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Home Arts & Culture Sigma Tau Plays with Themes of Form and Reformation in Potpourri 2017

by Noah Rohlfing


For 52 years, the students and professors affiliated with Concordia’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta have gathered a creative writing journal of student-submitted poetry, prose, and art to share with campus, and more recently, the world.

This year, however, Potpourri is taking on a different form. Form and Reform is the theme for Potpourri 2017, and according to the English honor society’s adviser Assistant Professor of English Dr. Gabriel Haley, it takes on a special meaning.

“We’re doing a themed version this year because of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, but rather than only using poems about Luther (there will be one featured in this year’s edition), we focused on those two words: Form and Reform,” Haley said.

Poems from students will revolve around however students choose to incorporate those words into their art.

Haley was proud of the poetry that gets submitted each year by the students at Concordia, naming it his favorite part of the process.

“I’m always impressed by what we get,” Haley said. “You can tell that students are interested in poetry, and there’s a lot of care given to what is submitted.”

Submissions, which can be made anonymously, are gathered from February through mid-March. After the submissions come in, members of Sigma Tau choose, curate and edit the poems, prose and art that will become part of the final collection. This year, Sigma Tau President Carolina VonKampen and Sigma Tau Vice-President Benjamin Middendorf are co-editing the journal.

“It was neat to see how people played with ideas of form and the conceptual ideas of the Reformation and reforming in their writing,” VonKampen said. “The theme was a neat way to push Potpourri to be a bit different and to acknowledge a big year in the Lutheran church.”

For VonKampen, Potpourri is something to look forward to from an editing standpoint as well as a reading standpoint.

“It’s always enjoyable to read pieces by students I’ve never met and immediately connect to what they’re writing about or enjoy their use of language, and it’s satisfying to see a writer growing in their writing skills as they submit to Potpourri over a few years,” VonKampen said. “This is the third year I’ve worked on Potpourri, and it hasn’t gotten old. I really enjoy helping others develop the skills involved in editing and publishing Potpourri. I love handing out copies to those contributed writing and art to it and seeing how happy they are to see their name in print. ”

For the second year, Potpourri 2017 will be sold for $5 on Amazon as well as on campus. Last year was the first year that Potpourri was available off campus. Haley had the idea to print and sell Potpourri 2016 through CreateSpace on Amazon, and while Sigma Tau doesn’t make much profit off selling Potpourri online, the group sees it as a way to preserve students’ writing and make it available to a larger audience.

“It can serve to some as a reminder of their time here, almost like a yearbook,” Haley said.

This year’s collection will be about the same length as Potpourri 2016, coming in around 60 pages long. Potpourri 2017 will be available by graduation on May 6. Sigma Tau will announce the availability of Potpourri 2017 on its social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Potpourri 2016 can be purchased on Amazon here.

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