Q&A: The Faculty and Student Shared Reading Space

Professor Robert Randolph, professor of English, has started open readings for faculty, staff and students. Anyone is welcome to attend or share pieces such as poetry, short stories, creative nonfiction etc. According to Randolph, the only pieces that do not meet the event’s vibe are essays, music and visual art. On Thurs. Oct. 21, Randolph hosted the first reading. The rest of the readings will be held on the third Thursday of every month in the McCance Auditorium from 4 p.m. to5:30 p.m. The next reading is scheduled Thursday, Nov. 18.

Question: What will you be calling the event?

Answer: “The Faculty and Student Shared Reading Space. I want to give space to faculty members to read, partly because they have been at it for awhile and they have success, and they also teach this stuff. But, I also want students to read. I want students who want to read. They can contact either me or Richard Pierce, associate professor of English.”

Question: Who read their pieces on Oct. 21?

Answer: “There were 16 people who attended. Haley Custer, Abigayle Geisel, Zachary Porter, Professor Jamie Dessart, Jill Moyer-Sunday, Richard Pierce, Amy Randolph and I read.”

Question: How was the turnout from your initial thoughts?

Anwer: “You never know what people are going to be reading. No one writes the same as anybody else. However, there weren’t as many people as I thought.”

Question: What were you surprised about?

Answer: “This is going to sound counterintuitive, but I was surprised about how good everything was, the quality of it. I was impressed. I was happy about that. I had the sense that the people that actually read actually write. They don’t dash stuff off and think ‘I’ll go read.’ This is more for people who are committed to writing and know what that means, how that matters. That comes through writing itself. You can’t go up and say, ‘I think writing is important and it matters a lot,’ and then what you read isn’t as strong. That doesn’t come through.” 

Question: What are your hopes for the next reading?

Answer: “I’d like to see it take root. I’d like to see it take hold more. I’d like to see it sink roots in not only the English Department. Not only for them to come to read but to listen. I don’t know if the creative writing community is as developed as it could be or enthusiastic as it could be. We’re all part of one large community and what happens here connects to other schools, other places. We have to read more. I’d like to see a writing community develop and corollary to that, even a reading community, maybe a discussion outside of class for the faculty and students.”

Question: What do you want from the readings?

Answer: “I want to see what my colleagues are writing. I want to see what my students are writing. Connected to that, I want to learn. I, also, want to teach because I’ve been doing this for a long time. I would like, after the reading, for dialogue to develop between people who don’t necessarily know each other to say, ‘I like what you read,’ and that dialogue opens up possibilities for both of them to write even better. I would like writing to have a stronger presence on campus and I’d like it to be open to learning and sharing, more dynamic. I don’t see why that couldn’t happen. Maybe, we could have thematic readings!” 

Question: What made you think of the idea to start these readings?

Answer: “I’ve been in this academic stuff for so long that I go back to when people were reading in coffeehouses, and I miss that energy. And, I write and know some of the faculty writes, especially in the English Department. We just don’t share with each other. The combination of the desire to experience a reading and to develop that whole world of writing and learning and sharing seriously, that’s what I want.”

The Yellow Jacket Print Newspaper is back for a Special Fall 2021 Edition.

Pick up your copy around campus Friday, December 3! Copies will also be available at select locations around the community. Happy holidays and happy reading!