About Melissa Adamo

Melissa Adamo received her MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers University, and her essays, poems, and reviews have previously appeared in journals, such as Mezzo Cammin, Per Contra, and The Rumpus, among others. Teaching various English courses at Montclair State, Ramapo College, and Rutgers-Newark, she gets to enjoy the best the NJ parkway has to offer due to her love of language and try-hard students. Follow her word-thoughts on writing, feminism, and pop culture on Twitter @mel_adamo

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Brick City Speaks, So Listen Up

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Monday, August 4th, 2014 | 2,961 views

Brick City Speaks, a Newark, New Jersey reading series

Although we often focus on New York City’s literary scene, countless events occur elsewhere. Newark, New Jersey is home to Brick City Speaks (BCS), a new series hosted on the second Monday of every month, one of many exciting readings that take place in that city. Like other Newark series, BCS creates a community for writers and linguaphiles. BCS also links the students and instructors of Rutgers University with the City of Newark. BCS takes place in Hell’s Kitchen Lounge, located on Lafayette Street, concurrent with Margarita Monday. Hell’s Kitchen is a popular bar in Newark and frequently hosts various events, including comedy and burlesque shows. It was an ideal choice for reading series co-founders, Ines Lopes and Marina Carreira.

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The Internet: Not Just for Porn

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Tuesday, July 1st, 2014 | 1,948 views

Melissa Adamo attempts to navigate the internet

My relationship with technology could be a romantic comedy—with blogs starring as that guy right under my nose, the guy who’s so perfect for me in his imperfection, so stellar with his boyish charm and manly good looks. Like any good romcom, let’s start with images of my past as the opening credits roll, so you can understand all future plot points:

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A Case for Comedy

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Monday, April 21st, 2014 | 2,795 views

An art form that correlates well with poetry is standup comedy. Such connections are not often made in classrooms or seen on TV classrooms. In my courses, I reference movies or shows in order to connect the more “popular” examples to assigned short stories. Such comparisons are obvious and in no way novel since all of these forms use character and plot. When teaching poetry, many instructors typically compare poetic verse to song lyrics, and I do this, too. Who can’t think of at least one example of the English teacher rapping Shakespeare? (I do not do this). Although this comparison works on many levels, music still, well, uses music: a creation of melodies through instruments, whereas poetry only relies on its words to create tone, cadence, and rhythm—no other sounds accompany it. Thus, the art of standup translates more easily to poetry.

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A Tale of Teaching and Writing (in Parentheticals)

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Monday, April 14th, 2014 | 1,855 views

Remember what you’re here for, my professors repeated during my two years enrolled in the Rutgers-Newark MFA program. Do not permit teaching responsibilities to interfere with writing, they would say. Their words echoed in my adjunct office, bouncing back and forth between concrete walls (there were no windows; it looked like a glorious prison cell). I felt as if I was hiding a shameful secret when I nodded along to their sage words. But here it is in print now: I felt as passionately about teaching as I did about writing, and on many occasions (please don’t tell them), I did let teaching trump writing; I was still learning the program’s requirements and the students’ abilities (or lack thereof) as well as my own (or lack thereof works here, too). I felt I was there for both (like the true rebel that I am).

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Contradictions in the American Dream from a First-Generation American Writer

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Monday, April 7th, 2014 | 2,329 views

My grandfather, Luigino Adamo, sold most of what he had in the summer of 1957 to buy four one way tickets for a boat to America. He landed with only the Italian language and a fifth grade education. Born in the southern Italian farming town of San Mango D’Aquino, Calabria, his first destination was a relative’s farm in Pennsylvania. After working with them for three months without seeing financial results, Luigino took his family to Brooklyn and set about finding work. As an uneducated laborer, his options revolved around factory work, plumber assistantships, and gardener positions. He worked, saved, and looked toward his future. By 1958, he acquired a part-time, seasonal job in a cemetery that would eventually turn into a full-time gravedigger position and then a heavy equipment operator.

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