niles Hachmeister, one of our writers, and I had been kicking around the idea of writing something together. One day he knocked on my door and said, “I have this crazy idea: what if we started putting work up in the bathroom stalls where everyone has to read it.”

So we got a couple other friends from our hall including Patrick Hoehne, an incredibly funny person, who still writes for the Hall Monitor Herald, and eventually we settled on writing a weekly bathroom newsletter that we called The Water Closet Weekly. We’d tape them up in the stalls in the dead of night on Tuesdays, making sure no one (especially the RAs) would catch us doing it. For the first few months, no one living in Allison Hall had any idea it was us, so it had a really cool, anonymous vibe to it. We had to keep switching up the nights we’d distribute it because a few hallways were literally staking out the bathrooms to try and figure out who was putting them up.

We were finally caught one night and were almost written up for it, until we agreed to tone down the bathroom humor. That’s how we started moving into broader, satirical articles about CSU.

From there we started a partnership with ASCSU — who to our tremendous surprise were really excited, enthusiastic, and supportive about the work we were doing. I can’t say enough about the support they show for student organizations.

Our sophomore year they bought us monthly ad space in College Avenue to run articles. Nobody knew who we were back then. We didn’t know how to promote ourselves, and we were distributing it in coffee shops and bookstores around Old Town, in a really kind of desperate hope that it would take off somehow.

Our junior year, ASCSU made a deal with us that they’d print a full booklet of our work, and pack it in with the dining hall newspapers once a semester. That got the attention of The Collegian, and now we have a column that runs every other Friday, in addition to the once-a-semester-booklet. So really this whole time it’s just been a weird passion project for us that has inexplicably gotten off the ground. We like to call it: a rags-to-slightly-nicer-rags-story. Our humor is considerably better crafted than it was when we started, but the thrill of it has never worn off. It still feels like we’re getting away with something.

One word on the name – we held onto the name The Water Closet Weekly until last spring, when we found out that we had accidentally stolen the name from another, now-defunct DIY news parody. The guy behind it started calling ASCSU, The Collegian, and CSU Legal threatening to sue us. It was crazy. So, under threat of violating someone’s intellectual property rights, we folded and changed our name to The Hall Monitor Herald. We were bummed about the name change, but it really reinvigorated us. The whole sequence of events was so absurd that it sounds like one of our articles.

It’s been a ride. This whole experience has been inexplicable, and has led to so many weird adventures. Once, in the dorms, we were chased by a mob of people when we were caught taping copies up in their bathroom. Having legal action threatened against us was certainly interesting.

It’s all great though. I love meeting up with these weird, funny people once a week. I love staying up until four in the morning trying to hit our content deadline for the booklets. I think we’re all better writers because of it. We all have a good idea of the publishing process. If you’re interested in comedy writing, it’s a great thing to be involved with right now.

Meeting a deadline. From left to right: Andrew Walker, Patrick Hoehne, Niles Hachmeister

Meeting a deadline. From left to right: Andrew Walker, Patrick Hoehne, Niles Hachmeister

It’s a great group. There’s four of us writing it at the moment: Niles Hachmeister, Patrick Hoehne, Andrew Walker, and myself. We’re looking for new writers this year because three of us are graduating and we want it to continue after we’re gone. If there was something like this to join our first day freshman year, we absolutely would have, and we don’t think we’re alone in that. So long story short: The Hall Monitor-Herald is hiring. Please apply.