Students brought their published poetry and short stories to life as they read them aloud on stage Tuesday during the 27th annual Student Literature Night.
The evening in Upper Weyenberg recognizes the best of student art and literature and commemorates the release of the Living Waters Review, a literary journal featuring student and alumni work. The name of the journal comes from the words of Jesus in John 7:37-38: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” Read the 16th edition here.
English Professor David Athey founded the journal and serves as its faculty adviser, while Professor Tim Eichner serves as the graphic design editor. Acceptance for publication into the literary journal is competitive.
Bryce Langston, one of two managing editors for Living Waters, opened Student Literature Night with a prayer thanking God for a place “where we are encouraged in our creative pursuits and spiritual growth.”
Editor Taylor Gaede, a 2020 English graduate now studying for her Master of Divinity degree at PBA, brought her passion for writing and editing to the task of collating “such outstanding work we have on campus.”
“I loved being a part of it, and I had a great editorial team as well,” said Gaede.
That team included senior editors Eden Prime and Brooke Stanish, managing editors Langston and Joe Washburn and assistant editors Delaney Esper and Sarah Selden.
Student Literature Night, a coffee house-style evening, offers an opportunity for students to read what they’ve written.
“Poetry is meant to be heard,” Gaede said.
One example was Langston’s poem, “The Sound of a Lonely Note,” during which music major Lexie Carpenter played an accompaniment on the piano. A lone note underscored the end of the piece. That performance followed Carpenter reading her own poem “Happy Distraction” about practicing the piano in Vera Lea Rinker Hall.
Facia Lee, a senior studying theatre arts, brought her talent to bear performing three students’ poems.
Several students read works dedicated to or written about their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. Cailan Owens, a senior English major, shared “My Parents in Subtown,” a poem describing how her parents hit it off at the sandwich shop where her mom worked. When she finished, she gave a shout-out to her parents, who listened from the front row of the audience.
Senior English major Brynn Richer said the evening gives the audience an opportunity to understand how the writers would read their own works. Richer, who had several pieces in Living Waters, recited her poem “I Ain’t No Nightingale.”
“It’s a maturing,” Richer said. “They [the pieces] come to life when the speaker speaks. It’s a beautiful butterfly coming out.”
Participants in order of performance include: Sara Nolan, Sydney Mantay, Jesse Koenig, Taylor Gaede, Brynn Richer, Jon Olar, Tori Warkentin, Cana Scott*, Neysa Rogers*, Lexie Carpenter, Bryce Langston, Shelby Fletcher, Juan Mojica, Cailan Owens, Shelby Parks, Grace Cram* and Richard De La Rosa. Theatre student Facia Lee read pieces written by the students whose names are marked with an asterisk.
Photo 1: Bryce Langston, a senior studying music and creative writing, recites his poem "The Sound of a Lonely Note" at the 27th annual Student Literature Night in Upper Weyenberg on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020.
Photo 2: Taylor Gaede, a 2020 English graduate and M.Div. student, served as an editor for Living Waters Review. She reads her short story "Static."
Photo 3: Facia Lee, a senior theatre arts major, recited the poems of several students.
Photo 4: Brynn Richer, a senior studying English, recites her poem "I Ain't No Nightingale."