DECEMBER 5, 2011

Reading series ends on high note
Student reading features humorous, introspective works

By Allison Cosby, The Tartan, December 5, 2011

Madeleine Barnes, Photo Credit: Jonathan CarreonThe final installment of the creative writing student reading series took place last Thursday in the Gladys Schmitt Creative Writing Center, featuring senior creative writing majors Madeleine Barnes, Samantha Frank, Yulin Kuang, Caroline Roper, and Jesse Leung.

The theme of the evening was “Ugly Sweater,” in honor of the upcoming holiday season. The venue was a little too small for the number of people in attendance, but instead of making it cramped and uncomfortable, it gave the space a cozy, coffee-house (unfortunately sans coffee) environment.

While each of the readers had a unique voice and had interesting work to read, Barnes and Kuang stole the show. Kuang, who is majoring in creative writing and minoring in film and media studies, read a personal essay she had written on going through life with an unusual name. Her essay was humorous and had a conversational feel to it; despite the fact that it was her first time reading at one of these events, she seemed very comfortable presenting her work.

Barnes, a BHA student in creative writing and art, closed the night, reading intimate poems about daily occurrences, feelings, and dreams. Her poems were deeply introspective and easy to connect with. “It’s kind of scary, but super fun,” Barnes said of reading her work for an audience.

After the five students had read, there was a raffle and an ugly sweater contest, keeping with the theme of the night. Many readers and attendees stayed around afterward, chatting and commenting on the work that was presented. There seemed to be a strong sense of community among the creative writing majors, and that sense of community made the event a success.

Most of the attendees were other English majors; some were there to support friends, others to fulfill class requirements. Creative writing professor Jim Daniels also made an appearance at the event. “It’s a funny mix, which just makes it all the more fun,” said Kyle Rood, a fifth-year senior double major in architecture and creative writing who organized the event with senior creative writing major Caroline Kessler.

Those uninvolved in the planning of the event seemed to enjoy it just as much. “This is the first student reading I’ve been to, and I really enjoyed the different voices from the different writers,” said sophomore creative writing major Amanda Yuan.

On organizing the student reading events throughout the semester, Rood said, “It’s been a lot of fun. It’s really cool to introduce our students, since they’re also our friends, and listen to them share their work.” Barnes and senior creative writing majors Ines Pujos and Ila Foley will organize and run the series next semester.