Mindfulness Mentor: Tips for Living a Happier Life

Lewis University’s Arts & Ideas program is hosting what is referred to as the “Happiness Series” throughout the course of the 2017 fall semester. The series includes numerous presentations from faculty and staff that offer helpful tips in regards to mindfulness, writing and the arts, and happiness.

I attended the “Cultivating Happiness through Mindfulness and Writing I” presentation that was held late last month. This presentation highlighted the benefits of practicing mindfulness and its intersectionality with writing, as well as how the conjunction of both can cultivate and restore happiness into one’s everyday life.

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Artist’s Portfolio: Larissa Barnat

Found below is a collection of stunning art from Larissa Barnat, a Lewis University student we’re incredibly happy to feature here. The series, entitled “Disorientation,” effectively shows off her vast talent. We’ve interlaced Larissa’s bio and process piece between the ten hand-picked oil paintings we’ve highlighted in this post. See for yourself the wonderful artistry of this young talent.

Larissa Barnat
Larissa Barnat

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Artist’s Portfolio: Alex Turner

Found below is a collection of intriguing and enveloping paintings by Lewis University student Alex Turner. We’re ecstatic to feature his nine paintings, which we’ve interspersed throughout this post along with Turner’s bio and process piece.
Discover for yourself the awesome work of this young artist.

Alex Turner
Alex Turner

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Artist’s Portfolio: Mervyn John

Found below is a collection of the vibrant, brilliant photography of Mervyn John, a Lewis University student we’re incredibly happy to feature here. We’ve interlaced John’s bio and process piece between the eight hand-picked photographs we’ve highlighted in this post. See for yourself the stunning artistry of this young talent.

Mervyn John
Mervyn John

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Meet the Editors: Andrea Holm

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Andrea Holm

Hello, readers! Fall is here and it’s time to break out those jackets! We are near the end of our “Meet the Editor” series, and this week we have Andrea Holm.

Andrea Holm is a senior at Lewis University. She is majoring in psychology and double minoring in sociology and professional writing. Her goal is to earn a PhD in clinical psychology and become a mental health doctor. She is a member of the Lewis University women’s cross country and track and field team, participating in middle distance events. This is her first year working for the Jet Fuel Review, and she has chosen to help out as Fiction Editor and Copy Editor. Outside the world of Lewis, she spends time riding her four horses, as it is a very therapeutic hobby and something she is passionate about.

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A Community Collaboration: Bouts-Rimés

Jet Fuel Review Issue 11 Cover
Jet Fuel Review Issue 11 Cover

For issue #11 of the Jet Fuel Review, we’ve included a special section that features a sampling of pieces that all share a prevailing theme, with this issue’s special theme being a collection of bouts-rimé poetry.

A bouts-rimé is a literary game in which poets are given a predetermined set of words that they must center their poems around. Literally meaning “rhymed-ends” in French, a bouts-rimé is a type of sonnet, three quatrains and a couplet with an abab cdcd efef gg rhyme scheme. Since the fourteen words that we chose were challenging, we decided that adherence to iambic pentameter would be optional.

The selected fourteen words were required to be used at the end of each line (hence, “rhymed-ends” as the translation) and in the order they were given. All of the Jet Fuel Review editors collaborated in coming up with interesting words to stump poets. Here are the fourteen words we decided on: envelope, orange, telescope, singe; eyelash, wire, mustache, fire; underhand, render, ampersand, tender; photogenicpomegranate.

Seeing what the poets were in for, we felt that it would only be right for us, the editors, to attempt to write bouts-rimés ourselves. After feeling the frustration firsthand, we could not be more pleased with how many lovely bouts-rimés we received in response to our seemingly impossible task.

— Sam Gennett, Assistant Managing Editor

Presented below are the editors’ attempts at writing poems using our specific bouts-rimé guidelines. These poems have all been written by Jet Fuel Review editors and other Lewis University students/alumni.

To see the poems that made the cut in issue #11, follow the link here.

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“Painter Working, Reflection” and “Ex-Voto” by Dr. Michael Cunningham

Frida Kahlo’s Portrait of Doctor Farill http://bit.ly/1Mw7iU5
Frida Kahlo’s Portrait of Doctor Farill
http://bit.ly/1Mw7iU5

An introductory note on ekphrastic poetry (“Artists at Their Easels” ) by Dr. Michael Cunningham:

I have been interested in portraiture, artists’ renderings of the human face and figure. And I am interested in self representation, especially in the two forms where it is commonly found: the memoir/autobiography and in paint.

My “Artists at Their Easels” project is a result of the convergence of these two interests. At first the subjects came to me; for a long time I have been familiar with and provoked by the mischievous Rene Magritte’s “Clairvoyance.” The same is true for Jan Vermeer’s “The Artist in His Studio.” I have been fascinated by the photography of Vivian Maier, the North Shore nanny who shot thousands of street scenes in Chicago at the middle of the 20th century, none of which were reproduced until her negatives and proof sheets were discovered at a garage sale in the last decade. I was delight to find that, in some cases, Maier had turned the camera on herself, capturing her fleeting image in a huge department store window.

In other cases, I have deliberately looked for self-portraits in studio settings. I was familiar with the work of British avant-gardist Lucian Freud, but didn’t know that he had done self-portraits until I investigated.

If the limited number of poems that comprise this project can be classified, it would be in this way: poems in which the artist speaks and those in which an observer speaks. In the first category, I am challenged to be a good mind reader, that is, to take what information I may gather about the artist and imagine what he or she might be thinking. The poem about the Frida Kahlo painting shown here is such an instance. My research is not extensive. Though I have seen and enjoyed “Frida,” the 2002 biopic, and have seen a number of exhibits of her work and that of her contemporaries at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen, I have not read Hayden Herrara’s biography. I suppose that this leaves me open to the charge of “historical error,” but then complete fidelity is not my goal. The Frida who speaks in this poem is the Frida that I imagine.

In fashioning poems in the second category –-  those about viewer responses – I rely on my own engagement with the poems. The speaker in these poems is some version of myself. The voice found in the poem about Vermeer is close to my own. It’s me that finds something intriguing about the use of red, an unusual color in the painter’s palette. The voice that you hear in the poem about the naked and aging Lucian Freud is my own; in the painting I find an image of my own increasingly decrepit form.

Dr. Michael Cunningham is the Director of the Lewis University Arts & Ideas program.

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