By BRYNN SAITO, program coordinator for the Department of Writing, Consciousness, and Creative Inquiry
Last Wednesday, nearly 40 members of the CIIS community gathered in the 4th floor staff lounge for the second installation of the Brown Bag Reading Series, which showcases the creative work of faculty and staff here at the institute.
Dorotea Reyna, director of development, and Sandra Pacheco, faculty member in the School of Undergraduate Studies, treated us to stories and poems about the resiliency born from traversing the borderlands of their many identities: mother, writer, daughter, Chicana, professor, poet. “The fact that both Dorotea and Sandra felt safe in our community to share their passions and intimate selves was a moving and inspiring moment for all of us,” said CIIS President Joseph Subbiondo. “This series is a tribute to CIIS.”
Initiated by President Subbiondo, Zack Rogow, senior editor in the Communications Department, and Cindy Shearer, Program Chair of the MFA in Creative Inquiry, Interdisciplinary Arts and the MFA in Writing and Consciousness, the Brown Bag Reading Series has been a wonderful way for our community to get to know one another, through the sharing of food and art. Zack Rogow, poet and translator, lyrically and skillfully opened the series in October with a lively reading of poems from his latest collection, "The Number Before Infinity."
The Brown Bag Reading Series isn’t held at the best venue; there’s no sound system and lighting isn’t all that great. But the food is wonderful (thanks to catering by local Thai and Mediterranean restaurants—CIIS’ version of brown-bagging a lunch) and the work shared is intimate, brave, and moving. Full of food and good feeling, we return to our workdays and courses feeling a little more inspired. Art, at its best, reminds us of who we are—it touches something core in us, breaks us open. I feel fortunate to work at a place that values this quality, and I look forward the ways in which the arts continue to live here at CIIS.
The Brown Bag Reading Series takes place twice a semester, in the 4th floor staff lounge from noon-1 pm. For more information on the series, email firstname.lastname@example.org.