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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

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Writers take the mic


During an evening of original poetry and nonfiction performances, literature fans heard works from students of the Creative Writing Program.

Poets Caitlin Maling and Frances Justine Post and writer Dickson Lam shared pieces from their respective works as a part of the Gulf Coast reading series Friday at Rudyard’s British Pub.

The series is a subset of Gulf Coast – A Journal of Literature and Fine Art, which is housed within the English Department.

Dickenson Lam | Courtesy of Miranda Denmon

Dickson Lam | Courtesy of Miranda Denmon

Lam, a nonfiction graduate student, read a story called “Snowman,” a chapter from his memoir in progress about his absent father. He said he is appreciative of Gulf Coast for offering UH writers an outlet for their work.

“You spend so much of your time writing in solitude that it feels good to be able to share your work with others, which is, after all, the point of writing — to communicate.”

Lam, who has taught in schools in New York, San Francisco, and Oakland, Calif., and earned a Master’s in Fiction from Rutgers University-Newark.

After Lam, graduate student Maling read a series of poems inspired by her life in Australia.

“I love being on stage; I prefer it to interacting one-on-one with people,” Maling said. “With my work, what I want the audience to take away is something that helps them understand their own lives a little better.”

Maling’s work has been published in several Australian publications including Blue Dog, Westerly, Quadrant, Going Down Swinging, The Australian and The Sun Herald Extra. She is a recipient of the John Marsden Poetry Prize, Varuna Center Fellowships and the Department of Culture and the Arts International Scholarship.

Lam and Maling said that they agree that their time spent at UH in the Creative Writing Program was beneficial to becoming respected writers.

“The CWP has made me more interested in writing critically about poetry, not just writing poetry itself,” Maling said.

“The best part of the program is my fellow programees. Being surrounded by other amazing writers on a daily basis is inspirational. It’s great to be able to draw from other’s work.”

Maling is working on her book, “Conversations I’ve Never Had” that has been accepted by a press in Australia for a 2015 release date.

Lam hopes to finish his memoir by the end of his Master’s program next spring.

“The strengths of the program are pretty simple: the faculty and students,” Lam said. “The faculty is extremely supportive, and the students here are so talented. It pushes you to be better.”

To learn more about the Gulf Coast journal and the reading series, visit gulfcoastmag.org.

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