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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Author readings bring prose to Poetry Center

    This Thursday, the UA Poetry Center will kick off the year’s UA Prose Reading Series with readings from authors C.E. Poverman and Matt Mendez.

    Poverman, a former UA professor of English, will be reading from his new novel, “Love by Drowning,” a story rooted in feelings of obsession and fueled by its elements of suspense. Among his other work, is an award-winning book of stories called “The Black Velvet Girl,” as well as pieces that have appeared in anthologies.

    Since receiving his master of fine arts at the UA, Mendez now reviews books for the El Paso Times and writes stories that are particularly relevant to the Southwest. The Tucson Weekly praised his first book, “Twitching Heart,” for its “fully developed characters and settings [that] bring the reader deep into their world.”

    Mendez will read from the collection on Thursday, including from the piece “Airman,” the tale of a young man who joins the Air Force and finds himself facing deployment, which Mendez said was influenced by his own experiences.

    Many of Mendez’s stories take place in the Southwest. The stories in his collection are connected in this way, he added, as they take place in his hometown of El Paso, Texas.

    “I think a lot of artists in the Southwest are making their voices louder,” Mendez said. “It’s an underexposed area of the country.”

    In the Poetry Center’s live readings, Poverman added, the authors’ interpretation of the story can be translated well through the inflection of their own voices.

    “You really hear the sound of how the reader hears his work,” Poverman said. “It’s a good opportunity for writers to portray the reading.”

    Poverman added that he hopes that people will latch onto his novel because of its ability to keep readers on their toes.

    “[I hope] to write stories that reveal complex characters that completely engage readers,” said Poverman.

    Event coordinators agree that Poverman’s works were a good choice to feature this year.

    “He’s a heartbreaking writer,” said Ander Monson, director of the UA Prose Series and a UA professor of English.

    Monson said that he does not know what to expect from Thursday’s reading. When it came to his goals for the series throughout the year, however, Monson was certain: “You just want people to have an emotional experience.”

    By surveying graduate students and colleagues, the Poetry Center is able to decide which authors to host for readings.

    Monson said he expects a turnout of about 100 people at this year’s readings. Each reader will share about 20 minutes of their work with audience members, and the readings will be followed by a question-and-answer session. The authors’ new books will also be on sale at the event.

    For Monson, the readings provide attendees with greater insight into the authors’ minds.

    “Reading brings writing to life,” Monson said. “I hope people will be transported and learn what it is to be human.”

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