Inaugural Voices Up: A Creative Writing Student Reading

Thursday, May 3, 2018
Quantá Holden
Photo of four participants in inaugural Voices Up event

On April 19, 2018, the Creative Writing faculty in the English Department at Duke University sponsored the Inaugural Voices Up: A Creative Writing Student Reading event at the Duke Coffeehouse.  Voices Up was designed for students in creative writing courses to share their works. The inaugural event featured eight students that shared their creative writing works with the Duke community. Several of our participants share with us how excited they were to be able to participate in an event like Voices Up, why they feel creative writing is important and their inspiration for the works they shared with us during Voices Up. 

Photo of Lisa Regula at Voices UpLisa Regula
Works Shared: Latina and Ode to My ADHD
Class:  2020
Major:  N/A
Hometown:  San Diego, CA

Lisa presented two of her original works at Voices Up.  Lisa states that she has always been inspired by the vibrant slam poetry scene in her hometown of San Diego, CA and she is appreciative opportunities at Duke like Voices Up that allows her to share her passion for spoken word.  Both pieces shared by Lisa began as projects in English 220S, Intro to Poetry, taught by Ph.D. candidate Hannah Vanderhart and morphed into spoken word, which Lisa stated she is more comfortable and familiar with.

Photo of Vicki Zhang at Voices UpVicki Zhang
Work shared: Cha-Cha
Class:  2020
Majors:  Philosophy and Computer Science
Hometown:  Shanghai, China

For voices Up, Vicki read “Cha-Cha” a work written for Professor Cathy Shuman’s English 420S Advanced Poetry class.  Vicki stated that she was playing with the words, giving the tea matcha a liveliness of the “cha-cha” dance in the creative piece she shared.  While reciting her piece Vicki held up a card with the first character of matcha in Chinese which also means smear.  Vicki invited the audience to stare hard in hopes that they would see an artist smearing paint, despite not know the language – language should never be a problem for human connection.

Photo of Marie-Line LochardMarie-Line Lochard
Work Shared: Hummingbird
Class:  2021
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Hometown: Gaithersburg, MD

Marie-Line read a piece that was inspired by a poem she wrote for Professor Vanderhart’s English 220S, Intro Poetry.  This piece is based on events from the earthquake in Haiti, in which Marie-Line lost family members, her struggle with race and identity and her hummingbird tattoo. Marie-Line was born in Haiti to a Haitian father and Russian mother.  She shares more of her creative writing on her blog: The Moon Fell.

Photo of Brian Lin at Voices Up Brian Lin
Works Shared: New York City in the Form of Long Sentences, Friday Mornings Having Read Autumn of the Patriarch, and Literature
Class:  2018
Major:  Computer Science
Minor:  English
Hometown: Kildeer, IL

Brian shared that the “New York City” piece he shared was inspired by his last summer spent in New York City and books he read for Professors Corin Stan and Michael Moses’ Nobel Literature course.  He stated that his love for writing about himself and the world around him began in high school and he has just kept writing.

Photo of Aaliyah Davy at Voices UpAaliyah Davy
Works Shared: Breathe, Liberation, Ruellia Tuberosa (Duppy Gun), and Genesis Home
Class:  2020
Major:  Biology
Minor: Creative Writing
Hometown:  Spanish Town, JA

During the Voices Up event, Aaliyah shared four pieces that are a part of a larger project she is currently working on.  She shared that the project is about her journey as a Jamaican immigrant and the impact that her upbringing and other cultural differences (i.e., dialect, social norms, the high crime rate in her hometown, etc.) has had on her personal development.  Aaliyah describes this project as a way for her to step back and look at her starting point, where she is now and how the whole transition happened.