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Writing community gathers for final event of Community & World Literary Series

Authors+Leah+Lakshmi+Piepzna-Samarasinha+and+Hugo+Garc%C3%ADa+Manr%C3%ADquez+pose+for+a+photo+at+the+final+event+of+the+Community+%26+World+Literary+Series+on+Nov.+16.
Authors Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha and Hugo García Manríquez pose for a photo at the final event of the Community & World Literary Series on Nov. 16.

Authors Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha and Hugo García Manríquez pose for a photo at the final event of the Community & World Literary Series on Nov. 16.

Annelisa Zamora

Annelisa Zamora

Authors Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha and Hugo García Manríquez pose for a photo at the final event of the Community & World Literary Series on Nov. 16.

Annelisa Zamora, Assistant Arts Editor

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On Nov. 16, CSUSM’s Literature & Writing department hosted its final event of the fall semester’s four-part Community & World Literary series.

The night was filled with readings from two authors: Hugo García Manriquez, whose work has been published extensively in Mexico and the U.S., and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, a queer Sri Lankan femme disabled poet and award-winning author.

Manriquez read from both the English and Spanish sections of his book Anti-Humboldt: A Reading of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Dealing with the tension of the U.S.-Mexico border, Manriquez said the way he wrote his book was a “strange process.” He said he focused on “just responding to the document not necessarily from an intellectual point of view but just reacting and responding as someone born and raised in Mexico during [that time].”

Piepzna-Samarasinha read poems from her book, Bodymap, and a few from her upcoming poetry book, Tongue Breaker. Piepzna-Samarasinha’s reading was energetic to say the least. Her frequent use of swear words kept the audience on their toes as the poet read of her experiences with suicide, sexuality, mental health and pain disorders.

When asked what it was like writing about her sexuality and coming out as queer, Piepzna-Samarasinha said, “I don’t wanna be like ‘it gets better’ because f— that, but it gets easier and I don’t think there’s one right [way] of coming out.”

Markenstein 104 was overflowing with students and staff. While most in attendance were Literature & Writing professors or majors, the event offered “a chance to hear and interact with writers exploring subjects of crucial contemporary relevance” for those “who think of [themselves] as a writer, someone who wants to be a writer, or someone who’s interested in any of the amazing possibilities in contemporary literature, art, culture, politics or history,” according to online sources.

The Community & World Literary series will hold more events in the Spring.

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