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January 17, 2013 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-01-17

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, January 17, 2013 - 3B

Your iPhone
can't make you
lose weight

High-school students involved in Read Beard Press participate in all aspects of the publishing process, such as poem selection and editing.

From Page 1B
Despite their young age, these
individuals know what they're
doing. The outpouring of support
is a testament to the fact that Red
Beard is not just a fun club for
teens that like books, but also is a
S well-run and respected business.
"It's a business; it's a profes-
sional thing," Geva said. "It's not
just a bunch of high-schoolers sit-
ting around."
Giving voice to the youth
Currently, the press is self-
sufficient. Red Beard prints and
sells just enough books to guar-
antee that the next project can
go to print. Admittedly, with all
the good that they have done in
the community, it seems like an
expansion would be a chance to
expand influence rather than a
way to make money.
"I'd like to grow a little bit
beyond that. We'd like to try and
get a distribution deal so we can
get our books around the country
a little more. We want to create a
new curriculum for teachers and
schools so they can use our books
more in class," Kass said.
But Red Beard isn't just about
getting books published or being a
business - they have also under-
taken a mission to reinvigorate
youth in Ann Arbor and else-'
"It's about giving a voice to
youth, but we also didn't want to
be the 'voice of youth.' We just
wanted to have good poems,"
Chamness said.
The press focuses on poet-
ry and writing that they think
should be heard. And thanks to
the efforts of these teens, it finally
has the chance to be.
"We want to create this new
canon of poems and writers that
people don't necessarily think of
as the great writers of our time.
We want to give them the stage,"
Kass said.
"This is poetry that probably
speaks to (you) a little more about

contemporary issues. We like to
have work that's really examining
what it means to be alive and tobe
a young person right now ... (with)
all of the different influences
swirling around you." Kass said.
Anyone wanting to see this
type of poetry in action need not
wait long - Red Beard Press is
having a release party on Jan. 18
for its newest book, "Electric Bite
Women," which is the work of
University students Haley Patail
and Carlina Duan, who is a Daily
Arts Editor.
Although some poems do end
up having a message, there is a
deeper level of meaning that these
poets manage to tap into. The act
of writing is a very personal thing,
and even poems that don't have
an explicit direction can still be
interesting and relevant to a teen-
ager's life.
"I do use writing as a space for
exercising a lot of voice and power
and working through ideas and
that can be explicitly political ...
all of these things that are rel-
evant to me and my community,"
Chamness said.
"I didn't necessarily have (a
message), and I didn't want it tobe
easily coherent in that way, but in
some ways having all of these dif-
ferent things in it was something
that felt important." Chamness
Since kids todaymight not have

ample opportunities to explore
the more experimental side of lit-
erature and poetry and since the
most exposure that many kidswill
have to poetry will be in the class-
room (and even that is waning), it
is becoming even more important
for them to be able to experience
different types of writing as an art
Reigniting a passion for words
"In the context of the way
public-school education has been
going these days, creativity and
imagination has been eliminat-
ed from the curriculum," Kass
said. "It's crucial that there's an
opportunity for young people to
be in the community and working
on developing their voices ... All
those kind of questions that don't
get asked in class are the kind of
questions that we ask students to
Red Beard Press has certainly
injected much-needed artistic
vigor into the youth of Ann Arbor.
There has been an outpouring of
support as the press has sold out
of every book that has been pub-
lished so far. Even more impor-
tantly, the young people attending
the book releases and poetry
events put on by Neutral Zone are
able to discover for themselves
what poetry is really all about, or
rather what poetry canbe about.

