Find Three Small Things Today

Jenny Ripka ’17:

This pandemic is stressful, dangerous, frustrating, and scary. Feeling negative emotions–whatever yours may be–is appropriate, normal, and valid. You are not alone. In fact, you are lucky to be a student at Knox, where each student is cared for and regarded as a dynamic individual AND as a member of the community (even though it might not feel that way all the time). Uncertain times are unsettling, but they also give us reason to hope, and I encourage you to find three small things today. 1) Find something to look forward to, even if it’s just taking a shower or eating something sweet. 2) Find something to be grateful for. Today, I’m grateful for this opportunity to connect with you. 3) Find something to feel hopeful about.

Good luck. Stay healthy. Stay safe. Look out for your friends and family, neighbors, and strangers. This won’t last forever!

Make This Strange Separation Felt and Real to You

Liz Rice-Conboy ’99:

Where ever you may be now studying, keep your friends close by sending notes, or jokes about what you’d be doing if you were on-campus. Imagine for a moment a heated conversation with someone in a class, or a lab that gets tense as the results roll in. Feel that excitement and adrenaline and be on your knowledge quest always. Find your routine, your best eating habits, and lean-in with family or whoever is like family and trusted nearby. Walk to the convenience store near where you are, and buy some strange food like you would at the Gizmo, and have a laugh, shed a tear, or do what allows you to make this strange separation felt and real to you. You will make it. Go Prairie Fire!

Do Not be Discouraged; Be Excited

From Stefano Viglietti ’91:

To the Knox community and students I would say, do not be discouraged; be excited. In times such as these, the best and brightest will flourish. Though not all students may realize it yet, (I didn’t at the time), you are prepared to go into the world and make a difference. Though many of you may end up doing something other than what you expected, that’s okay. Be eager, be ready and be hungry; you may perhaps do a job you didn’t anticipate or want originally. The key is to get started somehow on something. Stay positive, as this too shall pass. I am confident that Knox students will go out and make sure that the world is for sure a better place when we come out the other side. The world needs Knox graduates now more than ever!! Be proud, hold your head high, and say, “I went to Knox College.”

It’s a Long, Long Road to Alma Mater, But It’s Always Home

Celinda Davis ’15:

This is a ridiculously weird and tough time, especially for all of us who value community. But it’s that community that’s going to help us get through this. Lean on each other, support each other, take care of yourselves, and do what you can with what you have. Accept the grief and let it process. Know that I’m thinking of all you current students. It’s a long, long road to alma mater right now, but it’s always home.

Hellenga Publishes New Novel

Robert Hellenga, George Appleton Lawrence Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of English and Distinguished Writer-in-Residence, has published a new book, Love, Death & Rare Books. From an early review from Booklist, “All of Hellenga’s novels revel in the details of their protagonists’ occupations, and this one is no different: it is an ode to physical books, their smell and feel, but also to the idea of both living life and reading about it, not choosing one over the other.”

Davenport Poetry Prize Deadline April 2

The Davenport Poetry Prize Deadline is 4 p.m. on April 2.

Submission Criteria:

1) entrants must be in “good standing” but need not be English majors or enrolled in an English course; students who completed coursework on campus during the 2019-20 school year, but have not yet commenced and are not currently enrolled are eligible to submit, provided they will be commencing from Knox in June; 

2) submitted manuscripts should include three poems; only one manuscript submission per student is allowed (our judge reserves the right to select prize winners based on a single poem or on the manuscript as a whole); 

3) submitted poems need not be written especially for the contest, but poems cannot have been previously published off-campus (note that publication on-campus does not exclude a poem from entry); no poem that has received a prize in a Knox contest may be submitted to any subsequent contest, although a rejected manuscript may be submitted a second time; 

4) your submission must include a title page or cover sheet with the author’s name, complete contact information, and the title of each poem; please leave your name off subsequent pages;

5) only original work by the contestant may be entered (translations are not eligible);

6) all entries must be submitted via email to no later than Thursday, April 2, by 4:00 p.m. Please attach your manuscript as a pdf (and please do not share on the drive).

If you have questions about the submission guidelines, contact (Cash prizes are determined by the English Department, in consultation with the judge’s recommendations for awards. As well, the prize-winning manuscripts each year will be retained by the College and may be published on the English Department’s website.) This year’s judge is John McCarthy. For more details, click here. Prizewinners will be announced at McCarthy’s Caxton reading on April 24 at 4 p.m. at 306 E. Simmons.