Poets begin writer’s series

Spencer Tordoff / Web Editor

Under stage light in the Museum of the North’s Arnold Espe Auditorium, poets Adam Tavel and John Morgan read selections of their works to an attentive crowd the evening of September 18th.

The first in the UAF English department’s Midnight Sun Visiting writers program, Tavel and Morgan, each chose a variety of new and old poems from their catalogue, before answering

Adam Tavel signs a copy of his book for a fan following the Midnight Sun Visiting Writers reading at UAF Museum of the North, September 18. Spencer Tordoff / Web Editor

Adam Tavel signs a copy of his book for a fan following the Midnight Sun Visiting Writers reading at UAF Museum of the North, September 18. Spencer Tordoff / Web Editor

questions from the audience.

Tavel, who also teaches English at Wor-Wic Community College in Salisbury, Maryland, was selected for the Permafrost book prize for poetry in 2014. As part of the prize, his book, “Plash & Levitation,” was published through the University of Alaska Press.

“If anybody ever asks me when I knew I made it,” Tavel said prior to his reading, “I can tell them now.”

Morgan, professor emeritus with the English department and former writer-in-residence at Denali National Park, filled in at the event following a late cancellation by scheduled poet Heid Erdrich.

“It’s a pleasure to be reading with Adam,” said a smiling Morgan, adding, “though I’m not so happy about following his reading.”

Topics of the works were varied, with Tavel’s selections drawing from his childhood, his fatherhood, and his experiences on the road. Many of Morgan’s selections, by contrast, drew from his time spent in the Alaska wilderness.

Asked for advice for aspiring writers, Tavel said reading extensively and seeking out feedback were important first steps. However, fame and fortune shouldn’t be the aim of literary aspirants.

“I think those are considerations that are fun to dream about, but really they interfere with the hard work of actually becoming a writer,” said Tavel.

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