BGSU Creative Writing Program

Lawrence Coates cultivates a sense of place in his fiction

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News In his lecture “Temporary Landscape: Literature of Place,” novelist Lawrence Coates made an observation that to the young writers in the audience may have seemed like a challenge: no great novel of place has been written about Toledo or its environs. Ohioan Sherwood Anderson posited the metaphor that each place is a brick in the wall that is America. And each brick, whether it is William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County or Anderson’s own Winesburg, Ohio, modeled after Clyde, is needed to make that wall complete. This is according to Susan Straight’s map and essay “The American Experience in 737 Novels.” Coates, who teaches in Bowling Green State University’s Creative Writing program, has worked on adding his own brick to the wall. The native of northern California has focused on the Santa Clara Valley, now known as Silicon Valley. Before that it was known by other more fanciful names – The Glorious Garden Without Walls, The Valley of the Heart’s Delight, The Poor Man’s Paradise, and The Garden of the World. The last name Coates plucked for the title of his novel about winemaking in the 1920s. In his Spotlight in the Arts lecture, Coates focused on his first novel, “The Blossom Festival” and his most recent “The Goodbye House.” He opened his talk with a passage from “The Blossom Festival.” Boys are playing on the site of what was a railroad yard. All they know is that it’s a place to play, not that it was once an orchard, or a place the Spaniards grazed cattle, or friars raised grapes, or a seed meadow for the native Ohlone people. The Blossom Festival of the title was started by the preacher Sunshine Williams to celebrate the flowering of the valley’s million fruit trees. The event had parades, concerts, all you’d want for a civic celebration, including speeches. Coates said to research the novel set between the World Wars, he read, on microfilm, all the coverage of the festival by local newspapers. A speech delivered by politician James Phelan caught his attention.  At the time, Phelan was considered a progressive and a reformer who as mayor had broken up the corrupt political machine in San Francisco. His speech wrenched the author from any sense of unmitigated nostalgia. Phelan, who ended his career in the U.S. Senate, was vehemently racist, especially against the Japanese. His campaign slogan was Keep California White. The fiction of place that Coates both practices and celebrates is more than sentimental regionalism. The fiction of place deals with both the visible landscape, what is seen and the invisible landscape of communal associations, Coates said, citing the work of Kentucky writer Wendell Berry. The fiction of place, Coates said, must take into account the economic underpinnings of a place. The ecological roots – “Do they know where their water comes from?” It must also consider the gender norms and racial dimensions. “The Goodbye House” is set in the same place that has become a very different place. The Blossom Festival was not revived after World War II. The orchards rapidly gave way to suburban tract development. That development, spurred on by the GI Bill, had distinct racial overtones. Areas were graded based on their credit worthiness. Some areas were redlined as unworthy of credit, including…


BGSU arts events through Nov. 16

Through Nov. 21 – “The Deathworks of May Elizabeth Kramer,” a mixed media installation by The Poyais Group, continues through Nov. 21 in the Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery in the Fine Arts Center. The exhibit is a purported recreation by the Poyais Group of outsider artist Kranmer’s (1867-1977) private lifework, a tent version of the town where she lived, with each tent representing someone who had died. Discovered by a team of anthropologists after her death but then lost in a fire, the installation was remade by the Poyais Group (Jesse Ball, Thordis Bjornsdottir, Olivia Robinson and Jesse Stiles) based on notes by one of the original anthropologists. Gallery Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Through Nov. 22 – “Criminal Justice?” an exhibit by activist artists Carol Jacobson and Andrea Bowers, investigates the attitudes and biases embedded in the U.S. criminal justice system. Jacobson is an award-winning social documentary artist whose works in video and photography address issues of women’s criminalization and censorship. See story: http://bgindependentmedia.org/artist-documents-the-cycle-of-abuse-suffered-by-female-inmates/. Bowers’ video “#sweetjane” and drawings explore the 2012 Steubenville, Ohio rape case and the citizens whose activism resulted in two rape convictions. The drawings reproduce the text messages sent among the teenage witnesses to the assault on an underage young woman. “Criminal Justice?” is on view in the Willard Wankelman Gallery at the Fine Arts Center. Gallery Hours are 11 a.m. – 4p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Nov. 2 – The Faculty Artist Series features the BGSU woodwind faculty in an 8 p.m.performance in Bryan Recital Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Nov. 3 – The International Film Series continues with the 2015 film “Le Dernier Loup (Wolf Totem),” directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. Life is tenuous for humans and animals in the wonderfully filmed Mongolian steppe. The story presents a stark view of the region 50 years ago, during China’s Cultural Revolution, focusing on Beijing student who goes to live among nomadic herdsmen in 1967. The modern world imperils the ecosystem form the south, while wolves, who hold spiritual meaning for the indigenous people, threaten from the North. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. Free Nov. 3-5 – The 16th annual Winter Wheat festival of writing celebrates writers and readers alike. Created in 2001 and produced by the Mid-American Review on the BGSU campus, the event will host writing workshops, question-and-answer sessions with authors, a book fair of literary journals and presses and an open mic opportunity. Most events will be located in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. Winter Wheat is open to the public. A donation is suggested, but events are free for all participants. Nov. 4 – The Bowling Green Opera Theater presents Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Gondoliers.” This classic opera marks the 12th comic opera collaboration of Gilbert and Sullivan. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased from the BGSU Arts Box Office at 419-372-8171 or visit www.bgsu.edu/arts. Advance tickets are $15 and $5 for students and children. All tickets the day of the performance are $20. Nov. 4 – An Elsewhere production of “Two Rooms” will begin at 8 p.m. in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre at the Wolfe Center for…


