Red Indian Road West Reading by Anna Geiger

“Gears Turning Poetry Series” at Modern Times Bookstore

In Creative Writing, once every six­-week period, each student attends a literary reading
that they then write a reflection about. Typically, I go to smaller readings at local bookstores that allow the audience to feel intimate and close with the writer who is being featured. On January 10th, I attended a reading at Modern Times Bookstore that focused around the experiences and ancestry of Native American poets and the recently published poetry anthology Red Indian Road West. I assumed that the reading would be similar to those I have usually attended, with a similar atmosphere. However, I am writing this post on the event because it was altogether the most enlightening, entertaining, and personally influential readings I have been to.

I had never been to Modern Times previously, and upon joining the crowd for the reading, I was immediately introduced to what seemed to be a whole literary community. Each poet and audience member knew one another, which contributed to an atmosphere of security and enthusiasm for every reader. The event began with readings from three Native American poets who had work in Red Indian Road West, primarily stories about their family and ancestral roots. Because I am not knowledgeable about many aspects of Native American culture, and I have come to realize that my favorite way to learn about different communities is through the deeply personal context of poetry and other writing, this aspect of the reading was fascinating. The other artist at the reading was a guitar player. He sang three songs that he wrote and composed himself, that were all a combination of alternative and country sounds. His songs were entertaining and witty, one about how he was doing assigned reading for college and realized that Jack Kerouac was “kind of a dick,” one written in 2012 about eating in a diner when people believed the world was going to end, and the last one of finding a giant squid. Listening to his music was one of my favorite parts of the event because his songs combined skill, good acoustics, and lyrics that were a balanced combination of funny and unique.

Up until this point, I already felt as if I was becoming immersed in this rich community that apparently regularly congregates at Modern Times readings; however, the most important part of the night would still be an entirely new experience for me. At the end of the reading, people in the audience began to encourage me to read one of my poems, as they had asked earlier whether I was a writer, and I reluctantly accepted. I am typically awkward, uncomfortable, and nervous when faced with reading my work in front of a crowd, even when I have rehearsed doing so. It took quite a lot of willpower to talk myself into going onstage, but I am glad that I agreed to read one of my pieces. The sense of reassurance and encouragement that came from the audience allowed me to come out of the reading feeling more confident about performing in front of strangers. I was not rehearsed, and as a result did not read entirely smoothly, but since I went to the event, I’ve realized that being confident about sharing your work is not about reading it perfectly; it is about putting yourself out there and trying new things, even if it seems daunting, In the future, I am going to seek out opportunities to read my work for people instead of being nervous about it, which is a tool that I believe will help every young writer to become more assured about their writing.

Anna Geiger, class of 2017

Due Dates

Yes, it is already that time of six weeks– your Creative Writing requirements are due!

First up are Literary Reviews, due Tuesday, September 20th. We all should know what to do at this point in the game– if not, consult the copy of one of Abigail’s previous lit reviews to understand what is expected of you.

Second, Submissions and Readings, due Wednesday, September 21st. A list of three submissions formatted like the example in your CW Handbook (again, one of Abigail’s, I believe) and a proof of reading, most of the time the program with the author or event organizer’s signature, handed in to Heather. Molly’s mother was kind enough to compile a list of online magazines she recommends submitting to:

Newport Review
Dark Sky Magazine
Up the Staircase
Camroc Press Review
Word Riot
Prick of the Spindle
Noo Journal
Used Furniture Review
Vox Poetica
Bartleby Snopes
The Toronto Quarterly
Everyday Genius
Necessary Fiction
Gargoyle (Print)
Camera Obscura
fwriction review
blue five notebook
Boundoff (audio)

If you haven’t subscribed to CWRWOPPS, do it now, and here is a list of submitting opportunities that do not require reading fees from its daily notices:

Third, revisions, due no later than Thursday, September 22nd, at 3:10. Revisions will only be accepted if it follows the CW work template and is stapled on top of the original draft. If you plan on turning it in before Heather returns, please give it to Ms. Yu, the substitute, and do not leave it on Heather’s desk or mailbox.

Fourth and final, Art&Film, due Friday, September 23rd, which, coincidentally, is the last day you can complete your requirement– by watching M at the Randall Museum that night. Credit will only be given if you’ve watched two films, so if you haven’t watched at least one…

Department requirements are a major part of your grade, so please don’t slack off and think they’re nothing. Take it seriously and turn everything in on time– those who continuously fail to to do so will be put on probation in Creative Writing.

To end this on a happy note:

Have fun!


Students Can Contribute, Too!

Contribute to our blog and Facebook account by emailing either Rebecca or me about interesting readings, publishing opportunities, writing contests, all kinds of stuff. Pictures go on Flickr under the username and password we gave out in class, and if you need a reminder as to what it is, don’t hesitate to contact any of us.


If the caps and bolding weren’t enough, really, don’t. E-mail, phone, or tell us in class, we’ll post it up on the blog and Facebook with pride. We’ll spread the love and recognition around.

Follow the SOTA Creative Writing Facebook page to get all the updates on that! I will post there much of the things here on the blog – in less detail and more linking. Overall, the blog is still our main HQ, so check in every now and then for the latest news from CW!