NOTA provides a place for poets at UW-Eau Claire

Student publication for writers, artists, and musicians creates a community for poets through publication and readings


Photo by Kar Wei Cheng

Lisa Krawczyk is a member of NOTA’s student selection committee. She said she chose to come to UW-Eau Claire because of the area’s rich poetry community.

The Chippewa Valley is home to much more than a state college, breweries and winding rivers. Nestled in its rolling hills and wooden bridges, the valley is nurturing a scene for poetry and art.  

“None of the Above” (NOTA) is a collection of literature, art and music created, chosen and consumed by students at UW-Eau Claire. It is published once a semester and is free for students to read.

NOTA was established in 1972, Charlotte Kupsh, a graduate student advisor of NOTA, said. Since then, it won the Certificate of Merit in the 2012 Premier Print Awards competition.

Despite its age and awards, NOTA is still accessible for any creative student.

“It’s for the beginning writer,” said senior poet Kathleen Hackworthy, who remembers leafing through NOTA booklets while in high school. She then attended UW-Eau Claire and was published in NOTA years later.

“It gives you a taste of what’s it’s like to submit to something — a taste of what it’s like to not get into something,” Hackworthy said.

First, students must submit their literature, music and artwork to a student selection committee. Then the committee decides via review and voting what pieces will appear in that semester’s edition. Once published, NOTA booklets appear on newsstands around campus.

In addition to a print publication, NOTA holds Open Read nights that pop up in various venues across the Chippewa Valley, often coinciding with community organizations like the Chippewa Valley Writer’s Guild.

Authors can be found reading and reciting their prose and poetry at Eau Claire Downtown Coffee, The Cabin and Volume One.

Readings at The Cabin often get creative writing students of all ages to come together. “That’s something that’s very powerful,” said Lisa Krawczyk, a senior and a member of NOTA’s student selection committee.

Krawczyk said the community aspect of NOTA is important.  

“(NOTA) really bridges the gap between students and the community,” Krawczyk said.

Student poets said poetry is a different presence in each of their lives.

Krawczyk said poetry has power to form outlooks on life.

“Poetry allows a way to see the world that is different from your own,” Krawczyk said. “It is removed from the everyday facts of the world. It allows for a point of view to be discussed.”

For Brianne Ackley, a published senior poet, writing is therapeutic.

“Sometimes there’s things you don’t know how to say. You can take five minutes at 2 a.m., write something down, and feel better,” Ackley said. For readers, she said her writing is based around producing emotions.

While Ackley said her poetry centers on romantic relationships, Hackworthy said she finds her inspiration in nature.

“Poetry, for me, is a way to step away from the world,” Hackworthy said.

She said performing her poetry at Open Reads is nourishing for her.

“You’re a human being, and you’re expressing very human emotions and experiences. It’s scary but also very real and really beautiful and validating to have that out there.”

More information about NOTA submission deadlines and Open Reads can be found on their Facebook page.