BGSU Lively Arts Calendar, Sept. 28 – Oct. 12

From BGSU Office of Marketing & Communications  At the Galleries –“Face It: Reimagining Contemporary Portraits” continues in the Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery in the Fine Arts Center. “Face It” explores an expanded definition of photographic portraiture. Curated by BGSU art faculty Lynn Whitney and Andrew Hershberger and BGSU Galleries Director Jacqueline Nathan, the exhibit features photos by 27 renowned artists. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays. Free. Sept. 29 – Award-winning author and book critic John Freeman will read from his works as a part of the Visiting Writer Series. The reading will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Sept. 29 – TheInternational Film Series continues with “Abrazos (Embraces),” directed by Luis Argueta. A group of children travel from Minnesota to Guatemala to meet their grandparents for the first time. The film documents their pilgrimage, exploring family, heritage and immigration. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater located in Hanna Hall. Free Sept. 29 – BGSU composition students will present their works at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Sept. 30 – TheBGSU Wind Symphony will be in concert at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. On the program are “Skating on the Sheyenne,” by Ross Lee Finney; “Et Exspecto Resurrectionem Mortuorum,” by Olivier Messiaen, and “First Symphony for Band” by William Bolcom. Advance tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for students. All tickets the day of the concert are $10. Tickets can be purchased from the BGSU Arts Box Office at 419-372-8171 or visit www.bgsu.edu/arts. Sept. 30, Oct. 1 &2 – Elsewhere performances continue with “boom,” written by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and directed by Katelyn Carle. All performances will begin at 8 p.m. in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Free Oct. 2 – The University and Concert Bands will perform a joint concert, featuring works by Ticheli, Bernstein, Grainger, Sousa and more. The performance begins at 3 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Advance tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for students. All tickets the day of the concert are $10. Tickets can be purchased from the BGSU Arts Box Office at 419-372-8171 or visit www.bgsu.edu/arts Oct. 2 – Pianist Thomas Rosenkranz and violinist Maria Sampen will present a recital at 3 p.m. at the Toledo Museum of Art, 2445 Monroe St., in Toledo. Free Oct. 2 – A master class with violinist Hal Grossman will take place at 3 p.m. in the Choral Rehearsal Hall located in the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Oct. 2 – The Guest Artist Series features violinist Hall Grossman in performance at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Oct. 4 – Tuesdays at the Gish present “Cineposium!” The evening features short films created in courses and independent study projects. Screenings of film majors’ individual and group projects will be accompanied by question-and-answer periods with the filmmakers, the audience and members of the film faculty. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater in Hanna Hall. Free Oct. 4 – The Semiosis String Quartet will perform as…


