Creative writing professors present poetry

(photo by Ryan Dangerfield) Sian Griffiths, Laura Stott, and Janine Joseph present to the crowd of students and faculty.
(Photo by Ryan Dangerfield) (Left to right) Sian Griffiths, Laura Stott and Janine Joseph present to a crowd of students and faculty on Wednesday.

Weber State University’s creative writing program held a faculty reading event on Wednesday, allowing more than 40 students and faculty to listen to assistant professors Janine Joseph and Laura Stott read their recently written poetry.

The department aims to have a faculty reading every semester. Last semester included readings by two creative writing faculty, professors Mario Chard and Sian Griffiths, who is director of the creative writing program at WSU.

This semester, Joseph and Stott shared their poetry with students and faculty  in attendance. Both said they believe poetry can be more than abstract thought.

“I feel like, growing up, everyone believes poetry has typical subject matter, which is not true,” Joseph said. “Poetry can be made out of the content of our lives.”

Stott said she loves any chance to read to an audience. “I believe it is very important to keep the tradition of reading alive,” she said. “All creative writers should take the chance to read and share what they write with others. If you are writing not only for yourself, but for others, it is important to share.”

Griffiths said that next semester, the program will bring in Caitlin Horrocks, “who is an amazing young writer. (She) has already had a story in The New Yorker, and is very excited about being a part of these events.”

Joseph’s poems have appeared in several journals and literary reviews. At the event, Joseph mostly read poems from one of the manuscripts she has written, called “Overstay.” She also read some of her more recent poems from a manuscript she is currently working on.

In fall 2014, Stott will have her first poetry collection published. Most of what she read was poetry from the book. She said that one of the reasons she wanted to participate in the event is the confidence she gains as a writer when she is able to share her writing with others.

“To have two very talented talents on campus is truly amazing,” said English professor William Pollett. “It was quite an opportunity for students to be able to hear these professors share their talents. Writing is not something you can always get right on the first attempt, but it is not rocket science; it can be great to experience the process of writing.”

Stott believes any form of art, whether aesthetic or a language art, taps into the lives of the people experiencing it. “Anything we can do to improve our lives is helpful,” she said. “It is helpful to take time for anything that will help you see the world differently and helps you find peace.”

The two upcoming events will include literary science-fiction author Lance Olsen, who will come to campus on March 4. Author Nance Van Winckel will be the reader for the final event this semester, April 1, combining visual art with poetry. The creative writing program is working to include several different authors from a number of different genres.

Both Stott and Joseph said they hope students gained something by attending their event. Stott said she hoped it would help students become more confident in their writing. Joseph said she hoped it is helpful for students to come and see that their professors are still practicing writing, and that even professors do not always like what they write.