Poetry, fiction readings captivate students

Emily Ryan, Staff Writer

Fiction writer Caitlin Horrocks said on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. in Bucknell Hall that it is more important for an author to focus on writing his/her story than trying to get published. Poetry writer Paula Bohince, who also spoke at the event, advised aspiring poets to imitate published poems to help them understand the writer’s choices. Bohince is an acclaimed poet who won the 2013 George Bogin Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America.

During her talk, Horrocks said that the primary reason young authors should write is because it is important to them, and if the writing is good enough, they will gain the recognition they deserve. Horrocks, a Grand Valley State University professor and author of “This Is Not Your City,” read story excerpts and talked to students afterwards during a question and answer session. Horrocks’ stories have appeared in many journals including The New Yorker and The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories.

To continue developing, writers should set deadlines and create assignments for themselves.

“I found it helps stay on track,” Horrocks said.

Horrocks said her writing hobby began as a young child. She believed it was something she would eventually stop doing as she got older, but she never stopped.

“Writing short fiction gives me the opportunity to challenge myself and try many different stories,” Horrocks said.

Horrocks read excerpts from the non-fictional story, “A Fiction Writer Takes off Her Shoes,” and the fictional story, “Zolaria.”

Associate Professor of English Robert Rosenberg said it was helpful for his students to hear from Horrocks because they are struggling with their own artistic travails and are working hard on their own stories.

“It’s inspiring to meet and hear from a young author like Horrocks, who is having enormous success. As artists, we can see how she solves certain problems in her fiction, [regarding] issues like how to end a story, how to handle dialogue, and how to balance scene and summary,” Rosenberg said.

Once Horrocks was finished, Bohince read two poems from her own collections, “Incident at the Edge of Bayonet Woods” and “The Children.” These poems included “The Bedroom,” “Prayer,” “First Day of the Hunt,” and “Still Life with Needle.”

A raffle was conducted following the reading, where two winners, including Barbara Donskoy ’18, won signed copies of Horrocks’s and Bohince’s works.

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