Lit reading complements homecoming festivities

People packed the Bryan Oliver gallery and the adjacent hallway, all listening intently to the soft, soothing voices of poets echoing throughout the building. Their words flowed together under the dim lighting, creating an ambiance of relaxation and peace.

Professor of English Laurie Lamon, senior English lecturer Thom Caraway and alumna Lisa Flesher, ’81, read some of their poetry on Saturday, Oct. 6 in the Lied Art Center. The event was scheduled as part of the Homecoming activities for the week.

Caraway said he is excited about the university’s promotion of the reading.

“We have previously had a few readings like this throughout the year that were moderately well-attended and moderately well-advertised,” he said. “This year, [the poetry reading] is part of homecoming festivities. It’s exciting being able to reach a wider audience than we normally get. They did a great job with it this year. It’s a good showcase for Laurie and I, and good for the alumna [Flesher].”

Flesher currently lives in Oklahoma City with her husband. She has been published in numerous journals and has read her poetry at the National Arts Club in New York City. She is best known for her contributions to the Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry, and she is now the co-chief poetry editor there. She is nearing completion of a book of her poetry.

“I’m just so privileged to be here with an audience like this, and with Thom and Laurie,” she said at the end of her set.

Flesher read a variety of poems, such as “Blue Flax”, “Under the Influence: A Poem for Empty Nesters”, and “Meditating with the Dogs”.

After being introduced by professor of English Leonard Oakland, who emceed the reading, Lamon took the stage to read next.

Lamon said she has always been a writer, ever since she was a little girl. She mostly writes about animals, and said her students will often send her pictures and videos of animals because they know how much she enjoys them.

“I was very serious about it at a very young age,” Lamon said. “I was always drawn to poetry. Writing for me has been a way to expand intellectual horizons.”

Lamon has been at Whitworth University since 1981 in various capacities, and she said she appreciates the chance to get to be a part of the event.

“This is a liberal arts university, and the arts belong to all of us,” she said. “If people have never come to a poetry reading before, they can have a misperception. It’s a beautiful way to highlight the arts.”

Caraway said he wrote his first story in second grade, and he has been seriously studying the craft of writing since the mid 90s. His poems have been in various journals, and his first poetry collection, “A Visitor’s Guide to North Dakota”, was published in 2007.

“I think [writing] is trying to convey essential experience, trying to share something with the audience,” he said. “That’s the primary source of context and tension and satisfaction, for me as a writer.”

Lamon said she was excited for the opportunity to share art with Whitworth.

“If you haven’t attended one of the literary readings, come,” she said. “There are wonderful speakers, [and] it’s wonderful when people from other disciplines get to enjoy this as well.”

Caraway agrees.

“Everybody should come,” he said. “Poetry is good for your soul, good for your mind and heart.”

Meghan Dellinger Staff Writer

Contact Meghan Dellinger at mdellinger15@my.whitworth.edu