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Glossolalia: A Literary Celebration

I always have a fair amount of apprehension before going to any sort of English-y event. I touched on this in one of my last posts-- usually it’s because I’m too afraid to compare myself to fellow (uber-talented, I might add) writers. But I also sometimes just find them awkward, because I’m awkward. I never know who to sit with, how much food is too much to put on my plate, if I should say hi to that professor I had three semesters ago or not… you get the gist.

Well, I went to Glossolalia, a student-run literary festival held in Surge on Friday, and it exceeded all my expectations. The whole thing reminded me exactly why I love English so much.The best way I can describe it is a celebration: of students, of literature, of creativity. I didn’t stay for the entire event, but I heard six incredible student authors share their work. One was shaking so badly he could hardly hold his papers, but his voice came through steady and clear in the microphone as he recited his poems with passion. Another read an essay about the recent death of her mother, miraculously poised and confident the whole time. Every student brought something different to the mic, but they all clearly loved to write.

Then Chinaka Hodge, one of the visiting writers, took to the stage. This woman is a firecracker. An accomplished poet, educator, playwright, and screenwriter, her work has been published in such prestigious outlets as PBS and Newsweek. She read us some of her slam poems, including one called, “What will you tell your daughters about 2016?” which she performed at a TED conference. She even rapped, leaving everyone in awe. Her passion came through in every fiery word she spoke.

Attending Glossolalia reminded me just how powerful art can be. Yes, Virginia Tech is a STEM-focused school, which is amazing. But it’s so important that we make room for and celebrate creative thinkers, too. That’s exactly what Glossolalia did. Professors and students alike gathered to affirm the presence of creativity on our campus, and it was so refreshing. I was genuinely moved by the words of my fellow students, and Chinaka Hodge definitely gained a new fan in me. No matter your own field of study, it’s always worth it to take at least a few moments to experience student-based art.

And, if nothing else… they had free doughnuts!

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