English Day Recap
If you missed English Day—& the readings and presentations of our talented students—we’ve got it covered.
A four-part event—featuring fifteen poster presentations, nine readings from creative writers, an awards ceremony, and the Sigma Tau Delta induction ceremony—this year’s English Day can’t be summarized in just a few words, but we’re sure going to try.
What follows is sort of a haphazardly selected group of projects presented at English Day. We made the choice to represent those projects through images and audio interviews. You’ll also find a partial transcript for accompanying each interview.
“Increasing Trans* Inclusivity in Narrative Video Game Design” by Percy Haas
This project is a culmination of everything I’ve done here on campus the over the last four years. I’m a Women and Gender Studies minor, English major. I’m a fiction writer. So I wanted to kind of try and combine my love for textual research set in the historical period of the 1700s in the Restoration era. But I also wanted to make it primarily a creative writing project. So I partnered with Dr. Cynthia Lowenthall, and I’m writing my own video game.
“Steinbeck, Social Unrest, and Heroes” by Jalen Brooks-Knephle
My project is about seeing the archetype of the mythic hero throughout Steinbeck’s works. I learned that Steinbeck’s books are definitely about the politics of the time but also about the larger context of human history like fights against injustice—not just in the Great Depression but throughout time.
The focus was examining the line of the poem and sharing that in comparison to the articles published during that time period because the poem was originally published in 1951. So I looked for articles in magazines that were giving an outlook of what the poem is trying to describe in that time period. I learned that of course the poetry reflects the times. But I also learned that just because the title is “Harlem,” all the things that are felt and described in the poem were felt all over America.
Haley Olds–who read and won an award for “A Linear Problem with Dissassociation”–and Henley Worthen–who read and won award for “Four Years”–talked about their poems.
Haley: I read “A Linear Problem with Disassociation“ and “Mirror of a Mirror.” Both of these poems kind of talk about mental illness a little bit—kind of the whole coming of age with something that can be kind of debilitating. For me that’s anxiety and panic attacks. And so I kind of try to explore how to ride the wave of that kind of stigma but also the kind of things that come along with that that aren’t always clear. So I use a lot of that to kind of inspire me. And then I’ve just been revising since then. And it’s never over. It’s a process.
Henley: I wrote and read a poem called “Four Years.” It’s in about an abortion I had after high school and sort of how I kind of had a different experience. There’s like a stigma I guess when girls have abortions do you think it’s going to be this big emotional thing. I sort of compartmentalized that and didn’t have all these like—didn’t really grieve at all about it. I kind of felt like that was like my choice, and I felt empowered by it. But then the poem takes place—me like sitting on my porch which is where I wrote it. And just kind of like finally reflecting back in and thinking about who that person would have been and not in a sad way but sort of just like—in a way that I realize that there’s someone that I’m connected to spiritually like looking down on me. We’ve had a really great group in our poetry capstone. Revising. And so yeah that was the first time we read that poem to like more than 4 people. So I just read it’s like 40. So now everyone knows I had an abortion.
Haley: I guess in terms of why we’re here, both of the poems that we read won awards in relation with creative writing minor/concentration within the English department at the College. So that’s kind of why we both chose to read those pieces which was because we submitted them to this prize that we both won for it.
Nora Obeid read her story, “The Window Game.”
I read my story “The Window Game.“ It’s about a kid—well, not a kid anymore. She’s reflecting on a part of her childhood where the family was maybe more affluent than they currently are. And it focuses on the small act of the kids throwing their toys out the window—this thirty-five story apartment building. Just because they think it’s fun and they picked up the habit from other kids. Then their parents find out, and they—you know, “This isn’t cool. These things have value.” I don’t know if I was trying to say anything in particular but just trying to portray a life—just things that we do in childhood that we don’t realize the significance of.