Wendell Mayo brings his “lonely ones” into the spotlight

By DAVIDDUPONT BG Independent News Writing stories can be a lonely job. Maybe that’s why fiction writers populate their stories with so many lonely souls. So when award-winning fiction writer Wendell Mayo took the stage last week in what was billed as the first in the Spotlight on the Arts series, his theme was All My Lonely Ones. But as a professor in the Bowling Green State University Creative Writing Program, he’s certainly not alone in his pursuit. Eschewing the usual introduction, he spent the first few minutes of his presentation singing the praises of BGSU Creative Writing Program. And as a former engineer, he did it with a string of numbers including 415 books published by graduates of the program and 226 awards bestowed on their work. And that includes the big one, a Pulitzer Prize in fiction, for Anthony Doerr. The program’s importance, though, is unquantifiable. “What we do here is bring authors from all over the world out of isolation,” he said. Together they share insights and learn the craft of writing.  Mayo said he started writing in the 1980s when he was living in the San Francisco and commuting by train to his job as a chemical engineer. There surrounded by people, his first lonely ones first stepped out onto the page. Mayo then presented four examples of his own craft. “I introduce you to some of my lonely ones.” Mayo offered a few words telling how each story came about, each a fictional elaboration on a real world situation, an example of how germ of inspiration from daily life can be spun into a fictional construct. Then he stepped aside as the stories were read by either F. Daniel Rzicznek or Jackie Cummins. The first story, from early in Mayo’s career, grew out of a mystery about his mother. When his father died, she started signing checks including “Soledad” as part of her name. The checks bounced. He wondered where the name came from. In the story, it is the character’s mother who had died, and the narrator goes to Texas to discover the meaning of the name, Soledad. The second tale grew out of a tragedy, though the story itself has comic moments and only hints at tragedy. While teaching Indiana Purdue University, Fort Wayne, a colleague told Mayo about a woman who had written something troubling in a paper. He was afraid she was the victim of domestic abuse. The teacher arranged to meet with her hoping to broach the subject, but before the meeting she was beaten to death by her spouse. Out of this grew a story about a “scream queen,” a young man who dresses as the heroine a reenactment of the climatic scene in “Creature from the Black Lagoon.” Touched when he realizes one of those in the wealthy audience has been beaten, his scream is far too real, far too terrifying. The third tale grew out of Mayo’s stint teaching in Lithuania after the Iron Curtain had collapsed. Despite the new freedoms, the remnants of state control remained as people struggled with the new realities. In the story, this ends up resulting in a horrifying “massage” for an American visitor. The final story, one he later said is part of a collection now making the rounds of publishers,…


Fiction writer Wendell Mayo “All My Lonely Ones” to initiate Spotlight on the Arts, Thursday, Sept. 1

From BG MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Dr. Wendell Mayo, prize-winning author and Fulbright Scholar, has lived two lives, the first as a chemical engineer, the second as a writer and BGSU faculty member. Mayo, a professor of English and creative writing, is the featured speaker for the University’s Spotlight on the Arts event Sept. 1. His presentation, titled “All My Lonely Ones: The Short Fiction of Wendell Mayo,” will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre at The Wolfe Center for the Arts. The event is also part of the Creative Writing Program’s fall reading series. Mayo started as a chemical engineer at the behest of his father, a nuclear physicist. His mother continually encouraged him to “dream big” and use his imagination. “My mother, the whole time, encouraged anything that had to do with creativity in me. She would read all my writing, tell me, ‘Don’t listen to your father, someday you’ll be an artist.’ She thought I’d be a painter, or a lawyer.” Mayo started writing seriously around 1982 while working for Standard Oil, now BP, in San Francisco. He enrolled in the Vermont College of Fine Arts Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts program, continuing to work for BP at the Lima, Ohio, refinery until he earned his M.F.A. in 1988. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in writing from Ohio University, took a job teaching at Indiana Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and then relocated to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He came to BGSU in 1996. Though he wrote poetry throughout junior and senior high school, he now focuses solely on fiction. “Distances,” the first story he had published in the Houston magazine Touchstone, ruminates on distance and alienation, things he felt living so far from home and siblings. The second story, “Apple Orchard,” published in Wind Magazine, was about “the truth in the moment.” “For me, it seemed like I understood life, or I understood how I make sense of my world, in terms of important moments instead of in a longer narrative arc. For me, short stories are about these important moments that have larger significance to them. So in that sense I’m not a traditional novelist.” Though Mayo had published numerous stories before arriving at BGSU, “it took me eight years to bring out my first book.” He explained that a good chunk of his time is spent figuring out which short stories belong together in a collection. His pains were well-rewarded: his story collection, “Centaur of the North,” garnered the Premio Aztlán Prize and “The Cucumber King of Kedainiai” won the 2012 Subito Press Award for Innovative Fiction. Mayo also received the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Creative Writing in 2000 and a 2001 Fulbright, which he used to travel to Lithuania for the second time after working as a teacher there in the early 1990s. Mayo is constantly writing. “Books are always in progress,” he said. He frequently presents at writing conferences, public libraries and the Toledo School for the Arts. He occasionally organizes workshops in the community or at BGSU’s Winter Wheat Festival of Writing. Joining Mayo to assist with some of the readings during the Spotlight on the Arts will be Jackie Cummins and F. Daniel Rzicznek. Cummins is a graduate…


