By Selene Sorto
Every academic year, the California Writers Series brings writers to the CSUB campus, where a reading is done at the Dezember Reading Room in the Walter Stiern Library. This year, on Oct. 2, CWS presented Clarence Major, a poet, novelist, painter, and professor emeritus of English at UC Davis. Just knowing all he does was enough to attract an overflowing room of staff and students.
Major has received a Western States Award for fiction, two Pushcart Prizes, a Fulbright Fellowship and a fellowship from the National Council on the Arts. He has published 15 poetry books and 8 novels within his career. His most recently published text is “Down and Up,” which is where he took his readings from.
He read several pieces that were just wonderful to hear: “The Argument,” “The Sister,” and “Together” to name a few, along with some poems from his previous book. Major told his audience that many of these pieces were personal. In these cases, he puts his personal experiences in third person to gain a different perspective.
Following the reading, there was a discussion in which the audience seemed interested in learning more about Major.
He’s clearly a man of knowledge in his profession, meaning he’s dealt through most things writers usually deal with, such as writer’s block, changes in personal style and search for inspiration.
After the reading and discussion, Russo’s Books held a raffle for two book copies. Two lucky winners got their books signed, along with others in the audience who purchased it. Students among the crowd had positive words to say.
“It was nice; very concrete,”said Lidia Gomez, a 22-yearold business management major.“I could see where he was coming from.”
Ashley Fischer, a 27-year-oldEnglish student, said, “I’m very impressed with the quality and the program. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
I also got the chance to speak to Dr. Marit MacArthur, a CSUB English professor, who helped prepare the event. She explained a little about the selecting process. In her words, “I try to choose a variety of writers that will appeal, who are fairly accessible, but also who show the range of literature written in California.”This free public event was part of the California Writer Series,which takes place every academic year.
Poets & Writers, Dr.Nancy Edwards, the School of Arts and Humanities, the CSUB English Department, Sigma Tau Delta, and the English Honors Society sponsored the occasion. It’s something to take advantage of so make sure to keep your eyes open for the next reading.