Writer’s Voice showcases authors and established writers

Luke Davies reads his poetry during a writers voice session in Zingg Recital Hall

Nicole Henson

Luke Davies reads his poetry during a writer’s voice session in Zingg Recital Hall

Heavy writing courses in the English department at Chico State have provided hands-on resources and projects for their students. Ranging from a literary magazine class to in-class workshops, students are trained to be prepared in all writing areas.

One of the benefits that students, faculty and community members have provided by the English department is the Writer’s Voice events.

Each semester, three to four established writers of all genres, from poetry to fiction, come to Chico State to read from their published works and some even teach classes or workshops for students, according to Rob Davidson, an English department professor.

Past visiting writers include Camille Dungy, Brenda Hillman, Daryl Farmer, Fred Arroyo, Nick Flynn, Andrew Lam and most recently, Ryan Van Meter.

On March 15, Van Meter read from his piece “If You Knew Then What I Know Now.” According to Davidson, Van Meter “presents a powerful story about sexual identity, social awareness and equality.”

As a coming of age story, Van Meter’s memoir relates to many people who have gone through the struggle of finding a sexual identity and ultimately gave students a look into what it would be like to format a memoir or another piece of nonfiction the way that Van Meter did.

“For writing students, meeting an author gives them a chance to ask questions, learn about writing and publishing first-hand, and get valuable advice,” Davidson said.

Meeting another writer who has gone through the process already, has attempted the seemingly impossible, published a piece of writing, and lived to tell the tale, gives students a hope for their own writing careers and a confidence to do the same.

By attending workshops, meeting these authors through this 20-year-old program and getting to ask questions and get advice in their own endeavors, the Writer’s Voice is an invaluable resource that more students should take advantage of.

On March 16, Ryan Van Meter will be visiting Davidson’s creative writing workshop to meet his students, an opportunity that doesn’t come around every day.

“The mission is to bring emerging and established literary writers to campus,” said Davidson when explaining the program’s purpose. “Each semester we bring three to four poets, fiction writers and nonfiction writers to campus to read from their work, visit classes and meet students, teach master classes and interact with the community.”

Hannah Yeager can be reached at [email protected] or @Hannah_K_Yeager on Twitter.