By Bert Connelly and Anna Holmquist
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT AND NEWS EDITORS
As an English major, it is simultaneously cool and reassuring to see graduates of the program in which I am currently enrolled return sober enough, published and holding down a steady job. On Tuesday, Oct. 4, Tommy Zurhellen ’90 read from his new novel “Nazareth, North Dakota” in the Moore Lounge in Pearsons. Zurhellen, the chair of the creative writing department at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, picked several of his favorite passages to read to the audience, stopping between sections to explain some back-story or tell a funny anecdote.
Zurhellen’s energy and reading style kept the audience engaged, as he used different voices to distinguish each character.
The story of “Nazareth, North Dakota,” is set in the 1980s and follows Sam, a modern-day incarnation of Jesus Christ. Zurhellen’s novel is based on the premise that Sam is the first coming of the Savior. He also spoke a bit about his upcoming novel, “Apostle Islands,” which will be a sequel to the first.
He also spoke to at least one class to offer his insights on the ins-und-outs of the publishing world. Zurhellen told us that there is always work in porn and video games, noting that that sh*t needs a plot too. He was approachable, despite spending three years living in the Sigma Chi house. JK, but seriously.
On Wednesday, October 5th, Chris Fink, Associate Professor of English, and Rebecca Stafford, Visiting Assistant Professor of English, held a reading as well. Professor Fink read excerpts from his forthcoming novel, tentatively titled “Forward, Wisconsin.” Stafford read about 6 poems ranging in theme from marriage to the impending apocalypse. Actually, I guess all her poems were about the same thing. Both professors’ work was well received and thought provoking.
Basically, it is really nice to see the people who have learned here and who are teaching here make the most out of their education and be gainfully employed.