Lydia Marcus – Staff Writer
The sentiment of story and the smell of coffee lingers in the air. Students, faculty, and community members are gathered together, savoring the pictures painted by the words of the poems and prose of the professors:
It is the 28th annual English Department Faculty reading.
Each year, all students, faculty, staff, and community members are invited to enjoy an evening of original poetry, fiction, and nonfiction hosted by Dordt English Department faculty. Every faculty member has the opportunity to read unpublished works that they have written in the previous year.
“Our themes are as varied as we are…everything is worth writing about,” said Dr. Mary Dengler.
Some stories were recited as poetry, some were shared through prose, and one was conveyed through song. Many of the pieces are based on personal experience. The audience laughs together at the mirth of life, and sighs together at the hardships. Story describes the human experience, and the hallowed act of sharing story draws communities together.
“It is fun to read for [the students]. It is nice to have an arts night,” said Professor Bill Elgersma.
The annual English Department Faculty reading gives students and opportunity to observe their professors go through the writing process.
“What I read was probably the twelfth draft of that piece, and it still needs 3 or 4 more before I am comfortable with it,” said Professor Elgersma. “We ask students to do this sort of thing all the time. There is a risk when you put what you’ve written out there. We get to relax a little bit. It is as friendly an audience as you will ever find.”
“It is really interesting to gain a different perspective of professors through their writing,” said freshman Erica Liddle.
This year’s turnout was higher than it has been in many years. Nearly fifty people attended the reading, and many lingered to socialize afterward.
“I really enjoyed it. It opens up your view of story and lets you see how other people view and explain life through their poetry,” said freshman Jaime Broek.
“We love what we do,” said Dr. Dengler, “and we love to share it with people who love writing. I guess you could say it’s a celebration of God’s wonderful world and the gifts of literary genres and writing. You could even say it’s a form of worship, honoring the God who made and redeemed us.”