By Heather Fabritze
Elm Staff Writer
On Monday, Nov. 29, the Rose O’Neill Literary House, alongside the Writers’ Union, hosted their annual First-Year Reading.
The event features readings of original works from members of the Class of 2025. Participating students select pieces they believe best reflect their writing.
The reading is open to any first-year student regardless of intended major or club participation.
Associate Professor of English and Director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House Dr. James Hall hosted the event.
For many of the freshmen who shared their pieces, the Reading represented an opportunity to step outside their comfort zones.
Freshman Iris Scherr, who read a poem titled “Father” about their relationship with “sexuality, gender, and religion” as a lesbian who was raised Catholic, did not initially want to do the First-Year Reading.
“Me doing the First-Year Reading was actually very last minute because my friend encouraged me,” Scherr said. “I actually didn’t plan to do it but decided to step outside of my comfort zone, but I definitely wouldn’t have done it without them.”
Other freshmen also had similar concerns about reading their personal works as part of a webinar event.
Freshman Ryan Morrow read a poem that she wrote for her best friend titled “Love Language.” The poem focused on her best friend’s struggles with self doubt and how much they mean to Morrow.
Morrow felt that it was particularly difficult to share such an emotional piece, but appreciated the group that she was able to share it with.
“It’s always a little scary to get up and read your work in front of people, and with poetry, especially, you are letting yourself be vulnerable in a pretty personal way,” Morrow said. “But overall it is a great feeling to be accepted and encouraged by a group of peers who share the same passion as you.”
Freshman Jordan Hyde agreed that the group she presented alongside improved the experience for her, and she hopes to work with them in the future.
“Reading my own work, in a setting that pulses with inclusivity, was awesome,” Hyde said. “The other first-year readers are incredibly talented, and I feel like the next four years we will constantly be learning from and supporting each other.”
Hyde read three of her original works: a poem titled “Temporary Interlude” and two short fiction works titled “Approaching” and “Your Congratulations Feels Empty.”
Freshman Maeve Diemer, whose poem “New Normal” discussed why humans should celebrate their differences rather than change for society’s expectations, signed up for the event as practice for her future goals.
“I want to do something with writing in the future and I need to be more comfortable with sharing more of my work with the world,” Diemer said.
Diemer, as well as the others, felt that the Reading motivated them to share their work more in the future. Diemer also encourages all students to get involved with the Lit House’s events next semester.