English writing and French major participates in poetry festival

Apr 24, 2013

North Central College student Kimberly Grazulis ’13 participated in the 14th annual Citywide Undergraduate Poetry Festival in Chicago.

The festival was held April 4 at Columbia College Chicago and featured the talents of eight poets from Chicago-area colleges and universities who read their own original works. Other participating institutions included DePaul University, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

“Unlike athletes, emerging writers rarely get to suit up for a game or experience the spark and friction of friendly competition,” said Zachary Jack, associate professor of English. “The City Undergraduate Poetry Festival is a thrill for student writers precisely because it provides a celebratory venue for a shared love of, and aptitude for, poetic thought as well as the fellowship of kindred spirits. Over the years it’s been great to see North Central’s writers hold their own against scribes from large universities.”

Grazulis, of Lockport, Ill., is a senior with a double major in English writing and French. On campus, she has been involved in a number of student organizations, including Blue Key leadership honors society, the North Central Review literary magazine and Cardinal Chorus.

“I was surprised—I never really thought of myself as a poet,” Grazulis said. “Overall, I thought it was a cool experience.”

She has also acted as a leader and mentor on campus. Grazulis served for two years as co-president in Cercle Français, the College’s French club, provided assistance to students as a Writing Center tutor since her junior year and worked in the Language Resource Center as a senior.

“Kim was a logical choice as our nominee for the poetry fest this year,” Jack said. “She thinks of herself primarily as a writer of nonfiction, but as faculty we know her as a virtuoso who’s able to move betwixt and between prose and poetry while drawing on her performance background to read with aplomb. Her intelligence, wit and wordplay distinguish her.”

Grazulis recently accepted a position with TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France) for the 2013-2014 academic year and will leave for Montpellier in southern France in September. Through the program, she will act as a teaching assistant in primary school English classes.

“I’m really excited about it since I want to go on to each ESL in the United States,” Grazulis said.

Jack also noted that several recent festival participants from the College have gone on to further their pursuits in writing. “Many have gone on to graduate school in creative writing, so it’s consistently been a harbinger of still better things to come for our gifted creative writers,” Jack said.

By Klariza Alvaran ’13