The Voices Reading Series hosted two St. Mary’s graduates, fiction writer Tony Quick and poet Michele K. Johnson, on Thursday, Nov. 21. Many students and visitors alike attended the reading, proud of what St. Mary’s College alumni have accomplished since their time at the school. The Voices series has seen a steady increase in popularity since recent readings, and both alumni shared their excitement for returning to the school as part of their opening.
Michele K. Johnson is currently pursuing an MFA with a concentration in poetry at George Mason University, where she teaches Composition and Literature, as well as Creative Writing. She is also the editor-in-chief of the university’s literary magazine. Johnson chose to share some samplings from her upcoming book. The first part of her reading was based off the physical aspect of memory. She wanted to share her personal history by relating her poetry to past relationships without being “too sentimental.”
Johnson is fascinated by the idea that “history is everyone’s business before it was made personal.” The second part of Johnson’s reading was based on the physical aspect of mining, meaning “to dig to the core” and taking ownership for one’s actions and life. The third and final samples from her book were based on her memories of certain places at St. Mary’s College. During the question and answer session after the reading, Johnson explained that her writing style sounds effortless, but that it actually takes many revisions to produce the beautifully written imagery and vivid descriptions that define her work.
Next, the Voices audience welcomed Tony Quick, who has had success at Iowa State University where he teaches English and is an editor for the university’s fiction writing journal. Quick combined his interest in crime movies with his religious beliefs. The story he shared with the audience left a lasting impression, using both Catholicism and an intricate crime story of two brothers to show how people respond to violence.
Specifically, Quick explored how people are often both repulsed and intrigued by the violent stories in today’s culture. Quick is attracted to alliteration and rhythmic writing, and he tries to incorporate these styles into his own writing by creating an audibly pleasing story and dialogue. The audience was intrigued by Quick’s dynamic fiction writing and Johnson’s inspirational poetry. St. Mary’s was honored to have these alumni return to share their success stories and accomplishments with students and visitors alike.