Professor raises awareness about domestic violence

A Southern Illinois University professor is contributing to the cause of raising awareness about domestic violence. Lindsay Stuart reports in The Alestle.

For SIUE professor Valerie Vogrin, it’s Rivers on Thursday and Ravens Saturday.

Words On Purpose is having a reading at the Black Bear Bakery in St. Louis to benefit RAVEN, a program treating male family and relationship violence. The cost is $5 at the door and all proceeds go to RAVEN.

Renowned poet David Clewell, whose poems have appeared in The Georgia Review, Yankee and TriQuarterly and Vogrin will be reading their works at 4 p.m. Saturday to onlookers at the Black Bear.

Words On Purpose, a committee of socially concerned writers, hosts four to six readings a year benefiting local outreach programs in the Metro-East area.

“It’s really just a creative fundraiser,” Vogrin said. “I think they try to find a variety of groups. They’ve helped women’s shelters and homeless shelters and now they are doing domestic violence from the men’s point of view.”

Vogrin is an acclaimed fiction writer whose stories have appeared in the Florida Review, the Carolina Quarterly, the Black Warrior Review and many others. Vogrin also oversees the publication of the River Bluff Review, a collection of fiction prose and poetry written entirely by SIUE students. An SIUE English class of 16 students compiled the literary magazine.

“There’s generally an advertisement that comes out the first three weeks of the spring semester that calls for student submissions,” Vogrin said. ” Any student who is interested could contact me or look for the notices around the English Department.”

This year the class received over 130 entries, but only a handful are published.

“We only have 84 pages and we are on a really tight budget, especially since we can’t charge for the magazine because it is attached to a class,” Vogrin said. “It also gives students a real-world view of what happens with literary magazines and how they are very selective when it comes to choosing what they publish. It’s a lot more likely that you’ll get a rejection than an acceptance.”

Vogrin went on to explain that the class was started 16 years ago and each year they publish an edition of the RBR.

“This is our 16th issue of the River Bluff Review. The class teaches students about literary magazines and also how to produce them. The students put together the Review, they plan the layout, take it to the printer as well as plan the release party. The faculty are there to make sure the wheels don’t fall off the cart, but really it’s completely a student-run thing.”

According to Vogrin, every year the class plans a release party to celebrate the debut and help to generate interest in the class and magazine. The party will be from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Thursday in the Morris University Center’s Meridian Ballroom.