BGSU faculty among Ohio arts award winners

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Three members of the Bowling Green State University faculty have received $5,000 Ohio Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council. The awards are recognition by the artists’ peers for a body of work. Among this year’s recipients are writers Theresa Williams and Lawrence Coates, both of whom teach in the Creative Writing program, and composer Mikel Kuehn, of the College of Musical Arts. Coates, who has received recognition for his novels set in his native northern California, said it was good to receive recognition from Ohio, where he has lived and taught for 15 years. While his novels are most often set in the past and focus on the history of California, his stories often have Ohio locales. One, “Bats,” a piece of flash fiction, won the 2013 Barthelme Award. “People really seem to like the stories I set in Ohio,” he said. He included a few of those in his application. Still “when I write novels I tend to go back to where I feel home is,” he said. “As a teacher as well as a writer I hope to inspire my students to write great fiction set in Ohio,” he said “I hope my students take on that work.” Coates said he plans to use some of the grant to finance the research on forthcoming projects, including a novel set in the years after the Gold Rush. He has to travel to archives to find some of the material he needs. “Not everything is on the internet,” he said. Williams said she will spend her grant on needs closer at hand – both her computer and phone need to be upgraded. The 10-year-old computer, she noted, still has an XP operating system, and she uses the phone as part of her writing process. Williams said she is in the midst of writing a graphic novel and is “in sore need of art supplies.” Williams has developed and is teaching a workshop on the graphic novel at BGSU. “The graphic novel is opening up doors of my imagination that have never been open before,” she said. She doesn’t expect the novel to be finished at least for two years. It is a blend of the real and supernatural, with ghosts and preachers involved. As a writer, Williams, who has her MFA in Writing from BGSU, has published a novel and numerous short stories. For the award she submitted two stories, “The Full 88,” which has been published in Sun Magazine, and “21 Songs for Ryokan,” which “I’m still trying to place.” Both “are about dealing with the death of a spouse,” Williams said. “Having been married 46 years, you begin to think about what life would be like, and the fear surrounding that.” This is her second Ohio Excellence Award. Kuehn has won twice before. “I think it’s really fantastic that Ohio has such a strong arts council,” he said. That’s not the case in many other states. The grant money, he said, can have “quite an impact,” especially since it can be used “without stipulations” as long as the money supports the recipient’s work. He’ll use some of the money to travel back to New York to do the final mixing on a CD of his work. An earlier grant also has…


Lawrence Coates’ historical fiction earns top BGSU research award

By BGSU Office of Marketing & Communications Reading Dr. Lawrence Coates’ fiction is to be immersed in another era, from the California of the first settlers to its vineyards during Prohibition and even the first dot-com bust of the 1990s. Coates achieves this resonance in part through assiduous research, making sure that all the subtle details render the sights, sounds, landscape and tenor of the times against which his stories are set. His achievements were recognized with the 2016 Olscamp Research Award, presented to him at the annual Faculty Excellence Awards on April 14. Given annually by the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research to a faculty member for outstanding scholarly or creative accomplishments during the previous three years, the award includes a $2,000 cash prize and a reserved parking spot for a year. Coates, a professor and chair of the English department, has received recognition for his work almost from the beginning. His first novel, “The Blossom Festival,” was chosen by Barnes and Noble for its 1999 Discover Great New Writers program, and he has continued to win kudos and awards ever since on both the regional and national scales. He has been the recipient of the Western States Book Award in fiction and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in fiction. “For the last 20 years, I have written fiction set in California that explores and interrogates the interrelationship of space and human desire,” he said. The last three years have been especially prolific for him. He has published two novels and a novella and a number of short stories in literary journals. In 2013, his novel “The Garden of the World” won the Nancy Dasher Award in Creative Writing from the College English Association of Ohio. His novella “Camp Olvido” won the 2015 Miami University Press Novella Prize and was chosen as one of the top three novellas of the year. And his short story “Bats,” a departure from his California-based work, won the prestigious 2013 Barthelme Prize for Short Prose, given by Gulf Coast literary journal. His latest novel, also published in 2015, is “The Goodbye House,” published by University of Nevada Press, chronicling the displacement and dismay of a San José family set adrift when their prosperous life is shattered by the dot-com bust and 9/11. “Camp Olvido” concerns people for whom prosperity has never come. As migrant farmworkers in a Central Valley workers’ camp, they are at the mercy of their employers when a child becomes deathly ill. His award-winning short story “Bats,” a 500-word, incantatory meditation on the handbags of women in northwest Ohio, was selected for the Barthelme Prize by judge Robert Coover, an American author and professor in the literary arts program at Brown University whose work has appeared in the New Yorker. Coates has given readings from his work across the country and been interviewed several times on National Public Radio programs in California. He serves as a reviewer and judge for numerous literary journals and competitions. From 2011-13, he was director of the Creative Writing Program at BGSU, where he has taught since 2001. Before he began his academic career, he served in the U.S. Coast Guard and as a Merchant Marine.


