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Creative Works

Issue 3.2

Exploring Performative Arts: Volume 3, Issue 2, Fall/Winter 2016

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Editorial | Semiotic Compositions | Literary Compositions

Semiotic Compositions

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Olena M. Marshall
Abstract | Diptych | Biographical Note
Sarah Fletcher
Abstract | Photography | Biographical Note


Literary Compositions

Thinking Cure: Or, An Occurrence at Owl Creek High School
Jeff Spanke
Full Text | Biographical Note

Using Ambrose Bierce’s Civil War allegory as a thematic and structural foundation, this fictional story accounts the overnight downfall of Owl Creek High School, as seen through the eyes of veteran English teacher, Jonah Gaits. What begins as an ordinary day of permission slips, stale coffee, and standardized tests soon devolves in an apocalyptic nightmare of zombied proportions. Jonah must now struggle to preserve the innocence and livelihood of his students while simultaneously combating the collapse of his once-cherished educational system. Jonah must also witness the surrounding destruction while awaiting the birth of his first son, the very child who may offer a slight beacon of hope for future students, teachers, and the schools they’ll invariably share. In the end, what may seem like a resigned depiction of the absurdity of contemporary education may very well serve as the glimmerings of an intellectual rebirth.

Noticing Students by Writing Poems
Sheryl A. Lain
Full Text | Biographical Note

I taught for decades. Anyone who teaches long enough sometimes has days when it’s pretty uninspiring, teaching by rote. That’s when I turned a new page. I put the zest back in my career by studying my students. I wrote little snippets about them in my teaching journal, the better to reflect upon them. Later I overcame my shyness and began giving students their poems. One student wrote me back: “How do you know us so good? You know us better than we know ourselves.” My poems to kids warmed up the temperature in the room, made kids more awake, and helped them notice and like each other more. One girl wrote, “I’ve been a pessimist for a long while, feeling like there is no hope, sanity or love left. Now that I’ve been in this class, my sour days are past. When this year is over, I will look back and think so sweetly of these people.”The little word gifts honored my students, each one a walking, breathing poem.

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