Every semester the English department holds a faculty reading for English professors to present poems, short stories, personal essays and other pieces they’ve written. The purpose of the reading is to show students that these professors not only teach writing, but also practice it.
Jim Papworth began the night with a story about his two boys deciding what to name their dog. He involved the audience by assuring them it was okay to laugh at humorous parts and to groan at sad parts of the story.
“I liked it when Brother Papworth told the story about his kids,” said Matt Ferrin, a junior studying electrical engineering. “Since I’m not an English major, and I don’t think about writing a lot, it was cool seeing the unique ways people write and tell stories.”
Scott Cameron read a few of his love poems to the class. Before he read the poems, he noted a previous student’s complaint about how she felt uncomfortable at a former faculty meeting because professors read poems about love. To this, Cameron said, “You’re at a university that talks about marriage all the time, and these love poems are making you uncomfortable?”
Many students who attended the reading were inspired by the words that were read to the audience.
“Certain phrases stood out to me in the poems that were read,” said Brit Wilson, a junior studying business management. “Phrases like ‘reverse snow’ and ‘jarred moonlight.’ I got a lot of cool images in my head, and it’s nice to see the imagery others come with so I can put them into my own ideas.”
Matt Babcock concluded the night by sharing his personal essay “The Handicap Bug” about an elementary school experience that affected his life.
“I love hearing other people’s writing, especially autobiographical works,” said Leslie Hamilton, a junior studying theatre and speech education. “Brother Babcock’s essay reminded me of experiences I’ve had and also gave me a glimpse of what is to come in my life. It’s cool that experiences I’ve had in my life have been shared by other people.”
Babcock believes it is effective for students to hear their professors read personal pieces to them.
“In a way, it shows we practice what we preach. It’s a time when we can be a community of readers and writers,” Babcock said.
Another reason for the faculty reading was to promote the new class being taught on campus, English 318.
“I’m teaching Advanced Creative Writing/Non-Fiction next semester, and I’m trying to get people excited about registering for this class,” Babcock said.
Babcock gives advice to students looking to develop talents in writing or who plan on pursuing a career through an English degree.
“I advise students to read and write something everyday. It will help them be prepared for the long haul because it takes a long time to accomplish what you want to,” Babcock said.