In what has now been established as a cherished tradition at the Sewanee Review, we hosted our Spring Open House on April 24th to the delight of approximately seventy-five guests in attendance—our largest crowd yet—who heard students and faculty members read selections from past and present issues of the magazine. Having begun in the fall of 2010, these biannual events highlight the unique role that the SR continues to play in the life of the university and the larger republic of letters.
In addition to our faculty and student readers, we were delighted to have Ross Howell visit all the way from Greensboro, North Carolina, to read from his short story “In the Traces,” which is one of the six pieces of fiction that appear in our current issue, “Village Life and the Natural World.” After Mr. Howell kicked off the evening, Jordan Overstreet gave a lively reading of Donald Hall’s “Mrs. Thing,” followed by Dr. Elizabeth Skomp’s selection from Allen Tate’s essay “Dostoevsky’s Hovering Fly: A Causerie on the Imagination and the Actual World.” Margaret Ruch then read from Wendell Berry’s story “A Homecoming”; Dr. David Haskell read Stephen Malin’s “Half-Morrocco,” from our winter issue; Matt Hagler chose a few of Fred Chappell’s poems from the summer issue of 1977; and Dr. Virginia Craighill honored her mentor, the late James Kilgo, with excerpts from a review of Kilgo’s poetry by Robert Benson and selections from Chistopher Camuto’s poem, “Colors of the Earth.” Dr. Nathan Stogdill provided the audience with a sampling of some the SR’s critical essays on the seventeenth-century poet Abraham Cowley, and Margaret Day and Chalker Kanstenier concluded the evening with excellent readings from Mark Walling’s “Bois d’Arc,” which appears in the current issue, and the late Harry Crews’s “The Unattached Smile,” published here in the spring of 1963.
But, of course, anyone who has attended an open house knows that the readings are just a part of the evening; and for the first time ever we hosted a book sale, with discounted prices on a number of fine works, old and new. As usual we also offered several enticing door prizes, including signed copies of Wendell Berry’s Traveling at Home, Jason Peters’s Wendell Berry: Life and Work, Fred Chappell’s Ancestors and Others, a gift certificate to Barnes & Noble, and a year-long subscription to the magazine. Thanks to all those who attended the event, and we hope to see you next fall!