Wednesday, February 23, 2011


As part of the BSU-Alabama student exchange, four Alabama undergrads and faculty member, Brian Oliu, visited our campus for the last few days. Their visit was capped by a reading last night. All four students are really nice people. Brian is a nice guy, too. BUT MAN HE IS ALSO A STELLAR LYRIC ESSAYIST.

He read two from his missed connections series and three from his Nintendo video game series. The first missed connection one was from the gym, and holy cow, talk about ringing bells. I love the way those pieces stretch and fold within themselves, wrapping emotional talk around some tight images. Just a pleasure to listen to.

Speaking of ringing bells, he read his Nintendo essay about Punch Out!. Talk about a hard-hitter: WOAH OH JOKE OH. But really, the morphing this essay does within the theme set out by the title and situation is incredible. The words flexing themselves into strong sentences, meshing and mushing with other sweet sentences, and at the end, I truly just went "OH."

It was a pleasure to be able to talk to these people, finally meet Brian (who was one of my early Vouches), to hear about a different awesome CW school, to hear them read, and to spend some time afterwards getting to know other human beings. I'm truly looking forward to heading down there at the end of March, reading at the Slash Pine Poetry Festival (which these cool people are putting together), and seeing some CW life outside of Muncie.


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