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English Department students present capstone projects

Will McCabe presents his poetry work,

Will McCabe presents his poetry work, "The Timberwolf Crucible" (Northern Review photo/Dominic Turnea).

Six senior English students presented their capstone presentations for Ohio Northern University's English Department on Nov. 30. The students presented materials on poetry, creative nonfiction, critical analysis essays and a screenplay. Professors, family members, and fellow students were able to witness and hear about the students’ projects and their research, along with the variety of messages presented in every piece. 

 Three students presented complete poetry collections: Rachel Cruea, Will McCabe, and Sofie Moeller. Within Cruea’s presentation, “The Flower Doesn’t Dream of the Bee,” Cruea explores poetry that connects the reader and the writer. Using sound play, lyric poetry, and strong imagery, Cruea writes poetry focused on one’s inner thoughts, as well as an opportunity to challenge a writer’s limits.

“[Poetry] moves beyond the boundaries of our everyday lives. Poetry is a space you can control,” Cruea stated in her presentation. 

Moeller was another senior to present her poetry, a collection of poems, “Halls of Freya,” focusing on her biculturalism. Moeller, originally from Denmark, highlights her blend of American and Danish cultures in her poems. 

Finally, McCabe’s piece, “Timberwolf Crucible,” focuses on a variety of what was called “sad poems.” Through sad poems, readers can connect, understand and find a way to heal.

I believe that one can turn toward poetry and receive a feeling of understanding and empathy, helping with one’s feelings of grief and discomfort. Poetry creates a personal relationship between not just “I” and “you” characters, but also the speaker and the reader,” McCabe said. 

Through deconstruction methods and psychoanalysis within each poetic piece, readers of McCabe’s work will be able to understand and interpret the piece in any way they want it to be.

“Whether you’re not the only one, you are still unique,” McCabe said. 

Along with poetry, many students took different approaches to writing, presenting a variety of diverse pieces; these pieces shy away from what readers are traditionally used to reading, such as fiction. 

A screenplay is a written movie script, allowing the reader to read the dialogue, to see the actions of the characters. For Loren Huntley and his presentation, “Inspired by True Events,” his screenplay focuses on historical fiction. Huntley’s screenplay, “The Jester,” successfully reflects historical fiction, as it tells the tale of Jabez, the jester, and his plan to do something no jester would do in the historical time period labeled as “the anarchy.” During the presentation, audience members read select scenes from the piece.  

Kathryn Kuchefski had an open mind when reading Shakespeare’s play “Titus Andronicus.”  In her critical analysis of the work, Kuchefski explores the play’s structure and plot, focusing on feminism and deconstruction, a term in which analyzers breaks apart a written text—finding its many meanings. 

“I was not subjected to the interpretation of other views of the play before I had developed my own. I did not see what a director created on a screen or a stage, so I created my own interpretation,” Kuchefski explained. 

With her critical analysis, Kuchefski hopes to introduce a new perspective on the world Shakespeare has created. With six drafts of the essay, the critical piece was presented at the Ohio Valley Shakespeare Conference in late October. 

Finally, Kasy Long tells the story of NASA engineer Abraham “Abe” Silverstein in her creative nonfiction essay, titled “One Giant Leap: A Personal Biography of NASA Engineer, Abe Silverstein.”     

Long has a connection with the great engineer: they are both from Terre Haute, Indiana. Long began to work towards researching his life, even interviewing his family members, learning about how he played a large part in making the moon landing expedition a success.

“Silverstein’s dream became Kennedy’s dream, and then it became America’s dream,” Long said. 

With her project taking two years to complete, Long didn’t hesitate; she even researched archives from NASA and interviewed those who worked with Silverstein, exceeding journalism expectations. 

My goal for this project was to push beyond the expectations. I need to go beyond the ordinary.  Any journalist can gather biographical information and write an article about an individual.  But, as the gonzo journalist here, I actively placed myself into Silberstein’s world and really considered who he was as an individual," she said.  

Although the capstone presentations are finished for the fall semester, the seniors will be finishing their semesters at ONU, some going to pursue their master’s degree. The upcoming spring semester will also highlight a variety of senior presentations, who, undoubtedly, will present critical and innovative pieces of writing material, as well.