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IC Noon Rotary Stories
Posted by Shawn Reineke on Feb 25, 2017
Our Club maintained a Moment of Silence for the passing of Rtn. Rich Vogelzang’s mother, aged 100. Our condolences to the Vogelzang family.
As this newsletter was being readied on Friday, President Usha wanted to share an update: She learned that Rtn. Dotti Maher is at the UIHC recovering well from surgery after a hip fracture which resulted from a mishap while Dotti was running with her dog last Sunday (Feb. 19). Dotti is in good spirits and is happy to receive your phone calls to cheer her up. We do wish Dotti a good recovery so that she gets back to normalcy in a few weeks.
President Usha congratulated Rtn. Matt Steele on getting married this week! How lovely that both Matt and his wife Andrea Jensen were in attendance at Rotary!
DG Chris Knapp invited all of us to attend the District Conference which will be held at the Coralville Marriott, May 4 – 6, 2017. Online registration is now available on the district web site. Early registration ends April 1. See the district web site: www.rotary6000.org for information.
President Usha invited DG Knapp to join her and our musicians Aaron Schaefer (voice) and Jim Conard (piano) to sing Happy Birthday to Rotary on the 112th anniversary of Rotary’s founding on February 23, 1905! Happy Birthday wishes too for fellow Rotarians born in the month of February. A big thanks to Tita Coffman and Horacio Olivo for joyfully singing a traditional Mexican Happy Birthday song in Spanish to celebrate Rotary’s 112th birthday! Vive le Rotary!
New Member Induction: Jon Brown, Financial Services: Tax Agent (Sponsor: Usha Balakrishnan). Welcome to Rotary and to our Club, Jon!
Program: Fellow Rotarian and current board president of UNESCO City of Literature Jim Conard introduced fellow Rotarian John Kenyon, Executive Director, UNESCO City of Literature, as our speaker. Before becoming the Executive Director in 2012, John was a journalist with the Cedar Rapids Gazette and editor of the Corridor Business Journal. The real start of literature in Iowa City began in the 1860s with the founding of several literary clubs. By the 1890s these literary clubs had evolved into writing clubs which was the basis for the start of creative writing. In 1897, the university offered its first creative writing course called “Verse Making”. A course on the short story followed in 1900. In 1915 the Midland was founded – a literary journal by Midwest writers. Individuals no longer had to go abroad to find places to write and create. They could do it right here in mid-America. The next phase of this movement was to invite writers to come to Iowa. The Saturday Luncheon Club was one of the best known groups in the 1920’s. Authors included Sherwood Anderson, Robert Frost and Carl Sandburg. The Times Club focused on artists and musicians and included such visitors as Thomas Hart Benton, W.C. Handy and Langston Hughes. They met in what is now the second floor café of local bookstore Prairie Lights. These clubs created much interest in a vibrant atmosphere that fostered creative writing. In 1922, the University of Iowa began to grant advanced degrees based on creative work rather than on teaching or research. In 1931 the first Ph.D.’s were awarded in the School of Letters at the university. The arts continued to flourish throughout Iowa City. Playwriting was added in 1923 with support from E.C.Mabie and the university theather. In 1925, the first music students earned MFA’s, and in 1926 art students were awarded the same. Josephine Donovan was set to earn the first master’s degree in 1929 for her novel “Black Soil”, but the book was bought for publication and by Hollywood so she didn’t pursue it. The first creative masters’ thesis by Mary Hoover Roberts was accepted in 1931. Mary’s works, “Paisley Shawl” was based on poetry. In 1932, five people, including Wallace Stegner and Paul Engle began their associations with the university. The graduate writing program was founded in 1936, and in 1939 it was officially named “The Writer’s Workshop” as we know it today. Paul Engle, director from 1941 – 1965, acknowledged that universities were not famous for taking chances, but the University of Iowa took one with the workshop. Talented individuals were attracted to Iowa City where they worked hard, published a variety of works, and attracted even more individuals to come – a self-fulfilling prophecy as described by Frank Convoy, director from 1987-2005.
In 2004, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) created the Creative Cities Network. The idea was to seek collaboration, share best practices and communicate in regards to literature, music, film, gastronomy, crafts and folk art, design and media arts. Christopher Merrill, current director of the International Writing Program at the university, and a group of local leaders submitted a 75 page application to become a City of Literature. In 2008 Iowa City was recognized as the third City of Literature, becoming one of 20 cities worldwide and part of 116 cities in the Creative Cities Network.
John invited everyone to attend One Book Two Book festival which will be held this weekend. It is a celebration of children’s literature and will feature writing for kids and by kids. Students from our local community in 1st through 8th grade will be recognized for their literary work. Gene Luen Yang, National Ambassador of Young Peoples Literature, is the featured keynote speaker at Friday night’s banquet, and will conduct a session on Saturday morning. Students will read their works, attend workshops, explore a science fair, see arts and crafts, and enjoy a book fair on Saturday and Sunday. For more information: www.onebooktwobook.orgPresident Usha thanked Jim Conard and John Kenyon for an excellent program featuring the literary history of our city and for adding greater vibrancy to our community!
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