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January 30, 1986 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-01-30

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

PGe

Thursday, January 30, 1986

'Why does RC dominate

Hopwoods?

"By Alan Paul
E IGHT OF TEN 1986 Hopwood
Underclassmen Award winners
are students in the Residential
'' llege Creative Writing Program.
Why has the RC, which accounts for only
4.3 percent of the LSA student body,
been so successful in producing
writers?
"The program is really good
because it's not restricting," accor-
1ing to Mary Lynch, an RC
sophomore and winner of the top
poetry award of $300. "It's deman-
ding but not confining. Everything -
discipline, approach - is completely
up to the student."
RC Freshman Jeffrey Peters, who
received $250 as the top fiction award,
agrees with Lynch.
"A lot of regular writing courses
'tell you to write about what you did
over winter break, incorporating a
netaphor and a simile or something.
We follow our own direction here,"
Peters said.
Peters, as well as fiction awardees

Lisa Arsuaga and Beth Serlin, are
students in Warren Hecht's Creative
Writing Tutorials in which students
meet once a week with Hecht, chair-
man of the RC Creative Writing
Program. Hecht agrees with the
student's assessment of the RC's
Hopwoods success.
"You can't limit students," Hecht
said. There's a tendency among
writing professors to try and mold
students into their own style. This has
to be avoided."
"RC students represent such a
small percentage of those eligible,"
Hecht continued. "It may be because
so many teachers in LSA freshman
and sophomore composition classes
are fellows. They're students who
don't have as much time or interest to
spend with their students. I'm full
time and that's what we do here (in
the RC). We teach the kids."
Ken Mikolowski teaches poetry
tutorials. Three of the four poetry
winners, including Lynch, Phillip
Barnhart, and LSA sophomore J. L.
Utley, study with him. He too believes
that the freedom granted to his
students produces positive results.

Mikolowski sees another reason for
his program's success - an emphasis
on contemporary American poetry.
"It's 1986. It is not realistic to try
and sound like an Englishman who's
been dead for 200 years." Mikolowski
smiled through a thick, graying
beard. "It bothers me how many
'Modern Poetry' classes study Robert
Frost and T. S. Eliot. It would be ab-
surd to have a modern music class
that studied Glen Miller and there've
been as many advances in poetry and
music the last 50 years."
Both Hecht, whose students have
won over 100 Hopwoods, and
Mikolowski separate themselves
from their student's success. Both
also have high praise for the Hopwood
Awards.
"There is self selection," Hecht
said. "The students are self
motivated but the Hopwoods really
improve attitudes. People want very
badly to be writers, but everything is
against it - parents, peers, financial
pressures - so recognition provides
optimism. It makes them stop and
realize that it is possible to succeed

even though the odds are against you
- if you persevere and are good. A
Hopwood Award is often the first in-
dication of this."
The winners support Hecht's
"morale boost" theory. Arsuaga'
who won $175 in the fiction category,
is planning a dual Creative Writing-
Communications major. Though she
wants to be a writer, she desires the
communications degree to fall back
on because of the unpredictable
nature of a career in writing.
Barnhart, whose poetry won him
$325, is more to the point.
"It's hard to tell people that you're
going to be a Creative Writing
major," the RC sophomore said.
"The award is a big plus. Now I feel a
lot more comfortable to just tell
people what I want to do."
Hecht and Mikolowski have also
been impressed by the award's diver-
sity.
"There's a real contrast in styles
among my three students who won
and I'm glad that the Hopwoods are
able to recognize quality in different
forms," Mikolowski said. "I know I

allow this diversity and I'm pleased
that the Hopwoods do also."
The Hopwoods format calls for two
judges in each category. Each awar-
ding the judges change, which Hecht
believes is crucial.
"One man's good judge is another
man's bad," Hecht stated. "If there

were always the same judges, it
would force people into a mold."
Perhaps Peters best summed up
the meaning of a Hopwood award.
"This is a big confidence boost. It
makes me stop and say, 'Give it a
try'"
.

I

The kind of stuff

Below is a sample of the stuff
Hopwood Awards are made of.
This poem, by Mary Lynch, won
her the top poetry award last
week.
Take the shock of rotting fruit.
Where skin should be stretched
taut around smooth flesh
that skin is loose.

Hold it and it seems to throb:
the hand mistakes itself
imparting a pulse
into the held object,
into a pit in the center,
that reticent place still
hard and alive known
by the teeth before
mouth encircles flesh
and bites out a piece.

