Community, Edge

Author shares childhood short stories at USpeak

Award-winning essayist, fiction writer and Miami native Jaquira Diaz shook the Wesley House with spoken word Friday night.

This event was part of the USpeak Flash Fiction & Poetry Performance Series. These bimonthly events held by the College of Arts and Sciences, the English Department’s Creative Writing Program and the undergraduate Mangrove Literary Journal are a chance for aspiring or established writers to read, perform, or sing their pieces at the open mic.

As the event’s featured speaker, Diaz boasts a host of writing accolades. She is a recipient of a Pushcart Prize, the Carl Djerassi Fiction Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and an NEA Fellowship to the Hambidge Center for the Arts.

Diaz read two pieces from her current project, a book of short stories inspired by her childhood.

“It’s like a book of really, really, short stories, except they’re all true,” Diaz said.

The first piece, “El Casarillo,” depicted growing up in the projects as a young girl and finding her place amongst the rough-and-tumble neighborhood boys. Though it ended with a morbid murder scene, Diaz quipped, “That was the funny one.”

The second piece, “Ordinary Girls,” followed an adolescent girl as she contemplated and attempted suicide, abused drugs and alcohol, and won and lost love. Despite the somber topics, this piece earned thunderous applause.

Student works ranged in topics from heartbreak to cello lessons to milk allergies. Some read solemnly, some with foot-stamping passion, and some sang their pieces.

The Wesley House was filled to the brim, chair-less attendees spilling out into the hallway with some even leaning against the front door. The complimentary cookies were gone before anyone spoke a stanza.

Some of those faces were first-time visitors to the USpeak series, whether they were writers themselves or just appreciators.

“I thought, for it being my first time at an open mic night, that it was really intense, but it also was a very supportive environment for people to showcase their work,” said freshman Sissi Chinea, a creative writing major.

The Mangrove will host two more USpeak series events this semester in the CAS Gallery in the Wesley Foundation Building. The last guest speaker event will take place on March 19 at 7 p.m. and feature Miami poet Denise Duhamel.

February 27, 2015

Reporters

Haley Walker


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

A six-pack of Canes notes on a Friday: ▪ UM coach Mark Richt hasn’t yet given any indication to the ...

There are few players across Florida whose recruitment has been harder to parse than Derick Hunter’s ...

While University of Miami fans are not exactly thrilled about their Hurricanes going against the Wis ...

There was a time John Dixon looked like he would have his choice of just about any college he wanted ...

Part 2 of a 3-part series Former Marlins president David Samson, now unshackled by any contractual r ...

Following national recognition for its French production of Cinderella, the Frost Opera Theater is d ...

Several UM art students are getting real-world exposure during a highly anticipated – and attended – ...

Over the past several years, more and more students are using UM Libraries as a study place, a meeti ...

A record number of gifts have been collected across UM campuses to benefit children and seniors in t ...

Former Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Barak, who previously served as minister of the interior and mi ...

Following its longest break of the season thus far, the No. 25/23 Miami women's basketball team ...

After a six-day layoff, the No. 25/23 Miami women's basketball team will be back in action Sund ...

Miami head women's tennis coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews announced Friday the signing of two players ...

University of Miami redshirt senior defensive tackle Gerald Willis III was recognized for his outsta ...

The University of Miami's redshirt senior setter Haley Templeton was named to the 2018 AVCA All ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.