APU Writers Read Event
APU students, faculty, staff, and alumni read original written pieces for APU Writers Read to a capacity audience in the Los Angeles Pacific College Board Room on Oct. 10. The writers each read one or two pieces and received feedback from audience members in an informal reception following the readings.
Dr. Diane Glancy, a visiting professor of English and winner of two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, was the featured reader for the event and shared excerpts from her current writing project. In between excerpts, students from her class read their own original poetry.
Junior applied health major Mario Berny was one of the readers who read a short story about a man who feels guilt for killing his attacker in self-defense. He says the story was inspired by his experience growing up in East Los Angeles, and credits his Intro to Literature professor with his selection. "I got the vibe from her that she would appreciate anything I did," Berny said, "She didn't put a filter on me…I didn't feel that I needed to hold back and I felt I could just tap into my imagination." Berny says the feedback he received after the event was affirming. "I guess the message I wanted to get across really went over well with people," Berny said.
Another writer, senior Analiese Camacho, read her poem about being a Latina in America. "Every opportunity I have to perform on and off campus is such a blessing with this poem, especially because I had the chance to give people an insight into my culture," Camcho says, "Performing is always great too because it opens up new doors for me to read at other places."
The Master of Ceremonies and English professor Dr. David Esselstrom says that it helps a writer to read their own words in front of an audience. "Suddenly the text looks completely different to you and it feels and sounds different to you. It's that distance that you need as a writer to develop that sense of audience and to whom you're giving this," Esselstrom said.
Glancy agrees and says that is why she had her students read. "I think it’s very important to read your work in front of people. It kind of gives you an authority. It just helps you know who you are," Glancy said.
APU Writers Read began in the fall of 1981 by Dr. Ralph Carlson as a once-a-year event before becoming a once-a-semester event. Esselstrom says he has been the M.C for over 30 years and that the event has grown from an audience of 5 to 6 people at the beginning to current audiences of 50 or more. "I think it’s just a great opportunity for people at APU who have a passion for writing to get together and share what we are doing," Esselstrom said.
For Manning, who calls herself the “new Ralph”, it was her first time organizing the event. She says it helps the writers by allowing them to receive feedback from other writers. "That kind of camaraderie and affirmation I think is really important. Writing is lonely, so when you actually get to share your writing with other people and connect with other people over the writing, that's really a great benefit," Manning said.