Real Smartypants to visit campus

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Madison poet Matt Guenette, famous for his unique style, will offer workshops for IWU students.

By Courtney Keenan, Staff Writer

Let’s be honest with each other—there really isn’t anything to do on Thursday evenings. So just record Parks and Recreation and you’ll be free to come out and meet the hilarious blogger Mimi Smartypants and poet Matt Guenette,  brought to Illinois Wesleyan University by Tributaries, one of Illinois Wesleyan’s literary publication groups.

Visiting on Thursday, Feb. 16, the writers will hold workshops in Shaw 104, with Smartypants at 4 p.m. and Guenette at 5 p.m.  Following, they will both hold a reading at 7:30 p.m. in the Hansen Student Center.

Senior Natalie Lalagos, a Tributaries editor, is especially excited for the combination of Guenette and Smartypants at this event.

“While they are writers from two different genres, both strike me as the sort who humorously tell it like it is. Their workshops are sure to incorporate this sense of humor and a passion for their genres,” Lalagos said.

Smartypants has been blogging for the past 13 years, and a compilation of her work, The World According to Mimi Smartypants, was published in 2004.  Her posts range from ridiculous tales of motherhood to life in Chicago and the day-to-day struggles we all have.  She simply makes it funnier than most of us do.

Writing about her daughter’s ninth birthday party, she jokes, “the kids were stoked that there was soda provided at the bowling alley. They all sucked down the soda like the rare party treat it is, and many bowling hijinks ensued.  A pitcher of Dr. Pepper is the third-grade equivalent of tequila shots.”

Her book has been hailed by Band! Magazine as “a mammoth backlog of emails from your wittiest, brightest friend. Just as day-brighteningly addictive, and just as insubstantial…Mimi is a ripsnortingly funny raconteur…inevitably she’ll become a publishing phenomenon.”

Junior Jessie Brewer, assistant editor of Tributaries, also has good things to say about the blogger. “Mimi Smartypants has proven that writing does not have to be incredibly formal in order to say what needs to be said.  Blogging is extremely popular today, and to have her at IWU explaining her success and experience proves that writing is accessible to everyone,” Brewer said.

Guenette is a Madison-based poet who has led workshops and read his work at past Tongue and Ink Conferences.  His poetry has been featured in numerous journals such as Another Chicago Magazine, DIAGRAM, The Greensboro Review and The Spoon River Poetry Review.  He is also the author of two full-length poetry collections, American Busboy and Sudden Anthem.

According to critic Rodney Jones, “There is a splendid intercourse between the dream and the conscious life in Matthew Guenette’s poetry, a constant mental eventfulness that never rests, never surrenders to the old, dried up poeticisms or the stereotypes.”

“Bringing Matt Guenette back to campus is a huge privilege for the writing community at IWU.  He is an excellent poet who knows how to help writers see their own work in a different light and help them grow as writers,” Brewer said.

The event is part of Tributaries’ annual Tongue and Ink Reading Series and is open to all students.