Name: Ray Mathieu
Major(s): Writing & Rhetoric
Year of Graduation: 2010
Position: Featured writer (Fall 2009)
This is your second time being published in The Independent Scribe. Which of your poems are you most excited to see in print? Why?
So They Say" would have to be the poem I am most proud of seeing in print. The restricted form in which it is written creates a unique visual design that adds an extra level of intrigue to the piece. Of the many attempts I have made at creating such a piece, this one was by far my most successful.
Your poem "The Steps to Stumblin'" reads like a personal account. Is this the case? What's the story there?
"The Steps to Stumblin'" is in fact a personal account, though some holes are punched out of the story as to allow me to blur sequences together a bit for rhythm's sake. What really happened was I drank White Russians all afternoon with my roommate, a Russian, one day. Later that evening, a bunch of us decided to go bowling, so we had a few beers and headed to the bowling alley. After a few games we grew bored of bowling so we walked across the street to the bar where we ordered up several Tidal Waves, a guaranteed ticket to Blackoutville, U.S.A. After a couple of drinks I decided to hit the bathroom, but through a misunderstanding of the bartender's directions, I ended up in the kitchen, where I eventually stumbled into the walk-in refrigerator stocked with beer. I was only in there a couple of minutes before they found me, surprisingly NOT drinking any of the beer. Needless to say, I was thrown out of the bar, and I woke up half naked on a couch the next morning. Blackouts happen, I guess. Like poetry.
Its is rumored you and The Independent Scribe's editor in chief Kate Stone are dating. Any truth to that rumor?
Absolutely no truth to the rumors. Kate and I are simply Non-Sexual Lifemates.
We know you write poetry, but what other genres do you dabble in? Are you working on any other projects currently?
If it's in the creative genre, I'm all over it. Currently I've been working on putting together some song lyrics which really puts a whole new set of tests of my poetic ability. I am also currently assembling my Electronic Portfolio as a graduating senior. So far, making my non-creative works appear as appealing as my creative has been the biggest struggle in that process.
Your poems published in the upcoming edition are very different from the other texts featured, both aesthetically and structurally. What poets sparked your interest in form? Why do you prefer to write in form rather than free verse? With the popularity of free verse embodied by our Fall 2009 edition, what defense would you like to make in favor of more formulaic verse?
"So They Say" is written in a form that I first discovered used by Edwin Morgan in his poem "Message Clear." Morgan achieve an extremely level of success in not only writing a poem start to finish within the restrictive guidelines of the form, but also by keeping the content closely relevant to the subject of the founding line of the poem. I have always been a fan of formulaic verse because of the challenge presented in the actual composing process. Finishing a formulaic verse such as a pontoum or paradelle feels like you have completed a puzzle of sorts and it's in that personal success that I get the most joy out of poetry.
Everyone has their own unique writing process. For poetry, what is your like?
When I'm writing poetry I'm usually also doing one of 2 things: either I'm sitting somewhere where I have to wait for something i.e. the doctor's office, or I'm reading poetry and I see a form that I feel the need to tackle. One of my favorite things to do is ride the bus from U.R.I. to Providence (about a 50 minute ride) and try to write a paradelle before reaching my destination.
While we know you're writing poetry here at URI, what do you plan to do after graduation? Do you believe your poetic skills will come in handy?
My plan after U.R.I. is to go to law school. If life has taught me one thing, it's to never rely on plans. I don't "plan" on having to rely on my poetic skills after college, but we won't know what the future holds until we get there.
Some writers feel a good deal of anxiety when it comes to submitting to publication. Is this the case for you now or was it ever? What advice would you give anxious submitters?
Submitting for publication has never made me nervous because, well, I always keep my expectations low; makes those moments of success that much more exciting. My advice to those of you who are reluctant to submit is: Expect the worst and hope for the best. That way you'll never be disappointed.
October 28, 2009
The role of President goes so far beyond administration and leadership. I'm still not sure I have the firmest grasp on everything, because I always believed that I would just be approving paperwork and going to Senate meetings. Turns out, I also get to singlehandedly destroy the rain forest with the amount of paperwork we generate during submissions review! I don't know if that's good or bad...
The hands-down least enjoyable part is finding out that everyone suddenly knows who I am. Networking is so important, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to make connections with so many other students I wouldn't ordinarily meet, but it always surprises me (a major introvert) when people recognize my face and name.
How long have you been a part of The Independent Scribe?
Are there any interesting/fun/surprising subtle details of your job description that one wouldn't hone an understanding of from simply your title?
Being the President basically makes me all things to all people. I approached the job with the belief that I would be playing a largely administrative role, overseeing activities rather than being up to my elbows in them. The one role I've found most surprising and rewarding is that of ambassador; by reaching out to more established groups, I have been able not only to garner more attention for the Scribe, but to build support. There are so many creative people at URI, and we can't reach every single one of them - we're only one group, but the wonderful thing is that we're one group out of many. By bonding with the leaders of other arts-oriented groups, we form a larger, more connected and cooperative creative community.
