Student Voice

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March 2, 2024

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Original student art showcased in reading series

March 8, 2007

Every year, students from a variety majors sign up to read original pieces of poetry or short stories for the annual Student Reading Series.

“Sometimes in the past students have sung original songs or read poems about their art work,” Jenny Brantley, associate English professor, said.

This program has been in effect on campus since 1997.

“It is hard to say how many readers have participated in the last ten years-maybe 400-500 students,” Brantley said.

This event was created to give students the opportunity to showcase their original pieces of writing and to give them a chance to have others view and listen to them. It was designed to create a community of student writers, Brantley said.

“For me, as a faculty member, it is so exciting and refreshing to hear our students’ voices, to have glimpses into their ideas, to know that they think deeply and carefully about important things,” Brantley said.

Among the first to read this year are English majors Annaka Isenberger and Bradley Murphy. Murphy is a senior and Isenberger is a junior.

Bradley is no stranger to these readings. He has read on five different occasions over his academic career.

“I started in my freshman year with encouragement from Jenny Brantley, and even though I was extremely nervous, it was exhilarating,” Murphy said.

The Student Reading Series gives young writers who are becoming more experienced in the world of writing the opportunity to get direct feedback from both students and faculty members of the University.

“The reaction is always nice especially when professors and other people comment on your writing directly to you,” Murphy said.

The readings are an important part of the literary process because it enables writers to listen to others works and critique them. In turn, new ideas of what to write about may be generated from the listeners.

Isenberger has also been involved in a few student readings as well as three community readings at the public library in River Falls.

“I love reading my works because I love performing,” Isenberger said. “To get my words out there is like letting people view the world through my eyes. It’s a high that cannot be explained.”

These writers believe that it is very important that students and the community attend these readings because it gives them the opportunity to hear what their peers have created and to enhance their view of the student literary world on campus.

“I think that it is incredibly important for other students to attend these events because it gives them the opportunity to see that true talent can come from little towns,” Isenberger said.

These students have the potential to be some of the future great literary minds and by being a part of the Student Reading Series, getting their work noticed is made possible.

“These readings give them [the students] the chance to get a first hand glimpse at where literature is heading not so far down the road,” Isenberger said.

The first day for the series was scheduled from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m., Thursday, March 1, but due to the snowstorm it was canceled and rescheduled for Thursday, March 8. Other readings scheduled for this semester are March 22 and April 26, and are held in the Breezeway of the library.

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