The emus have it

Students awed by writer’s imagery

| Audrey Dighans copy editor |

“I never could have thought up that much detail about an emu that just appeared at my house one day,” said Anna Guigli, freshman in marketing. “Sage-Webb’s use of imagery was amazing.”
Guigli was one of about 50 students and staff members to attend the Distinguished Writers Series on Thursday, March 6, in the Balkans Room of Overman Student Center.
Guest writer Amy Sage-Webb read two of her works from her book “Save Your Own Life.”
The event was co-sponsored by the Creative Writing and Women’s Studies departments. Webb was invited to speak in honor of Women’s History Month.
“This is a little fun fact,” said Laura Washburn, professor of English, during her greeting to the audience. “We didn’t really publicize that she was coming for Women’s History Month, but she has and we’re glad to have her.”
Washburn added that in her 16 years at Pitt State she has never witnessed a writer canceling until the last two who were scheduled to present for the series.
“Amy breaks our streak of no-shows,” Washburn said.
Webb began talking about her move from the “industrial Midwest” to the “rural Midwest” and how the transition has helped shaped her writing.
“My husband and I bought an old hog farm, of all things,” Webb said. “We subsequently divorced after that and everyone told me I would sell that house, but I never have.”
The first story of the evening involved the emu.
“Of all things to have pop up on your property one day,” Webb said. “I was not expecting that.”
Webb, a professor of creative writing at Emporia State University, used her unexpected guest as an assignment in her classes.
“‘For days the emu has circled her house’ was the sentence I gave to all my students,” Webb said. “There were several excellent stories, but this is the one that emerged from that sentence.”
Webb then proceeded to read the story.
“I didn’t think it was going to be so interesting,” said Quintin Hammer, freshman in business management and marketing. “I came for extra credit at first, but I’m really glad I came besides that because the stories turned out to be really good and she has a nice voice to listen to. It really made the evening enjoyable.”
After finishing with the emu, Webb asked the audience which story they would like to hear next.
“A lot of these stories are about love … and a lot involve death,” Webb said. “So, do we want death and an airplane accident, death and an industrial accident, death by gluttony or death and a horse?”
“Death by gluttony” prevailed as the winner after a quick vote.
“That was my favorite of the two,” Hammer said. “She’s very passionate about her work, you can tell by the way she reads it.”
Holly Lewandowski agreed with Hammer.
“She’s so in touch with her stories,” Lewandowski, undeclared freshman, said. “It’s not what I would normally read but I am glad I came and I think I’ll go to the next reader if I have time.”

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