The streets of downtown Spokane were lined with cars on the night of Friday, February 11. There was not an open meter in sight, and event parking was ten dollars. A block away from the event parking lot was Auntie's Bookstore, where a reading was taking place. This event was in celebration of the re-launch of Rock & Sling, one of two prestigious literary magazines in the Northwest with a spiritual focus. People were crammed into a wing on the second floor of Auntie's Bookstore to witness the reading. Others lined the stair-cases leading up to the third floor. Everybody was listening.
Among the readers of the evening were Whitworth's Leonard Oakland, who read poems from other authors published in the newest issue of Rock & Sling, and local writers, Beth Cooley, Jeff Dodd, Cathy Bobb and Christopher Howell, who read their own material.
Thom Caraway, Whitworth lecturer and editor-in-chief of Rock & Sling, was pleased with the turnout for the event.
“It's sometimes hard to get Whitworth students to literary events, especially on a basketball night. We sent out postcards to 150 people. Of those 150, we might have had 20,” Caraway said.
The student turnout, however, was amazing, Caraway said.
Diana Cater, a junior at Whitworth, attended both the reading and the reception for the relaunch party.
“It was just really awesome to be surrounded by people who are just really passionate about poetry. So great to be with people who are as enthusiastic about it as you are,” Cater said. “One of the best parts was seeing professors outside of school having a good time.”
Rock & Sling was an independent, locally published magazine until its funding ran out in 2008. The founders of the magazine asked the Whitworth English department last spring if they would adopt and fund Rock & Sling, and the department leapt at the opportunity. The winter 2011 issue of Rock & Sling is available at Auntie's and in the Whitworth bookstore. People may also subscribe online, and there is a discount for Whitworth students and faculty.
By Nathan Mead