Evolutions as a Writer: Semester’s final Writers Here & Now

Shannon Mooney
Online Editor

“In high school, I used to think all you had to do was write one perfect poem,” said University of Maryland creative writing professor Michael Collier on Wednesday night. “But that’s not what it’s like at all.”

Collier read some of his poems at Wednesday’s faculty themed Writers Here and Now, which also featured professor Stanley Plumly and assistant professor Emily Mitchell.

The evening began with a Q&A session in the Dorchester basement, where Collier discussed his writing process and evolution as a writer with a group of attentive Writers’ House students.

Collier explained what it is like to go back to old novels and poems that inspired him in his adolescence. “They all become different. That’s the great thing,” he said. “You can go back and they speak to you in different ways.”

Collier later read his work in Ulrich Recital Hall, including poems that were talked about during the Q&A session, such as “Cyclops” and “Labyrinth,” found in his recently published book “An Individual History.”

The evening continued with a short story reading from Mitchell, who read a piece inspired by guided meditation recordings that were supposed to increase her creativity. “It didn’t work,” she said. “I started to think about what would happen if the meditation guru were to have a bad day.”

The story that followed was supposed to be a recording of a guided meditater who went off on ridiculous and humorous tangents. The piece kept the audience entertained and often received rounds of laughter.

The night concluded with readings by Stanly Plumly, whom Collier said he has worked with since 1985.

“It would be hard to easily explain our relationship,” he said during the Q&A session. “To have worked with him for so long has been one of the great gifts in my life.”

Plumly is currently the state poet laureate and the university’s Director of Creative Writing. He read some of his old work and some new poems from his book “Orphan Hours.” One of his poems was inspired by recent Writers Here & Now featured poet, Paul Guest, who read his poems off a laptop by using a stylus in his mouth. Plumly’s pieces were well received by the captivated audience.

Wednesday’s Writers Here & Now was the final for the semester. There will be more in February, April and May next semester.

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