OLIVIA RICHMAN — General Assignment Reporter
He stood at the podium, laughed and talked about how “angsty” he was as a “juvenile” in his sophomore year of high school.
Then he began to read some poems from his past. Poems about love, lust, gay lovers in the time of Nazi Germany, visions had while sitting by a fire and other abstract thoughts and ideas.
This was one of the presenters at the monthly Folio reading at the fireplace lounge in the Adanti Student Center, Alex Malanych.
“Since I’m a senior and I’m coming to the end of college,” said Malanych, an English major, “it was kind of interesting to go that far back and see where I’ve gotten to because I’ve read for Folio before. So a lot of people here have heard me read all my current stuff. So I thought it’d be interesting to see how ridiculous I sounded in high school.”
In high school, Malanych said he tried to be cool by writing about abstract ideas, like love and he said he felt the poems didn’t end up very good.
Malanych said he’s more confident of his recent poetry.
The poems he read aloud from his more recent poetry book were about numbers — “the number one is unique, the number two is a spitting sound” — and other things from his thoughts and life. During his performance, he said he felt his recent poems were “cynical” and “bitchy.”
“I like to write about my life,” said Malanych. “I like to write about myself. I know that sounds a bit egotistical, but, you know, weird experiences that I had or that other people can relate to.”
Jake Chambless, a social work major at Southern, said he went to the Folio reading because a friend wanted him to come along but said he didn’t mind going because he hadn’t heard poetry in a while.
“I thought, personally, that it was open. He was able to talk about fascinating things. Like he was Jewish and he talked openly about the Holocaust,” said Chambless. “For example, I went on a field trip once. I had a couple of friends that were Jewish and we went to the Holocaust Museum and they had to leave. They were so emotional. They were the jocks and you would have never thought they would be that emotional. I applaud him for being able to talk openly about that he is gay.”
Malanych had three poems in Folio this semester, including “Church” and “Hair.” He chose to read aloud for the Folio monthly reading because he had so much fun the first time.
Folio’s monthly reading this past week started off with a poetry workshop, with help from the poetry reading club on campus, F.L.O.W., or Fearless Lovers of Word. Jared Coffin, the editor of Folio, said the poetry workshop was a success.
“Basically we all got into groups, read each other’s poems, commented on them,” said Coffin. “We are going to try and do this every time.”
The next writer to go behind the podium was Kiah Smith, a graphic design major, who wrote a short story for Folio about the effects of divorce on children. The short story followed a broken family on their trip to a carnival.
Smith began writing in high school and had written the story for a fiction writing class last semester.
“I love writing for fun,” said Smith. “I create characters and write stories on their lives.”
Chambless said he sat through the poetry to hear the short story as well.
“It was hardly a short story,” he said. “It was probably the longest short story I’ve ever heard in my entire life. Maybe it just got so boring and I thought it was long. I don’t know. But, I mean, the only time I ever really pictured or remembered anything was when the main character pushed her little sister down.”
While Chambless said he didn’t really like the short story, he personally thought the detail was vivid and the characters were well developed.
“Madeline’s dad and her sister, Maggie, were all easily believable,” he said.
The Folio reading was full, this past week, “except for one chair,” according to Chambless. Even so, Coffin said he feels as though more people need to hear of the readings.
“More people need to show up,” he said.