On Thursday, Feb. 6, students and faculty alike crowded into Cheever Room to hear 10 different Kenyon Review Associates read their writing, with genres varying from horror prose to intricate nonfiction science poetry.
Virginia Kane ’22, Genevieve Harding ’22, Sophia Fornwalt ’20, Dylan Manning ’22, Erin Donnelly ’20, Kaiya Case ’22, Evey Weisblat ’21, Paola Liendo ’20, Micah Kim ’23 and A. Shaikh ’21 all read selections of their work. While there were no restrictions on the content of their readings, each person was given five minutes for their reading. Despite this time limit, the different writers managed to create a personal connection between the audience and the story through their creative choices, drawing the listener into the characters they created. This interaction between the audience and speaker was further emphasized by the supportive community that was seen at the event.
At the beginning and end of the reading, both the attendees and the readers conversed while enjoying the light snacks that were provided. This support was also highlighted by all 10 of the readers as they sat to the side and between the different presentations could be seen congratulating and encouraging each other.
The friendly mood of the event allowed for the writers to delve into extremely personal topics. Each of the writers touched on their own personal ideals, showcasing the diversity of ideas in the Kenyon student body. For example, Kane uses her poetry to highlight her opinions on gender roles today while Case used theirs to show thoughts on how personal relationships shift and evolve. The writers’ subject matter was equally diverse, emphasizing how anyone can write about any topic, as long as they have the passion for it. Some pieces encouraged reflection on personal relationships, while others inspired one to ponder the system of the English language itself. This disparity of subjects was heightened by the mix of prose and poetry—in some cases, even blended together within a single piece—allowing for a blend between the two normally separate styles.
Overall, the reading left the audience with both questions and inspiration, emboldening the audience to write in whatever style that appeals to them. The different genres present within the members of the Kenyon Review allowed one to see how any story can be shared so long as one is prepared to put it into words.