•  Profile: Lewis Mundt

    Profile: Lewis Mundt

    Undergraduate Creative Writing alumni Lewis Mundt is not one to rest on his laurels. What he has accomplished so far as a student at Hamline and as a literary artist suggests that this communications and creative writing double-major doesn't do much resting at all. In fall 2010, Lewis released his first book of poetry and short prose, You Better Close That Window; They Say It's Gonna Rain Tonight. 

    "My inspiration for the book came from a volunteer trip I took to Chicago with Hamline's Office of Service-Learning and Volunteerism," Lewis says. "I met artists there who very much self-made people." 

    The initiative modeled by those artists motivated Lewis to begin putting the book together as soon as he returned to campus. 

    Also during fall 2010, Lewis organized the student organization, Hamline University Poetry Slam (HUPS), with the help of first-year student Heather Smith and Graduate School of Liberal Studies faculty member Deborah Keenan. The first event, which was held in November 2010, drew a crowd of more than 100 people. In its monthly programming of poetry slams and open mics, HUPS has been widely supported and recognized by Twin Cities community members and nationally-recognized touring performance poets. In April 2011, HUPS made its first appearance at the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, an annual national-level competition held this year at the University of Michigan. Out of 39 participating teams, HUPS made the semifinal round and earned a ranking of 9th in the nation.

    Lewis decided to take on creative writing in addition to his communications major when a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree became an option at Hamline. Not only did a BFA program give him the opportunity to focus more deeply on developing his creative writing, but he believes that programs like a BFA are ultimately good for the broader academic landscape of a university. 

    “I think there's a lot of artistry getting pushed to the wayside in the name of the Almighty Dollar,” Lewis says. “We think that our degrees need to be validated by our bank accounts and that the way to the heart of the American Dream is a cushy job or at least a cushy desk chair. I think that a BFA program in creative writing can teach students that their talents are valuable and craft-able, and it can be a beautiful outlet for even the fairweather scribe. A lot of us are bursting to let our creativity out without confining it to snide comments slipped between MLA citations, and a program rooted in expression is just what we need.”