equality state: a retrospect

In my 2AM frame of mind this is how I would describe our trip to the Equality State Book Festival: Three of us from the Owen Wister Review and one of us that simply loves a good weekend getaway went forth into the morning of Sept 24 to the Equality State Book Festival in Casper, Wyoming. We brought stacks of past OWR issues, my favorite having a decidedly technicolor eighties cover, despite being a late nineties issue. We had issues hailing back to the days of flannel worn open over Simpsons t-shirts, Pearl Jam, Two Princes, Gin Blossoms, slap bracelets– anyway, lots of old issues that briefly, as we laid them out on the table, inspired memories from that misanthropically glorious decade. Of course we had recent issues as well. Some of which are really quite attractive. Please check out our website to see what I’m talking about and to submit your work! Adam, our venerable Editor in Chief mingled and talked editorial talk with some other lit journal people. But we were also there for the readings. We listened to stories of cross dressing doctors and Indian mothers, the chasm of a highway like the rift of a family; the talented Nina McConigley and Pam Galbreath from our very own English Department had been selected as winners of the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship, and winners they are. Jeff Lockwood and David Romvedt gave craft talks. We had an Indian feast that will be eternally imprinted on the memory of our tongues, in the company of delightful poet, Ravi Shankar. We explored Casper: an alley flooded with the orangegold of sunset, in the morning, a cute independent bookstore, a four story shop of cowboy attire and accessories. On the drive back we missed a turn, which out here means a couple hour detour, as roads are few and the plains are like an arm with only a couple of veins. But the detour meant stopping at Independence Rock, which we climbed like the youthful zealots we are, hungry for sky and beauty, and tried to spell UWYO. Brie said the landscape was hypnotizing and I agree. Books and Beauty..what more could we need?


the bodies say: U-W-Y-O


-luling osofsky

luling is a first-year nonfiction student at the uwyo mfa creative writing program. a graduate of wesleyan university, her autobiography consists of the simple statement, “i was born. i will die.”  also. this woman can DANCE.

where high art meets getting low

while there were many memorable moments from friday’s event, we were having too much fun to take pictures.  luckily, adam million had his iphone handy and was able to snap a few photos.

freaking beautiful music by david henson.

lindsay beamish (second year, nonfiction) reads about her feelings.

like any night to be remembered, we got so drunk we wouldn't remember. and ended the night with some necessary bar-top dancing by ladies of the uwyo mfa.

thanks to everyone who shared their work, especially david henson of shadows on a river. thanks to second story books for letting us invade their space.  and thanks to everyone who came out! good times, had by all.

cream of the cream

the opposite of wyoming?

this gawker article made us “lol.”  in a moment of questionable taste, and to keep the laughter train rolling, we decided to try this attitude on for size. below you’ll find excerpts from the columbia mfa prof’s actual email, followed by our own versions revised along wyo-state lines.

for the full/real article, check out yonder link ^
for our nonsense, you need only scroll down…

Subject: News from a different MFA planet

she says:
“My students also live and move and write in seventh heaven and in a fever of creative excitement. Columbia’s MFA is rigorous and competitive but students don’t just have publication as a goal – they take that for granted, since about half the graduating class has a book published or a publishing contract in hand by graduation – so they have their sights set on Pulitzers.”

we say:
“Students in Laramie live and eat and breathe and write and achieve bowel regularity in a wintry wonderland; the chill in the air does little to cool the fever of creative excitement burning in and around their loins. Wyoming’s MFA is rigorous and competitive but students don’t just have publication as a goal – they take that for granted, since all of their teachers have books.  Publishing is inevitable…. right? It’s only a matter of time… right?”

she says:
“And then there are all the peripheral pleasures of living on Manhattan: we’ve seen the Matisse exhibition at MOMA, have tickets for the opening of Don Pasquale at the Met Opera, have tickets to see Al Pacino on stage as Shylock in the Merchant of Venice, etc etc. Plus I’m just…3 minutes from Central Park where we join the joggers every morning. This is Cloud Nine living on the Upper West Side (which is known to my agent and my Norton editor, who live in Greenwich Village, as ‘Upstate Manhattan.’)”

we say:
“Of course, there are all the peripheral pleasures of living on Wyoming: the day hikes through hail storms, the time spent with the old DVD collection on a crisp day (front row seats to see Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro facing off in HEAT circa 1995), the Hispanic/Oriental foods section at Wal-Mart, the singular man who is Laramie’s homeless population wearing a sarong and using rocks (which he cleverly calls, ‘dinosaur teeth’) as a form of currency at the local bistro.  This is Cloud Nine living in South-Eastern Wyoming.”

she says:
“…the crackle of intellectual energy in the air is almost visible, like blue fire.”

we say:
“really? can we just take a minute to workshop that sentence?”

thesis development

mfa nonfiction student emily trostel traveled last weekend to the colorado wine festival in palisade.  some would call this an excuse for dionysian ritual madness, but at the uwyo mfa we call it “thesis research.”

"thesis research"

"scientific method"

emily spent the summer travelling to wineries across the west, funded in part by a grant from the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources. looking at wine in the context of the slow food and locavore movement, her research focuses upon grape growing and winemaking in colorado and wyoming. unlike napa (which she was also fortunate enough to visit this summer) these regions are unexpected places for this kind of winemaking tradition.

"wine country"

in her own words:
I’m interested in looking at the authenticity of wine making.  Big wineries rely heavily on technology to produce a reliable, mass-palate-friendly type of wine.  But, this rating-driven market has led to a loss of diversity among varietals that are grown and less authenticity in old world style winemaking.  So I’m also interested in the ethics behind grape growing (responsibility to the land) and the ethics behind winemaking (how much is the wine altered and how does that contradict the traditions behind making artisan wine that reflect the terroir of the land).”

well said, trostel. you are pretty as a peach.

@ farmer's market en route to laramie.