On May 3rd, 2013, at 8:15pm, San Diego State University’s Creative Writing program hosted a “Graduation Celebration Reading” to celebrate the Master of Fine Arts graduating students. Faculty members and eager listeners joined together to share in this intimate ceremony, celebrating accomplishments.
The event occurred on a cool Friday evening in the SDSU campus’s Scripp’s Cottage building, surrounded by grassy fields, flowering trees, and rippling ponds with bright koi fish and turtles. Upon entering the charming cottage, a mildly lit room, with brown and golden designed carpet, three columns of chairs, and a small stage welcomed the attendees. Many chatted with familiar friends and acquaintances, nibbled on refreshments and then took their seats, facing a stage, graced by a lone podium and microphone.
After a slight delay, the reading began and was introduced by SDSU’s Assistant Professor, Katie Farris. She welcomed listeners and announced that these graduating students would be reading from their own, original works.
Around 15 students comprise the MFA Creative Writing program, creating an intimate and familial atmosphere between the academics. The schedule and the mood for the evening was informal and friendly. Reading participants sat within the crowd of listeners by their loved ones, emerging from the audience as they were announced. Each prior reader was to introduce the following. Since the students appeared to know each other well, introductions ranged from professional to describing friend-like qualities. The varying students stood uniquely, wearing an array of fancy dresses and heels to a more “every-day” traditional style, emphasizing the lax atmosphere. One reader even invited his children up on stage to read with him!
News of engagements and mentions of husbands and friends made the introductions seem personable—more like a gathering and less like an event. Due to trolley delays, an impromptu intermission occurred so that some late guests could be present. While unexpected, it became obvious that this reading was genuinely meaningful for these graduating MFA participants and it was important to have friends and colleagues, who had helped them to this point in their academic and professional careers, present.
Each participating graduating student read either one page from a short story or up to two poems from his or her collections. The poems were beautiful and flowed off the lips of their readers. Additionally, the two fiction pieces captured attention from the audience, all earning generous applauses at each conclusion.
SDSU houses a talented Creative Writing program, as evidenced by the beautiful works of the participants in this graduation reading. The event encapsulated a personable and genuine atmosphere, reminding attendees of the inclusivity of this community. The Graduation Celebration Reading was a rewarding time for graduate students to reflect on their accomplishments and share with an audience. Events like these are memorable and all are always welcoming aspiring artists or lovers of literature to attend.
The following includes a list of the reading participants:
If you’d like to learn more about SDSU’s MFA program, look here!