Wyoming Arts Council

MFAers in Casper read to enthusiastic crowds

The readings began at noon in the Vista Lounge in the Student Center at Casper College. Thanks to Dylan Llewlyan for providing us with sub sandwiches and refreshments and for setting up all the details of these readings. Josh Olenslager (who has been published a handful of times), read his wonderfully image-rich poetry. Jason Burge read his fiction story about the “he” giving his daughter a bow and arrow set and the consequences of that action–a humorous and dramatic work. George Vlastos, who is a teacher at Star Lane Academy in Casper, read his narrative poetry. I fell somewhere in between those, reading poetry and some short non-fiction pieces.

At 1:30, we went to Star Lane and read to 16-18 year old youths. They were attentive and very polite. They laughed at the the chapter Jason read there, about finding the foundling on “his” doorstep. Josh read more of his terrific poetry, George read some very interesting prose poetry about sampling the olive bar and one titled “Wet Dreams.” The kids laughed at Jason’s story, and at George’s. They were very receptive to us.

At 7:00 that night, we read at Metro Coffee Shop, surrounded by Tom Loepp’s art work that was on display. Tom is a local artist there, and while we were at the college, sketched each one of us at the podium as we read. He asked us to sign his sketch book for him, too. He does portraiture and very realistic scenes. Beautiful stuff! The crowd was relaxed and so were the readers by this time. Josh was almost on the verge of slamming, and Jason’s chapter, about taking the foundling to the welfare office to get him some proper care was hilarious. George read more of his insightful prose poetry, the subject of which is often about his two young sons, Greece, and his trip to the Parthenon. I read more poetry, and a short story about trying to get rid of the autumn leaves in my parent’s yard after my father’s death.

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