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English seniors present best work, moves audience

The Senior reading is a place where senior English majors and Writing minors share their best work with fellow students and faculty.  This year’s writers displayed subtlety, wit, and emotion through work ranging from hybrid poetry to performance pieces.

Readings began with Sigma Tau Delta President Barbara Padilla, who presented several hybrid poems. One described interactions between the mind and the body, where the mind responds to physical anxiety.

Another featured a young child being chastised repeatedly by parents. Some of Padilla’s poems incorporated her stomping her foot to punctuate certain points.

Padilla’s hybrid poems held an implicative, inquisitive tone with harsh deliveries interspersed. The language was casual, often blunt, and always cleverly balanced between musing and accusing.

Writing minor Williams Peters followed Padilla with fiction. His story was formatted as a “choose your own adventure” tale set on New York’s Coney Island. The choice of setting for the two characters was between the beach and the famous Wonder Wheel, and (perhaps because Fox Day had already passed) the audience selected the Wonder Wheel.

As he described his two characters arguing about love and the Wonder Wheel falling apart, Pesters employed his usual satirical, witty style of writing. His descriptions were clever, cynical and unromanticized, and his characters are sassy and bold.

Luis Guerrero, a Venezuelan Psychology Major and Writing Minor, contrasted with a short creative non-fiction piece. The story recounted Guerrero’s first relationship in the United States, one unfortunately wrought with toxicity and manipulation. The emotions, arguments, and conflicts had powerful attention to individual feelings.

Guerrero’s style in this work is reflective, contemplative, and sober, considering the way life was following the relationship. It was also philosophical about its teachings. The events described are done so boldly, without any attempt at hiding.

On a more lighthearted track, Cody Noles succeeded Guerrero. Noles presented a short comedic fiction piece titled “The Prince of Darkness.” The story followed Billy Cunningham, a 15 year-old boy, now known as Friedrich the vampire lord, and his attempts to secure a sacred artifact with his friend and warlock, Francis, alias Darkheart.

Noles effortlessly captured the voices of each of his different characters with hilarious precision, from the unconcerned mother to the amused and patronizing father to the excitable little sister. Friedrich, being a centuries-old vampire, has his own extravagant and ominous narration style, which, coupled with the antics of his family, drew laughs out of everyone present.

Following Noles was Iman Gareeboo, a French and English double major originally from Mauritius.  Gareeboo writes for The Independent, and her work is culturally explorative and nuanced on several layers. She read a poem and a short piece of fiction.

The poem, titled “Pamplemousse”(the French word for “Grapefruit”) describes how, as a country,  Mauritius is currently transitioning into more modern practices all over. The poem contained vivid images of natural scenery overshadowed by cold concrete.

The other piece, titled “The Hand,” described a student contemplating her hand alongside her professor’s; it delves into conventional beauty standards and their unfounded reasoning.

Gareeboo’s style carefully blanded images and abstractions to present powerful arguments. The ideas left the page and forced readers into questions and challenges.

The final reader was English major and Brushing Co-Editor-in-Chief, Sianna Boschetti. She presented an excerpt of a performance piece in which she discussed her experiences being gay and having epilepsy. This included stories of going out to LGBTQ+ dance club Southern Nights, coming out, and discussing epilepsy with professors.

Boschetti’s style is wholly enjoyable for its straightforwardness; in performing, she is conversational, witty beyond belief, and relatable in all descriptions. At the same time, it uncovers ever-present societal malpractices.

Many respected professors of writing, rhetoric, and literature were in attendance at the reading. Distinguished faculty of the English department such as Dr. Matthew Forsythe, Dr. Martha Cheng, and Dr. Jill Jones, Victoria Brown, and James Driggers were present to hear the culmination of their students’ work. Professor Brown, a published author, greatly encouraged many senior Writing minors and English majors to participate in the reading.

Seniors expressed gratitude towards the English Department and its wonderful faculty and staff for their guidance, teaching, and encouragement. Professor Brown said that the department will be sad to see them go, but overjoyed to see them succeed.

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