By Hannah Amante
A Few Lines Magazine hosted a reading of their first chapbook, “Cosmonauts,” by William Winfield Wright on Saturday in Orion C from 5 to 8 p.m.
Wright is a poet, Fulbright scholar and English professor at Colorado Mesa University. “Cosmonauts” is his first published chapbook. He became involved with A Few Lines after submitting several poems through the online form for the magazine.
A Few Lines Magazine was started last spring by five English literature students at Cal Poly Pomona. Matthew Razo, the public relations editor, said he had been inspired by CPP’s “learn by doing” motto and gathered some friends to help form an outlet for creative expression.
“Our goal is to have more of an on-campus presence,” said Razo. “We want more open mics, and we want the magazine to give artists a place where they feel secure and confident and meet with friends from their classes.”
The magazine has released three quarterly issues and became its own publishing group registered with the Library of Congress. This was the magazine’s first on-campus event; they have hosted several open mics at Coffee Klatch in Rancho Cucamonga.
The evening began with live music from some friends of the magazine. The reading went from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Wright read from “Cosmonauts,” which is a collection of poems loosely based around the culture of space exploration during the Cold War Era.
“I like to find things out, and I like to make things up,” said Wright.
He kicked off his reading with some film-themed poems that were not in the chapbook. He then alternated between reading selections from “Cosmonauts” and several other poems, including a few that did not make the final cut.
“There are three million things you could do on a Saturday night, and yet you all chose to be here to listen to my poems,” said Razo.
The reading was followed by a question and answer session. Audience members asked several questions about his revision process, what inspired him and why he chose poetry as his preferred medium of expression.
One of the attendees was Javier Gallegos, a grad student working on his master’s degree in English.
“I was invited by my friends in the magazine,” said Gallegos. “I’m not big on poetry, but I was actually very impressed. I enjoyed hearing about science, gravity, forces and space. I definitely prefer hearing poetry out loud as opposed to just reading it in a book.”
Wright also enjoyed his time at CPP.
“I thought it was really fun and I enjoyed the mix of good music and poetry,” Wright said during the meet-and-greet after the reading. “The people at A Few Lines have been generous about praising my work and encouraging me to come out.”
Wright is also a believer in reading and hearing poetry out loud.
“I only get to do this a couple times a year and it’s good to see people’s immediate responses,” said Wright. “We’re also taught since middle school to read very fast and ‘don’t subvocalize, don’t subvocalize,’ but that’s hard and I still do it.”
Jesse Smith, the magazine’s content editor, spoke about the importance of having figures such as Wright submit to the publication.
“[Wright] was one of the first people from academia to submit to us,” said Smith. “After we started A Few Lines, we wanted to expand and publish individual authors. We’ve been fortunate to get quality submissions from all over the world. It’s really cool that as CPP English majors we’re taking the reading skills we learned in class and using them to make someone’s work accessible to others.”
Razo said the magazine is a platform for expression open to all CPP students.
“Part of the reason I wanted to start the magazine was to kill the perception of English majors being elitist,” said Razo. “We wanted to make it so anybody can feel comfortable, like your next door neighbor would want to submit, or just anyone who really loves writing.”
Students interested in learning more about the magazine should visit
Alfonso Villegas / The Poly Post
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