The Coffee Cave hosted the last MFA student reading of the semester Tuesday evening. Theevening began with first year fiction writer Nancy Mendez-Booth, introduced by NancyToomey. Nancy read her an excerpt from “The Unspoken,” her story of love and loss in 1930’sPuerto Rico. This polished story took us out of Newark to a land of intense spiritual belief anddevastated dreams, evoking emotions in the audience ranging from hope to despair.
Melissa Adamo then introduced first year poet Marina Carreira, whose poems brought us backhome to Newark. Her poems about her grandmother, including one from the perspective of hergrandmother’s dog, are full of love and wonderful images. She followed them with poems aboutgrowing up, and ended with two poems about the Ironbound that made me want to take a strolldown Ferry Street and beyond to discover it fully for myself.
Kevin Catalano introduced the final reader, JJ Koczan, second year fiction writer, who took usfirst to the Jersey suburb of Whippany, then all the way to outer space, with his humorous andenchanting story of an eleven year old’s first lawn mowing experience, “Billy and the Men fromSpace.” He finished up the reading with his very funny short piece “Truck in the Yard.”
Congratulations, readers, for a fine performance and entertaining evening, and thank you foryour efforts and enthusiasm. Our gratitude and appreciation also go out to Armin Tolentinofor arranging and mc-ing the readings, to our professors for their ongoing help and support,and to John and the Coffee Cave for providing their awesome space. We look forward to thenew semester in the new building at 43 Bleeker Street, and to the next Coffee Cave reading onTuesday, January 18. Happy Holidays, Writers!
by Priscilla Mainardi