The good and bad

from January celluloid

By John Shea
TANUARY.is the best month of the
i year to see movies. It is no coin-
cidence that many top notch films
have come out of the woodwork recen-
tly. Next week the Academy Awards
nominations will be announced and
filmmakers who aspire for Oscars
release their works this month so the
build up of press coverage and
momentum of box office receipts will
translate into votes. The latest movie
to enter the Oscar race is Twice in a
Lifetime, produced and directed by
Bud Yorkin.
Twice in a Lifetime is the story of
infidelity in a twenty-five year old
marriage. Harry MacKenzie (Gene
Hackman), a steel mill worker in
Washington who's more interested in
the Seattle Seahawks than his wife
Kate (Ellen Burstyn).
The kids are all grown up and the in-
trigue and romance of Harry and
Kate's marriage has long past.
However, on the night of Harry's fif-
tieth birthday, he meets Audrey (Ann-
Margret), an invigorating woman
that gives Harry the chance to live
and love again; hence, the "lovers'
triangle". When Kate discovers
I Harry's affair, she is crushed and
when the oldest daughter, Sunny
(Amy Madigan), finds out, she is in-
furiated at her father. Sunny must
fight to keep the marriage alive, for
Kate is too subserviant and weak to do
so herself.
" On such a sensitive subject as this,
screenwriter Colin Welland doesn't
want to take a position on who's right
and wrong; who's innocent or who's
guilty. However, the audience sym-
pathsizes more with Kate, who is ob-
viously being dumped. Harry, so
anxious to jump at a second chance
for love, just completely disregards
twenty-five years of marriage and the
pleas from Kate and the rest of the
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family to try and make the marriage
work. The essential message of the
movie here is that it's okay to leave a
marriage if the love and romance is
gone.
But by having Hackman perceived
by the audience as the bad guy, the
message loses some of its validity and
punch. Twice in a lifetime is
reminiscent of Terms of Endearment
in that the central female character
undergoes a complete metamorphosis
from weak-old-ninny to tough-old
broad who is now young at heart.
Lifetime is a simple story and is
touching without the emotional
manipulation of a film like Endear-
ment.
Both Gene Hackman and Ellen Bur-
styn were excellent. As a man
struggling to come to terms with his
boring life by pursuing his desires,
Harry becomes a believable charac-
ter. Burstyn gives an emotional per-
formance, so powerful that we take
sides with her. Ann-Margret and Amy
Madigan are also enjoyable but there
was little else for Margret to do ex-
cept to act like a slut (which she did
quite well); Madigan is a bit over-
bearing with her constant outbursts,

but we come to admire her tough ex-
terior.
I'm still not sure whether I liked
Twice in a Lifetime or not. While the
story was interesting and Hackman
and Burstyn gave excellent perfor-
mances, I'm taken aback by
Wellands and Vorkin's nonchalant at-
titude toward marriage. After twen-
ty-five years, I would have to think
that once is enough.
MOVE OVER, KITT. You've got
competiaion.
The star of Harvey Cokliss' new
film, Black Moon Rising is not Tom-
my Lee Jones or Linda Hamilton, but
an aerodynamically perfect car that
runs on hydrogen molecules from
water. The Black Moon (as the car is
named) can reach speeds of 350 mph
and, as an added bonus, can jump
from one thirty story building to the
next if necessary. Interested? So was
I.
However, there is good escapism
and bad escapism and Black Moon
Rising suffers from having nowhere
to go. The premise is interesting
enough; Quint (Jones), a professional
thief, is hired by the government to

steal evidence against a tax evading
company it is prosecuting. Being pur-
sued by an old nemesis who also wan-
ts the evidence, Quint is forced to hide
it in the Black Moon, which is stolen
by Nina (Hamilton), who is working
for a car ring.
As a general rule of thumb, you
know you're in trouble when during
the opening credits you see that it took
three people to write the screenplay.
John Carpenter, Desmond Nakano
and William Grey collaborated on the
script, and while the idea of Supercar
is interesting, the formula story - in-
cluding the gratuitous sex and violen-
ce - isn't enough to keep us enter-
tained. And while the star of the
movie sits in a parking garage for half
the movie, we are left bored, waiting
for the grand finale. Jones and
Hamilton realize they're playing
backseat here, and they do the best
they can with the material given, but
they are neither compelling nor in-
teresting enough for us to care.

This is Harvey Cokliss' first time in
the director's chair, and surprisingly,
he is not out to impress anyone as he
lets the story take over. All Cokliss
wants is an exciting, slick package.
But if the script is poor and weak in
areas, it is the responsibility of the
director to compensate for it; Cokliss
fails miserably. When the car isn't
smashing through buildings or drag
racing the wrong way on a one-way

street, the movie simply plods along.
Zzzzz ...
It would be easy enough to shoot
down Black Moon Rising because it
has no redeeming social value or isn't
thought-provoking, but it's not sup-
posed to be and Cokliss doesn't
pretend it is for a single moment. All
Black Moon Rising is trying to do is
give us ninety minutes of escapism
and at times it succeeds.

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January 23, 24, 25, 30, 31
38:00 P.m. February 1 $5 donation
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