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MFA Doubleheader: Karena Youtz and Adrian Kien Book Reading

The Crux, a small coffee shop on Main Street, hosted Boise State’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (MFA) reading series on Sunday, Feb. 10. Both Karena Youtz and Adrian Kien, graduates from Boise State’s MFA program, headlined. Each read selections from their books of poetry.

There was a definite sense of community in this eclectic space, with audience members relaxed in their seats, most with a beer in hand, some with coffee, and the occasional joke overhead.

Such a joke was made by Youtz, whose microphone, at the beginning the reading, did not appear to be working at all.

“It’s a really quiet book,” she said, smiling. The problem was fixed and she continued reading her strong, at times eerie, poetry.

After a brief intermission, Kien followed Youtz with several of his own excerpts. With his alphabet poem, he played on his wording with repetition and some rhyme scheme. When he decided to pause, one audience member offered his input.

“That was a pretty good poem,” he said, making everyone laugh.

Both poets offered up raw verbiage, contemporary in form, but freely expressed and limitless.

Martin Corless-Smith, an author and Professor of Creative Writing at Boise State, provided introductions and commentary, entertaining and enlightening the audience.

“(Youtz and Kien are) two of our favorite most brilliant poets. They’ve done extraordinary work without the help of anyone else,” Corless-Smith said.

Corless-Smith went on to mention both authors were firsts in graduating from the MFA’s poetry program, before anyone else. The strong relationships built in the small program were evident through the details Youtz shared in conjunction with her book excerpts.

Youtz dedicated her poems to, “Beth, Dad, Adrian, Daphne, and Kyle Crawford.” Adrian and Kyle are each part of the MFA community.

After singling out specific people apparently close to her, she looked around at the audience and said, “Every poem is for everyone.”

The audience ranged from professors and graduates to current Boise State students.

Tori Beatch, senior business major, said, “Everyone seemed like really supportive of the two people.”

Claire Thompson, senior Spanish major agreed with her and said, “I didn’t know there would be this many supporters at a poetry reading and its really cool to see.”

Kyle John Crawford, a poetry instructor and graduate student in the MFA creative writing program, explained the appeal of hearing poetry read aloud.

“There’s something to be said about poetry read aloud because there’s a music to it,” Crawford said. “You don’t even have to listen to the content but the form finds itself in the air and you hear it. And it’s like ‘God, that’s pleasant.’ It’s more than what you’re talking about; it sounds like it should be heard.”