The work of a variety of artists filled Barefoots Joe Friday night during the release party for The Torch, a literary arts magazine featuring literature and art submitted by the student body.
The Torch, published yearly, features short stories, non-fiction pieces, poetry and visual art all created by Union students.
Friday night’s proceedings alternated between poetry and non-fiction readings and was punctuated with musical performances by Eureka, MO and Death Cab for Cover Band.
Zack Clemmons, a member of the editorial staff, introduced each individual presenter, reciting his own featured poem, “The Origin of Stained Glass” at one point, lines recalling the beauty of the light refracted by stained glass in a church.
Cole Langford read from his non-fiction piece “Finding Robert Johnson,” a smooth, lyrical, speaking style blending well with his recounting of a journey to Clarksdale, Mississippi, in search of knowledge regarding blues musician Robert Johnson. Langford’s piece concludes with the realization that “while it is unlikely that Johnson sold his soul to the devil, he certainly sold it to Mississippi.”
At several points Clemmons remarked on the emotive, yet mournful tone of the evening’s pieces. The Torch’s current issue seems particularly reflective, as Luke Brake’s elegy for a dead robin, “A Robin’s Egg,” attested to.
The highlighting of several visual arts and ceramics pieces featured within the publication helped to lighten the mood, as Karis Kontilis shared her love for concept art and developing “the story even before the pictures” in her project “Friendly Neighborhood Neighborhood.”
Sarah-Anne Winchester’s “The Family” featured her father’s side of the family imagined as foxes on ceramic plates, a quirky project that had its impetus in Winchester’s wondering on the idea of introducing friends and family as literal objects to others.
Taking the stage as solo representative of the band Eureka, MO, Beau Williams, whose poetry is also featured in The Torch, described his musical purpose as being “to bring family-friendly emo to the masses.” Williams performed two smooth rock numbers on his electric guitar, the second song, with a slower and grooving rhythm, making a particular impact.
Death Cab for Cover Band, featuring Williams and Clemmons along with Zach Lancaster and David Key, closed the evening out with lighthearted performances of several Death Cab for Cutie numbers.
Copies of The Torch will be available for free in the Barefoots Joe coffee shop in the Student Union Building.