The mellow, blue stage-lighting illuminated the stage where a lone stool sat, hoisting four bottles of water for the four talented writers showcasing their latest creative work. The mood was set, and the largest crowd we’ve had all semester sipped their cocktails as Parcels, the UCF MFA graduate student/faculty reading series, was underway for the last time this Fall semester.
Second-year Rebecca Cobb started the event by reading two original flash fiction pieces, one of which was recently revised in workshop. After the reading, Rebecca said, “Reading these stories in front of a crowd helped me realize what revisions would work best for these stories. I know what direction they need to go now.”
Matt Mercer, first-year nonfiction candidate, decided to read three of his poems. His work was raw, unapologetic, and bold—he eroticized the antichrist for crying out loud. After, Matt said “I enjoyed everyone’s reading very much and it was fun meeting new people and talking to others that I have met, but only know at a professional level. I liked how the setting was more relaxed than classes and people opened up on stage and off. It was perfect because I’ve never read outside of class or to a few friends at a time. I buzzed, anxious, excited, and nervous before (and after).”
Ryan Skaryd, second-year nonfiction writer, was supposed to read, but, in recognition of Pride Week, he decided to read as Nova Jean (get it?) instead. As always, his work made us laugh with that quirky yet brutally honest voice present in all of his nonfiction. “My mom and grandmother were there to see me read,” said Ryan after the event. “And I’m happy they were able to see the unity that’s prevalent in the MFA program. Everyone was super supportive.”
Finally, Laurie Uttich, UCF faculty member, closed the evening by reading three pieces that blur the lines between poetry and prose. Each piece had been written during the previous week, expressing her reaction to and attitude toward the recent presidential election. Her selections were beautiful and moving, eliciting sniffles and sobs from all of us.
Our December Parcels has been replaced by the Graduate Reading, which will be at Writer’s Atelier on December 10th at 7:30 p.m.. Hear our newest graduates read from their completed theses and join us in celebrating their accomplishment. Parcels will return during the Spring 2017 semester.
Now we would like to end this post once again thanking our host, the Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts in Winter Park, for going out of their way to provide such a splendid and welcoming place to hold Parcels. We’ve said it many times, but between the lighting, the stage, the staff, and the venue itself, we are truly grateful for the kindness shown to us.