~from English Department Communications Intern Joyce Bohling

At the first ForkSocket reading of the 2016-2017 school year, on the evening of September 23 at Wolverine Farm Letterpress and Publick House, I decided that I like gummy bears better than wine.

There are a lot of things I love about ForkSocket, a reading series featuring first-year graduate students in the fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction master’s programs. The literature, of course. But also the free popcorn, the bicycles hanging from the wall, the fact that you can order drinks of various kinds, depending on your age, and the Highly Important Civic Discourse.

Allow me to clarify what I mean by Highly Important Civic Discourse. The event’s organizers, Cole Konopka and Cory Cotten-Potter, began the night by pontificating on the importance of millennials’ participation in politics. Our parents and grandparents, they said, see us as the apathetic generation, the generation that doesn’t care. But we can change that.

Cole gave an eloquent speech to raise awareness that if we don’t act now, the city of Fort Collins could take further measures to outlaw the use of hovercraft in Old Town.

I also recall ceramic mugs and a lamp smashed with a hammer and a plastic igloo being sawed in half with a chainsaw. I couldn’t quite decipher the message Cory was trying deliver in this passionate display, but I did pick up that it was Highly Important.

Then came the introductions of the readers. Each introducer was tasked with eating a large plastic cup’s-worth of gummy bears during their introduction. (Although poetry master’s student Leah White, a vegetarian who turned down the bears due to their gelatin content, opted for beer instead.) No one actually succeeded in emptying their cup, including Leah, but each made an admirable attempt.

So there were plenty of gummy bears to be passed around, after eating a handful, I decided that my wine was nice and all, but not nearly as delicious as gummy bears.

Gummy Bears
Small, sweet, adorably
Cute. Pineapple- and lime-flavored
Very chewy.

Did I forget anything?

Oh, yes, there was also the reading of literature. That was pretty cool too.

But in all seriousness, the most inspiring part of the night, by far, was the literature. Both poet Kristin MacIntyre and fiction writer Alice Stopher shared works about loss, so moving and vivid that I closed my eyes and let the shards of lamp and igloo fade away, lost instead in pictures of oceans collapsing and airplanes flying into the night.

Oh, and there was a creative nonfiction writer who was pretty good, although I’d already heard her essay about a dozen times. Mostly because I was the nonfiction writer and it was my essay.

The next ForkSocket Reading will take place on October 21 from 7:30 to 9:30 at Wolverine Farm Letterpress and Publick House. Protective gear not required but not a bad idea, either.