Storytelling runs in the veins of humanity, but becoming a professional writer is a difficult desire. Every semester, the English department welcomes at least one respected poet or author to read their work to the community and offer advice to others.
The first of the two authors selected for this semester’s event was F. Daniel Rziczneck, an Ohio-borne poet currently teaching at Bowling Green State University. Rziczneck is the author of four chapbooks and three poetry collections. He is also the co-editor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice.
Dr. Jennifer Moore, associate professor of creative writing, oversees bringing in talent for the reading series. She usually looks for emerging and literary writers and requires that they have “an MFA or Ph.D., at least one book, and college-level creative writing teaching experience”. She is also restricted by what courses are to be taught that semester, so she tries to bring in a variety of professions like poets, novelists, and screenwriters. However, the largest limiter is the budget; the writer will often have to have close proximity to Ohio.
Moore is also the professor in charge of this semester’s creative writing workshop. Earlier in the day, she asked Rziczneck to lead an activity and answer students’ questions. Students were asked to write about a place from their past and describe it in terms of color and sensory information. Rziczneck was quick to offer advice for improvement and praise for the students who bared something personal.
The reading was held in the recently repainted Elzay Gallery of Art. Senior creative writing major, Jaiden Deubler began the reading with an excerpt from her short story, “Tower 4”. It tells the tale of two park rangers who go looking for missing teenagers on a dangerous trail.
Rziczneck followed with selected readings from his newest poetry collection, Settlers, which comprises of poems about nature, history, and school shootings, and then read new, unpublished poems. The end of the event included of a Q&A session where a student inquired about how he creates a poem when he has an ending in mind.
Rzicznek instead offered this advice: “Keep writing. Listen to the piece itself. Every poem creates a world, even if it’s one that really happened to you. It’s still not a memory. You don’t have to abide by the rules of what happened to you or even what you think might be best. You have to listen to the poem or piece of writing first and think about what it wants.”
The community will have another chance to speak to a new author this semester. The next reading series is scheduled for Nov. 20 with Madeline Ffitch.