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  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Two creative writing graduate students will present their poetry on Thursday

  • A. Lorean Hartness and Matthew Manning, Pittsburg State University creative writing graduate students, will present a free public reading as their thesis defense at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in room 409, Russ Hall.

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  • A. Lorean Hartness and Matthew Manning, Pittsburg State University creative writing graduate students, will present a free public reading as their thesis defense at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in room 409, Russ Hall.
    They will each read poems from their collections, then answer questions from the audience. A reception will follow.
    While the reading serves a serious academic purpose, Dr. Chris Anderson, one of their thesis advisers, also believes it will be enjoyable for those attending.
    “We’re really excited to get a chance to showcase these students,” he said. “They’ve each worked hard to write their poetry collections. This is really going to be an entertaining event.”
    A. Lorean Hartness will be reading poetry from her collection titled “The Winter Couple,” which focuses on capturing chaotic events of life in order to gain understanding of them through her complex usage of imagery, sound and meter.
    She said that her interest in writing began at an early age.
    “I’ve always been fascinated with sound and using words to create art,” Hartness said. “For me, creative writing, especially poetry, opens up a very intimate dialogue between writer and reader. I love it and I especially love how the possibilities are endless when it comes to poetry. No topic is unreachable.”
    The poems in “The Winter Couple” cover a broad spectrum of subjects, ranging from the personal, including a poem from the perspective of a bus driver in love with one of his daily patrons and afraid to confess it, to a global scale, including the devastating images from the earthquake and tsunami that recently hit Japan.
    “I cover a lot in my collection, but each poem focuses on ordering the chaotic and confusing life we live, allowing resolution to develop for me and the reader. Poetry is the perfect venue for doing this,” Hartness said. “My poems arise from ordinary life and from life’s most intense moments, the ones that seem impossible to internalize, like the death of a loved one or the feelings when the first images of Japan’s tsunami hit the news. I don’t always come completely to terms with the chaos, but at least the poems provide some sense of rationality.”
    Matthew Manning will read from his collection titled “The Baker’s Parade,” in which he uses free verse to provide interesting moments of contact between two things. He intends for his poems to find significance in what is often overlooked.
    “I want to show my readers what they might have missed during their drive to work, or even what might be peering at them from just outside of their office windows,” he said. “We are connected in more ways than I think we realize. Poetry allows me to show a connection that makes my readers change how they look at the world.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Manning said that poetry has always been an outlet for him to express himself.
    “If I had to place a date on when I really started, it would be about 12,” he said.
    Manning received a bachelor of arts degree from Arizona State University. He attended numerous poetry readings, including those by his favorite, Lucille Clifton.
    “There is something that is so entertaining about poetry,” he said. “When you watch a poet read and speak the sounds they intended for their work, it is like nothing else.”
    Manning said that his poems often deal with imagined encounters and the mysterious, unknowable things of this world.
    “I also write poems that are semi-autobiographical and are set in the everyday, in real places, like in the poem, ‘Grandma Lived on a Golf Course,’ which draws on my own experience as a child, visiting my grandmother at her house in Colorado,” he said.
    His favorite of all the poems he’s written is one that isn’t finished, and was written about the experience of sitting with his grandfather on the back porch of his parents’ home three months before his grandfather died.
    “The only image that stays with me was how long we listened to the leaves being played like an instrument by the wind,” Manning said. “A draft of the poem was accepted in ‘Marooned,’ which was a literary magazine at Arizona State University.”
    He lived in Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Colorado, Arizona and Missouri before coming to Kansas.
    “I found my voice in my writing during my studies here at Pittsburg State University with Laura Washburn,” Manning said.

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