Poet laureate compiles CD
Taking listeners on a journey along the roads of Illinois’ diverse poetic landscape, Illinois’ poet laureate and Bradley Caterpillar Professor of English Dr. Kevin Stein offers Bread & Steel, his CD anthology of 21st century Illinois poetry. In an effort to generate support for the promotion of Illinois poetry, Stein’s Poetry Now! project involves donating funds to Illinois libraries to purchase and promote books written by contemporary Illinois poets. Bradley University funded Bread & Steel, provided technical expertise, and sustained Stein’s efforts.
“In general, my idea is to offer a literal ”record” of 24 poetic voices of contemporary Illinois poets, an audio record to enhance the usual textual sources,” said Stein. “The audio history accentuates these poems’ fundamental oral appeal.“
Stein’s first goal is to place the CD in most Illinois public libraries, giving the public access to the CD where it can offer a lasting historical record of Illinois poetic voices. His second goal is to attract the attention of Illinois English teachers so the CD’s audio appeal reaches students in classrooms across the state.
“Today’s students have been reared in a digital age that values hearing poetry as much as reading it,” added Stein. “I hope this CD finds a home in Illinois classrooms from kindergarten to graduate schools. I aim to persuade audiences that current poets do indeed speak to the pressures and anxieties and beauties of our everyday lives.”
Mockers take on “courtroom”
Led by coach Scott Paulsen, a Peoria-area attorney, Bradley’s mock trial team claimed the Spirit of AMTA Award at the regional meet in Joliet on February 16-17. Ashley Christensen ‘07, team president, explained the award recognizes a team for its display of civility, justice, and fair play. “It’s an honor to receive this award, and it shows Bradley’s outstanding professionalism and sportsmanship,” she said.
Bradley’s Mock Trial Team 776: (front) Sarah Fischer ‘09, Sarah Shadnia ‘09 (back, from left) Coach Scott Paulsen, Matt Allen ‘09, Jessica Lenz, ‘07, Ashley Christensen ‘07, David Mullner ‘09, and Mason Cole ‘07.
Other season highlights include a second-place finish at the Illinois State University Invitational and fifth-place finish at the Quincy University Riverside Classic. The team’s second-place tie with the University of Illinois had special significance, as Paulsen started his mock-trial coaching career in Champaign. “Obviously, the students I taught are long gone, but I always like competing well against U of I,” he said. “They’re the big boys in the state.”
Bradley’s mock trial team began in 1993 after Todd Naylor ’94 and Joe Watson ’94 approached political science professor Dr. Craig Curtis about an interest in the American Mock Trial Association. Since their first meet at Eureka College in 1994, the team has cultivated several individual awards and taken many trips to the annual National Championship Tournament.
Curtis and Paulsen coached the team together until this year when Curtis took a leave. “I can’t emphasize enough how much he carried the ball,” Paulsen said. He credited the team, his “enthusiastic and intellectual bunch” with keeping him sharp for his practice. “They say if you want to get better at your craft, teach it,” he said. “There’s a lot of truth to that.”
In a mock trial meet, two teams of six to eight mockers compete in four rounds. Each member plays a different role and is scored on 14 different activities.
Christensen explained the trial process: “The meet begins after the details of the case are explained. After the witnesses are called, we go into the courtroom, which is actually a classroom, and start the trial. After the opening statements, the plaintiff questions witnesses and the other side cross-examines. Next we have a break, then the defense presents its witnesses, and the plaintiff crosses. Closing arguments follow, then judges fill out ballots and give comments.”
Christensen said the team that wins the round is not always the team that wins the case.
To compete with the mock trial team, students need not try out or even have a background in political science. “All they have to do is volunteer,” Paulsen said. “Many come from high school mock trial teams and want to continue in college.”
Christensen, a senior political science major, said some mockers have surprising academic backgrounds, such as theatre, engineering, and biology.
“I don’t have the dramatic flair to be a good witness,” Christensen said. “That’s why the theatre majors are helpful.”