On Friday, Sept. 14 The Hemingway Western Studies Center was a conglomeration of visual and written art as the first speaker of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing’s reading series took to the stage. Anticipatory chitter-chattter could be heard as student and professors alike were itching to hear from poet Gabriel
American poet and essayist Gudding who shared his poetry was one of the five renowned poets who will be reading as part of this series.
As an American poet and essayist, Gudding has spoken at over 80 poetry readings in Europe, the Caribbean and America and has published over one hundred poems and essays in various periodicals. He is also the author of two books, “A Defense of Poetry,” which won the 2001 Agnes Lynch Starett Prize and Rhode Island Notebook.
Gudding’s most recent publication, “Rhode Island Notebook,” is a 436-page poem which was written in Gudding’s car on a road trip from Normal, Ill. to Providence, R.I. to see his daughter. The trip was 18 hours there and back.
“It was a strange thing to do,” Gudding said. “I wouldn’t recommend it. I almost died several times.”
When asked how he accomplished the feat of writing while driving he said, “It wasn’t easy” and went on to explain how he tried recording himself, which was more difficult than writing because of the editing process. He also said he tried to write with gel and large-tipped pens so that it was an easier task while driving.
Students said they were not only impressed with Gudding, but with the series as a whole.
“I think that it is pretty neat that they hold the series because it gives the students the opportunity to come see it, and it is something that they might not otherwise experience so it is a pretty awesome thing actually,” said Summer Dupri.
Another student, Noel Cower, said he appreciated the reading series. He said he generally goes to the readings in the MFA series because he enjoys the art of poetry. He previously read “Rhode Island Notebook” and said he was excited for the reading.
The next featured writer of the MFA Reading series will be Myung Mi Kim, who was born in Seoul, Korea, and moved to the United States when she was nine.
Her collection of poems “Under Flag” (1991) won the Multicultural Publishers Exchange Award of Merit. She is an avant-garde poet who gives her audience a look into issues of dislocation, colonization, immigration and loss of her first language; seemingly a peek into the migrant “minority” through poetry.
This upcoming reading will take place Friday Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the Farnsworth Room of the Student Union Building.
You can find out more about the series and poets at the MFA’s website.