On Thursday Nov. 3 in Sturm 451 at 8 p.m., a reading was hosted by the Creative Writing Department at the University of Denver, featuring readings by Yanara Friedland and Jennifer Denrow.
The event was very casual, with ambient lighting and a friendly vibe that made it less nerve wracking for the speakers to share their work, which both touched on fairly personal subjects at times. Copies of their books were available for purchase as well as free snacks and refreshments.
“Yanara Friedland is a German-American writer, translator, and teacher. She earned a PhD from the University of Denver. She is the author of the novel Uncountry: A Mythology (Noemi Press, forth-coming 2016), winner of the Noemi Fiction Prize.” (Poetry Foundation)
It was from this book that she read her expert from. Her work focused on the relations between locals and foreigners in countries and her experiences being both. In small sections of prose, she touched upon many things such as: mythology, jewish biblical references, and surrealism.
“Jennifer Denrow is the author of California. Her chapbooks include How We Know it is That (Horse Less Press, 2014) and From California, On (Brave Men Press, 2012). Her writing has appeared in journals such as Gulf Coast, jubilat, Alaska Quarterly Review, Octopus, and Poets.Org. Denrow holds a PhD from the University of Denver and is the recipient of a fellowship in Creative Writing from the National Endowment for the Arts.” (Poetry Foundation)
“I am so grateful for this opportunity to come back to DU.” Denrow said before her readings, which were all from her manuscript that was soon to be released.
Her work focused on the experience of growing up as a woman and the experiences in sexuality that come along with that. She spoke a lot about her roots in the midwest and offered vivid details that painted a scene of extreme heart yet extreme emptiness.
She was very wise for her young age and was very nervous at the beginning of her readings, even shedding a tear during one of her poems titled, “The Place of Emergence.”
In her author’s statement, she says that, “For me, the most important thing is to go out into something and write from there. I can feel the world when this happens–that seems important.”
Both readers shared pieces that elicited a personal response from the audience. Upon going to this event, one was bound to be moved by the eloquent words. Their commentary on realism as opposed to surrealism is one that is highly applicable to everyone’s lives and society at this time and place, with the inner thoughts and outer expressions of people becoming more and more removed from the other.
Friedland summed up this feeling in her reading with one simple quote: “It is so strange to say out loud what you think.”