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Students brave limelight, read work

By Cristina Calderin

Heba Jahama reads some of her poetry at the first reading series for INK.
Heba Jahama reads some of her poetry at the first reading series for INK. (Warren Fields / Staff Photographer)

A crowd stood in front of the entrance to the Library auditorium waiting for the doors to open, as three accomplished student writers lined up to share their work with friends and peers. On Thursday, Nov. 15, Heba Jahama, Shaun Fitzpatrick and B.J. Miller were able to showcase their talents and capture the attention of the audience with their stylistic differences.

Samantha Zimbler, one of the lead officers of the organization INK, introduced the event. When referring to the reading series, she said, “This is the pride and joy of the creative writing department … Out of a large pool of applicants these were the three who had the strongest applications.” Soon after, a girl who seemed timid but friendly approached the stand.

Heba Jahama, freshman English and history double major, was the youngest of the performers and the first to present her work. She started by saying that her poetry “sings,” and true to her word, that is just what it did.

She started with two somber poems. Her first one, “Prayer,” provoked deep thought. The way Jahama was able to arouse emotion within her listeners was astonishing. She spoke rhythmically, allowing her personal style to glimmer through her polished writing, and her passion for poetry was nearly tangible. She was also able to elicit a laugh from the crowd as she introduced her poem “Driving.”

“Next I will read a series of little poems that are all about driving, which I try not to think about because it terrifies me,” Jahama said.

Taylor Boyle introduced the next performer. He finished by saying, ”Like everything Shaun does, I’m sure it will be spectacular.”

Boyle’s statement was beyond valid. “The Last Great Haunting of Sarah Carver” by Shaun Fitzpatrick, senior English major and Signal Opinions Editor, was a hit. The excerpt from this story was impressive. Sarah Carver was accused of being a witch in the 1600s and was hanged. She decided to leave a curse on her farmhouse, which later became the Victorian styled home of the Johnson’s. Sarah Carver’s ghost no longer wanted to share her home with the Johnson’s or any other family looking at the house, therefore, she decided, “The only thing to do was kill Mrs. Johnson.” The gripping story traced Sarah’s thoughts on how and when to kill Mrs. Johnson. There was an underlying humor throughout the excerpt that made Fitzpatrick’s story especially enjoyable.

Next was the extremely personable and energetic Bernard Miller, better known as B.J. He began with a poem named “Claustrophobia,” saying that he “started by getting a list down.” He then began to name all the things it would be nice to get out of, for example, “wouldn’t it be nice to get out of this maze … Wouldn’t it be nice go get out of this crummy little town and see the world.” Miller’s enthusiasm radiated through the auditorium. The tone of his writing included hints of sarcasm. His original poem named “Religion” said,  “There are two types of people / Those who believe and those who don’t have to.” Miller’s final piece was a comical discussion between well-known figures set in present day. Satan, Caesar and Socrates contemplate life with 21st Century language. Laughs erupted from the audience when one person asked another to hit the liquor store for some more booze. Miller’s outgoing personality definitely added interest to the performance.

In support of her friend Heba Jahama, Elena Tafone, freshman journalism major, attended the reading event. When asked what she thought about the event, she responded, “I think a lot of people think poetry is really boring and that poetry readings are for old people, but this type of poetry is as alive now as much as it was in the Elizabethan times.”

Many students seemed to enjoy the event. Nicole Prozzo, sophomore with a history and secondary education double major said, “I never thought of poetry like this. Usually poetry doesn’t hold my interest for long, but this was able to hold my attention and was actually enjoyable.”



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