Stylus, the literary magazine of Boston College, used this year’s Arts Fest to celebrate the launch of its spring 2018 issue. In a large room in Stokes Hall, the editorial board of Stylus provided all comers with pizza, a copy of the new issue, and the chance to listen to some very impressive poetry being read in front of a large slideshow of various pieces of art featured in the magazine.
Garbed in a mottled black-and-white canvas-like paper, this issue of Stylus has linked the material it uses to cover the front and back of the booklet to the nature of the art that is hidden within. Most of the launch event was composed of the various student poets featured in Stylus reading their poems aloud.
The first poem was “Relics,” by Kelsey Connors, MCAS ’18. This poem is divided into four parts, in which Connors focuses on different types of “relics” as she classifies them. This was quickly followed by another of Connors’s poems, “Far More than Rubies.” In this poem, Connors alternates between the primary voice of the narrator and the italicized asides that interrupt the poem at various points.
Many people forget that poetry was originally an oral medium. Ancient bards told history in lyric and verse with their voices alone. Poetry is now regarded as primarily a written art form, but there is something incredibly moving about listening to poetry aloud. Long gone are the days in which Seamus Connolly, Robert Frost, or Robert Lowell would go on speaking tours to read their poetry to packed lecture halls—some even at BC. Now, when people experience poetry, if at all, it is in a book. To hear poems read aloud, and especially to hear them read aloud by the people who actually wrote them, is a lost art resurrected by the members of Stylus at their spring launch.
The evening continued with Kim Chook’s, MCAS ’18, reading of her poem, “4/7/17 Berlin.” In this poem, Chook pens a love letter to the raw and natural nature of the city of Berlin.
Halfway through the launch, Stylus featured an a cappella song by The Common Tones of BC. Seven members of the group gathered in a half circle at the front of the room for two quick songs in between sets of poems.
The group began with a soulful version of “Forget You” by Cee Lo Green. This song truly shines, more so than the original version by Green, through a cappella. It feels much more genuine—the original only feels real when Green swears, instead of censoring himself for a clean version—as if the song was written this way. The Common Tones finished the brief performance with “Chandelier” by Miley Cyrus. Again, this song felt much more real and more genuine when sung by The Common Tones and not by the original artist.
After this brief but sonorous interlude, Stylus returned for more poetry readings. Sarah Santoro, CSOM ’20, introduced her poem, “Daughters of the South,” saying that she herself was from the southern United States and that this poem was about things that people from Connecticut or New Jersey might not understand or realize. The first verse of this poem does a very good job at explaining the general theme: “Born with apologies on your tongue / That fill your mouth like mounds of gauze / Blocking your song before it begins.”
Other highlights of the launch included readings from Harry Hoy, MCAS ’19. The first was “Dear Dad,” in which Hoy speaks to his father about the little and yet important mundanities of life. He then read a haiku that wasn’t featured in Stylus, and he finished off the evening with a poem called “Dendrochronology,” which was also not featured in the literary magazine. He encouraged everyone at the event to look up the title of the poem to understand what it meant—the process of dating events using the rings on trees.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Senior Staff