Texts and video from our Spring community reading

On the evening of April 14, 2021, an audience of classmates, alumni, lecturers, and friends of the Arts & Sciences Core Curriculum came together to hear faculty and staff share favorite texts which speak somehow to our present moment of isolation, separation and anxiety, as Auden did in his poem “Age of Anxiety.”

Here is a list of the poems which were read, with at least a snippet from each:

  1. Home Is So Sad” by Philip Larkin, read by Zachary Bos: “bereft of anyone to please, it withers so.”
  2. Good Bones” by Maggie Smith, read by Zachary Bos: “For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.”
  3. A coupletby Emily Dickinson, read by Zachary Bos, and which is in its entirety: “In this short Life that only lasts an hour / How much — how little — is within our power.”
  4. Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein, read by Sophie Klein and daughter: “We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow, and watch where the chalk-white arrows go to the place where the sidewalk ends.”
  5. I Won’t Hatch” by Shel Silverstein, read by Sophie Klein and daughter: “For I hear all the talk of pollution and war as the people shout and airplanes roar, so I’m staying in here where it’s safe and it’s warm, and I WILL NOT HATCH!”
  6. The Worst” by Shel Silverstein, read by Sophie Klein and daughter: “I feel obligated at this moment to remind you of the most ferocious beast of all.”
  7. The Voice” by Shel Silverstein, read by Sophie Klein and daughter: “I feel that this is right for me, I know that this is wrong.”
  8. Put Something In” by Shel Silverstein, read by Sophie Klein and daughter: “Put something silly in the world that ain’t been there before.”
  9. Sky Seasoning” by Shel Silverstein, read by Sophie Klein and daughter: “It’s amazing the difference a bit of sky can make.”
  10. OOPS!” by Shel Silverstein, read by Sophie Klein:” I do try but can’t I found.”
  11. The Division of the Earth”” by Friedrich Schiller, read by Kyna Hamill: “Mine eye was then fixed on thy features so bright, Mine ear was entranced by thy harmony’s power; Oh, pardon the spirit that, awed by thy light, All things of the earth could forget in that hour!”
  12. Fern Hill” by Dylan Thomas, read by Stephanie Nelson: “Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means, time held me green and dying though I sang in my chains like the sea.”
  13. Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden, read by Anita Patterson: “What did I know, what did I know of loves austere and lonely offices?”
  14. Just a Smack at Auden” by William Empson, read by Christopher Ricks: “It has all been filed, boys, history has a trend, each of us enisled, boys, waiting for the end.”
  15. A Second Chance” by Lydia Davis, read by Christopher Ricks: “If only I had a chance to learn from my mistakes, I would, but there are too many things you dont do twice; in fact, the most important things are things you dont do twice, so you cant do them better the second time.”
  16. Waiting for the Barbarians” by Constantine P. Cavafy, read by Sassan Tabatabai: “Some people arrive from the frontiers and they said that there are no longer any barbarians. And now what shall become of us without any barbarians? Those people were a kind of solution.”
  17. I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth, read by Sassan Tabatabai: “I gazedand gazedbut little thought what wealth the show to me had brought.”
  18. The Hourglass” by Francisco de Quevedo, read by George Vahamikos: “I know well I am fugitive breath; already I know, already I fear, already too I hope that if I die, I must be dust like you, that I am glass, if I live, like you.”
  19. Hombre” by Blas de Otero, read by George Vahamikos: “Is this what it means to be human: hands full of horror.”
  20. From The Tower” by Francisco de Quevedo, read by George Vahamikos: “Withdrawn to this solitary place, with a few but learned books, I live conversing with the dead, listening to them with my eyes.”
  21. Four in the Morning” by Wislawa Szymborska, read by Brian Walsh: “The hollow hour. Blank, empty. The very pit of all other hours.”
  22. An excerpt from Act 5, Scene 5 (Lines 42-66)” of Richard II by William Shakespeare, read by Brian Walsh: “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me; For now hath time made me his numbering clock.”

Organized by Sassan Tabatabai and Zachary Bos, the Zoom event was also recorded for YouTube, for the benefit of those who were not able to join in synchronously:

Core alumni and friends, please watch your email for invitations to future community-wide literary events.

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