21st Annual Literary Festival
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Mace & Crown Volume 38 Issue 6 October 13, 1998

 

21st Annual Literary Festival a "Shocking" Success

NEIL DENNIS
Entertainment Editor

The 21st Annual Literary Festival, entitled "Electric Voices: Coming of age," proved to have better attendance then festivals of past.

The events, which featured such literary heavyweights U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, were often near or at maximum capacity. During the Pinsky reading on Tuesday, an overflow brought people to sit in the aisles and on the stage of the compact Chandler Recital Hall. Many couldn't help but be in awe of this year's festival.

"[The writer's passion] moved me," said ODU senior Eddie Dowe. "The way they was so soft, subtle. They really got my brain working into some deep contemplation."

"This is the best turnout I've seen in all the years I've been working at ODU," Literary Festival Director Tim Seibles said. "[Scenes like at the Pinsky reading] really made me feel as if all my efforts weren't in vain."

Those efforts were immense. With only one assistant to help him, Seibles booked the writers, arranged all of their accommodations, did all the promotion work (including designing the events brochure himself), and arranged for the appropriate venues for the events to take place.

"All I really had was my assistant Catherine [Jackson]," Seibles said. "She is videotaping the events and has taken careof many of the small


From left: Jack Myers, Jacqueline Woodson, and Tim Seibles answer questions at an open dicussion session held on Wednesday, October 7.
things that really count, like having water set up for the speakers before a said event. There were also some teachers who were kind enough to drive the writers from the airport and around town. But other than that, it was just me, and I tell you it has been such drain to the point where I've only been able to really focus on this and nothing else. My writing, my teaching, it all seemed to become secondary. That's why they only let somebody be director for two years. As much as I love doing it, this is my second and I'm more than happy to hand it over."

The only problem that has arisen with this year's Literary Festival has been one which has plagued it from the beginning: students walking out long before the lecture or reading is finished. It is a problem that Seibles has trouble grappling with.

"I really wish students understand that if you're going to come to a reading, you should stay until the end of it," Seibles said. "It hurts to see [students] walk out in the middle of a reading, or worse they come in during the reading for fifteen minutes
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Mace & Crown Volume 38 Issue 6 October 13, 1998 Page 4

Lit fest
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and then leave. I guess they think if they show up they can say they were there. Personally, I think that it would be better if they'd stay the hell home rather than do that. If you're not interested in being there, don't go because you won't get anything out of it if you do."

Still, Seibles felt that the message of this year's theme was reached for the students who stayed for the events from start to finish. "Writing has always been about trying to figure out what it means to be a person and their relation to 'reality,'" Seibles said. "Those who preserved and heard these authors might just come away feeling a bit changed in that respect. If people can be touched by the festival in any way, I hope it is in that respect."