Erato pursues other venues for spreading arts

Though Tech students typically have labored under the stereotype of the totally logical, uncreative and unartistic nerd, some students have fought to keep the arts alive on campus.

At the front of this group is Erato, Tech’s arts and literature journal. As a yearly publication, it provides students with an artistic bent the chance to see their work published.

In addition to the publication, the Erato staff also holds events dedicated to the arts year round, among them being the Erato Reading Series and Erato Coffeehouses.

According to Erato’s co-editors Julia Turner and Sarah McMahon, both third-year STAC majors, the Reading Series was started by last year’s editor, Amaris Gutierrez-Ray, STAC ‘10.

“The first time we met over the summer, we agreed that we really liked it, and that we had to keep it going,” Turner said of the Reading Series’ continuation.

According to Turner, after they decided to continue the series, the first concern was how to find writers to speak.

“At the start, we were [worried], since we didn’t know any writers or poets in Atlanta, except for a few Tech professors,” Turner said.

The editors reached out to some of the speakers from last year, and also got a list of potential names from their faculty advisor, Karen Head. The editors then started contacting writers on the lists, and tried to get together a pool of writers that were interested in speaking.

“Most of the speakers have been poets, but we’ve had a non-fiction writer, too, and Kodac Harrison [one of the readers from the Feb. 15th reading] also does song-writing, so his was more of a spoken-word lyrical piece,” McMahon said.

The editors said that it took a while to get both advertising for the events and the events themselves up and running.

According to McMahon, only two events were held last semester, and only the first had a good turnout.

A combination of “not knowing how to get the word out,” bad weather and bad luck resulted in disappointing attendance for the second event, according to Turner.

McMahon said that things have improved dramatically this semester.

“We came back this semester with the goal of having a reading every month of the semester. So far, [we have], and the attendance has been great,” McMahon said.

According to Turner, the people attending the events make up a diverse group. Faculty, staff and students from around the Institute attend the readings, not just members of the School of LCC.

“In general, the people that come to Erato functions—and even the Erato staff—aren’t really LCC people. I think [McMahon] and I are the only STAC majors. There a few other Ivan Allen students, but there are a lot of engineers, too,” Turner said.

While several speakers have been people unaffiliated with Tech, many of the writers who do readings for the series are Tech professors, and the editors say that this has provided them a chance to see another side of their professors.

They say that whereas one of the previous speakers was very serious in the classroom, his poetry had a quirky, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.

The format of the series has changed a bit since the original format was conceived.

“The original plan was to have three speakers per series, but that hasn’t really worked out,” Turner said.

“I think it’s actually nice with just two speakers. That way, it’s just 30 to 45 minutes of an afternoon, so it’s easy for authors to fit it into their schedule, and also easier for anyone else who wants to attend,” McMahon said of the logistics of the new plan.

While the speaker series focuses solely on spoken-word arts, Erato also provides an outlet for other forms of art at its coffeehouses.

In addition to authors, poets and song-writers, the Erato coffeehouses encourage photographers, painters, and other artists to come and display their craft.

The next coffeehouse will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 22 at the H20 Café in the CRC, and will be co-sponsored by Tech’s Body Image Committee.

The next installment of the speaker series is likely to be in mid-to-late March.

The next issue’s publication date is scheduled for the week of April 18.

According to McMahon, the plan is to have the same procedure as last year’s publication, where the release of the print edition is preceded by a radio special on WREK radio the Sunday before publication.


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