Award-Winning Poet and Talented University Students Present Readings at Creative Writers Fall Festival

Published: November 11, 2015

Award-Winning Poet and Talented University Students Present Readings at Creative Writers Fall Festival

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A diverse crowd comprised of faculty, students and community members listened to keynote speaker and award-winning poet Kathleen Winter address the audience during the Creative Writers Fall Festival held the evening of November 5 at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.  

Winter, recipient of the Fall 2015 Dobie Paisano Fellowship from the Texas Institute of Letters and the University of Texas at Austin, read excerpts and poems from her latest book “Nostalgia for the Criminal Past,” which won the Antivenom prize.

Winter’s poems from “Nostalgia for the Criminal Past” are set in Port Aransas, Texas, where she spent much of her childhood. Some of her poems where dedicated to her mother who was present in the audience.

“My mother was the first person who introduced me to poetry,” said Winter to the crowd. Winter thanked her mother for her literacy exposure, which helped lead Winter on a successful path as a poet.

The Port Aransas native read her “Texan” poems while traveling from California to Texas during her collegiate years. Her experiences inspired her to write her connection to the Coastal Bend.   

The second half  of the ceremony  featured the second issue of the “Switchgrass Review,” a national literary journal published annually by the Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation (CBWF), in collaboration with Dr. Robin Carstensen, Founder and Editor of the “Switchgrass Review,” and Assistant Professor of English at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Department of English.

“Switchgrass Review,” a journal of women’s health, history, and transformation, is part of an initiative by Bill Jeron Hoelscher, CEO of Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation, to raise awareness of women and girls with HIV and to advocate for the women of South Texas who face many health disparities.

“This event is a way for talented writers to come together to advocate social, economic and political justice for women,” said Carstensen, who was a co-host of the event.  

The CBWF presented awards at the event to the student winners who had their short stories published in the second issue of the “Switchgrass Review.” The student winners had the opportunity to read their own stories to the audience. In addition, Allison Johnson, Wellness Foundation Outreach speaker, discussed the importance of finding voices in the community as a literacy form and educating the community of the many health issues women face.

The event ended with an emotional and poetic open mic, with readings from University students, faculty and Coastal Bend authors. Faculty and community literary presses sold their books and journals at the event.