Visiting Writers Series kicks off at Northeast


NORFOLK – The first of three Visiting Writers Series of 2018 kicked off Wednesday with JV Brummels and Marjorie Saiser in the students center. Bonnie Johnson-Bartee has been leading and organizing, as well as getting in contact with Nebraska writers for the Visiting Writers Series for five years.

Writing is a talent Brummels picked up from a young age. In college he enrolled in a poetry writing workshop. Brummels said he used the workshop as an anchor to maintain his interest in poetry. Since then he has managed to share his work with others. “A Short Reach of Fall Leaves,” “What Goes Around Comes Around” and “The Wheels Fall Off” are some of his well-known pieces. “Staring at the blank page will stop you from writing,” Brummels said. “You have to let yourself write something bad and the rest will come easy, including knowing when to stop.” Brummels has come far with his writing, but his journey is yet to come to an end. His advice to all people who want to become writers is “go for it, and wait for a reaction.”

Saiser is all about establishing a connection with her listeners and readers. Her favorite thing about writing poetry is connecting with people. “For me it is a very important thing to connect with people I don’t know. They don’t know my rivers, my landscapes and my family which is what the poems in the middle section of my book is about. Somebody I don’t know whose landscape is different from mine would connect with the feelings in my poems,” Saiser said. She has made connections all the way around the world, even in New Zealand. Before the event she was most excited to be with people who are interested in the written and spoken word. Being around readers and writers also keeps her motivated — going to writing groups and readings at bookstores and coffee shops. “I read a lot but getting to hear it out loud is inspiring,” Saiser said. She is also inspired by her surroundings which is shown through her poetry. “I live half of the year in Arizona so there is that landscape of the desert, the sky and cacti. Then I come back to Nebraska, which is my true home, and it is renewal to feel it all again after being away,” Saiser said.

Bartee wants the attendees of the event to leave feeling something. “With all the technology that’s available, there’s so much instant gratification out there that a lot of people don’t take the time just to sit and really appreciate the moment, which is really what these readings are about,” Bartee said. Her favorite thing about the Visiting Writers Series is that she gets to meet so many wonderful people. “I have a lot of Nebraska authors and poets. I get to learn so much from these people, and it helps influence my own writing,” she said.

Come listen to Sean Doolittle on Oct. 17 and Cat Dixon and Emily Borgmann on Nov. 14 in hawk’s landing.