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First Literature Evening of the Term

Franklin House hosts Bennington’s first literature event back

Photo by Gerardo

 Last Wednesday, as this year’s first event of the weekly Literature Evening series, there was a student open-mic hosted, in the Bennington tradition, at Franklin Common Room– And what a night to start the year with! It wasn’t at all surprising that every reader presented their strong and unique perspectives, in different and creative forms. However, we were pleased to see so many eager and talented first year students in the line-up! It takes a lot of courage to stand in front of a room full of strangers and revealing to them the places your mind wanders, often showing the most remote corners of your soul. So we at the Lens want to congratulate every freshmen who read on Wednesday for sharing your beautiful work with us. It was truly a pleasure to hear you read.

The event was opened by beloved Literature faculty Franny Choi, who encouraged the audience to send some energy ( a snap, a sound ) back at the readers to let them know what they’re thinking or feeling in reaction to the work. Then, without further ado, they introduced the first reader Sebastian Martinez, this year’s Literature SEPC Representative. Sebastian kicked off the event with a powerful piece of prose about a customer that makes Martinez’s narrator remember memories of a past relationship in vivid detail. The story was cleverly crafted and it was reminiscent of all the emotion and wings of Gabriel García Marquez’ “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.”

Some other readings that captivated us include the second reader, Aeven, who also read a section of a short story about a man and the girlfriend he is building. The story was very evocative and it left us wanting to have the entire piece in our hands to dissect  all the intricate details in it!

Willow read two captivating free-verse poems—one of which was written the previous night—and caused perhaps, the loudest clapping of the night. Moving in a more formal direction, the following reader, Edison, read three sonnets, all with the same title, ending with a haunting anaphora of the phrase “If I were alive.” The only thing they left us wanting was hearing the entirety of the crown! 

 Isabel’s story was perhaps one of the most thrilling of the night— she immediately hooked us with the first line “Your brother David die…” only to slowly let us realize that the “you” in the story is named after his dead brother through momentous and bone- chilling sentences such as “Your mother is never calling for you when she says your name.”

After some killer poems from Matthias, Anja and Willa, we had a stellar reading from Finbar who read a poem with their middle finger up the entire time, and a fun excerpt from a short story about Bennington graduate from the class of 23, (and beloved friend to  many) Rio!

Finally, the night was closed with an excerpt from a novel Riley worked on over the summer, and a performance from first year student Minerva, who memorized a poem she wrote when she was sixteen and delivered it with charisma, dramatics, and a moving tone.

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