On Tuesday April 4, 2017, the Hortense Parrish Writing Center hosted a roundtable discussion titled “Literature from around the World: A Roundtable and Reading.”
From 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., students gathered in the writing center to listen to different passages, poems and backgrounds from eight different countries and cultures.
The reading started off with the German poem “Die Stadt,” written by Theodor Storm. The piece was read by Mia Rajic. As she translated the poem into English, she explained that the poem is about how the author loves his city even though it is cold and quiet.
Next, Heloise Vaucort read a poem in French. The poem of her choosing was “The Seine meets Paris,” a poem told from the perspective of a boat ride through the city.
After Vaucort, Djhson Elma gave a small presentation on his heritage and the country of Haiti, in the language of Creole. What he said translated into how Haiti was colonized by France, but Haiti organized a battle with France in 1803 and became the first black nation in 1804.
Haruka Naito, a senior English major, read the Japanese poem “A Bell, A Bird, and Me,” by Kaneko Misuzu. This poem is a child’s poem about accepting the differences in others.
Joowon Choi then read a short Korean poem titled “Prologue,” by Yun Dong-ju. This poem is about an earnest desire for a life without shame.
Following Joowon was Ufoma Otebele from Nigeria. Her country’s native language is English; however, there are more than 200 different tribal languages within her country of Africa. Otebele decided to read a short passage from a book written by a famous Nigerian author, Chinua Achebe. The book’s main focus was the pre- and post-colonial life in late 19th century Nigeria.
Sara Ketis then read a poem from Slovenia, written by Tony Palcheck. This poem’s name translated to an idiom saying that when one is going toward something, they should always go to the end.
The final reader, Ryan Diffee, read two poems. One poem originated in Spain and the other from Nigeria. The Spanish poem was a love note, whereas the one from Nigeria was a dark poem that questioned the meaning of life.
In her concluding remarks, English and Modern Foreign Language instructor Anna Clark thanked the entire writing center staff, the student assistants, the Dean of Humanities, the readers and everyone who helped put the program together.