The Department of English’s Center for Writers hosted graduate students at T-Bones Records & Café to showcase their talents in fiction and poetry on Friday, March 2. The crowd was filled with fans of literature and students who have participated or plan to be in the C4W program.
Renee Baily, the president of C4W, said that they hold readings at T-Bones the first Friday of every month. C4W usually showcases two fiction writers and two poets in the English department at various levels in their school careers.
“We try to have a public space for the Southern Miss writer to be outside in the world, rather than just in our little Southern Miss hole to keep creative writers from being this isolated group of people in a small department on a university,” Baily said.
Jay Glassie, a third year English Ph.D. student, said he wrote creatively in high school but moved into a different path. He became a criminal justice major and worked in sports journalism for six years, but eventually decided to return to writing. Glassie said, “I wanted to teach, and in order to teach, you need a degree. I thought writing would be a fun way to pursue that.”
Alfonzo Zapata, first-year master’s student, was one of the two poets to read their work. Zapata said he takes a lot of inspiration from music. He gained this appreciation of music through his grandfather, a first generation immigrant who was a musician his whole life. Zapata said, “[My Grandfather] has been my main inspiration in terms of passion and how art works.”
Justin Carmickle, third-year Ph.D. student, writes his stories with “queer” influence. “I am influenced by the “Violet Quill” and writers like Edmund White,” Carmickle said. “You have a sense of pride, I think, continuing a tradition that was started years ago.”
Manager at Top Tier Board Games Ben Mitchell, who was previously in the C4W program said he likes to “keep up on the literary scene” by supporting his friends. “I like listening, writing and contributing to the literary world because if no one cares to listen then it really sucks to write.”