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OxMag kicks off Spring Street Reading Series

Poet Hallie Fogarty reads her writing at the first OxMag Spring Street Reading Series event of 2023.
Poet Hallie Fogarty reads her writing at the first OxMag Spring Street Reading Series event of 2023.

Each month, Oxford Magazine hosts its Spring Street Reading Series featuring performances from Miami University’s Creative Writing MFA students.

The first reading took place on Sept. 19 in the Bachelor Hall reading room. Lined with bookshelves and cushioned chairs, and with a wooden piano and podium at the front, it’s the perfect cozy space for an intimate reading.

The audience heard pieces from poet Hallie Fogarty, fiction writer David W. Carstens and poet Sophia Judge, who are all graduate students and English: Creative writing majors. Each writer read for about 15 minutes, then answered questions from the audience about craft, reading and inspiration before handing off the microphone to the next performer.

Fogarty started the show with her poetry. Fogarty’s focus on word-play and repetition of sound lends itself to being read aloud. All of the sonic components that may be missed on the page come alive through her voice.

Hallie Fogarty - "August"

Carstens read an excerpt from one of his stories. Filled with humor and introspection, it made the audience laugh multiple times.

David W. Carstens - "The Desert Outside Phoenix, Arizona" (temp title)

When asked why he picked his piece, Carstens said, “It was a less awkward piece than some of the other pieces I could have read … there are jokes in that one, so they’re fun to say out loud.”

Photo by Reynie Zimmerman | The Miami Student
Writer David W. Carstens reads an excerpt from one of his stories.

Judge’s reading focused primarily on poems about childhood. From being stung by a bee to a poem about the societal pressure placed on young girls, her poems evoked a wide range of emotion from the audience.

Sophia Judge - "Creation Story"

After the readings, audience member Maddie Portune, a first-year Poetry MFA student, spoke about how she felt hearing her peers’ work.

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“It was a really good place to create that sense of community for writers and for general appreciation of writing and literature,” Portune said.

Photo by Reynie Zimmerman | The Miami Student
Poet Sophia Judge read multiple poems centered around her childhood.

Carstens said events like this one are important for people to engage within the writing community.

Writers are often hunched over their laptops alone in their bedrooms, but the Spring Street Reading Series offers audience members a chance to see what other writers are working on, as well as a chance for MFA students to show off their hard work.

During the Q&A, one audience member asked Judge about her writing process, to which she spoke about writing in short bursts, often at inconvenient times.

“It’s really nice to hear someone else writes kind of the way you do,” Portune said.“I love the humanity of reading your own work.”

The next installment of the Spring Street Reading Series will take place in the Bachelor reading room at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 10, and will feature readings from Kendra Stiers, Ross Kohler and Kayla Belser.