Shelley Wong shares work at Good Thunder reading

Shelley Wong, poet and author of “As She Appears,” spoke at the Good Thunder Reading Series event Thursday. The Good Thunder Reading Series takes place in the form of workshops, readings and craft talks in order to allow students to engage with visiting writers and speakers.

Wong said her love for writing dates back to her childhood. 

“I always loved reading growing up since my mother was an elementary school teacher and always read to me aloud,” said Wong. “I loved going to the library, and I really carried that through my education, starting with second grade when I wrote my first poem about spiders during Halloween.”

She also said she continued her writing journey through college and transitioning through different occupations. 

“As an English major at Berkeley, I was a high school and college newspaper journalist,” she said. “I took time off because I was kind of burnt out so I spent my twenties in New York City, working in medical publishing and grant writing while going to Parsons School of Fashion Design. That didn’t work out so I transitioned back to going to poetry workshops, applied to graduate school at Ohio State and continued to nurture my writing practice until I published my debut book last year.”

Wong said events such as the Good Thunder Reading Series events are important learning opportunities for students. 

“I think it’s really awesome that the Minnesota State Mankato MFA Program brings in visiting writers of all different genres and aesthetics each year to engage with the students,” Wong said. “As a former MFA student myself, I valued the opportunity to work with visiting writers who brought in different aesthetics, different backgrounds and different points of view than my professors to inject new energy and ways of writing.”

Anika Rossow Strasser, an interdisciplinary studies student at MSU Mankato, said she looked forward to learning about Wong’s experience. 

“I look forward to hearing about the poet’s different ideas and styles of writing because of their unique perspectives,” said Rossow Strasser. “I am curious to see what her own experiences and possible challenges are as an LGBTQ writer.”

She also said such events can help students on their path to becoming writers themselves. 

“I think it opens people’s eyes to a potential pathway,” she said. “Whether they want to do it as a hobby or a professional career, it shows people they can put it into practice.”

Kaleb Braun-Schulz, an MSU undergraduate creative writing student, said the event is helpful to students majoring in creative writing. 

“I think it is important to expose ourselves to people who have had success in writing as well as different types of authors,” he said. “Knowing that these people are actual writers is encouraging.”

Header photo: Shelley Wong spoke to students and faculty Thursday about her poetry and the journey she took to become a published author. (Nathanael Tilahun/The Reporter)

Write to Grace Anderson at grace.anderson.3@mnsu.edu

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