Post #2: Update on Interviews and ROUGH Poems

Hey, everybody,

I completed the first two parts of my project–the historical research and the face-to-face interviews. In total, I recorded twelve interviews. The number was lower than I expected, but it should suffice for the upcoming poems. I am waiting on a response from my advisor on whether or not I should get more interviews. The initial purpose of the interviews was to capture the attitudes of the three towns I’m researching: Cedarville, Xenia, and Yellow Springs, Ohio. Not only did the interviews help me find a general attitude, they also sparked many more specific poem ideas. For example, while interviewing a young couple on their feelings about Cedarville, I learned that other mothers frequently asked the wife not who she was, but who she was married to. Some stories seem like they have more poetic friction to them. Thanks to my interviews, I added even more stories on top of the ones I found during my historical research.

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Post #1: Update on Historical Research & Focusing In

Hello, everyone–

I’ve begun to work on what I planned, that is, to find interesting stories about my hometown and the surrounding areas. The first step I took was to consult my local library, a gray cinder block of a building, with slits of glass for windows. Being honest, I had never been to its second floor; I never thought anything interesting was up there. But, lo and behold, there was an entire room dedicated to the history and genealogy of Greene County, the selfsame county upon which I based my research. An amicable librarian helped me find a good book to get an overview of what I was about to start studying. The book was called History of Greene County, Ohio: Its People, Industries, and Institutions, written in 1916 by a man named Broadstone. That book was the perfect launch pad to start gathering stories and learning about the beginning of Greene County. It was filled with random anecdotes that inspired me to write about and take pride in my home. Some of the more interesting stories included an account of Greene County’s first and last public execution, the tale of the first murder in Miami Township (the township I live in), and recollections on Cedarville’s successes at local firefighting competitions.

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Between Cornfields and K-Marts: Documenting the Stories of the Miami Valley of Ohio through Poetry

I’ve grown up thinking of my home state as unimportant. I’m from Ohio. Specifically, the Miami Valley region. All we have is endless cornfields on rolling hills. Soybean fields are interspersed. A lot of beige. Having lived in that same place for eighteen years, I thought there was nothing to appreciate. But after taking a class about the history of the U.S. South, I started to think about the uniqueness of Ohio in comparison to how other authors described their homes. In an effort to increase my appreciation, I’ve decided to research the history of my hometown, Cedarville, Ohio, and four surrounding cities (Dayton, Springfield, Yellow Springs, and Xenia). I plan on exploring their histories through my local libraries and public museums. After researching their history, I will be interviewing local residents to gain insight on their opinions about these places. Hopefully, those interviews will give me stories about their experiences growing up in different places geographically, culturally, and socioeconomically. To find people to interview, I will be going to local restaurants, cafés, churches, museums, parks, record stores, etc. to find people who know what it is like to live in those areas. I want to learn what these people have learned through their life experience.

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