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Unafraid to take risks: CMU creative writing faculty members unveil newest writing


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English Literature and Language faculty member Robert Fanning reads his new poetry at the Faculty Writers Series in the Charles V. Park Library Baber room Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020.

Despite a night that saw temperatures hover between 10 and 15 degrees, by 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9 in Charles V. Park Library’s Baber room there was standing room only as English Language and Literature faculty members Darrin Doyle and Robert Fanning exhibited some of their most recent published—and unpublished—works. 

The event was the latest installment of the Central Michigan University College of English Department’s biannual Faculty Writers Series.

“It’s always an amazing experience for me to feel so supported by the students and colleagues, and I love to hear the work of the other creative writing professors,” Doyle said.

Doyle, a fiction writer, read two excerpts from an unpublished novel he has been working on, tentatively titled, “The Desultory Beast of West Sparling Road.” Fanning, an author of poetry, presented a number of newly published poems for the first time.

Each writer’s work covered a variety of topics. However, one recurrent theme throughout the night was self-expression through writing and writing from the heart.

“I think that’s one of the joys of [writing] and one of the challenges of it,” Fanning said. “We go down inside of our lives… Life happens, especially now at breakneck speed, and poetry slows us down, gives us a chance to process our emotions and all of the pain and joy filtering through us.”

Other themes that prevailed during the event were those of taking risks and not being afraid to present new ideas and material as writers. Both authors exemplified this, speaking of how, in presenting new work, they were assuming the risk typically taken on by students, who present their new work in classes, such as creative writing. 

“I actually enjoyed it. Some of [the poems] touched on serious topics that a lot of people don’t like discussing,” Chicago Junior Tana Burks-rich said.

An indicator of the night’s success, many students stayed afterward to speak with the faculty members and purchase autographed copies of their works.

“I hope [students] were stirred, and I hope they were inspired,” Fanning said.

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