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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Read aloud in the library

There is probably no better place to read poetry and fiction than a library, where much of it has come to life. This past Wednesday, as part of the Wednesday at Burling series, four Grinnell College seniors, Molly Rideout ’10, Paul Bellora ’10, Lawrence Sumulong ’10 who serves as photo editor for the S&B and Lucy Schiller ’10 presented selections from their work that dealt with topics such as the life of a fictional character at Grinnell College or the perspective of a dead dog. Rideout and Bellora read excerpts of their fiction while Sumulong and Schiller presented an array of their poetry. The series was organized by Collection Development and Preservation Librarian Rebecca Stuhr who had this event in mind when she approached some of the students as early as last fall. “I liked the idea of students showing their work where they wrote some of it,” Stuhr said.

While presenting two of her poems, Lucy Schiller told the audience that her Alt Break trip to South Dakota, and the state’s uncanny poverty and beauty, inspired her to write two of the poems. For Sumulong, the events of his life, but also photographs, have caused him to express himself in poetry.

“A lot of my inspiration comes from mishearing people,” Rideout said. “And then I realize what they have said which is by far not as cool as what I thought they said, so I make that into a story.”

Like poetry, the authors found inspiration for their fiction in an number of places. “I draw my inspiration mainly from music but also life,” Bellora said. One of the fiction pieces he read was a completely fictional story set in and probably inspired by things going on in Grinnell College. “There are hilarious situations that I want to put into a story,” Bellora said.
The turnout for the reading was great, more than the provided juice and cookies could really account for. About 50 people showed up in the corner of Burling to enjoy the readings—some simply to listen, others to support friends.

“It’s good to support people who do art,” said Lucy Reese ’10, who attended the reading.

Even though the reading’s location near Burling’s entrance and the activity of the library sometimes created distractions, the event showed how substantial a place poetry and fiction have in the Grinnell community.

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