From Homer to audiobooks, storytelling has deep ties to oral tradition.
At Monday night's Phoenix Showcase, writers had the chance to take part in this tradition and give their work a life apart from the pages of the Phoenix Literary Arts Magazine.
The reading featured three writers published in the latest edition of the Phoenix – Erik Schiller, May 2015 graduate in anthropology and English, Alicia Wetherington, May 2015 graduate in interior design, and Melodi Erdogan, sophomore in journalism and electronic media.
Held in the Mary Greer Room in Hodges Library, the cozy setting and windowed walls created an atmosphere that was ripe for the bringing together of an artistic community.
"Last year, we were in a big room and there were less people," Shelby Stringfield, editor-in-chief of the Phoenix and junior in English, said. "This year it was much more intimate."
Wetherington, who read from her short story "Hackers Anonymous," had never read her work to an audience apart from family and friends. However, this didn't stop her from reading with confidence gained from years of reading and being read aloud to by her family.
"As long as I pictured my sisters in the audience listening to me, I was fine," Wetherington said. "We read aloud at home all the time, and I listen to a lot of audiobooks, so I just imitate what I hear."
For Schiller, who read a poem entitled "To the Spirit of a Story That Was Never Told," the guidance of his poetry teacher pushed him to get into poetry writing.
"I hadn't really taken a stab at poetry before," Schiller said. "It's been interesting and fun and definitely very gratifying to see my work in print."
The event also gave the writers the chance to talk about their editing and writing processes.
"I'll sit and rework sentence structure for hours," Wetherington said. "It's ridiculous and I need to get a life."
Schiller's process was the polar opposite of Wetherington's.
"I think the biggest thing I've learned is just to sit down and write it, whether it's crap or not," Schiller said. "My poem is about how you deal with ennui and how poetry channels those thoughts and makes it productive."
Erdogan, managing editor of The Daily Beacon, was inspired by a different source than a writing class at UT – a picture of a girl with her arms spread wide and her head thrown back that she was given as part of a writing prompt in high school.
"This picture really inspired me to write 'Love Dove' and it just kind of came to me," Erdogan said. "I didn't really plan it. It's a children's story, and I use that kind of language."
One of the characters in her poem is based off a boy she had a crush on in high school.
"I actually gave him a copy of the poem anonymously on Valentine's day," Erdogan said.
Although all three writers were new to reading their work, each brought their experience into how they presented their writing at the metaphorical literary table.
Schiller said the event offered a chance to see the versatility of creative work.
"You can let (poetry) speak for itself on the page, but it originated in an oral form," Schiller said. "The need is still there for work to be spoken out loud."