On Feb. 28 from 7-9 p.m., the Quarry, St. Olaf’s literary and visual arts magazine, hosted a “Poet-Tea.”
Poets and poetry lovers alike sat in a circle in the Link, the space that connects the Center for Art and Dance (CAD) and the Hall of Music. They drank tea, ate donut holes and read poems allowed to each other. Alexandra Madsen ’18, the Quarry’s executive editor, directed attendees towards refreshments and answered questions, but otherwise took a laid back, informal approach. The relaxed atmosphere made the idea of reading poetry in front of a group a lot less intimidating.
“The inspiration for hosting the event was to continue to give a platform for writers to share their works (or really any works they like) with the community,” Madsen wrote via email.
These poems ranged from works by well-known writers such as Lord Byron and Mary Oliver to poems from past issues of the Quarry, some of which were stacked in the center of the circle of attendees to song lyrics. A few people shared original works as well.
Many students read poems that had a personal significance to them and would share their own thoughts about the poem before or after reading it. Poems that were favorites of the audience or particularly impactful were met with snaps.
The event was held in collaboration with the Ron Gallas Cup Library, so if someone did not have a mug on hand, they could check one out for the evening.
The Ron Gallas Cup Library is normally open Friday’s from 3-5 p.m. and faculty, staff and students are invited to check out cups for a week at a time. Flights of cups can also be reserved for meetings. Poet-Tea was an exception to these hours since the Ron Gallas Cup Library worked with the Quarry to put on the event, so attendees were allowed to check out mugs for the duration of the event.
“People would be able to choose a cup that suits them, and enjoy some tea while they listen to poetry,” Madsen wrote. “I think it added to the overall aesthetic of the event as well as gave a outlet for people to enjoy the cup library.”
The Ron Gallas Cup Library’s mission is to “make handmade ceramic cups more accessible to the St. Olaf community and, in doing so, build an appreciation for and awareness of the tradition of handmade functional pottery through tactile observation.”
Poet-Tea was held in the midst of the Quarry’s submission period, which ended on March 6. The editorial staff is currently in the process of reviewing the various writings, artworks and performances that have been submitted and will send out notices to submitters about publication decisions in early April.
While one of the campus’ oldest student-run publications, the Quarry expanded its horizons several years ago into the digital age by launching a website and allowing video art and other non-print media to be considered for submission for their online publication. Their past issues since 2015 are also available to view on their website.