~From English Department Communications Intern Tim Mahoney

The Creative Writing Reading Series invited authors Sasha Steensen and Ira Sukrungruang to read selections of their latest work at the Writers’ Harvest Benefit on October 23rd. For this event attendants were asked to bring in canned non-perishable food items to donate to the Larimer County Food Bank. Those who donated food items were given the chance to win great prizes from local business who also donated their goods and services to benefit the local food bank. On top of some incredible prizes including gift baskets from Whole Foods Market and Snooze, the Writers’ Harvest Benefit gave students and members of the community the chance to hear some truly amazing works of literature.

The reading, which took place in the University Center for the Arts Museum, began with CSU’s own Sasha Steensen who read selections from her latest chapbook House of Deer. The poems from this collection were about family, her childhood, and where she grew up. The book has been described as “a lyric inquiry into a personal history of the back-to-the-land idealism of the 1970s, with its promises and failings, naturalism gone awry, and journeys into the worlds of addiction, recovery, and, ultimately, family.” All of the poems Steensen read were from her new work — all except for the last, a new poem she’d been working on that very day. Her language and close attention to detail demonstrate her skill as a poet and her mastery of the craft.


Ira Sukrungruang took the podium next, and read some of his latest nonfiction essays. Sukrungruang is the author of numerous collections of nonfiction, including his memoir Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy. Like Steensen, Sukrungruang demonstrated his skills in crafting nonfiction pieces that are both wildly entertaining and thought provoking. Each essay he read offered his audience a glimpse into his personal history growing up Buddhist in Chicago, but his careful and thoughtful writing made his experiences widely relatable.


As a writer I find these readings are wonderful opportunities to hear exceptional authors read their work, which often helps me in my own writing. Seeing how successful writers craft their poems and essays is a learning experience that every writer at CSU should take advantage of. CSU’s Creative Writing Reading Series will continue to bring authors to campus and I encourage anyone interested in hearing great poetry and prose to attend. Hopefully writers will take from these readings a new piece of knowledge that will help make their writing more insightful, impactful, and beautiful.

Next reading in the Creative Writing Reading Series: Dinty Moore, University Center for the Arts, Museum, Thursday November 13th at 7:30 p.m.

Sponsors of the Reading Series include the English Department and Creative Writing Program at Colorado State University, Organization of Graduate Student Writers through ASCSU, Mike Liggett, Tae Nosaka, and the Poudre River Library District.

All events are free and open to the public. For additional information e-mail andrewnmangan@gmail.com. For a full listing of 2014-2015 Creative Writing Reading series events, please visit: http://english.colostate.edu/docs/reading-series-poster.pdf