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IPFW Former Staff, Student Publish Journal of Poetry

shannon and ben

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shannon and ben
Written by: Communicator StaffJune 12, 2014

Shannon Elward and Ben Larson stand at the front of a small, but crowded room in Wunderkrammer arts studio. The audience is anxious with excitement and smiling with contentment – either from the joy of seeing their friends do what they love or the two-dollar Old Style beers have a cooling effect in the warm room. The room is small, crowded and electric with energy. Elward and Larson are visibly excited, speaking fast, wide smiles, lots of thanking everyone and for a good reason: this is the accumulation of months of hard work coming together for them.

Friday, June 6th Elward and Larson saw the fruits of their labor at their launch party at Wunderkrammer for their journal of poem entitled Map Points.

Ben Larson, former limited time lecturer of English at IPFW, and Shannon Elward, recently graduated MFA student and teaching assistant in the English department, collaborated and co-edited together to produce Map Points a literary journal composed of poems.

Both Larson and Elward have a deep appreciation for poetry, and both being poets themselves, find that the poetic form of art is essential in the arts community.  Map Points early conception began when Elward was taking a publishing class at IPFW as a graduate student. In her class she was instructed to work individually to put together a publication. Having been previously advised by Poet Laurent and IPFW professor George Kalamaras to start a publication of her own she went to Larson in January and decided it was a good time to go ahead and move forward with the project they had been mulling over.

 

The theme of their collection follows surrealism, but moreover the idea of duende. The two were inspired by an essay written by Federico Garcia Lorca.

“We’re leaning toward surrealism–more so than that we’ll take anything that blows our hair back, but more so what it is, is we kina based the whole idea of this journal around this idea or essay by Lorca….. in which he talks about this different forms of art…the way he put it he said it’s the knowledge that at any moment you might be devoured by ants….it’s treating every movement, whatever you do, as if it could be your last, because it could be. So, therefore, you want to instill something with the absolute most amount of passion that you can. And I guess to put it in similar terms you listen to something….some things just punch you in the gut and that’s pretty much what we are going for with this journal,” Larson said.

 

Larson and Elward hope to publish quarterly depending on circumstances they might reevaluate that as Larson is moving to Seattle at the end of the month. “But the Internet is an amazing thing,” Elward said.

The biggest struggle they both agreed upon was the formatting of the journal admitting that it was far more difficult than either of them had anticipated. Larson flippantly, yet with a tone of seriousness, exclaimed that he had “learned a lot about the printing process.”

 

They both expressed immense gratitude and amazement by the amount of quality of poems they received for the first the publication. They stated that they had their “dream wish list” which they hadn’t quite ever really expected to receive work from, let alone on their first issue since they admitted to having not been well-known.  “We freaked out a lot,” Larson said, a smile audible even through his voice.

 

Larson said Kalamaras had played a big role in the amount of content that they received as he sent out information of the publication to his fellow poetry friends and the poems came rolling in.

Kalamaras admitted, that despite his successes and prestige as Poet Laurent, when he was younger he had remembered how difficult it was to start up a publication and said that his participation was in part due to admiration and respect for not just the poetry community, but for his friends.

“I had always felt it’s really important for older poets who have been doing this for a while to honor literary ventures, literary magazines, to give them a jump start and a boost because that’s what keeps the poetry baton moving….and I can’t think of anyone to take up the mantle better than Ben and Shannon. They’re both fabulous poets, great poets, great people…” Kalamaras said.

kalamaras

 

As Larson and Elward take the front of the room, they than the audience and readers. They take a moment to especially thanked Kalamaras who happened to be taking a photograph at the time. “And there he is taking a photograph of me pointing at him and thanking him,” Larson joked and the poets read their works. As for what they content of their poems were — a copy can be purchased at Hyde Brothers.

 

Story by: Logan Hursh