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Students experience poetry, prof-rock at final Wellspring event of 2018-19 year


Poet Russell Brakefield reads his poetry at the Wellspring Literary Series on April 16.

Poetry, fiction and rock ‘n’ roll were all featured at the final Wellspring Literary Series event of the 2018-19 academic year.

The event, held at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Michigan in downtown Mount Pleasant on April 15, received a turnout of about 100 people.

Central Michigan University graduate student James Champion kicked off the night with the reading of a short story and poem.

After Champion, the main reader of the night, Russell Brakefield, took the stage.

Brakefield, an alumnus of CMU’s creative writing program, primarily read poetry from his recent folk-music-inspired book, “Field Recordings”.

Brakefield was excited to return to his alma mater and witness the ways in which it changed for the better.

“I went to CMU, and it was where I developed my passion for writing, for teaching, for just being an artist-person,” Brakefield said. “It’s sort of exceptional to be able to come back, see some people that I haven’t seen in a long time, see new people and just see how the arts community is thriving here.”

The final event of the night was a performance by CMU faculty-led rock band Daryl & the Beans. The band, made up of English language and literature faculty Darrin Doyle, Robert Fanning and Jeffrey Bean played a full set, culminating in a rousing acoustic heavy metal rendition of CMU’s “Alma Mater” song.

Fanning, the founder of the Wellspring series, thinks that the series shows the support that CMU and Mount Pleasant have for the arts.

“I’ll tell you, I’ve been to major cities where you have routinely 15-30 people, and that’s a good amount for a poetry reading,” Fanning said. “We get 100 people to these readings almost every time. It’s incredible, the support for the series. It’s just something special about this town.”

The event was moved to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship from its usual location at the Art Reach Center of Mid-Michigan to provide more seating. Despite that, latecomers to the reading were left with standing room only.

Midland freshman Clarissa Martin thinks that the event shows the lighter side of CMU.

“I think sometimes Central is a little uptight, and so it’s cool to go to an event like this that’s CMU endorsed that’s so lighthearted and fun,” said Martin. “You don’t feel like you have to be here, it’s just a fun experience.”

Daryl & the Beans merchandise can still be purchased by contacting any of the three band members, and Russell Brakefield’s book “Field Recordings” is available here.