"There were kids coming up
and saying, 'This is really cool, I
didn't know that you could write
poetry like that; I didn't know you
were allowed to do that, " Geva
said. "We're letting kids hear that
there are a lot of different ways to
be a poet."
Le explained her growth as a
writer in a way that may remind.
many people of their own expe-
riences of growing up and find-
ing a sense of self - certainly
something that teens and other
young people in the community
might be going through them-
"I think that for me, it's my
way of modeling back to the
community, that people should
take themselves seriously," Le
said. "You may not think your
voice is important, but it prob-
ably is. It took a long time I think
to take myself seriously."
"I already felt so strongly that
the work of the youth here and
elsewhere was incredible and
worthy of notice," Chamness
"There's this idea that it's
kind of less important or less
likely to be good or undeveloped.
The fact that there's consistently
good work coming out of young
people - and coming out of
young people in this community
- is something that I feel like is
worth celebrating."

hile browsing the
"New and Note-
worthy" section of
the ever-growing Apple App
Store, inevitably downloading
four or five
programs to
use and then
lose within
a week, I
chuckled at
the headliner,
bright and
bold, front
and center: CARLY
"New Year, KEYES
New You:
Apps to Start
Off the Year Right."
There are two things infinite-
ly wrong here. First, just because
we desire to remedy our lifestyle
on Jan. 2 (let's be honest, most
people are still recovering on
Jan. 1 from what I'll call "poor
nutritional choices"), it doesn't
guarantee long-term success. If
we really want to improve our
health, whether it's cleaning up
our diet or ramping up the exer-
cise, we don't have to wait for an
arbitrary, socially stereotyped
date on a calendar. The best time
to make a change in our life is
right now. A moment of weak-
ness when that carb craving hits
doesn't mean we have to wait
until the start of 2014 to get back
on course.
Second, apart from the obvi-
ous psychological trap door of the
New Year'sresolution, the notion
that Apple applications can help
us better achieve our health and
fitness goals is ludicrous.
But it's just another prod-
uct intelligently marketed and
attractively advertised that
Americans flock to this time of
year in hopes that objects will
change our behavior.
As an aggregate, our country
is.currently spending millions
of dollars on gym memberships,
diet plans, workout equipment,
etc. But after we go out and buy
snazzy new running shoes, we
still have to strap them on and
use them. After we make that
novel trip to the grocery store
to fill our cart with the healthy
stuff we never eat, there's still
a chance those veggies will rot
in the fridge because, let's face
it, it's hard to dodge the allur-
ing aroma of Blimpy Burger and .
Cottage Inn (there's a reason
why Jimmy John's offers "free
ButI clicked anyway, curious
about these "life-altering" digi-
tal tools. The most ridiculously
overpriced and overcomplicated
application offered is an activ-

ity tracker called rubiTrack3
($39.99). For 40 bucks, you'd
think the damn thing would
burn caloriesfor you. Instead, I
use free websites like mapmy-
run.com to measure how far I'm
running outdoors, and when
I'm at the gym, every workout
machine practically smacks me
in the face with more big, red,
glowing statistics than I ever
care to know:
As for keeping track, just
spend a couple bucks on a
notebook. Remember those?
The kind with paper? There's
something special about writing
my goals and results by hand.
It inspires me to to jot down
thoughts about my progress and
the challenges I face. If there's
anythingI've learned, it's that
thoughts become things, and
mental fitness is just as impor-
tant, if not more so, than physi-
cal perseverance.
Now, I'm not saying health
and fitness apps aren't useful.
But they won't transform your
health for you; there certainly
isn't an app for that. I remember
vividly my own transformation
process - when I sincerely com-
mitted to improving my health
and fitness, and the only way
Apple contributed wasby fueling
my workouts with some upbeat
There is no
app that can
replace real
But if you really think that
your iPhone will make an ideal
accountabilitybuddy, any Nike+
app provides a simple, user-
friendly method for tracking
exercise, and My Fitness Pal is
an accurate tool for monitoring
caloric intake and expenditure.
Plus, they're free-
But again, these little buttons
still won't jump out of the touch
screen and drag us to the gym or
force broccoli down our throats.
If we really want to change our
health and fitness habits, it takes
urgency and actionbeyond a
quick tap and drag. And if you're
looking for an "apple" you can
rely on to make a difference, it's
the one on your plate.
Keyes likes the way you
work it. To hit her up, e-mail

Red Beard Press students preppre for the release ofone of their upcoming publications.

LSA sophomore Supreet Grewal reads in the open mic portion of the grand slam.

