Students gathered in the cozy living room of the Wendell Berry House on Tuesday, Nov. 29 to read, listen to and appreciate poetry and prose. Wendell Berry House and The Quarry hosted a joint literature event at which many students shared their own written works while others recited classic favorites, including poems from John Keats and Wendell Berry himself. The readings ranged from emotional to beautiful to funny.
Wendell Berry House is located in Lincoln Manor, an honor house just off campus. Wendell Berry’s mission is focused around sustainability and community, particularly related to food.
“The mission of the house is to reestablish the link between people, communities and the food that we eat, in accordance with Wendell Berry’s dedication to the land and sustainable agriculture,” resident Rita Thorsen ’18 said. “However, another really important part of his work is to communicate that dedication through literature and justice. Essentially, our goal is to create more just and holistic communities.”
Thorsen was pleased with the event’s turnout. One unique aspect of the reading was the willingness of readers to be vulnerable and the strong sense of community among a diverse group of students.
“It was really pleasing to see how many people were enthusiastic about the reading,” Thorsen said. “It’s inspiring to get so many people who don’t necessarily know each other together to read. It was especially awesome to hear people read their own work and know that we had created a space in which people felt comfortable enough to get to that level of vulnerability.”
The event was co-sponsored by the Quarry, St. Olaf’s literary and visual arts magazine. This is one of the Quarry’s first events of the year leading up to the release of the magazine this spring.
Though the magazine is only produced once a year, The Quarry staff aims to help campus create spaces for enjoying literature, art and poetry throughout the year.
Executive Editor Josh Torkelson ’17 is still planning events for this spring, and encourages students to submit their creative work for publication consideration and to attend the release party this spring.
“February begins our submission period for our online and print publications. This year’s release will feature a gallery show in the Groot Gallery of the represented student work,” Torkelson said. “This new format [of the release] allows more exposure for contributors as well as a space for music, performance art and space-based works. Also in February, there will be a surprise installation collaboration with Sigma Tau Delta in the Buntrock Cage Gallery, so stay tuned for that.”