Ramapo College has been putting forth efforts to further foster an encouraging environment for students to challenge themselves and showcase their talents. One of the ways the college does this is through student readings. At these readings, students have the opportunity to read aloud original work to their peers and professors. From short stories to poetry, student readings can be excellent opportunity for students looking to go outside their comfort zone and share their creativity.
This past Thursday, a student reading took place in the Alumni Lounges. At this student reading, all the participants had been a part of the Skidmore program, which is for students looking to improve and expand their writing skills. The program entails twice a week workshops in fiction writing, poetry writing and non-fiction writing which consists of beginner, intermediate and master levels. Additionally, the program also features various visiting writers and poets.
Among the students involved in the student reading were seniors Danny Landers, Paul Brennan, Max Lasky and Eric Christiansen. All these students are majoring in literature with a concentration in creative writing.
Landers was the first to read, and he chose to share a short story. Landers’ piece was lighthearted to set the first mood of the night. Throughout his reading, Landers’ wit was awarded with laughter throughout the audience; the professors in the back of the room couldn’t even control their amusement with Landers’ humorous story.
Brennan was next, deciding to read two of his poems. Brennan’s attention to small details enriched his poems, his words painting a clear and vivid picture. Both poems were flooded with beautiful imagery. Brennan’s poem, “Reading Day” felt especially descriptive. The poem continually addressed a mysterious “you,” making it appear he was addressing each member of the audience directly. The small details and eerie tone gave the poem a somber feel and enthralled the audience.
Lasky read two poems as well, each containing a strong narrative voice and almost emphatic tone. His poetry focused on specific events, but the feelings that these poems dealt with were universal. His poem, “New Year’s Day,” captivated the audience’s attention with its somber language and mention of Marxist ideas. The poem’s closing words, “I should set a resolution, and would, if only/ The task didn’t pose another problem,” were an effective ending to Lasky’s powerful reading.
Christiansen closed the readings with his two poems. His poignant poetry engrossed its listeners with its unique perspectives and thought-provoking themes. During his poem, “Dragonfly” audience members nodded to themselves as they took in every word. Christiansen’s emotional description of the pitiful dragonfly that got caught in a web made listeners not only sympathize with the insect, but relate to it as well.
After the event, the readers spoke with their peers and professors to discuss their work and receive praise. Christiansen, who is planning on pursuing an MFA after completing his Bachelor's degree, explained how Ramapo has impacted his writing.
“I took a class with Professor Hoch,” said Christiansen, motioning over to the professor of creative writing who had attended the reading in support of his students. “It really inspired me.”
Senior Jessica Bowman and Junior Christine Zielinski ran the event as Creative Writing Program Student Aides. Both were extremely happy with the outcome of the event and pleased with the readers’ work.
“It was good to see so many students come out to support students read their original work,” said Bowman.