Edmond Chibeau looks at performance and theatre from the avant-garde communication perspective

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Location: Mansfield, Connecticut, United States

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Graffiteenmagazine is ill bits

a review
by Edmond Chibeau

Graffititeen is a great magazine.

Written and edited by the students of Two Rivers Magnet Middle School in East Hartford, Connecticut with the assistance of the writer Lisa Smith-Overton who served as the mentor, teacher, editor in chief, and motivating force. Smith-Overton got her Bachelor’s degree from Eastern Connecticut State University and is currently completing her Masters in Professional Writing at Western Connecticut State University.

The ending of the first poem in the magazine, I Miss You, by Brittany Hernandez is terrific:

“People say I’m too young to love, but they’re wrong. Those who have no love
are late. At least I know I’m not meant to have real love.
My love for you breaks me into pieces because it’s you and only you I want.”

Contributions vary in approach and quality but the overall impression is that of excellence. The magazine has a wonderful selection of essays and memoirs.

The memoir “Dragonfly” by an anonymous author brought tears to my eyes. It is beautiful. It not just tells, but shows us how we, (all of us) learn that life is not ours to share on this earth forever.

The history vignettes were little gems. The Our History section speaks of Romere Bearden, Langston Hughes and Frida Kahlo among others. While Smith-Overton recalls James Baldwin in her essay, What Happened to My History?

James Baldwin and Countee Cullen both went to my high school, De Witt Clinton H.S in the Bronx, NY. Baldwin, Cullen and Chibeau were all editors of The Magpie; although many years apart.

James Baldwin had the same Creative Writing Teacher as I did, Marcella Whalen. I owe her a lot. These young women and men will someday remember their mentor for this project and say, “I owe her a lot.”

The Colophon as well as the Table of Contents are helpful for readers. They model for students the depth of decision making and attention to detail that goes into producing a serious publication. The magazine is well put together, easy to read, and well organized. The photos are very beautiful and a cutline tells us the type of camera used for each photo.

The organization of the magazine models the kind of clarity of thinking and conceptual organization that we labor to explain to our students in school and our employees in the world of work.

Not only the layout of the table of contents, but also the choices about the order of presentation of the material, make the magazine easy to take and rewarding to take in.