The 33 Reading Series

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One of my favorite things about being a writer and being in a writing community is going to readings (see previous post about The Dollhouse Reading Series and Creative Nonfiction Week). I also enjoy curating readings, being the person behind the scenes, planning events. As an Undergraduate I ran a reading series and really enjoyed creating a space for my peers to read their creative work in. I was approached last fall and asked to be a part of the groundwork for creating a reading series that would allow MFA candidates to read from their creative work and to also create interaction between the Nonfiction and Poetry programs, since last year was the first year of the Nonfiction program.  The series was originally created by Poetry alums Kelly Forsythe and Hafizah Geter, who asked myself and Poetry MFA Ryann Wahl to help spread the work and start implementing a manifesto of sorts.

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And so began the first Graduate Student reading series, housed and supported by the English Department. The 33 Reading Series invites (at random) two Poetry MFA students and two Nonfiction MFA students twice a semester to read from their most recent body of work. The reading is low key and provides a captive audience for each reader.

This year we welcomed Poet Jacob Victorine and Nonfiction writer Maddison Hammil, along with CM Burroughs, our advisor from the English Department, to the series steering committee. We also changed the venue, with the help of the Graduate Admissions & Services Office, and were able to use the NEW Graduate Student Center, a gorgeous space with bright blue chairs and huge windows looking out over Harrison and Wabash Avenues.

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The series is slowly growing to include alums and current students: Jeffrey Allen, Stephan Danos, Holly Amos and Kat Sanchez, Ryan Spooner and Wes Jamison.

Our most recent event featured Steve Roggenbuck, Toni Nealie, Leif Haven and Colleen O’Connor.

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I really just like going to/organizing/participating in reading events. It’s a chance to hear what other people are working on, but also a way to create a community and to hang out with people who like doing what you like doing.