Local writers share excerpts, discuss with audience
February 15, 2018
A Zeitgeist Bay Area reading and Q&A event featured three published LGBTQ Bay Area writers.
The Feb. 7 event was a collaboration between various groups including The Santa Clara Review, The Rainbow Resource Center, The Office for Multicultural Learning, Foglifter Press and the English department.
Zeitgeist, a German word meaning “the essence of a time and place” is used to describe the “spirit” of a particular moment.
English professor Miah Jeffra, who hosted the event, described Zeitgeist Bay Area as an effort to “delve complexly into what it means to be a writer, an artist, a citizen of this at once highly mythologized, wonderful and problematic region of our country.”
The writers Nils Michals, Michal “MJ” Jones and Arisa White read excerpts of their work, as well as answered questions about poetry and writing from the students in attendance.
All of the poets spoke about their experiences as local writers.
The event also included readings of poet Baruch Porras-Hernandez, who was unable to attend.
“[It was] an experience that a lot of people don’t get to have,” junior Nora McGinley said, who attended the event as part of Jeffra’s Advanced Writing class. “It was really cool to have them read the poetry live. It made me feel like I got contact with something that’s missing.”
The theme of the evening was the concept that a society is understood most through its cultural production.
This was reflective in the poetry and prose the writers read, as well as the questions asked by audience members regarding topics such as writing about political division and civil discourse.
Zeitgeist was an unpacking of the Bay Area and an exploration of the current spirit of the region.
“I feel we did our job, and underlined the purpose of the university: to share ideas in an environment that is open to investigating and appreciating the complexity of our time,” Jaffra said.
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