“Waiting for Rene” by Silas Phillips

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Silas earned two honorable mentions from the Oval this year. His first is titled, “Waiting for Rene.” The second, “Warm Winter’s Day,” will appear on the blog on August 3rd, 2016. Silas is a sophomore at UM studying environmental science and dabbling in taking photos.

City winterscape at night
“Waiting for Rene” by Silas Phillips, Photograph

Episode 148 – Jennifer Savage / Sharon O

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Episode 148 – Jennifer Savage / Sharon Olds – Jennifer Savage reflects on the way two people merge with one another and then with the place they call home. http://ow.ly/8RQ0502AkwA

“sea captain catman and his shitty night vision” by Samantha Ricci

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The Oval recognizes “sea captain catman and his shitty night vision” by Samantha Ricci with an honorable mention this year. Samantha writes about herself:

I hatched from an egg in Montana around the same time Jamaican authorities opened fire on Jimmy Buffett’s seaplane because they thought it was part was a drug smuggling operation.

Like the aftermath of the above fiasco, me writing poetry was a premature accident that was awkward for basically everyone involved.

I think it’s funny as shit.

sea captain catman and his shitty night vision

i.                       what feral friends we are, big talk
talkers bobbing in the deep green sea.
we get beached and run so far from home we have to
hitchhike back, dead on our feet, while the sailors
in our lungs
pull in their ships with big thick
ropes. they get no help from us this
time – we are more apologetic than

ii.                       and we’re all fucking cultured aren’t
we, in our bitten to shit lip cracking crew,
banged up so good we got our big kitty
claws out for the quick draw swing so they
don’t rust inside our big kitty paws.
none of us admit that we need them
less often than we use them.

iii.                        we pass around dream girls like
the cigarrettes lit by the same cherried filter
of the long walk walker who smoked his
since sharing is caring and all our lighters died an hour
ago. in the dark we trip on railroad ties
because only the cops get the nice flashlights
and we’re not up for the run. we walk slow and ask our torches to
last the home stretch PLEASE GOD last the home stretch.

“Working Old Hands” by Lucy Larson

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Lucy’s charcoal drawings left an impression on the Oval’s visual art board and earned her two honorable mentions. Click here to see her first drawing, “Shaded Man.” She writes:

I am a Junior double majoring in Creative Writing and German. I work as a Nursing Assistant at a nursing home, and in the summer I am a teachers assistant for children with learning disabilities. I have been writing passionately since I was in 5th grade. My favorite things to write are short stories and novels. My goal is to become a successful novelist. I have loved to do art since I was very small. My favorite art medium is charcoal.

Charcoal drawing of wrinkled hands and a flower.
“Working Old Hands” by Lucy Larson

Episode 146 – Caroline Patterson / Eliza

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Episode 146 – Caroline Patterson / Elizabeth Bishop – Caroline Patterson reflects on the way simple interactions with nature recurringly reveal larger human conflicts. http://ow.ly/hua95020BD5

“Year’s Supply” by Miriam Krainacker

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The Oval’s next honorable mention in fiction goes to Miriam Krainacker for “Year’s Supply. She writes, “while I can’t technically say I have Montana roots, I did move to Helena when I was four, and Missoula when I was 18. Double-majoring in sociology and history, I spend a majority of my time drowning in reading, and the rest binge-watching the West Wing. My hopes for post-graduation? Keep up my binge-watching of the West Wing, find a job somewhere in DC that can pay my rent, and slowly take over the world.”

Her story begins:

Samuel Harrison had a yearlong supply of unlimited airplane tickets, curtesy of American Airlines, and all he had to do was almost die. And really, dying isn’t that hard to do. It’s the almost part that’s tricky, because death usually deals in absolutes. But the doctors had been able to patch him up completely, more or less, and the airlines forked over the yearlong travel gift card as an apology. Kind of a shitty apology, if you asked Samuel. He didn’t even like to travel, and wouldn’t have been on that plane if not for the inability of a coworker’s child to stay inside said coworker’s wife until the due date. He wasn’t even first pick to replace the man (and who would pick a junior level employee?) but second in line had declined on the basis that he hated flying.

To continue reading, please click Miriam_Krainacker-Years_Supply

Episode 145 – Melissa Kwasny / Theodore

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Episode 145 – Melissa Kwasny / Theodore Roethke – Melissa Kwasny reflects on the idea of the natural world having consciousness and responding to human care. She pairs her thoughts with a poem by Theodore Roethke, a Pulitizer Prize winning poet. http://ow.ly/Udgz501KcY7