By Billy Goulston
Four rows of chairs cramp the smoky cafe room in Duttonâs bookstore. A microphone and a stand for resting paper on are set a few feet in front of a retro-styled chandelier that hangs from a cracking mustard-colored ceiling.Madeleine Witenberg â08, co-editor of Stonecutters, the upper school literary magazine, with Charlie Green â08 and Kiran Arora â08, takes the stand.Though she is holding her poem âYou and Those Lightbulbs,â the copy is unnecesary because Witenberg has memorized the entire poem, which spans over two columns in the magazine. On Nov. 16, Stonecutters debuted its fall issue at a reading held at Duttonâs bookstore in Brentwood. The issue is titled âThe Futureâ and has a black and gray glossy cover. The reading was the first public performance of poetry in the magazineâs brief history and was well-received by the audience. The staff plans to do other readings at Duttonâs after future issues, Arora said. The evening included several student-written poems, Sebastian Spaderâs â08 western-style short-story called âA Gang of Fourâ and a surprise finale. Several selections were read by Arora and Green, both of whom announced that they had been accepted into Bard University that day. Green, clad in a maroon Bard shirt and an old golf cap, leaned into the microphone to better articulate and emphasize his works. He first read his poem âPast Thickets and Forests,â which was inspired by an artist in Omaha who taught him about himself, Green said. His second poem was âQuitting,â written about the habit of smoking cigarettes. Arora presented both a short story titled âHarbingerâ and Max Ritvoâs â09 âA Brief Introduction to the Theory of Plate Tectonics.â Ritvo is currently undergoing medical treatment in New York. Other selections include Eli Petzoldâs â10 âCrosswalk,â Siena Leslieâs â08 âSpiraledâ and Melissa Saphierâs â08 âObituary of a Suckling Pig.âThe reading was concluded with a surprise musical finale with magazine advisor Ryan Wilson playing his acoustic guitar and Wilson, Witenberg, Green and Arora reciting lyrics that had been written to the music.