Hobart Park 1990

Advisory Statement

"This site contains materials originally published in yearbooks, newspapers, and other Davidson College publications. You may encounter upsetting racist, oppressive, and outdated representations in these documents. They are included for historical accuracy and do not represent the views of the current Davidson College community, which honors the dignity of all persons and commits itself to a quest for truth and the building of a more just and humane future. The Archives, Special Collections, & Community staff acknowledges the need to provide additional context and continually strives in its work to use terms and representations that reflect the ways communities describe themselves today. " [1]

The Spring 1990 issue of Hobart Park consisted of twenty-five poems, with three short stories and eight photographs and drawings. The issue had an abstract feel throughout— from the cover, which features an abstract drawing of a medieval man to the poems, which were written entirely in free verse, creating an unstructured and exploratory effect. Fourteen of the twenty-eight contributors were English majors (two did not have a major or graduation year publicly available, and one used only initials). The other half came from a wide variety of disciplines, including Biology, Political Science, and Anthropology. The majority of contributors were seniors, but there were contributors from every year.

The issue mixes the short stories, poems, photographs, and paintings so the reader continues to switch between different mediums of expression. Most of the artwork and pictures are untitled, leaving them up to interpretation, adding to the abstract and introspective feel of the work overall. Most of the poems leave lots of white space on the page, while the short stories are formatted to fill the entire page, so they read like a book. 

The yearbook from 1990—Quips and Cranks—provides a valuable insight into the background for this publication, including photographs and background on the authors displayed. The yearbook page for Hobart Park contains an interesting quotation that provides some insight into the process of creating it and the feeling around campus generally: “The staff of Hobart Park struggled to create an identity of its own. Late nights and long hours produced one well-received issue. Staff member Clay Adams said, ‘With a student body of ambitious, insightful, and mettlesome people to contribute to it, Hobart Park reflected the quality of the students.’”  [2]

Most of the works are serious and introspective. Several poems have religious themes, which shows student reflections on their faith. Some poems, such as “Lent,” “To Change a Name,” and “Real Estate” were clearly in the Christian tradition, while others such as “The things that we can safely hold as sacred” and “Lesson Number One” were spiritual without a clear religious affiliation. Other recurrent topics were generational divides and family ties. Two of the photographs captured family interactions (“Sisters” and “Kin”). The writing about family reflected the larger theme of yearning for connection. Most of the writing concerned, at least partially, longing for or finding something bigger than one’s self, whether through religion, romantic and family connections, or a life purpose.


“Impressed” is a free verse poem written by english major Robbie Mckay ‘90. The poem follows a narrative of a child who crashed his skateboard in an attempt to impress a girl. The poem ends with the mother of the child treating his wounds and giving him love. Similar to other works in this Issue of Hobart Park, this piece deals with themes of childhood and the relationship between parent and child. References to The Silver Surfer and Speed Racer give context to the age and culture of the narrator. 

While the poem does not follow a traditional form or verse, the construction of the poem enhances the story. For example, in the first few stanzas, the number of lines contained within them changes each time. After the 4th stanza, however, the number of lines in each stanza is consistently four. This symbolizes the transition from the chaos of childhood to the order of adult life. [3]


“Possessions” by Suzanne Craymer ‘90 (English major) is a short story written in the first person in which a young girl, Tracey, mourns the death of her father and feels a part of him in his old armchair in their living room. This armchair is then claimed by her grandfather, with little consideration for her feelings. Her grandfather ultimately replaces it with a new, comfier chair which breaks Tracey further.  Pain, grief, and anger are major themes in this story, as well as a clear generational divide. 

The two characters should be mourning together; there should be sympathy and kindness. Despite the fact that one lost a son and one lost a father, there is no connection between the young girl and her grandfather. It also becomes clear that Tracey's father and grandfather had a strained relationship themself, thus beginning the patterns of generational conflict.  Tracey’s mother attempts to act as a mediator between the generational divide, highlighting the reasons that the grandfather is the way he is, however, this falls on deaf ears.

 What stands out the most is the use of possessive pronouns. The girl refers to her father as ‘my daddy’, however, refers to her grandfather as ‘the grandfather’, showing a detachment and separation here. She is entirely dissociating herself from him. Only at the very end does she refer to him as ‘my grandfather’.

When looking at the ending line “You have his eyes”, it is poignantly ambiguous. We can conclude that space is being left for an opportunity and it is hinting at an element of mutual recognition. [4]


1. "Advisory Statement," Davidson College Archives, https://davidsonarchivesandspecialcollections.org/archives/college.

2.  Davidson College.  "Publications: Lots of Hard Work Characterized Campus Publications." Quips and Cranks Davidson: Davidson College, 1990: 166.

3.  McKay, Robbie. "Impressed." Hobart Park, edited by Robbie McKay and Margaret Ward, Davidson College, 1990: 6.

4. Craymer, Suzanne. "Possessions." Hobart Park, edited by Robbie McKay and Margaret Ward, Davidson College, 1990: 6.



Arella S., Claire H., Collin J., Will K.

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