November Folio reading lets students express their troubles through poetry

Haljit BasuljevicContributor

In a concise homage to art and artists, Folio’s monthly reading explored what it meant to be an artist in today’s world and invited students to present their own creative works after the featured artists were presented.

Sitting amid a cluster of folding chairs in the English Common Room, there was an intense silence as the reading’s talent came up to the podium to reveal through powerful readings intimate issues about themselves and the world.

Free pizza and soda were served behind the audience and were consumed quickly.

It opened with a series of poems, including an uplifting account for anyone in a deep slump titled, “Every day and Every night.” The poem was a sharp reminder of living passionately even when it feels that cynicism and emptiness threaten to engulf us.

What followed was a speech by senior Sasha Mahmoud who, along with displaying her sketches, talked about how an industrial society that favors constant innovation can exclude the importance of the artist. She expanded on this idea after the reading.

“The world should know that artists are going to keep us alive,” said Mahmoud. “I feel like artists are the lifeblood of the human soul in the collective.”

Many of the poems reflected themes of trauma, anxiety, depression. Some were a cry for recognition for those do not have the ability to tune into to art.

There was a quick break after the poems and the audience was able to participate in a raffle in order to win a free book. As this happened, more people were entering, and the themes got lighter. The crowd was more raucous than anything, as there were some first timers there who were both nervous and excited to engage with fellow artists and show their work.

During the second reading, the showcase shifted between short pieces and visual sketches.

Journalism major Austin Elliott passed around a notebook riddled with humorous sketches that he jotted down in his free time, one being notable for Garfield wielding a gun in an attempt to put down his owner, Jon.

As artists moved to and from the podium, they audience were active as well. They darting from one seat to the next, and the atmosphere seemed to be enclosed with a welcoming comfort.

Senior and Folio fiction editor Emily Wolfe spoke about what she saw as a growing brisk a cheerful readiness for the Folio readings.

“These first two months have actually been super popular than in the years past,” said Wolfe, “I think that more people are becoming more aware of what Folio is and what we do. I think we have such a welcoming atmosphere that people are coming to it.”

The night rounded back up again to Sasha Mahmoud recitation of her poem. The next Folio reading is expected to be around early December. Participation is free, and submissions are open to all students.

Photo Credit: Haljit Basuljevic


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