Matt Allegretti, “Some Girls and Other Stories”
Lauren Davis, “’We Lift the Veil’: New Narrative Structure and Netflix’s Domination of the Television Industry”
Adrianna Gaeta,“Phasing Out the Linear Binary: Media Constellations of Gender Expression”
Sadie Hickman, “That Which Should Not be Known: Three Stories of the Senseless”
Monica Mitsakas, “A Case of Confession: Poems From a Blue Crayon”
Kelly Weiss, “It’s All About the Benjamins: Disability, Displacement, and Biopolitical Regulations in William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury”
The first to speak was Matt Allegretti reading “Oikos” from his collection “Some Girls and Other Stories”. Matt described his writing as being structured by the ideas of minimalism and absurdism. Using his grandfather as inspiration, Matt created the character Charles Dell, an elderly man suffering from dementia at the Eden Living Complex where he begins to confuse his own life with that of Odysseus after reading The Odyssey.
The next reader was Lauren Davis who read from her Advanced Project titled: “’We Lift the Veil’: New Narrative Structure and Netflix’s Domination of the Television Industry”. Lauren began by mentioning the origin of her idea for the project: In Drs. Middleton and Fulwiler’s class, she was required to subscribe to Netflix to which she “subsequently became addicted”. Lauren’s project focused on Netflix’s original programming, specifically House of Cards. Netflix is changing the traditional narrative techniques of television by, for example, dispensing with typical episodic clues. Lauren’s reading pointed to critical questions of a relatively new technology and its effects on both cultural and economic modes.
Following Lauren, Adrianna Gaeta discussed her project titled: “Phasing Out the Linear Binary: Media Constellations of Gender Expression”. Adrianna’s project stems from personal experiences facing linear and binary gender roles. Adrianna argued that, rather than simply redefining the linear and binary roles, the entire structure of gender expression must be overhauled. Rather than linear definitions for terms like gender, sex, and sexuality, Adrianna called for a constellation of gender expression. By phasing out the old binaries, a constellation of gender expression will create a culture with no need for the “gender panic” that arises from encountering an individual who does not fit into the old binaries.
Next to speak was Sadie Hickman reading from her collection of fiction titled, “That Which Should Not Be Known: Three Stories of the Senseless”. The stories included within the collection are “Red Queen Road”, “Majestic Cinema 16”, and “Digging for Sandman”. Sadie’s writing reflects her interest in H. P. Lovecraft’s work and the idea of “cosmic horror”. Sadie read an excerpt from “Digging for Sandman” in which a soldier named Sullivan is “encountering something not of this world – or maybe more of this world than she is”.
Monica Mitsakas read next from her work “A Case of Confession: Poems From a Blue Crayon”. The title of her collection stems from a photograph of herself dressed as a blue crayon for Halloween when she was young. She read five poems, “Halloween 1991”, “First of the Month”, “Backyard Business”, “Eraser Marks”, and “Yeah, We Were So Punk Rock”. Monica’s collection, including the poems that she read, creates a memoir through poems related to specific moments or memories in her life.
Last to speak was Kelly Weiss reading from her project “It’s All About the Benjamins: Disability, Displacement, and Biopolitical Regulations in William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury”. Kelly’s work studied the character of Benjy Compson and the depiction of his disability. In her reading, she presented a short video clip of the conditions of the Willowbrook State School in Staten Island, New York (1947-1987), which is representative of the psychiatric institution that Benjy is eventually sent to. Kelly’s historicization of disabilities at the beginning of the 20th century leads to a better understanding of the role Benjy has in the novel.
Photo credit to Jacky Kirkpatrick.