As a part of the Conway ArtsFest, Conway’s Lantern Theater invited all to a night of poetry and prose from the University of Central Arkansas’s Arkansas Writers’ Workshop MFA program.
The reading showcased work from writers in their second year at took place at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 28.
The event titled the “Mid-Write Crisis,” in reference to the writers being in the middle of their writing programs, featured poems and excerpts from the writer’s manuscripts.
However, before writers Drew Cook, A.E. Coleman, Callie Tahat, J.J. McNeese, Shane Allen Curry and Mikayla Davis read their poems and excerpts, the theater invited “The Halloween Tree” group to perform a preview of their event with the Conway Symphony Orchestra. The event will be Oct. 7 and eighth.
“We love doing events like this because people could come for the readings but also get a taste for something like “The Halloween Tree” and they may think ‘oh I kind of liked that too,” Joshua Miller, a member of the Lantern Theater’s board of directors, said.
Miller said it is important that the Conway arts scene merges instead of competes because it is so small that the arts need to work together and promote one another.
The theater not only does plays but also short films, poetry slams, art exhibits and events like the Mid-Write Crisis, he said.
The readings began with Cook who read three poems from his manuscript. The manuscript was made of sonnets that, as he said, weren’t really sonnets. In completion he said they were about love and told the story of a man whose love was stabbed and in the hospital.
The second person to read was Coleman who kept the audience laughing with a chapter from a novel he wrote.
Callie Tahat was up next reading a few of her poems one titled “Domestic” and an excerpt from one of her short stories titled “Moon”.
McNeese read prose mostly about country life. He also read one of his opaque poems titled “On the Banks of Lake Whiskey.”
Next was Shane Allen Currey who read an excerpt from his manuscript about a man named Ricky and his gay lover.
Last to read was Mikayla Davis who read four of her newly written poems titled “Apollo”, “Floodwater”, “Before God’s there were Titans” and “Tornado.”
“[The poetry tonight] was all different perspectives and different lifestyles,” sophomore Lacey Riley said. “It brought out not only humor but emotion as well.”
Lacy also said the poems were captivating and the imagery elevated her mind.
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