On Thursday night, Minnesota State University Mankato continued their Good Thunder Reading Series with MSU poet and 2019 Robert C. Wright award winner Liz Lanier as well as poet Bao Phi.
Phi spent the day on campus visiting a variety of creative writing classes to teach and learn from students. He opened up about his life experiences and talked about how he turned these events into many forms of poetry. Phi also helped students write their own pieces of work by giving tips.
Lanier was the first to take the stage and share her stories in the Ostrander Auditorium. She performed one of her well known short story pieces about two young boys finding a skeleton, and with this she kept the audience’s attention until the end.
I asked Lanier where she gets inspiration for her work, and there isn’t a straightforward answer for any artistic person for this question. She told me, “I guess I take little nuggets from past memories to use as a jumping point and use my imagination to continue off of that. I’ll also branch off ideas from reading other pieces of work to come up with new ideas”. Thinking of new ideas doesn’t come instantly, but instead when you least expect it.
Following this, Phi came to the stage to share some of his poetry work. Many, if not all, pieces of his writing are based off both the internal and external racism he has experienced and continues to throughout his life. Every person in the audience was moved and saddened by the hatred some people will spew onto others in order to make themselves feel superior. Phi also made sure to lighten the mood with jokes and light-hearted readings as well.
The next Good Thunder Reading will take place on Thursday, March 26 with poet and essayist Ross Gay performing pieces of his work.
Header photo courtesy of the Good Thunder’s website.