Tsunami Books will be home to readings by local writers and poets “committed to narrative and lyrical art” at 7 pm Sunday, Dec. 2, according to Michael Copperman, one of the event’s nine writers who graduated from the UO’s MFA program in creative writing. The readings, in honor of the departure of poet and fellow MFA grad Michelle Penaloza, mark the inaugural gathering of the Oregon Writers Collective.
Copperman says, “The people who are there are, essentially, young and really talented writers who otherwise don’t have any place in this town to work.”
The writers include winners of multiple state and national fellowships from the Oregon Arts Commission, Literary Arts, Bread Loaf, Soapstone and Sewanee, and have been featured in Salon, NPR and The Sun.
“There is no single aesthetic that defines everybody,” Copperman adds. “It is also pretty decidedly [professional]. A lot of these people are national level voices but have no real way of being heard here.”
The main objective is to support writers who are in the blossoming stage of their careers, he says.
Joining Copperman and Penaloza to share their work will be authors Heather Ryan, Chris Roethle, Jenn Kepka, Julia Moore, Ebony Haight, Jessa Heath and Carl Swart. Copperman hopes that more writers will be part of the collective in the future and would like this event to take place every three months.
Copperman is excited to hear his colleagues read and to see them share their stories. He is also simply looking forward to be part of an event in Eugene: “It’s cool to have a bunch of peers, to hear a bunch of work and to read in a town that I live in.”
Copperman says that in the end, “It’s not meant to be a particular showcase on one person as much as it is a chance for people to get out there and just share that spotlight, and also bring those people together.”