Student readings at IUPUI have existed in a variety of different spaces and forms over the years, but have continued to run with the purpose of allowing students to share their creative works. At readings, students are welcome to share their poetry, fiction and musical works. The readings moved to the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library for the first time this semester, at the reading on Dec. 7.
“We want to thank Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library for hosting us, but also for working with us as new writers in a new venue, they’ve been amazingly accommodating and we’re so excited to come back next semester and work with them,” said Siren Hand, a creative writing major who serves as emcee for the readings.
Hand expressed that as writing can be an introspective experience, it can be important to find community with other writers. They also explained that all writers can learn from each other, and help each other find the words for things they may not be able to. By being the emcee at readings, Hand has joined and supported this community.
“I come from a spoken word background, I’ve hosted shows before,” Hand said. “It was also important for me to be in a community with the student body of writers from IUPUI, and also be within the literary community all throughout Indianapolis. There’s a huge culture and so many talented writers.”
Corin Chapman is a senior and English major from IUPUI, who also works at the Vonnegut Museum as a Museum Associate. Chapman echoed Hand’s sentiments of the community of artists in and around Indianapolis, and named that as his favorite part of working at the Vonnegut Museum.
“People from across the country come into the museum and so many of them have cool stories or perspectives I would have never even considered,” Chapman said. “Even cooler is the people who come who live in Indy – I have met so many artists, musicians and writers at the Vonnegut Museum who live in Indianapolis, and I probably would not have met them otherwise.”
Terry Kirts, a senior lecturer at IUPUI, has been managing the student readings since 1999 when he started as a creative writing lecturer. Kirts explained that a major reason for changes in the readings throughout the years is due to the increase in demand for students' time due to other extracurricular activities. He said that the readings allow students to gain professional experience while also expressing themselves.
“Despite the fact that students do have a lot of other outlets virtually, there’s just nothing that substitutes for human interaction,” Kirts said. “Even if you don’t read, you can meet somebody who has some interest in spoken word and language. You can see different perspectives, meet people who maybe think differently or express themselves differently or similarly to you.”
Chapman described the environment of the readings as calm, and explained that they are not as intense as some people may expect them to be. This sentiment was echoed by Hand and Kirts, who both encouraged students to come to readings and gain experience.
“I love hearing about new writers,” Chapman said. “A lot of people who come to the readings are reading their work for the first time in a public space. I think it's great that new writers get to share their work publicly in a new environment. It can be a big confidence boost for people, and often I get to see writers develop over time as they continue to participate in the readings.”
Readings are held in the spring and fall semesters. For more information on the readings or how to participate contact Terry Kirts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ashley Wilson is a sophomore double majoring in creative writing and journalism at IUPUI. She is a writer and photographer who covers campus and culture for The Campus Citizen.