In 1983, poet Carolyn Forché made UTSA history when she read from her own work in front of 100 UTSA students. Since then, the Reading Series, created by the creative writing program, has welcomed many famous writers to our campus, such as Tobias Wolff, Denise Levertov, Pat Mora and Edward Hirsch. The program includes up to twelve well-known authors a year. Students are encouraged to attend each reading, to hear the authors read from their novels, and because many authors actually sit down and help the students with their own writing. For 28 years, the Reading Series has helped and entertained thousands of students.
This fall semester, the creative writing department has scheduled four authors to visit the UTSA 1604 campus. The first author to visit the campus this semester will be native Houstonian, Bruce Machart, who graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) from Ohio State University, and now teaches English and creative writing at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts.
Machart made his debut as an author when he wrote “The Wake of Forgiveness.” This strong story follows a boy and his father after the loss of the boy’s mother. The novel grabbed the attention of many critics and was a New York Times Book Review “Editors’ Choice,” and was a finalist for American Bookseller Association’s award for “Debut Book of the Year.” Yet all the great reviews never went to Machart’s head. To him, the only thing that occupies his mind is writing.
“It feels like writing chose me,” Machart said as he explained why he got into writing. “I realized that I was just as interested in ‘how’ stories create meanings as I was in ‘what’ meanings they created. And that is the kind of curiosity that led me to try to write stories.”
Machart just finished his second novel, a collection of short stories called Men in the Making. The story takes place in Lavaca County, Texas and follows an aging man as he tells his wife, who is dying from dementia, stories of his most dramatic moments in life in hopes that he might preserve them in his wife.
“It’s a story about a man who has lost most of what is important to him,” Machart said. “It’s a story about stories.”
Machart goes into details as he explains what writing stories feels like to him by saying: “Stories are the divining rods that bend toward what we have yet to unearth about ourselves.”
You can pick up the novel this fall, or get a sample of some of these moving stories during his reading. Machart has high hopes for the event.
“[Students] can expect a story that makes them laugh, makes them wonder why they’re laughing, and hits them hard in the final sentence,” Machart said.
Machart is already working on his new novel, “Until Daylight Delivers Me.” He didn’t go into details of what his new project is about, but judging on his past work we can assume the novel will have great success. He is staying busy and, unfortunately, he won’t be staying in our city long, but Machart says he is looking forward to eating an authentic taco.
Bruce Machart’s reading will be held at the Harris Room in the UC III building, 2.212, on Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Free parking is available for all Reading Series Events at the 1604 campus in unmarked spaces in Lot #5. Short-term metered parking is available in the South Garage in Lots #7 and #8.