BGSU Lively Arts Calendar, April 7–20

April 7­—“More Than War and Wine: Anxiety and Relief in Antiquity” is an exhibition by BGSU graphic design students of Todd Childers and graduate-level art history students of Dr. Sean Leatherbury in collaboration with the Toledo Museum of Art. The students will present an “Object Talk” about the artifacts, exploring the anxieties that may have influenced the creation of ancient works of art. The talk will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery lobby in the Fine Arts Center followed by a reception at 4:30 p.m. The exhibition remains on display through April 15. Free April 7—The College of Musical Arts’ Guitar Ensemble will perform at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free April 7—The Visiting Writer Series features prize-winning writer Amy Gustine. Her short fiction has appeared in The Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal, The Kenyon Review and The Wisconsin Review, among others. Gustine’s book, “Pity Us Instead,” was released in February and has appeared on numerous featured lists including Publisher’s Weekly and The Millions. Her reading will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free April 7—The International Film Series concludes with the 2013 Chinese film “Bei Jing yu shang Xi Ya Tu (Finding Mr. Right).” A city girl travels to Seattle to give birth to a child who will help her win a rich, married boyfriend. When she arrives in Seattle, nothing goes right; she’s stuck sharing a small house with two other pregnant women, she has trouble reaching her boyfriend on the phone and eventually, even his credit card stops working. The only person willing to spend time with her is a man who is the opposite of all she ever wanted … or maybe exactly whom she needs. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater in Hanna Hall. Free April 8—The College of Musical Arts’ University Choral Society will give a performance in Kobacker Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center at 8 p.m. Advance tickets are $3 for students and children, $7 for adults. All tickets the day of the performance are $10. Music majors have free admission with ID. To purchase online, visit bgsu.edu/arts, or call the box office at 419-372-8171. April 9—The School of Art presents a Graphic Design Portfolio Review Day, featuring keynote lecturer Tyler Deal, a graphic designer and printmaker from Chicago who runs Idiot Pull, an online print shop and digital laboratory. The event begins at 10 a.m. in the Fine Arts Center. Free April 9—The College of Musical Arts presents the High School Honors Men’s and Women’s Chorus Clinic Concert. The performance begins at 4 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free April 9—BGSU vocal students will compete in the final round of the Conrad Art Song Competition. The event begins at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free April 9-17—The MFA Thesis Exhibition will open at 8 a.m. April 9 and conclude at 5 p.m. April 17. The exhibitions will take place in the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman galleries at the Fine Arts Center. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays. Free April 10—The Sunday Matinee Series…


BGSU Lively Arts calendar through April 13

Through April 3—The BFA Senior Thesis Exhibition continues in the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman galleries at BGSU’s Fine Arts Center, and will run through April 3. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays. Free March 30—The Guest Artists series continues with pianists Gulimina Mahamuti and Frank Chiou. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free March 31—The College of Musical Arts presents a Student Composers Forum, beginning at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free March 31—The International Film Series continues with the 2014 Russian film ”Leviafan (Leviathan).” Director Andrei Zviagintsev has defended his film as an eternal story against those who saw in it pointed criticism of Russian society. The film follows a family living in a small coastal town in the Murmansk region who confront the mayor, who is trying to take their land and small business. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater located in Hanna Hall. Free April 2—Bravo! BGSU, a black-tie optional gala, showcases the best of BGSU arts students and faculty. Performances, exhibits, readings and other activities take place throughout the Wolfe Center for the Arts from 7- 10 p.m. Sponsored by PNC, the even raises funds for arts student scholarships. Tickets are $100 per person and are available by contacting the Office of the President at 419-372-6780 or by emailing lmattia@bgsu.edu. For more information, visit bgsu.edu/bravo. April 3—The Sunday Matinee Series continues with “Soundies, Snaders, and Scopitones (1942-67),” a compilation of popular music promotional films that were played on visual jukeboxes and early television from the late 1930s until the early 1970s. Take a tour of the technology, media and culture of these little-known treasures of jazz, rhythm and blues, country and Western, and rock and roll history. The screening begins at 3 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater located in Hanna Hall. Free April 3—Winners of the 10th annual Doug Wayland Chamber Music Competition will perform at 3 p.m. in the Great Gallery of the Toledo Museum of Art, located at 2445 Monroe St., Toledo. Free April 3—The BGSU Men’s Chorus will present a joint concert with guest ensemble Measure for Measure. The performance begins at 7 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free April 4—The Guest Artist Series continues with acclaimed pianist Paul Barnes. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free April 5—College of Musical Arts vocal students of Myra Merritt will perform at 7:30 p.m. at the Manor House in Wildwood Metropark, 5100 W. Central Ave., Toledo. Free April 5—The College of Musical Arts’ Early Music Ensemble will give a free performance at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. April 6—The College of Musical Art’s Trumpet Ensemble will perform at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free April 7 – The College of Musical Arts’ Guitar Ensemble will perform at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free April 7– The Visiting Writer Series features prize-winning writer Amy Gustine. Her short fiction has…


