English students present poetry, projects at festival

Sylvia Bowersox captures the audience with her performance while reciting a poem about her time serving in Baghdad. Photo credit: Chelsea Jeffers

The annual Write On! festival gives students of the Chico State English department an opportunity to show off their best works by presenting research projects, original essays and poetry.

On one side of the room, students presented poster boards or videos demonstrating research projects they’ve worked on over the semester. Many of these included topics on social or environmental issues.

On the other half of the room, the audience could watch students perform poetry and read original pieces.

The main idea of Write On! is to give students an opportunity to present their writing and to show off the work they have done this semester, said Kelly Candelaria, a Chico State English professor and the event’s organizer.

“I’m excited because a lot of my own students are here and I’m very proud of them for their hard work,” Candelaria said.

Many of the poems and pieces read by different students centered on social issues.

Esther Auerbach, an English graduate student with a focus in creative writing, read a thought-provoking excerpt from an original essay. She discussed how the United States influences the lives of people in the town she grew up in Mexico and how that affects the issue of immigration.

“I’ve always liked writing,” Auerbach said. “I like to write about the human side of issues such as immigration.”

Sylvia Bowersox, an English graduate student with a focus in creative writing, read a few pieces of original poetry about her experiences while serving in Iraq for 32 months. Her poems convey an incredible intensity of emotion and forced the audience to place themselves in her position.

Bowersox has written a lot of poems inspired by her experience serving in Iraq, she said. She is currently working on her thesis, a film that includes photos and readings from her poems.

Osirus Fulton and Kriss’shon Day read an inspiring two-part poem about what it means to be a man and human. They examined the social issues of discrimination of gender and race.

The powerful performances were the highlight of the Write On! Festival, adding a very personal and socially conscious significance to the event.

Sarah Scharf can be reached at
[email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.