» By TRENT SINGER – tsinger@my.apsu.edu

APSU has a tradition of consistently helping those in need through charity, fundraising and a general attitude of selfless behavior.

Several students, along with faculty members, hosted a benefit on Tuesday, Nov. 22, that helped this tradition remain steadfast. Held annually every Tuesday before Thanksgiving, students from the Languages and Literature Department have dubbed the annual event as “Bread and Words.”

“There’s a tradition among creative writing programs around the country to do some kind of a fundraiser to fight hunger,” said Barry Kitterman, professor of Languages and Literature and representative of the Center of Excellence in Creative Arts. Upon his arrival at APSU, Kitterman suggested such a fundraiser be established.

The event features students coming together to raise awareness for hunger in the local community and to celebrate creative writing.

This year marks the event’s 17th anniversary since it began almost two decades ago, and the spirit of the event continues to flourish.

Over the years, the fundraiser has seen a tremendous increase in the amount of money raised for charities. “The first couple of years we raised maybe $150. In the last few years we’ve been right at $1,000 each year,” Kitterman said.

Readers for this year’s event included Laura McClister, Charles Booth, Ryan Boyd, Chase Davenport and Raven Jackson.

Traditionally, the night begins with a bowl of soup and bread, accompanied by music from local talents Lloyd Nicely and Chuck Emery. The idea behind providing such basic foods is to stress the importance of simplicity and necessity. “The idea here is to keep it simple. Just soup,” Kitterman said.

Following the food, poetry and fiction readings are presented from some of Clarksville’s local writers. A $5 donation was requested upon entering the MUC ballroom, and all proceeds go to the Salvation Army.

As the ballroom grew more packed, and Junior Chase Davenport, President of the Creative Writing Club, admitted there was a sense of nervousness amongst all of the night’s readers. “I think we were all a little nervous. I was more along the lines of terrified. We all pulled through, though. Quite well, at that,” Davenport said.

The content of each person’s writings ranged from personal to general. “My writing is an extension of myself.

“A way to explore and allow specific facets to manifest themselves,” Davenport said.

APSU alumni and writer for Public Relations and Marketing Charles Booth graduated last December with a Masters degree in English, but was asked to read at this year’s event. Booth presented a short story titled “The Last Blood Maple” which deals with a schizophrenic girl who is starving and coincidentally relates with the theme of Bread and Words.

“My original intention wasn’t to have the story relate. My wife thought it was the piece I should read, so it worked out that way,” Booth said.

As the organizers of this event look ahead, Bread and Words looks to continue building on its success on raising awareness for local hunger and expanding its publicity throughout the APSU and Clarksville community. TAS