Last week was the first PARCELS: MFAs in Progress reading. For the uninitiated, PARCELS is the GWA ran reading series that showcases the work of our MFA students as well as faculty and alumni. The first PARCELS of every year is always a wonderful time since it brings the UCF MFA community together across all genres and progress in the program, but this PARCELS was particularly special because it was the first literary event at our new venue: The Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts.
Everyone who came couldn’t stop talking about how perfect the venue is. The lighting, professional sound system, and seating elevated the reading from an informal affair to one where the audience is immediately engaged.
The first reader for the evening was Sabrina Napolitano, a second year writing her thesis in fiction. In capturing the spirit of the reading series, Sabrina read a story that she had only finished the day before and given a quick polish. This is what PARCELS is all about. Students need not worry about presenting their best pieces. Instead, students are able to share their fledgling works and experience reading in front of a welcoming audience.
Lori Parker Matejowsky, one of our first year poets, read five poems that chronicled her time living in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. One of the most exciting things about PARCELS is that it gives the audience a chance to hear readers outside of their own genre. For those of us in other workshops, it was great to finally hear Lorie’s work.
After a brief intermission, second year Kaitlin Kolhoff read a selection from her story called “The Hermit.” This was a piece that had been recently workshopped, and one of the most interesting things was to hear Kaitlin read the story in the way that it was intended.
Closing the night was Brianne Manning. Having just graduated with her MFA in poetry in May, Brianne chose to embody the spirit of PARCELS by reading several poems written over the summer. As always, her poetry was lyrical and moving, and we were happy to have her back.
After this first reading, it only has us more excited for future readings. Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts has provided us with a warm and welcoming space that brings both an air of professionalism and room for PARCELS to continue to grow as a reading series. Hopefully we’ll see you at our next reading in October.