Walking into Indaba, I was overwhelmed with the sheer number of Writing Track English Majors. Yes, I had come to the event with some Writing-Trackers and I have taken Writing-Track classes— but this was different. I felt like the awkward kid at a soccer-themed birthday party who had never touched a ball and is expected to play nice and play well with the other kids. I mean, I wrote my first poem ever two days prior to attending this event. Who am I becoming?
All things aside, this event was extremely beneficial for both my understanding of creative writing and my confidence as a writer. The poems Dave Harrity read aloud were unlike anything I have really heard before, and even he— this poet who has been published, this poet whose reading made a few listeners cry— expressed a sort of ambivalence or even apprehension before diving into his work. This isn’t to say that I belong to the Dave Harrity class of poets, but I now know that it is okay to feel uneasy about what you’ve written, even if you really like what you’ve produced. Hopefully I can mount this newly found creative courage when I share my poem in class on Monday (if we are going to end up sharing them).
For the sake of this reflection, I have to pare down my commentary of Dave Harrity’s work. So, the main thing I want to share is the inclusion of the Christian perspective of his work. I was caught by surprise when he began to share the context of his first series of poems. The major theme to note was lycanthropy. Yes, that’s right. Werewolves. And Christianity. I grew up around Stephen Curtis Chapman and Reliant K, and as a result have come to intensely dread any sort of Christian-inspired art. I have begun to trust in the Christian perspective again through Rock and Sling and other artists sponsored by Whitworth. And although Dave Harrity did not explicitly discuss his religion during his comments or works, I could see how his faith underlies his poetry. If I ever am inspired to write about my faith, I will use him and others as inspiration; faith based writing doesn’t need to be a kumbaya circle praising Jesus. It is an opportunity to express how faith has touched and influenced the human experience, however good or bad, explicit or innocent, taboo or accepted.
Audrey Strohm (’16) is an English Literature and Philosophy student at Whitworth University and a Contemporary Rhetoric and Composition theory enthusiast.