Emporia State’s Special Collections and Archives hosted their first in-person event in the past two years. The event was a meeting of the Emporia Writers Group which took place March 30 in the ESU Archives Exhibit Hall.

This was the first event the Emporia Writers Group has participated in since the beginning of the pandemic. To complement this return to in-person events the theme for the night was ‘rebirth.’

“Spring is rebirth, but the symbolism can go even deeper,” said Curtis Becker, a local author and teacher. “This is our triumphant return to a live event after what seems like an eternal dark winter on Zoom. We are back and grateful.”

The Emporia Writers Group is an organization of local writers, both amateur and professional, that get together every Wednesday to share their new literary achievements. Lindsey Bartlett, lecturer at ESU and a member of the Emporia Writers Group, says that the group was formed in 2011 to provide a space where local writers could share their ideas and writing projects with each other.

“It’s a good group to be a part of, it's very supportive, very welcoming,” said Bartlett.

Four local authors and poets presented their work at the event in addition to Bartlett and Becker: Brenda White, Jerilynn Henrikson, Kerry Moyer and Kevin Rabas.

Bartlett read her creative non-fiction piece titled “Reframing My Rural Past” which she submitted to the Flint Hills Review, an annual publication that is one of the Department of English, modern language and journalism’s publications. This piece talks about her thoughts and feelings about leaving rural Kansas and moving to the ‘big city’ of Emporia.

According to Bartlett, her rebirth started when she came to college at ESU.

“My piece can tie into rebirth as my rethinking about where I came from and realizing that it formed so much of who I am, I should learn to embrace it rather than running away from it,” said Bartlett. “I think that it ties in that I’ve had this sort of rebirth, if you will, of my thoughts and feelings of where I’m from because they used to be rather negative.”

Jay Brown, a graduate student of English, enjoyed the variety of definitions of rebirth each author expressed during their presentation.

“I like how any time you go from one person to another, different people are expressing themselves in different ways,” Brown said. “Every time someone else reads their works they aren't the same, it's a variety of works.”

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