Story by Audrey Callaway Scherer, senior reporter
The functions at the annual Authors Event and Leonardo Launch Party will have evolved once again this year as they have added a new feature – a writing workshop, “On Bearing Witness in Poetry,” to be hosted by poet Ruth Awad, said Authors Event organizer Mary Bates-Ulibarri.
The literary and social event will be held in two parts on Thursday, April 4th at Main Campus – the workshop from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in SB 211 and launch party from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in SRC 101 – and is sponsored jointly by the libraries, English faculty, general activity account and Executive Council of Students (ECOS). It will also be catered by Atrios.
The writing workshop will focus on poetry and anyone, from students to people from the community, may register by going to the Libraries home page (www.cnm.edu/depts/libraries), clicking on “Events,” finding the event in the calendar and registering through the event’s link.
The launch party for Leonardo, CNM’s annual literary arts magazine, is free and open to the public and will include student awards and readings followed by the featured author, opportunities for questions, a book signing by Awad, and a reception for readers and attendees. Usually about 90 people attend the event each year, said Bates-Ulibarri.
“It contributes to students’ success; it contributes to the life of the college,” she said.
Carly Harschlip, a faculty advisor for Leonardo, said the magazine has had intermittent issue release parties since its founding as a photocopied journal in 1991, but only began combining with the annual Authors Event, for which 2019 will be its 9th year, a few years ago after being approached by one of its organizers, Rebecca Aronson.
The intent of joining the two events was to enable students who were interested in writing and publishing to get exposure and give them a chance to talk with professional writers about their work, said Harschlip.
“It’s a great opportunity, and I think the two events work together perfectly, all under the auspice of the campus library,” she said.
From the perspective of the Authors Event, which evolved from its origins surrounding published faculty and staff, Bates-Ulibarri said that it refocused the event both toward students and the process of producing creative work.
“It changed from faculty to the creative process itself – about expression, about being creative, about learning to get work out there, about taking the risk to write and publish and read in front of people,” she said. “About experiences or steps that students can learn in school that will help them continue on getting their work out when they’re done with school.”
The same year that the two events linked to be held simultaneously, they began including guest speakers and readings from students published in Leonardo, said Bates-Ulibarri.
The events’ organizers look outside of CNM for notable published authors with diverse perspectives who have been recognized for the quality of their work, she said. These guest speakers are picked from different groups each year to further represent diverse perspectives.
This year, four Leonardo-published contributors will read from or speak about their work for about five minutes each and guests will be given the opportunity to ask them questions.
“It’s a delight to see the students read, but it’s also nice to hear the dialogue,” she said.
For written work, the student speakers will be Athenx Lindlan, Scott Wiggerman and Brianna Reed, and the fourth student, Olivia Peppermuller (whose art will be featured on the cover of this year’s edition of the magazine), will be discussing two of her visual art pieces.
“The fun part about this for us is that the students have the opportunity to read their own work or speak about their work to a live audience, to their peers, but also to people they don’t know,” said Bates-Ulibarri.
Leonardo’s small group of student editors helps the faculty solicit submissions and ultimately chooses which pieces will appear in each year’s magazine, said Harschlip. In contrast with the original issue, which featured 11 students’ work, this year’s editors had to choose from over 120 submissions.
“It’s gone through a lot of changes . . . but our mission has always been to showcase the written work and visual art of CNM students, and to be able to give them the experience of seeing their work in print,” she said.
A limited number of free copies of Leonardo will be available at the launch party and copies of Awad’s book will continue to be available for sale in the Main campus library Catfé.
The library keeps cataloged copies of Leonardo and of poets’ books available for check-out. In spirit of National Poetry Month, the library will also be displaying poetry books throughout April.
“We’d like to continue this pattern in the future. We’ve gotten great feedback and we, the organizers, are excited about how it’s working,” said Bates-Ulibarri.
The organizers will continue to seek different speakers and might try to get more funding to expand it out, but they don’t think they need to do a lot more at this point, she said.
One thing they would like to start doing is documenting the event and readings through more photos and video and they are open to new volunteers. For more details or to express interest, people may contact Mary Bates-Ulibarri at email@example.com.
Rebecca Aronson hosts writing workshops in the libraries on Mondays from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and anyone who is interested is invited to join, Bates-Ulibarri said. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Prentice is another faculty advisor for Leonardo and they are always looking for student authors and students interested in participating in the editorial process, she added. It’s really good experience and builds students’ teamwork, organizational and communication skills.
Previous editions of Leonardo can be accessed at http://www.cnm.edu/programs-of-study/communication-humanities-and-social-sciences/english.