Drew Darrow Memorial Reading features two Bucknell writers

Dora Kreitzer, Assistant News Editor

The Stadler Center and the Bucknell Writing Center co-hosted the Drew Darrow Memorial Reading on Feb. 8, featuring poetry and fiction readings by alumna Tyler Mills ’05 and Visiting Assistant Professor of English Bix Gabriel. 

The Drew Darrow Memorial Reading honors the memory of alumnus Drew Darrow ’86, who passed away in 1997.

Mills is the author of two full-length poetry collections, the founding editor of the literary magazine The Account, and a teacher for Sarah Lawrence College’s Writing Institute as well as the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center’s 24PearlStreet. 

Gabriel is an editor at The Offing magazine and an award-winning author. Her debut novel “Archives for Amnesia” was a finalist for the 2021 PEN Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.

“Being in the audience of Stadler Center readings is such a warm and joyous experience — there’s so much love for literature on the chats!” Gabriel said. “And this time, being on the other side, as a reader, was a thrill, to know and feel the community of people in the audience who are genuinely listening, and excited about your work.”

“It’s a rare and wonderful experience.”

Mills began by reading her poem “Cleaning Out the Lyre” from her collection “Tongue Lyre” (2013). In this collection, she tells a story of violence and the female body by employing both myth and memory; references to the works of Ovid, Homer and James Joyce abound. Ovid’s Philomena is a recurring figure throughout the collection, and other characters of mythos are referenced as well. 

In addition to this poem, she also read “Challenge in TV Yellow,” which she co-wrote with poet Kendra DeColo as part of a chapbook project “Low Budget Movie” (2021) and “Hawk Parable” (2019). Mills mentioned that she was inspired to write “Hawk Parable” through historical exploration and to discuss, among other things, the negative effects of nuclear testing on the environment. 

Mills’ next project is “City Scattered,” a poetry chapbook that examines the conditions of labor, especially the female wage workers in European cabaret and hyperinflation. She hopes that the human and societal crises expose them to mirror conditions in the modern age. 

Afterwards Gabriel presented one of her flash stories , meaning less than 1000 words, called “You Begin The End”, which she chose in part because of the length – but also because it was published more than five years ago. Gabriel wanted students to see how long it can take for work to really reach the world.

She also read a current work-in-progress short story of hers called “Stalker”. The protagonist of this story is a college student, whose character and problems Gabriel hoped would resonate with University students.

Her past work has appeared in many different journals and magazines, and has included essays titled “Should I Apply for Citizenship?” and “Imagining Tunacorn and Skunkinex in ‘Immigrant Fiction,’” a story “Once”, and flash fiction “Where We Learn to Bang Our Heads Against A Brick Wall” and “Not A Bar Story.”

“I really enjoyed attending this Zoom,” attendee Juliana Collins ’23 said. “I thought both poets had great control over their writing and were able to connect well with their audience.”

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