Author Archives: coreyhalbert

Elysia Smith on poetry, marketing, and snuggling with your dog during the workday

Elysia Lucinda Smith is a California transplant who went to high school in Indiana before attending Ball State. She works for Metonymy Media in Indianapolis, where she lives and writes. She declares that she’s  unlearning the habits of  “Midwestern apology and avoidance one day at a time.” Find her writing online at ElysiaLucinda.com.

How did your English major lead to your current position? What skills did you learn as an English major that helped you transition into that job?

Honestly, I never expected to be where I am now. When I finished college, I immediately pursued a Masters of Fine Arts in poetry because that’s what I’d seen my friends do, not because I had much interest in teaching college. Despite this, my MFA was an excellent decision and I was blessed to be able to eat, sleep, and breathe poetry in Boston, one of the most literary cities in the US. Poetry has always been my thing, so if you’d said to me even a year ago that I’d be working in marketing, I’d probably have laughed at you. Although it’s difficult to make a career out of poetry, I’ve been doing community development work for the last five years including running the Writers’ Community at Ball State along with a pop up art show and collective called Glue & Scissors Society. Now, at my current job, not only am I getting to write every day, I’m still running community programs and workshops. I’m in charge of a space in our Fountain Square office called The Green Room and there I run a gallery, host a monthly writing workshop called Indy Word Lab, and am working to create a community flex space to support all types of groups. Most recently, I’ve entered into a partnership with a local group called Face Á Face, and I’m very excited to see what we can accomplish together.

Of all the valuable skills I learned in my English major—communication, writing, etc—the most important to me is the art of revision. Many of my students have been this way—I was certainly the same in college—but I suppose I just didn’t “believe” in revision. I thought of it as fate whenever I wrote something and the value of revision never occurred to me. What it’s shown me is that attention to detail is something you can hone and that extra words or confusing language are unnecessary.

What’s a typical day like for you?

The great benefit of working at Metonymy is that my days never look the same. I’m a pretty movement- and change-oriented person and I need a lot of control of my schedule because I’m typically involved in two external projects at any given time on top of work, on top of my own creative stuff and self-care. Some days I go into the office at 9:30 and work until about 2 pm and then I’ll go to the gym or hang out with my dog, and finish up the rest of my writing at my leisure. Some days I work from a local coffee shop. Some days I don’t work at all and wake up at 3 am and finish my writing then. As long as I can do good work and meet all my deadlines, my schedule gets to stay nice and loose.

Do you have any advice for English majors who are trying to figure out what comes next in their lives?

The first thing I’ll say is seriously seriously seriously don’t ever pay for a Masters degree. Find a program that pays you to get an MFA via a stipend, etc. That’s one thing I truly regret is taking out loans to help finance my MFA despite having a stipend. Boston was an incredibly expensive place to live. Other than that, the biggest thing is to get involved. Writers need community because they need connectivity. You want readers, you want peers who spark you, and you want the mobility to meet other writers, publishers, and organizers. Even if you just take time to go to a few readings here and there what you’ll begin to realize is that the writing community is strangely small. It’s homey. Come hang.

Also, publish your stuff! Submit as often as you can. I have a rule that whenever I write a new poem I just submit it immediately to help keep things circulating. If you don’t know where to start looking for homes for your work, check out Entropy Mag’s lists. They’re awesome. Also follow writers on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Some of my favorite follows have been Joanna C. Valente, Ariel Francisco, and August Smith!

Hannah’s Internship Experience: Wiley Publishing

By: Hannah Partridge

This summer, I was fortunate enough to be offered an Acquisitions Internship at Wiley Publishing in Fishers, Indiana. Specifically, I was an intern for the For Dummies brand. Most people are familiar with the iconic black and yellow reference guides, and over the summer I had the opportunity to see exactly how the company creates their books and maintains their global brand.

First things first, I have to say that I am unsure I would have received this internship had I not been a part of Jacket Copy Creative last year. The skills and experience I gained in that course filled up a blank space on my resume, and it was the first thing I was asked about in my interviews. When English faculty tells you to take immersive learning courses, and tells you they look good on resumes, they’re not kidding.

My internship was full time, 8:30-4:30 every day, and I commuted to the office from my apartment in Muncie. During my time at Wiley, I completed a variety of tasks and projects. I learned to use the company’s various online tools and programs to check data about their books, and put the results in various spreadsheets (Proficiency in Microsoft Excel is another great skill to have). I also worked with other interns to develop marketing tools and original content for dummies.com, and researched potential authors and topics for new For Dummies books. Using skills obtained in ENG 430, I used Adobe InDesign to design and format documents using For Dummies logos, icons, and other branded elements. My manager, Amy, wanted me to see all the inner workings of the publishing industry, so she had me sit in on various conference calls and weekly meetings to get a sense of everything that goes into creating a For Dummies book.

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Author Ira Sukrungruang to Visit Ball State

Author Ira Sukrungruang will be visiting Ball State University on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at 8:00 p.m., Arts and Journalism Building (AJ) 225, and it is free and open to the public.

Ira will be making two classroom visits to discuss his work in creative nonfiction and poetry. These visits are also free and open to the public.

  • Wednesday, 11/15: Ira visits ENG 613 (Graduate Poetry Workshop), 2:45-4:00, 305 Pittinger
  • Thursday, 11/16: Ira visits ENG 406 (Advanced Creative Nonfiction), 2:00-2:45, 306 Pittenger

Ira Sukrungruang is the author of the memoirs Southside Buddhist and Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy, the short story collection The Melting Season,and the poetry collection In Thailand It Is Night. He is the coeditor of two anthologies on the topic of obesity: What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology and Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology. He is the recipient of the 2015 American Book Award, New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature, an Arts and Letters Fellowship, and the Emerging Writer Fellowship. His work has appeared in many literary journals, including Post Road, The Sun, and Creative Nonfiction. He is one of the founding editors of Sweet: A Literary Confection (sweetlit.com), and teaches in the MFA program at University of South Florida. For more information about him, please visit: http://www.buddhistboy.com/.

Learn more about him

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Winners announced at revamped PCM / UES conferences

The Practical Criticism Midwest (PCM) and Undergraduate English Studies (UES) Conferences, October 13, were attended by over 85 students, faculty, and guests. The graduate students have run PCM in the past, but this year, we added the undergraduate student conference to it, and also opened up the conference to participants outside BSU English. We welcomed students from Ivy Tech, Anderson University, and IPFW. Many undergraduate students told us how exciting this experience was, and some told me that they want to present their work next year.

The best presentation awardees were Kathryn Powell (UES), who presented her creative work, “The Listening Horizon,”

Kathryn Powell

and Abdullah Albalawi (PCM), who presented his research, “Gender Differences in The Speech Act of Thanking in Saudi Arabic.”

Abdullah Albalawi

Hannah Bovino, Doggerel contest winner, presented her poem, “I’m sorry iPhone.”

The keynote speakers featured 4 alumni (Leslie Erlenbaugh, Emily Groch, Ashley Mack-Jackson, Aaron Nicely), who shared their experience finding careers with English degrees. The conference ended with the doggerel contest. This year’s winner was Hannah Bovino, who presented her poem, “I’m sorry iPhone.” The conference overall was a fun and educational experience where students, faculty, and alumni could meet and interact. This year’s conference chair was Angela Tomasello (MA Linguistics Student), who led the graduate student volunteers. Prof. Silas Hansen (Conference Faculty Advisor) and Dr. Megumi Hamada (Assistant Chair of Programs) helped organize the conference.