The birds are chirping, Tuesday’s hail has totally melted and yesterday was the last day of classes for Spring 2017. Our students have just turned in their final portfolios, so there’s a bit of grading left to do (along with a few term papers / final projects due next week), but this is a time of celebration. The school put on Union Fest yesterday, which meant free food, live music and sunburns on Prexy’s Pasture all afternoon. At night, they had a hypnotist perform just before a screening of “Get Out,” which I’m going to believe is intentionally ironic.
But while the rest of the student body was getting a taste of the horrors Catherine Keener can perpetuate with a teacup, the MFA program kicked off its first night of thesis readings, celebrating the amazing soon-to-be graduates and the great work they’ve done over the past two years. Bethann Merkle, Emily Pifer and Kat Williams read from their work at Night Heron, a local bookstore / former brothel (they’re all former brothels in Laramie), current home to backlit photos and Waldo.
Bethann read a passage from “Naming the Bones” that drew a brilliant portrait of the magpie and the varied ways we’ve tried to catch her, to contain her, over the years.
Emily’s introduction to “The Distance Between Bodies” haunted us with its description of forms, corporeal and otherwise, and the fires that transform one into the other.
Kat finished the night with an excerpt from “Treatment” that sharply examines grief and identity with equal parts humor, empathy and regret.
Two turn tables and a microphone (or, if you want to compete with the hats of Brad and Nat, you’d best be as tall as Ammon).