Nadia Bolz-Weber’s visit to Lenoir Rhyne

Last Thursday Nadia Bolz-Weber made a visit to Lenoir Rhyne to take part in the visiting writers series. In place of my normal Creative Writing class. While she did not focus as much on her literary works and more on her beliefs at the 12:15 presentation, she did still discuss her literary ideas.

She talked about a verse in the bible in which she based an entire chapter on, as well as her opinions on gay relationships, cussing, and other things that are often frowned upon in the Christian community that she has different ideals about. She was asked several questions by students, some of which were very difficult to answer because they were along the lines of why do you believe in God, amongst other things our generation tends to argue and have different opinions about that we really can never prove or disprove.

I thought all in all her presentation was good, and, while I am from one of those churches she mentioned that are very clean and cussing is a sin, I think she made a very good point in saying that some people need a church that is clean, while others need a church like hers that is more open to things such a “bad” language.

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Paul Muldoon’s Hedgehog

Last Thursday Paul Muldoon was schedule to make an appearance on Lenoir-Rhyne’s campus as part of the visiting writers series, however, due to the large amount of snow in this area he was unable to make an appearance, so instead we will be discussing his poem “Hedgehog.”

The poem is not exactly what you’d expect if you aren”t familiar with Paul Muldoon. While entitled “Hedgehog,” the reference to the animal Hedgehog in the poem is more of a symbol rather than an actual Hedgehog. The literary work also references another animal, the snail, which seems to be more symbolism. The poem goes as follows:

Hedgehog

By Paul Muldoon

The snail moves like a
Hovercraft, held up by a
Rubber cushion of itself,
Sharing its secret
With the hedgehog. The hedgehog
Shares its secret with no one.
We say, Hedgehog, come out
Of yourself and we will love you.
We mean no harm. We want
Only to listen to what
You have to say. We want
Your answers to our questions.
The hedgehog gives nothing
Away, keeping itself to itself.
We wonder what a hedgehog
Has to hide, why it so distrusts.
We forget the god
under this crown of thorns.
We forget that never again
will a god trust in the world.
Now there are several different interpretations of this poem and one can read and look at its meanings in many different ways. I personally, though, see it as someone who no longer trusts anyone due to some sort of circumstances. I think of this poem as saying that a group of people are questioning an individual, I have no clue what exactly they are looking to learn, but they are asking him questions. However, due to some past event this individual does not wish to talk to them and tell them the information they desire to know. This is just my interpretation of this poem though and there really is no right or wrong answer as to what it means, only Mr. Muldoon actually knows what he meant by this poem, if him.

A Visiting Writers series: Kathrine Howe

In a continuation of the visiting writers series here at Lenoir Rhyne we recently received a visit for Katherine Howe, author of books such as Conversion. In this story Miss Howe takes us back to colonial Salem, where the witch trials has just taken place. The story is told from the point of view of a young girl name Ann, who has decided to go confess something, later on in the story we find out she is confessing the fact that she lied during these witch trials and is directly responsible for sending the “witches” to their execution.

From a writing standpoint Katherine Howe does an excellent job of both describing the situation, you quickly gather why Ann is in this church waiting. She also does a great job of research ensuring accuracy in her statements and time frame to make the story seem even more truthful.

In the excerpt I read it does not yet tell you the whole story of the witch trials and how Ann was instrumental in causing the whole thing and would later attempt to do it again in another town. This story is writing from the perspective of Ann going to a priest to ask for forgiveness for what she has done, which is a different perspective of the girl who gave us “witch hunting.”

An excerpt from from Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones

salvage_the_bones_pbIn the excerpt from Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones, Miss Ward makes it sound as though the story is taking place a long time ago at first. She describes a child birth in what the characters call “the pit,” as well as what appears to be much less advanced technology then we have today. However, it turns out that this story actually takes place around the time of hurricane Katrina, and it is just set in a very rural area with an economically challenged family.

Jesmyn Ward, who is an author who is involved in the Lenoir Rhyne visiting writers series, has published several books, but this one has significance because of the major event it uses as a topic, Katrina. While she has several other books none quite reach the level of popularity that Salvage the Bones does.

This story talks about how a large family, dealing with economic issues, living in the middle of nowhere in Louisiana much suddenly deal with the massive storm that is hurricane Katrina. It’s success is probably mostly because of the fact that Katrina affected allot of people worldwide, and while the store might be fiction, it is probably similar to what allot of people experienced and had to deal with when this disaster struck.