Karen Osborn is a novelist and poet, despite – or perhaps because of – growing up among scientists

By FRANCES BRENT Karen L. Osborn, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Writing at BGSU addressed a young audience gathered on the worn pews of venerable Prout Chapel about her creative “Life on Mars.” The haircuts, hair colors and head coverings were varied, as befits a gathering of the artistic young. It was a comfortable audience for Osborn whose novels explore the difficulties of being young, not in isolation, but rather as part of the continuum of life. (The audience had its mature component too.) The evening was a meditation on the craft of creative writing, with learned and meaningful references to Chekhov, Virginia Woolf, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Frost and Walt Whitman. Interesting, insightful, intellectual and all tied to the Niagara River banks where she grew up – tuned to a dramatic natural environment and within a family that wanted to explain it. The depth, heart of Osborn’s writer’s craft developed as she grew up a “space child” surrounded by a scientific family that didactically and enthusiastically quantified and categorized everything. All this science was the other half – the balance of her creative world. This grounding in the observed world was a platform for her to start wondering about the unseen, to be curious about what could not be explained about human behavior. She is not afraid to explore the Chinese Boxes of the human heart – to follow one unanswerable question to the next as plot and characters develop. “Curiosity, vision and courage,” are required in her view. Karen Osborn, author of four published novels of great individuality, is a successful professional writer. She has the requisite list of foundation grants, awards, small magazine publications, and artists in residence postings that keep writers going. “Patchwork” was named a New York Times notable book. The recent “Centerville” was the fiction choice of The Independent Publishers Books. Osborn describes “Centerville” as a cyclone. The human effect and transformations that circle out from the core explosion of a bomb left by a vengeful husband in a small town drugstore are part of the shockwave. All seems idyllic on a hot summer day in the still innocent sixties. There is a blast and the innocent are dead. It is the living that are left wounded, with lives, selves, understandings, families, friendships, assumptions and status exploded into new patterns. The prose moves with an underlying driving, but subtle, rhythm. The reader suddenly realizes a breathless feeling. Osborn admits to being influenced by the King James Bible of her youth, the river sounds she grew up with and her recent reading of Martin Luther King Jr. sermons. The core questions of who is this man, named George Fowler, and how could he do such a thing as make and explode a bomb are never really answered. The interest is in the collateral damage. A popular minister, happy in every way, realizes he is a hollow man. A teenager comes to terms with more than her father’s death. The perfect housewife is forced into introspection and a wonderfully creative coping mechanism. A policeman, in all ways dutiful, realizes he has lost touch with his humanity. Through all the stories Osborn has a fine ear for dialogue, the rhythm of family life, the pace of a small town summer. Here, as in the earlier “Between Earth and…