What is the best part of being the President of The Independent Scribe?
I think the best part is also the worst part - power. Or more specifically, balancing power with the desire to maintain as democratic a process as possible. This is probably where my political science background gets the biggest workout. I swear, this isn't a creepy social experiment! What I find so enjoyable, despite the challenges, is the opportunity to blend the skills acquired through my English and Political Science majors in a practical way.
The Independent Scribe members put in a lot of time. What makes all the time and energy sacrificed to the publishing God worth it for you?
I love books. Always have, always will. I love how they feel in my hands, and I almost always have one in my bag for leisure reading. Being able to participate in the creation of a book is a huge thrill. I love exploring all the work that is sent in for our consideration, and planning the flow of our final product. When we finally get to hold the finished publication, it's indescribable. So much love and attention went into its creation, and being able to share that love with others is equally thrilling.
How was the business of The Independent Scribe different this semester from previous ones?
Money, honey. We have it.
What do you think sets The Independent Scribe apart from other publications of its kind?
My stance on remaining insular to the URI community has been controversial, but I believe that there is such a wealth of talent that deserves to be showcased. I believe that growth can occur in a small environment and still be significant. URI boasts such diverse student and alumni bodies, basically a renewable source of creative energy for the Scribe to channel into a beautiful, powerful publication.
Page 131 of the final product. What are the odds of every single editor misreading the same line the same way?
What is your favorite piece (or top 3) in this Fall 2009 edition? Why?
My top 3 pieces this semester are:
- "House of Hosts" - the sheer novelty of a 9 page poem with a consistent meter and rhyme is exciting, and the fact that it is so well-crafted and compelling shows tremendous skill
- "Dandelions and Doodlebugs" - even just skimming this piece during layout gave me chills, it's so haunting and beautiful
- "7 o'clock News" - I love how much conflict occurs in such a short piece, and in such a wry tone
I had a teacher in high school who told me that applying to college would be a waste of my time. There were times when I thought he might be right, that I wasn't going to be successful, and that's such a hurtful thing to carry around as a young student. But it clearly was not a self-fulfilling prophecy. His doubts definitely stick with me today, but I find my anger toward him to be motivating - it's taken a long time, but I am confident in my abilities and proud of the path my life has taken.
Similarly, I also want to thank all the teachers I had in those same 4 years who believed that I could succeed. The best advice I ever got was from a teacher who told me, "Never stop reading," and that's the prophecy I am to fulfill.
Is it true all those involved in publishing are addicted to caffine?
I can say with absolutely no authority whatsoever that this rumor is 100% false.
If you had to blow up one of the art pieces featured in the Fall 2009 edition of The Independent Scribe into a flashy, fashion-forward dress, which would it be and why?
"Jenn's Wedding Present" would look great as a shimmery mini-dress. Maybe something sort of mod, '60s-inspired. I think Twiggy has crept into my subconscious as an alter-ego, and she was pretty fierce back in the day.
Okay, now I wish it was a real dress, because I do not know what to wear for the launch.
If you had to have a line (or lines) from a piece in the Fall 2009 edition tattooed on your body, what would it be and where would you put it? Why?
The final line of "The Jesus Toast." And it would go wherever tattoos hurt the least. I am completely afraid of needles. If I can be under general anesthesia during the tattooing process, even better.
What do you plan to do post-Scribe?
Tell-all book, talk show circuit...maybe an extended vacation. Preferably to a place with cabana boys and trays of frozen daiquiris.
October 24, 2009
The Asia Foundation is holding a fundraiser for the Morwakee school in Thailand; the children who attend this school cannot afford storybooks.
Vote for your favorite children's book, and the winning title will be donated to the school.
October 20, 2009
The results are in, and the
Our most heartfelt congratulations to:
- Rob LeBlanc
- Mercer Smith
- Joe LiVolsi
- Britany Taylor
- Laura Tetreault
- Ray Mathieu
- Linda Langlois
- Mollie Bergeron
- Ankawha Blain
- Morgan Turano
- Dylan Thompson
- Nick McKnight
- Samuel D. Aboh
- Katie Walsh
- Nick Rutter
- Sarah Payne
- Patricia Weisenseel
- Katharine McAllister
- George C. Whaley, Jr.
- Marie Ventura
- Lars Nelson
- Shayne O'Sullivan
- Jessica Watson
- Brandon Genest
- Eric Slade
- Erik Giorgi
- Holly Tran
- Ian Mohon
Extra-special congratulations to Nick McKnight, who is not only a featured poet, but this edition's cover artist! No spoilers, but we can assure you that it is a lively, colorful piece that we are so excited for you to see when the publication is released.
