Editor’s note: Listen Up is a Q&A featuring locals in the arts and culture community.
This week:Local poet Jan Carroll, who is hosting the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild’s ‘6x6’ reading series that starts Tuesday.
What is ‘6x6?’
It’s a new reading series through the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild where six local writers read their original work —poetry, fiction, nonfiction and memoir — for 6 minutes each. Each participant may only read in the series once. That way lot of people can have a chance to read over time, and it assures that each reading is fresh and unique. Writers of all ages, experiences, genres and disciplines are encouraged to participate.
How did the idea come about?
It is the idea of guild founder BJ Hollars. The goal is to provide more opportunities for writers in the valley to read their work in public — and more opportunity for everyone in the valley to hear the work of a broad range of local authors.
What advantages are there to presenting readers in this format?
Six minutes allows each author to give the audience a taste of his or her work, and with six different authors reading, there can be a really interesting variety of pieces featured, coming from different perspectives and moods, creating an entertaining and thought-provoking evening.
Why ‘6x6’ (not 7x7 or 8x8)?
Six minutes is a good length of time to present a short story, memoir or a few poems, and keeping it to six readers, with introductions and such, makes an intriguing but not overly long program.
Who will be presenting at this reading?
Readers for the first 6x6 include: Local writer and National Novel Writing Month enthusiast Aimee Johnson; Paul Thomas, professor of physics and astronomy at UW-Eau Claire Paul Thomas; Jennifer Golat, avid live music fan and music manager; Anders Shafer, retired UW-Eau Claire art professor and artist; Dan Zerr, musician and environmental scientist and educator; and Jennifer Hazen, singer and mental health counselor.
How are the readers chosen?
Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Sign me up” in the subject line to let us know you’d like to be a part of a future 6x6 reading. We will choose a range of readers from that list for each future reading.
How often will the series take place?
What do you hope writers get out of this series? What about listeners?
It’s a chance for writers to have their work heard, make connections with others about their writing and to practice presenting their work publicly.
Each group of six readers will workshop what they’ve written a week or so before they read.
This is a great chance to get feedback on your work, to learn some presentation tips and to get rid of any nervous jitters.
For listeners, it’s a chance to hear a wide range of literary voices and perspectives and to enjoy the rich ongoing local literary scene — and maybe to be inspired to pick up the pen and write something!
— Katy Macek