BGSU Lively Arts Calendar, through April 6

Through April 3—The BFA Senior Thesis Exhibition continues in the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman galleries at BGSU’s Fine Arts Center, and will run through April 3. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays. Free March 29—Viola students of Matthew Daline will perform at the Manor House located at Wildwood Metropark, 5100 W. Central Ave., Toledo. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Free March 29 —Tuesdays at the Gish series ends this semester with “Girl, Interrupted” (1999). Director James Mangold’s film follows young Susanna, who gets checked into a psychiatric hospital, where she begins to find herself among new friends and enemies. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater located in Hanna Hall. Free March 29—College of Musical Arts students of tuba and euphonium will perform under the direction of David Saltzmann. The recital begins at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free March 30—The Guest Artists series continues with pianists Gulimina Mahamuti and Frank Chiou. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free March 31—The College of Musical Arts presents a Student Composers Forum, beginning at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free March 31—The International Film Series continues with the 2014 Russian film ”Leviafan (Leviathan).” Director Andrei Zviagintsev has defended his film as an eternal story against those who saw in it pointed criticism of Russian society. The film follows a family living in a small coastal town in the Murmansk region who confront the mayor, who is trying to take their land and small business. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater located in Hanna Hall. Free April 2—Bravo! BGSU, a black-tie optional gala, showcases the best of BGSU arts students and faculty. Performances, exhibits, readings and other activities take place throughout the Wolfe Center for the Arts from 7- 10 p.m. Sponsored by PNC, the event raises funds for arts student scholarships. Tickets are $100 per person and are available by contacting the Office of the President at 419-372-6780 or by emailing lmattia@bgsu.edu. For more information, visit bgsu.edu/bravo. April 3—The Sunday Matinee Series continues with “Soundies, Snaders, and Scopitones (1942-67),” a compilation of popular music promotional films that were played on visual jukeboxes and early television from the late 1930s until the early 1970s. Take a tour of the technology, media and culture of these little-known treasures of jazz, rhythm and blues, country and Western, and rock and roll history. The screening begins at 3 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater located in Hanna Hall. Free April 3—Winners of the 10th annual Doug Wayland Chamber Music Competition will perform at 3 p.m. in the Great Gallery of the Toledo Museum of Art, located at 2445 Monroe St., Toledo. Free April 3—The BGSU Men’s Chorus will present a joint concert with guest ensemble Measure for Measure. The performance begins at 7 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free April 4—The Guest Artist Series continues with acclaimed pianist Paul Barnes. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free April 5—College…


BGSU Lively Arts Calendar, Feb. 24 – Mar. 9

Feb. 24—The College of Musical Arts presents its Faculty Scholar Series at 8 p.m. in the Bryan Recital Hall of Moore Musical Arts Center. Dr. Eftychia Papanikolaou, associate professor of musicology, will present “What Did the Ballerina Hear? The Unheard Music of Degas’s Paintings.” Dr. Ryan Ebright, a visiting instructor of musicology, will present “Operative Entrepreneurship and Iconoclasm in Steve Reich’s ‘The Cave.’” Free Feb. 25—The International Film Series continues with “La teta asustada” (The Milk of Sorrow)(2009) at the Gish Theater and Gallery. Director Claudia Llosa focuses on a grim period of South American history, 1980-2000, which left 70,000 people dead. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. Free Feb. 26—BGSU’s Opera Theatre performs Pietro Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana.” The show begins at 8 p.m. in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. An additional performance will be on February 28 at 3 p.m. Advance tickets are $5 for students and children and $15 for adults. All tickets are $20 on the day of the performance. Feb. 27—The Rhythm Project presents a tap dance concert featuring dance majors, minors and alumni from BGSU and children from The Beat Dance Company. Performances are at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., 222 Eppler North. Tickets, $5 at the door, are available one hour prior to show time. Contact Colleen Murphy at cmurphy@bgsu.edu for additional information. Feb. 29—The College of Musical Arts presents Music at the Forefront: “Bearthoven.” The performance will be at the Clazel Theater located at 127 N. Main St., Bowling Green at 8 p.m. Free Mar. 1—Tuesdays at the Gish continues with“Love and Basketball” (2000), directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood. The film follows Monica and Quincy through middle school, high school, college and into their basketball careers as they take on their individual quests as well as their evolving relationship. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater and Gallery, Hanna Hall. Free Mar. 1—Doctor of Musical Arts students of The College of Musical Arts will perform. The recital will be in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center at 8 p.m. Free Mar. 2—Isabelle Huang Streng, adjunct assistant professor of percussion, will present the next performance in the Faculty Artist Series. She is a member of Primary Colors Trio and Jazoe Duo. The recital begins at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Mar. 3—The Visiting Writer Series features BGSU graduate and award-winning writer George Looney, author of “Animals Housed in the Pleasure of Flesh,” “The Precarious Rhetoric of Angels,” “Open Between Us” and “Structures the Wind Sings Through.” The reading begins at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Mar. 3—Students of the College of Musical Arts will perform as a part of the Small Ensemble: New Music Ensemble. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free