Keep your eyes peeled for more announcements about our launch event in November!
Today is NCTE's National Day on Writing! On October 8th, 2009 the U.S. Senate passed a resolution declaring today a national holiday. NCTE believes:
Whether we call it texting, IMing, jotting a note, writing a letter, posting an email, blogging, making a video, building an electronic presentation, composing a memo, keeping a diary, or just pulling together a report, Americans are writing like never before. Recent research suggests that writing, in its many forms, has become a daily practice for millions of Americans. It may be the quintessential 21st century skill. By collecting a cross-section of everyday writing through a National Gallery of Writing, we will better understand what matters to writers today—and when writing really counts. Understanding who writes, when, how, to whom, and for what purposes will lead to production of improved resources for writers, better strategies to nurture and celebrate writers, and improved policy to support writing.The aim of today's holiday is for writers of any genre, caliber, age or locale to pause and share their writing. For The Independent Scribe, the National Day on Writing could not have come at a more appropriate time; our editorial staff spent hours yesterday reviewing, critiquing and thoroughly enjoying all of the submissions we've received for the fall. With the review process behind us, our board will now dive into layout, and become wholly familiar and, yes, even intimate with the works chosen for publication. The Independent Scribe board, although we have not a minute to spare and pause, is certainly plowing full-speed-ahead toward publication by reading, re-reading and, honestly, adoring the work URI's writers have chosen to share with us. After reviewing 160+ pages last night, we can testify confidently: America - and certainly URI students - are indeed writing, NCTE! And this accomplishment is definitely worthy of a national holiday.
In celebration of the first-even National Day on Writing, NCTE is also hosting a web gallery of writing. Any and everyone can contribute to the national gallery, read any of the posted texts or start up a Local Gallery. The writings published on the site cover the proverbial gambit of genre, encompassing: Poetry, fiction, nonfiction, song lyrics, recipes, dirty laundry lists, film reviews, critical essays, to-do lists, character development plans, word-vomit, travel texts, personal narratives, diary entries and beyond. Browsing the gallery is definitely worth one's time, if not only for the variety of texts.
Patrons of the gallery may utilize the search engine to find galleries based on geography, age, purpose or key words. Numerous galleries have been opened in Rhode Island, including one by a URI Writing Class: WRT 490 at URI. Many talented URI students, including our own editor-in-chief, can be found here. Moreover, a number of writers being printed in our Fall 2009 edition also appear in this Local Gallery space; browse the space and enjoy fellow URI writer's "writings from the everyday."
Contributing to the National Gallery of Writing is easy. One must simply make an account, using an email address, and upload the desired file for publication. I strongly encourage all of your to submit a piece of writing you are proud of to this gallery; there is a particular pride that comes with "going public," and we believe it is an unusual sensation all writers are entitled to and should experience.
If you chose to submit to the National Gallery or start up a Local Gallery, please leave a comment below so we can view your work! We look forward to seeing you in the gallery.
October 16, 2009
Extensive, copious thanks to everyone who submitted. We've had a grand time reading and discussing your submissions. To those of you whose submissions are currently awaiting review, we are so excited to get cracking on Monday.
We will be greenlighting submissions in the next week or two, so watch your inboxes!
And now for something completely different - the layout process. Layout can be very nit-picky work, and very time-consuming, but that attention to detail guarantees that we can showcase everyone's fine work.
We had an excellent meeting with our publisher, and are feeling very positive about this edition. We discussed our layout options, cover stock, and our timeline. Once we get the ball rolling, we'll be able to release more details.
Right now, we're aiming for a November launch and a reading event. We'll be able to share more information as our short-term goals are met - all these little tasks bring us closer to our ultimate goal of sharing the myriad talents of URI's students and alumni.
I am tremendously proud of the work our editorial board has done so far, and am looking forward to seeing this edition come to fruition.
In the coming weeks, we will be making more announcements about our Spring 2010 deadline; we have also held over the Secret Society of Demolition Scribers contest until spring.
Again, my deepest thanks to all of our interested writers and artists. We have seen so much beautiful, exciting, and even funny, material that we cannot wait to share with the University community.
October 12, 2009
Remember that this Friday is our deadline for the Fall 2009 edition! We've still got plenty of room for more poetry, essays, short fiction, and artwork - so send it our way!
And a couple of meeting notes for this week:
- Monday - we will be scouring Fine Arts for submissions.
- Wednesday - we will be attending Prof. Mary Cappello's reading of Called Back.
- Friday - deadline! We may be meeting to review the last of the submissions, details to follow soon.
- Near Future - we will be announcing some exciting upcoming events* within the next week, watch this space for more!
* - What kind of events, you may ask. We're ironing out the details of our production process, planning a launch event, and picking our Spring 2010 deadline. We're not kidding when we say we're busy.