Professor Mark Turcotte is a poet who has published four books, including Exploding Chippewas, from which several artifacts in this exhibit were taken.
Professor Turcotte grew up on the Turtle Mountain Chippewa reservation, an environment which helped to form his identity as a storyteller. “Writing is something I’ve always done, it’s always something that’s been a part of my life. Playing with texts, re-writing them. Many rez people have similar memories… When you live among people who tell stories, it becomes a part of how you function…”
He believes that to write is to identify as a writer, and that each writer has their own creative process. “Writers write. Do it, don’t talk about it… You should embody the art as an artist as best you can.”
Since becoming a professor, his focus has shifted from his own work to helping others. He views this shift as something that has actually helped him in his own writing as well as given him the opportunity to encourage students to be writers. According to Professor Turcotte, “Even though I’m not getting as much of my own work done, I feel like I stay connected to it.”
For him, the evolution of a student’s work should not be limited by the confines of a ten-week course, and his commitment to helping them grow as writers goes beyond these limits as well: “I often offer students the opportunity: ‘If you want to keep working on that story, I’ll keep looking at it.'”
Professor Turcotte feels that our university writing community is shaped by the true enthusiasm that its writers have for their work. “The young people that I meet at DePaul actually want to be here. DePaul attracts that kind of person.”
Curated by Madeline Woods