BGSU Lively Arts Calendar, Feb. 17 – March 2

Through Sunday —The Annual Undergraduate Art and Design Exhibition of works by students in the BGSU School of Art continues in the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman galleries of the Fine Arts Center. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays and 2 to 4 p.m. Sundays. Free Tonight—Matthew McBride-Daline, associate professor of the viola, will present the next performance in the Faculty Artist Series. He has performed worldwide as a viola soloist as well as in numerous international festivals. The recital begins at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Thursday—Students of the College of Musical Arts will perform original compositions at Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center at 8 p.m. Free Thursday through Feb. 27—Join the Department of Theatre and Film for their production of “Middletown” by Will Eno, directed by Dr. Jonathan Chambers. Winner of the inaugural Horton Foote Award for Most Promising New Play in 2010, “Middletown” is a deeply moving and funny exploration of the universe of a small American town. As a friendship develops between longtime resident John Dodge and new arrival Mary Swanson, the lives of the inhabitants of Middletown intersect in strange and poignant ways in a journey that takes them from the local library to outer space and points between. “Middletown” opens at 8 p.m. in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre, located in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Additional performances are at 8 p.m. on Feb. 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27, and at 2 p.m. on Feb. 20, 21, and 27. Advance tickets are $5 for children and students and $15 for regular admission. All tickets are $20 the day of the performance. Purchase online at www.bgsu.edu/arts or by phone at 419-372-8171. Thursday—“Relatos Salvajes (Wild Tales)” (2014) from Argentina continues Thursday’s international film series at the Gish Theater and Gallery. Director Damián Szifro tells a story of corruption, revenge, extortion and deceit. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. Free Friday—BGSU’s Wind Symphony under the direction of Bruce Moss, performs at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. Advance tickets are $3 for students and $7 for general admission. All tickets are $10 on the day of the performance. Friday—The College of Musical Arts presents “Ear l Eye: Listening and Looking: Contemporary Music and Art,” in which BGSU doctoral students in contemporary music perform in response to works in the Toledo Museum of Art’s Great Gallery. The performance begins at 7 p.m. The museum is at 2445 Monroe St. in Toledo. Free Saturday—The College of Musical Arts presents the 2016 Clarinet Celebration, featuring clarinetist and composer Eric Mandat, a professor and Distinguished Scholar at Southern Illinois University. The event kicks off at 8 a.m. in Moore Musical Arts Center. In addition, as part of the Guest Artist Series, Mandat will perform at noon in Bryan Recital Hall of Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Saturday—Guest Artist Julia Gerhardt will perform at 6 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of Moore Musical Arts Center. Gerhardt, a horn player, is an instructor at University of West Georgia. Free Saturday—The University and Concert Bands, under the direction of Kenneth Thompson, will perform at 8 p.m. at Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts…


BGSU Lively Arts Calendar, Feb. 10-24

Through Feb. 21—The Annual Undergraduate Art and Design Exhibition of works by students in the BGSU School of Art continues in the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman galleries of the Fine Arts Center. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays and 2 to 4 p.m. Sundays. Free Thursday — BGSU’s Graduate Brass Quintet recital begins at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall at Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Thursday — The Visiting Writers Series features award-winning novelist Karen Osborn, author of “The River Road,” “Between Earth and Sky,” “Patchwork” and “Centerville.” Her reading begins at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Thursday — Thursday’s international film series continues with “Four Lions” (2010). This dark comedy from Great Britain is directed by Christopher Morris, and follows a group of young men determined to confront what they see as a decadent West. As they debate doctrine and actions, viewers might wonder whether they are a threat to public safety. Free Saturday — The College of Musical Arts hosts guest artist Spencer Myer as a part of the annual Dubois Piano Festival. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of Moore Musical Arts Center. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children, and BGSU music majors are free with student ID. Feb. 15—Guest artist James Giles will perform on piano in Bryan Recital Hall of Moore Musical Arts Center beginning at 8 p.m. Free Feb. 16—Tuesdays at the Gish begins with “Do the Right Thing” (1989), directed by Spike Lee. This was a landmark film when it premiered more than 25 years ago; it still warrants viewing today. Spend one day on one street in Brooklyn with Mookie, his girlfriend, his boss, the neighborhood philosophers, and the young men who agitate for change and bear the brunt of police intervention. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. Free Feb. 16— Cello students of Alan Smith, BGSU professor of cello, perform at the Manor House located at Wildwood Metropark, 5100 W. Central Ave. in Toledo, at 7:30 p.m. Free Feb. 17— Matthew McBride-Daline, associate professor of viola, will present the next performance in the Faculty Artist Series. He has performed worldwide as a viola soloist as well as in numerous international festivals. The recital begins at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Feb. 18—Students of the College of Musical Arts will perform original compositions at Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center at 8 p.m. Free Feb 18.—Join the Department of Theatre and Film for its production of “Middletown” by Will Eno, directed by Dr. Jonathan Chambers. Winner of the inaugural Horton Foote Award for Most Promising New Play in 2010, “Middletown” is a deeply moving and funny exploration of the universe of a small American town. As a friendship develops between longtime resident John Dodge and new arrival Mary Swanson, the lives of the inhabitants of Middletown intersect in strange and poignant ways in a journey that takes them from the local library to outer space and points between. “Middletown” opens at 8 p.m. in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre, located in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Additional performances are at 8 p.m. on Feb. 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27,…