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Open reading allows for diversity amongst writers

by Tegan Mazur - Copy Editor
Mon, Apr 17th 2017 09:00 pm
Photo courtesy of my.brockport.edu

The College at Brockport hosted its annual Scholars Day event (logo above) on Wednesday, April 12. The Students/Faculty Open Reading presentation during Scholars Day at the Seymour College Union offered both faculty, staff and students the opportunity to share their written work through a variety of styles ranging from poetry to non-fiction writing.
Photo courtesy of my.brockport.edu The College at Brockport hosted its annual Scholars Day event (logo above) on Wednesday, April 12. The Students/Faculty Open Reading presentation during Scholars Day at the Seymour College Union offered both faculty, staff and students the opportunity to share their written work through a variety of styles ranging from poetry to non-fiction writing.

Scholars Day is certainly a double-edged sword to the Brockport community, a festive hive of polar opposites of celebration or in some cases inebriation. However, the essence of scholarly activity was strong and lively on Wednesday, April 12, all over The College at Brockport campus. Presenters of all kinds rushed about, learning and teaching. After the major hustle and bustle of the day concluded, however, the English department hunkered down for a more relaxed sort of gathering.

The Student/Faculty Reading is an annual event where the student body as well as the faculty of Brockport have a chance to let loose upon the crowd whatever poetry, fiction or non-fiction they have been brewing up. Though it's an event visited most frequently by English majors, any and all are welcome. Anyone with a thirst to share their work had the opportunity to step up and give it their best shot. 

The event was held in room 199 of the Seymour College Union. A small podium sat in the front of the room for whoever was reading to the crowd at the time. When 7 p.m. rolled around, just about every seat in the room was filled. The whiteboard at the front of the room was filled with the names of everyone who had signed up beforehand to read.

From the first reader to the last, it was a rollercoaster of each aforementioned genre of written work. The fourth person to read was Assistant English Professor Althea Tait, Ph.D. 

It was her first time reading and it was a memorable entrance into the world of public readings. Her first poem was called "Troglodytes" and dealt with slave history. Her last poem involved a segment in which Tait sang beautifully, making her performance that much more memorable. The student who read after her jokingly commented that she wasn't sure how she was going to follow up such a performance.

The poetry presented during the night was a good mixture of short form and long form and ranged in a good breadth of topics from love to sexual assault. The poetry of the night left one reflective of both the heavy, despairing therapy one can express about sexual assault through poetry, as well as the reassuring notion that there are still poets in the world who can't help but let the love laden ink of their hearts spill onto the page for everyone to enjoy.

The non-fiction works of the night also dealt with heavy topics such as cancer; the authors of the night came with their pens loaded with impactful topics for the crowd. It made the night's tones distinct in its fluctuation of the moods.

The fiction of the night was surprisingly sparse, but one graduate student read from a novel she is having published soon; the taste of the book promised, war, possible deaths and strong friendships within the tiny slice of the story we were given.

English professors Anne Panning and Jim Whorton walked away from the event extremely pleased with the turnout and impressed with everyone's work.  

"I think it was the best reading of the semester so far," Whorton said, also commenting on how blown away he was at former students whose work he was familiar with, "The stuff I heard tonight was even better."

Panning as well was impressed with the work she saw presented by students she has had in the past.

 "Some of these students, I get them in a class early on and then I don't really hear what they're doing anymore and I just see how they've improved and it actually just makes me feel so proud of them," Panning said.

Overall, the night was one that any writer worth their words would be sorry to have missed. 

Sure it didn't have the free lunch or spectacle of Scholars Day, but for those who enjoy huddling together in the darkened hours of the night, it was a magnificent way to spend a couple of hours. The only way to tell the passing of time and to set the ambiance were human voices ringing out their own words. 


teganh83@gmail.com

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