11th Annual Literary Festival
Lit Fest Home

The Mace & Crown, Thursday, September 29, 1988, page 4
Literary festival benefit of ODU expansion
Each Fall and Spring for eleven years running, Old Dominion University has sponsored a Literary Festival. The Literary Festival consists of discussions, lectures, and fiction and poetry readings by some of the university's and the country's most heralded and influential professors, writers and poets. For ODU students, the Literary Festival is a valuable gift, being both an excellent intellectual enterprise and a safe economic venture (the Literary Festival is free of charge, except for the opening fund-raisers).

Commentary by

Tom Yuill

Typically, the evening editions of the Literary Festival were held in the auditorium of the MGB building. Happily, the new University Theatre has been completed in the Technology Building. Hencforth, evening readings may be attended within the tasteful comfort of this most recent addition to Old Dominion's Arts and Letters Department. Given the negative aspects of Old Dominion's Expansive Progression into a huge monstrosity of a school, things such as over-crowded classrooms, over-crowded parking lots, and insufficient housing, students should be anxious to enjoy the positive things that ODU's growth has bestowed upon them. The Literary Festival is an excellent opportunity for students to enrich themselves intellectually and take a look at where some of their money is going at the same time. On Thursday, Sept. 22, W.D. Snodgrass and Donald Hall kicked off ODU's eleventh Literary Festival. Snodgrass read his selections first, followed by Hall, each in a state
of comfortable familiarity typical of old friends, which suggested that the order of appearance was probably designated by the nonchalant toss of a coin. This sphere of nonchalance and ease in no way betrayed, however, the undeniable quality of both poets. Snodgrass read from his selections which remark so poignantly on the human condition. His humility masked his depth of perception, hiding pleas for humanity in seemingly simple, calm often humorous remarks such as, "Come to my orchard, no two trees look alike." The humility of Snodgrass came across in less subtle ways, as when remarking of his colleague's long since shaved beard and regarding his own very full he intoned, "I believe that as the walls begin to fall down, you put up higher bushes." Hall's selections more openly attacked civilization's recent developments than did those of Snodgrass. In counter balance to Snodgrass, Hall engaged in a full frontal arbalest against the materialism, self-indulgence and lack of humanity which has characterized the last decade. Using a repetitive opening of "I reject," Hall listed material objects and the warped ideas which exalt them, expressing angrily his reaction to the evolution of the yuppie. The ideas of both Snodgrass and Hall were extremely well expressed. Each poet gave his student listeners an invaluable gift: the opportunity to think. Regardless of whether or not one agrees with the poet or the reader, one cannot help but benefit from one who provokes thought. This is the single most significant thing a college student can do. In conclusion, the Literary Festival is an excellent gift, one which ODU students can profit greatly from. Hopefully, students will be perceptive enough to do so.