Batavia, NY- Finding beauty in a Western New York winter is not always an easy thing to do. For GCC JoNelle Toriseva, director of English, Communications and Media Arts and assistant professor of English, channeling the sometimes treacherous outside conditions into works of poetry and photography recently earned her recognition from the public charity Writers Rising Up, which named her the Winter in Variations: Bill Holm Witness Poetry Contest Winner, Writers Rising Up to Defend Place, Natural Habitat, Wetlands for 2015.
The contest required a submission of six original, unpublished poems about witnessing some every-day occurrence in winter and additional photography, which is not Toriseva’s strong suit.
“When I received the email that I had won, I was surprised,” Toriseva said. “I was also very happy; however, they told me that I needed to take pictures of what I considered winter and I am more apt to be the person who gets a photograph of someone’s feet or the back of their head, so I sought help.”
Toriseva called on Joseph “Joe Z” Ziolkowski, GCC instructor of Photography, who guided her through taking shots outdoors with surroundings that included freshly fallen snow. The photographs, candid’s of crab apple trees on the GCC Batavia Campus and a few of brush in the Bergen Swamp at dusk, were accepted by the organization as part of her winning submission.
Writers Rising Up is a public charity that focuses on nature education and writing through the literary arts at community events, contests, workshops, literary performances interpretive installations and publications. The organization hosts numerous poetry and literary contests, competitions and events for writers to submit and perform literary interpretations related to place, natural habitat and wetlands.
Toriseva’s award-winning work included original poems titled “Perceive,” “Dart,” “Talking in Snow: A Short History of Sound,” “The Benchmark of Winter,” “Crossing” and “Winter, December #73,” and can be viewed online at http://www.writersrisingup.org/all-contests/essay-winners/j-r-toriseva-b....
A native of rural Minnesota, the home state of the award-honoree Bill Holm, Toriseva grew up an admirer of the author of nine books of both poetry and essays.
“I have known about Bill Holm for a long time. He is a staunch supporter of nature, which greatly interests me,” Toriseva explained. “The fact that the Writer’s Rising Up organization and the award raise awareness about wetlands and natural habitat makes this very special to me.”
For further information about Writer’s Rising Up and to view Toriseva’s award-winning work, including her photography, visit the organization’s website: http://www.writersrisingup.org/.
On April 9 -10, 2016, Toriseva is also participating “Poetics: (The Next) 25 Years Conference” at Trinity Church, 371 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo. The event co-sponsored by UB Poetics Program & Department of English, David Gray and Melodia Jones as co-chairs, Steve McCaffery, Jean-Jacques Thomas, riverrun Foundation, UB Humanities Institute, Albright-Knox Gallery, Just Buffalo, UB Libraries Poetry Collection, UB College of Arts and Sciences Development, UB Department of Comparative Literature, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Trinity Church, and the Buffalo News. For more information, go to: https://poeticsthenext25years.wordpress.com/saturday-night-conference-fl...
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