No matter how many readings he has under his belt, Creative Writing professor Chad Simpson still gets anxious about reading his own work.
“I get very nervous — I love being able to share reading time with my colleagues and as long as I read first I can listen to their works like a normal person,” Simpson said, after his reading at Caxton 360.
Students and staff gathered on Friday, Oct. 5 in the Alumni Room to hear all writing and literature professors read their own writing.
Simpson also MC’d the event, providing entertaining introductions for all of the professors with an emphasis on everyone astrological signs.
“We’re very passionate about our own work, as well as helping them develop theirs,” said Creative Writing professor Cyn Fitch.
The readings featured comedic poems about pink plastic flamingos, academic analysis of Foucault and how his works pertain to President Trump’s Twitter account and the state of investigative journalism, as well as a short novel excerpt about a man’s comedic failed attempt at skiing for the first time.
“We had Lit crit, poetry, fiction, German Shepherd dog bios,” Caxton President and senior Libby Croce said when asked about the afternoon’s selection.
Each speaker was given about six minutes each for their readings. Given time, readers were limited to short excerpts. “I thought they might really connect to someone in the room,” said Fitch, commenting on the selections she chose to read. Judging by the warm reception at the end of each story, the night’s readings were successful.
Caxton Club has a long tradition at Knox of bringing in a wide array of speakers every year for both the Knox community and anyone from the greater Galesburg area and beyond who might be interested in listening.
“[I] used to come to these events because our school didn’t have them. Getting to introduce students to different writers now is a great opportunity,” Simpson said.
This will be a quieter year for Caxton, especially given their activity last year.
“Last year was the 50th anniversary of the creative writing department [so] we had a lot of heavier hitters,” Croce said.
But a quieter event doesn’t mean it won’t be exciting. There’s plenty to be excited about, including a reading from Writing Professor Monica Berlin on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 4 p.m. in the Alumni Room with poems from her first book. Two poets, Ross Gay and Adrian Matejka, will also be coming to campus this spring.
Caxton Club hopes to connect students with real working writers that many look up to and aspire to be some day.
“These are people who are doing things with their words and getting paid for it, that’s the dream, that’s the world I want to live in,” Croce said.