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Open House 2017

Cal Poly Summer Reading Series to Feature Local Authors Sept. 18

Local authors Mary Stewart Atwell and Paula C. Lowe will read from their work as part of the Cal Poly Summer Literary Reading Series at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, in Room 249 of the Pilling Computer Science Building (No. 14) on campus. 

Mary Stewart Atwell
Mary Stewart Atwell

Atwell recently arrived in San Luis Obispo to teach creative writing in Cal Poly’s English Department. She is the author of the novel “Wild Girls.” Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies “Best American Mystery Stories” and “Best New American Voices” and in journals including Epoch and Alaska Quarterly Review. 

Atwell’s work is not for the sheepish reader, said Karen Russell, author of “Swamplandia!” “Fire-lit from start to finish, ‘Wild Girls’ is a story of Appalachian magic, conflagration and supernatural violence,” Russell said. “It is also a quiet and keenly perceptive account of the close ties (and the noose knots) that bind adolescent female friendships. 

“Atwell has written a fantastic hybrid, part horror story and part bildungsroman: an elegy to the midnight selves that girls try to destroy, overcome, ‘outgrow’ on the way to adulthood, and a testament to their uncanny resilience.” 

Lowe, an editor and publisher, has lived in the area for many years. Current co-publisher at Big Yes Press and former editor of the journal Solo, Lowe’s poems appear in Poet Lore, The Comstock Review, Tule Review, Askew, The Iowa Review, Dogwood, Sow’s Ear and in the anthologies “Bird as Black as the Sun” and “Poems For Endangered Places.” Her latest book, “moo,” was released earlier this year. 

Paula Lowe
Paula Lowe

Sure to appeal to a general audience and particularly to folks with agricultural backgrounds, many of the poems in “moo” focus on the experience of women and men who immigrated to the U.S. in the early 20th century, settling into lives of hardscrabble farming in the upper Midwest. 

“Paula Lowe’s highly tactile, empathetic poems make the past immediate,” said Kevin Clark, director of the Cal Poly Summer Literary Reading Series. 

As Marsha de la O of the journal Askew said, “Time nearly stops in the field of these poems with their stunning centripetal force. Each moment lasts!”

The reading is sponsored by Cal Poly’s English Department and is free and open to the public. Parking passes are $5 and are available at the automatic dispensing machines in the parking loop in front of the Performing Arts Center and at the Highland Avenue entrance to campus. 

The Pilling Computer Science Building is located in the heart of campus, near Dexter Lawn, between Engineering East and Engineering West. Campus maps are available online: maps.calpoly.edu. 

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