Front-Page News

aMagazine Recognizes Un Jung Lim '02 as Student Leader When aMagazine took a look at Un Jung Lim '02, they saw a leader. In its August/September issue, the publication recognized Lim as one of the top ten Asian American student leaders on United States campuses. The national magazine, which covers the world of Asian America, recognized students "who, in serving the Asian American community, best embody qualities such as diligence, integrity, humility, and the willingness to collaborate across boundaries."

Lim, a Korean American with a self-designed major in Asian American studies, was recognized as a founder of the Asian American Interpretive Realities Theater at the College and an active participant in a number of campus organizations, including Asian American Sisters in Action and the Korean American Sisters Association.

Nominating Lim for the award was Marika Hashimoto, a New York student mentored by Lim in last year's Take the Lead, the College's annual leadership program for high school juniors. She was one of seventy nominees considered by the magazine's editors.

Lim, from Sheffield, Massachusetts, says she was "very stunned" when she learned of her selection. But she says she was pleased to take part in the competition. "It does allow students to think that there are Asian American activists who are trying to figure out their identities and what their place in the world is."

Lim says she came to a better understanding of her own place in the world when she arrived at Mount Holyoke. In the Berkshires town where she grew up, she and her family were the only Korean Americans, and she became used to the community viewing her as the representation of all Korean Americans. But with her arrival at Mount Holyoke and her introduction to other women of color, "I was blown away," she says. "It drove me to figure out who I was and the things I wanted to do."

One of the things Lim wants to do is work for an expansion of Asian American studies, and she has been named to chair an advisory committee working toward that end. "I'm so proud of Mount Holyoke, because it tends to work on what needs to be done, and there's a growing need for Asian American studies," Lim says. "And we're going to take the lead."

Poet of Choice In the September 2 issue of the Washington Post, Mary Jo Salter, Emily Dickinson Senior Lecturer in the Humanities, was described as "an exemplar of the New Formalism, a term coined to describe a community of young poets dedicated to infusing formal verse with a new energy and suppleness." In her piece, titled "Poet's Choice", Rita Dove expanded on the definition of a New Formalist, noting that such poets enliven traditional forms "through syncopated rhythms and line enjambment" and that their "rhymes are often unusual and can be 'slant'- i.e., not true/blue, but real/drill." Dove notes that in the Salter poem "Absolute September," reprinted in the Post and below, the poet writes in tercets (each three-line stanza is built around one rhyme: aaa, bbb, etc.) and that this form is "extremely difficult to carry off without sounding hokey, but Salter revels in this formal challenge without missing a beat." You can read the entire Post piece at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22111-2001Aug30.html. The Post article came on the heels of the publication of Salter's poem "Deliveries Only" in the New Yorker's double issue of August 20–27. That poem focuses on the unlikely subject of a baby of Salter's acquaintance who was born in a service elevator.

Absolute September
by Mary Jo Salter

How hard it is to take September
straight—not as a harbinger
of something harder.
Merely like suds in the air, cool scent
scrubbed clean of meaning—or innocent
of the cold thing coldly meant.
How hard the heart tugs at the end
of summer, and longs to haul it in
when it flies out of hand
at the prompting of the first mild breeze.
It leaves us by degrees
only, but for one who sees
summer as an absolute,
Pure State of Light and Heat, the height
to which one cannot raise a doubt,
as soon as one leaf's off the tree
no day following can fall free
of the drift of melancholy.

"Absolute September" reprinted from A Kiss in Space
Alfred A. Knopf, 1999, by Mary Jo Salter.


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