From Page 2B
While the artform has a rich
history and is nationally recog-
nized and supported, it's never-
theless held in low opinion by a lot
of people. Undouhtedly, this has
played a role in the lack of partici-
pation at U-M Poetry.
"There are a lot of misconcep-
tions about what spoken word and
slam poetry is," said LSA sopho-
more Supreet Grewal. "A lot of
people think it's just very angry
and not something that's relatable
on a mass scale."
Grewal is a member of U-M
Poetry, and has helped Pan in the
revitalization effort. Having also
joined last year, her experiences
with the group were also on the

shaky side.
Pan had a particularly personal
interaction with the bad reputa-
tion slam poetry has garnered. At
one of the events hosted by U-M
Poetry, a performance showcase at
U-Mix Late Night, Pan gave a per-
formance and then opened up the
forum to discussion.
"What ended up happening is,
this one girl in particular, I'm not
going to go into details ... but she
ended up just saying that slam/spo-
ken word is shit poetry," Pan said.
"While that is her opinion and (she
is) entitled to that, I think that is a
very close-minded thing to say."
Pan's first encounter with the
medium was a transformative
experience. Originally, he was pri-
marily interested in short fiction.
That is, until he went to a slam his
sophomore year.
"I went to a poetry event and I

was blown away at how moving it
was for me," Pan said. "The per-
former that was there, his name
was Jon Sands, and he was so ani-
mated and so lively that he cap-
tured everyone's attention. ... His
performance was reallyrealto me,
and I think I wanted to do some-
thing like that."
Over the past summer, Pan and
Grewal worked with faculty in
the CCI for guidance and ideas,
which they then implemented last
'semester. Their efforts paid off.
The attendance numbers rise with
each event.
"We really got this off the
ground," Pan said. "It's great to see
something so alive again."
Some of the changes they've
made involve a greater push in
advertising, as well as a turn to
more local tastes in the guest
poets featured after the slam.
"Last semester, all ofour (guest)
poets were either in the Master of
Fine Arts program or from the
Ann Arbor area," Pan said. "They
studied under Jeff Kass in high
school and whatever college they
may have gone to, Ann Arbor was
where they were from, so that was
pretty cool that we got a lot of local
talent. That was reallybig.".
At Saturday's performance, Pan
brought in his good friend Mike
Rosen from New York to emcee
the event. Rosen attended the Uni-
versity his freshman year, where
he was first introduced to slam at
a U-Club Poetry event.
"I did not actually participate,
but I do very distinctly remem-

ber coming to this very room and
watching my first poetry slam,"
Rosen said.
Rosen would go on to start the
slam poetry program at Wesleyan
University, and has been hosting
slams on the college circuit ever
since. His experience was notice-
His energy was palpable, and
with his confidence, humor and
charm, Rosen shaped the audi-
ence into an energetic slam
crowd, which was fitting, since a
big theme of the night was first-
times with the slam scene. Among
the members of U-M Poetry, you
could hear the audience's surprise
at all the new faces coming in.
"I want people who are in my

shoes to be able to find the water
instead of aimlessly searching
around like I did until my sopho-
more year, when I could have
started my freshman year," Pan
The efforts to bring in these
new faces has led to a commu-
nity outreach beyond the Uni-
versity, where there is a thriving'
slam scene channeled from the
high schools such as Pioneer and
Huron, and The Neutral Zone, a
teen center on East Washington.
Pan has even gone so far as to
give a guest lecture at his old high
school in Troy, Mich., encourag-
ing the kids to explore forms of
poetic expression other than the
typical authors and styles listed

in curriculums. He would later
see some of these students at U-M
Poetry events.
- The revitalization efforts
haven't stopped at the success in
attendance, though. Pan, Grewal
and others at U-M Poetry want
to start offering workshops and
other events that create a comfort-
able space for those who might
otherwise pass up on the poetic
"The future is more workshops.
It is not worrying about budget.
It's not worrying about atten-
dance. It's not worrying about
these things; (it's) about having
everything clear and laid out and
focusing on how we getbetter and
where does the fun come in."

Since the club's revitalization, attendance numbers at U-M Poetry slam events and competitions have steadily increased.

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