Students gathered to hear their peers read original work at the latest Bailey Vox reading series, sponsored by SLAB, in the Spotts World Culture Building on Thursday evening.
Gathered underneath the warm and inviting glow of twinkle lights in a rainbow of colors, thirty students sat intently listening to participants read original poems and song lyrics. Students from the English department and beyond stepped before the audience and shared works written about love, nature, and their “spirit animal”.
The soft glow of a lamp illuminated Abbie Lahmers, 20, a junior creative writing major, as she read an original poem about nature and wildlife. Her involvement in the show runs deeper than just being a performer, as this is the first time she has been in charge of a Bailey Vox reading series.
Lahmers, an assistant managing editor of SLAB, wrote a lot of poems during the summer about wildlife after receiving a suggestion from a friend, and carried that theme into her performance on Thursday evening. She has been coming to the event since her freshman year, and has continued to come because she enjoys hearing others read their work.
“I love hearing everyone read,” Lahmers said. “Creative writing students write poetry in class and share it here. It’s interesting to see how their writing develops.”
Attendees were given the opportunity to win prizes during breaks in between readers, including Japanese candy and a book by John Grisham. The friendly audience applauded winners after each prize was given out, and praised readers for their performance.
Readings ranged from lighthearted to dark, and each elicited reactions from those in attendance. One of the readers in attendance, Genna Walker, read an as yet to be titled piece about a woman named Matilda.
Walker, 21, a double creative writing and philosophy major and literature minor, has been a part of SLAB for three years, and is now one of the award-winning literary magazine’s co-managing editors. The Bailey Vox reading series is for students who are interested in reading and writing and listening to it.
“Anyone who is interested in writing or hearing people read is welcome,” Walker said. “It’s a really great experience to see someone read their own work because it’s more personal that way.”
Originally, the event was held in the library, and was moved to Spotts because the atmosphere is more accommodating to the readers. The larger reading space now allows for more people to come to the event.
The community feeling at the reading series gives people the opportunity to meet new people and make friends, because those who come to one event typically return to share their work, Walker said.
Other students read poems they wrote about loyalty, the relationship of a troubled couple, and song lyrics about the possibilities of beginning a relationship. Readers were anxious as they began sharing their work, and eased into their performance as they gained confidence in front of the audience.
Sarah Poeppel, 22, a senior double professional writing and literature major, started her tenure at SLAB her freshman year as a reader, became a poetry editor, and now works as a co-managing editor with Walker.
The twinkle lights provided a welcoming atmosphere for the readers so that they felt at ease sharing their original pieces. Positivity radiated throughout the room as the night wore on and laughter was shared.
“The Bailey Vox reading series lets people see the talent of the Slippery Rock community,” Poeppel said.
As the readings came to an end, the members of SLAB held a bake sale to raise money for their organization.
With the twinkle lights and warm glow of lamps turned off, the fluorescents were turned on to signal the end of an entertaining evening enjoyed by those in attendance. The Bailey Vox reading series drew a crowd that will likely return to share their talents in the future.