Professors, students voice creative works
Posted Sept. 29, 2006

The Cabaret Theatre came alive with professors and students who shared their creativity through poems, short stories and prose, at the first of the fall’s Voice in Action readings and open mic Monday night.

Kirsten Ogden, associate professor of English, hosted the event.

She greeted the audience, informing them about the program series and what it does for the local writing community through chapbooks and various events.

Ogden invited four accomplished poets and writers affiliated with the University of La Verne to share their works and read the work of other authors.

Poet Bill Cook’s powerful voice was the first to greet the audience.

Cook’s readings were dark and evoked sadness.

He warned the audience before hand that he was addicted to tragedy rather than comedy.

His readings were full of ideas about God, death, remorse and politics.

Cook said he enjoyed readings that were politically pertinent to society.

"These readings are rare opportunities for professors to show their creativity to students because most of the time they [the students] only get the teaching interaction," Cook said.

The night was filled with variety as Sean Bernard, assistant professor of English, read a short story called "Tornados" to the audience.

The short story was captivating, as it portrayed the life of a young married couple living in a place called Tornado Alley.

The husband had taken an important government job in the area that was dangerous because it involved attempting to detect and stop tornados from occurring.

In the story, the man’s wife was an artist who became obsessed with tornados, painting them every chance she got.

But one night, when he could no longer take her obsession with the storms, he went out and defeated a tornado.

He became a hero in everyone’s eyes but her’s.

The short story embodied humor, obsession and love.

Elizabeth Pietrzak, a poet and manager of the theater department, also read a variety of short poems.

Her readings were humorous, provoking laughter amid the crowd of about 30.

“Beth was my favorite tonight, you could really visualize what she was saying and I loved how she drew on experiences from her childhood," said Michelle Hu, a senior speech communication major.

One of the most captivating poems she read was one in which she took different titles from magazines, poking fun at "the best advice articles" and how magazines play on the insecurities of women.

The last to read was Ken Scambray, professor of English.

Scambray dove into his roots, reading fictional stories that were inspired by family memorabilia.

"I choose to read what I am intense about and find interesting, but I also considered my audience and what they might be interested in," Scambray said.

He read a story about immigration that he fictionalized after receiving an old booklet of registration, which a member of his family had received during a war to prove his citizenship.

Scambray also shared another piece, in which he used his great grandfather’s death certificate as inspiration to fictionalize a story about his death.

"While he was reading, you could understand what this death meant and the story was filled with emotion behind it," Hu said.

Scambray also displayed his first collection of short stories titled "Surface Roots,” selling them to students for $5 and to faculty members for $10.

Scambray said he thought readings and open mic nights put on by Voice in Action were important for students.

"I think the readings are good; they bring the students and faculty together and create a great community," Scambray said.

The audience almost thought the night was over, as only one person signed up for the open mic, but Ogden was able to find six creative students to share poems they had been working on.

Overall, the night was not long, but it was inspiring and incredibly creative.

Morgan Dobis can be reached at

The Hereafter creates good vibrations

Found objects evoke memories

Professors, students voice creative works


Web Exclusives
LV Life
Arts, etc.
Search Archives
Best of CT
ULV Comm Dept.
ULV Home
ULV Home