"Poetry Prose and Acoustical Jam 2005"
By Susanna Horn, Waynessence Adviser

(Click on the pictures to enlarge!)

Despite the threatening weather, February 24, 2005, marked the 13th performance of Wayne College’s Poetry, Prose, and Acoustical Jam, founded in 1993. With support from the Smucker Learning Center, the Filling Station was once again the site of a College-community evening of poetry and prose readings, interspersed with vocal and instrumental music.

Thomas Reynolds, president of Student Senate, served as master of ceremonies. Waynessence editor-in-chief Amanda Conley, Student Ambassadors Alex Aeschliman and Pamela Roeper, and helpful family members served as hosts for the evening. Former Waynessence adviser and Poetry, Prose, and Acoustical Jam founder, Marjorie Keil – who has never missed a performance – was in the audience.

Russ Pugh, one of the original PPAJ performers, opened the evening with energetic singing and guitar music. Next, Paula Miller, writing tutor on the Akron campus, honored us with her first public guitar performance – a song about the monster under little Adam’s bed.

To begin the poetry, Evelyn Steiner Mark, a first-time PPAJ performer and relative of well-known poet Helen Steiner Rice, read the poem “God Bless America.”

Next, returning PPAJ reader Dustin Gray shared poems about the frustrations of not being able to sleep, about the water cycle, and about the correlations between writing a poem and giving birth. He ended with an anniversary poem, read to his wife; it was the date of their 4th wedding anniversary.

Gretchen Pleuss, who recorded her first music CD in 2004, once again charmed the audience with her sweet voice as she sang and played “Innocence,” one of her recent compositions.

During intermission, guests enjoyed free coffee and tea and purchased snacks to benefit Waynessence’s annual cover contest, which awards cash prizes to the artwork or photography chosen to appear on the covers of the spring edition.

To start the second half, first time PPAJ poet Sharon Lou Swartzentruber read some nature poems, and then her daughter, Sally Swartzentruber included the first poem she wrote, “Rose,” in the collection of poems that she read for an appreciative audience.

Next, eleven-year-old Jacob Haag wowed the audience with his masterful rendition of “Bright Lights.” It was no wonder that he won first prize in the most recent Rittman “Sleepwalker Festival” talent contest!

Emily Curie, a long-time friend of Wayne College, writes a poem a day. This evening she read about a number of topics, from lightning bugs to the Route 30 construction!

John Lorson, former Wayne College student and local columnist, read a column he wrote in 1999 about a teacher who died recently, entitled “All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Chemistry Class” – a touching final reading.

Gary Bays, PPAJ regular and perennial favorite, brought the evening to a satisfying conclusion with “We Just Disagree” and “All These Years.”

Special thanks to the maintenance crew, Word Processing, and Media Support Services, who worked together to make the thirteenth annual Poetry, Prose, and Acoustical Jam a memorable, refreshing evening.