September 20, 2006

SIUC's Allison Joseph profiled in documentary

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A poet at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is the subject of a documentary commissioned by the Illinois Arts Council.

Allison E. Joseph, head of SIUC's master's program in creative writing, is one of four artists profiled in the film "Beauty Rises." The others are music composer Orbert Davis, sculptor Dessa Kirk and theater director Laura Wiley.

The documentary will air on Chicago's WTTW Channel 11 on Oct. 12 at 8 p.m. and on WSIU-TV the same evening at 11. WTTW's Dan Andries and Tracye J. Campbell produced the piece.

"Joseph is a poet who supports herself by teaching at SIUC. We chose her because she is not a traditional poet who writes about the African-American movement that we know in terms of civil rights and slavery. Instead, she writes about things we can all relate to," Campbell said. "In fact, Joseph became a voice for the other artists and she became the glue that tied all the themes together."

In the film, Joseph reads her poetry at various locations on the SIUC campus. "They really wanted to capture my life as a writer, editor, teacher and person," she said. "So they followed me to class, watched while I worked on Crab Orchard Review, even followed me and my husband Jon Tribble and our good friend and colleague Rodney Jones to a Saluki men's basketball game."

Joseph credits SIUC with helping her flourish as an artist. "We have a vital atmosphere here for writers. Art thrives in the most unlikely of places – not just in the big cities, but also in places like Carbondale. I hope the documentary gives Carbondale the exposure it deserves as a place where writers can live, breathe and feel comfortable making their art."

Campbell hopes "that people begin to understand the life of an artist. They are real people with real struggles, but beauty rises out of struggle," she said.

Developing and maintaining a multicultural, campus-wide, broad-based focus that will enhance each student's understanding of the value of diversity are among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.


Allison E. Joseph

Allison E. Joseph
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