By John Marino Columnist
It goes without saying that many art forms are seemingly obsolete and outdated. Yet, the Hofstra English Society’s first student showcase this Wednesday proved otherwise. Each of the ten presenters communicated their pieces with impressive diction, confidence and most importantly, color. The work writers presented focused on prose, specifically short stories, and poetry, although each of the readers used very strong poetic devices throughout their works. The entire audience remained engaged throughout the performance and applauded heavily.
Throughout Alice Gunthers eloquent text, I was caught up in her rush of absolutely perfect grammar. A joy to listen to, this piece portrays a story of a poem whose author is unknown, where the ambiguity adds the element of humor and beauty.
The poem within Gunthers poem is a piece of paper that gets stuck to the bottom of a character named Ted’s shoe. As Gunther reads on, the secondary poem is submitted for publication many times under different names, and in the end it playfully touches upon the reality of copyright law.
Throughout the story, Ted battles with his conscious and is frustrated with his own skills as a writer. The other candidates for the anonymous poem are the sounding board (Ted’s friend) and the dancer; it is unclear as to who actually wrote the poem, yet the story calls for a deeper understanding. It engages the reader to meander through his conscious thought process of rejecting the self and owning up to reality.
Symbolically, the juxtaposition between the persona’s of Ted and the sounding board led to the idea that the sounding board represents the subconscious of Ted, and the dancer in place of Ted’s desire.
In the end, I was left believing they all wrote the poem because they all were Ted. The dancer wrote it for the sounding board, the sounding board wrote it for Ted and Ted wrote it for himself. This piece could be resounding to anyone who is consciously aware of their own internal struggles of recognizing their talents.
A metaphor for society, Brian Stieglitz’s piece “The Cave” was truly captivating and engaging. Richly verbose, the story is broken up into segments of days adding to the perception and tangential nature of time.
The protagonist is competing in a game of survival for a cash prize. Everyone in the cave, the game’s location, has a different reason for being there. To the primal instinct, people are either aiding each other or at each-others throats for survival. The main character said at one point “I would never stop rolling that rock uphill,” commenting on the singular function of survival and maintaining balance.
In addition, the story has psychological thrills that are deeply rooted in delirium and autonomous beta thought processing. Stieglitz shows us a glimpse into human nature when pushed to the limit and makes us question our motives in life. What’s worth the sacrifice?
“What Pricks Me In The Library,” “One, Two, Three, Apples” and “Beckon, Beckon” are cleverly crafted lyric poems that elicit a multitude of emotion by Ellen Hornberger. The first is a piece in which mundane things are viewed as something beautiful. She wraps it up with “So without pause and without stained contempt, I bury my warmth in this rained on tent.” It exemplifies the fact that regardless of distractions that may occur to many as annoyances, she will ultimately be satisfied with the daily, the routine and the simple.
The second, “One, Two, Three, Apples” was a more amorphous and non-specific piece lending to the idea of symbolic power. The author expressly connects with the reader by using the concept, power of the choice. The title itself is reminiscent of the gun at the beginning of a race, the stoplight.
Lastly, “Beckon, Beckon” is short, sweet and utterly powerful. It plays with the idea of ice and its properties, commenting on the choices we make in life and the consequences of not choosing.
The Hofstra English Society’s first “Fall Student Showcase,” was put together in roughly two weeks. Despite the short time allowed to put on the event, the showcase was an impressive exposé of talented student writers. It seems art is not dead yet, far from it.