Prose, poetry dazzle audiences

Seniors majoring in diverse fields showcased their work in the Adamson Wing. (credit: Carolyn Supinka | Photo Staff) Seniors majoring in diverse fields showcased their work in the Adamson Wing. (credit: Carolyn Supinka | Photo Staff)

The swarm of plaid button-downs and thick-rimmed glasses around Baker Hall last Friday night was a sure sign that something literary was going down. And sure enough, prose was recited, poetry performed, and bows dipped as the creative writing seniors of Carnegie Mellon performed a final reading together.

At 8 p.m., a group of seniors, faculty, and friends gathered in the Adamson Wing to listen to the collective work of senior writers. Before the performance, sophomore English major Elizabeth Harbaugh confessed high expectations of the upcoming reading. “I expect to be dazzled,” she declared. “No. I demand to be dazzled.”

And dazzling did occur. The reading began with senior creative writing major Tom Pike presenting samples of his poetry, which prompted both laughs and serious silences from the audience with its varied themes — among them, the origin of Fig Newtons.

Each student approached the podium and greeted the audience in their own unique way, before presenting their work and welcoming the next reader to the stage. Themes varied from the origins of life and snack foods to aggravating traveling partners and the proper way to dig a ditch.

Those performing were not limited to English-related majors: All seniors interested in poetry or prose were welcome to share their work. Senior Su Chu, a statistics major, presented her poem “Synch Sister.” Describing the themes and inspiration behind her work, she said: “I feel very strongly about people, and a lot of my work is inspired by the dynamics between the people who are close to me.”

As writer after writer stepped up to the podium, one got a sense of the finality of the event. That night, students and faculty came together to acknowledge the effort and hard work that occurred over the past four years.

Senior creative writing major John Lehmann felt the same sense of culmination at the event. “It’s good to hear everyone one last time — just for fun.” He remarked. “One last time outside of classes to see how something floats, and a chance to make a list of people I’m going to send my work to for criticism.”

The reading on Friday was the perfect way to celebrate four years of hard work, revision, and growth by sharing final words and work with fellow students and the mentors who guided each draft and scribble over the years. While this reading symbolizes the ending chapter for these writers at Carnegie Mellon, it also serves as an introduction to the future and their upcoming journeys to professional success.