A Review of the Red Dog Reading Series



The Red Dog reading at Carlow University on September 12 began with Emily Mohn-Slate, a professor here at Chatham, reading several of her poems. Mohn-Slate’s work often deals with the multitudes of motherhood, and this reading did not disappoint. With poems dealing with everything from abortion laws to postpartum depression to lack of sleep, she had the audience laughing and sighing throughout. Mohn-Slate specializes in a dreamy sort of figurative language, and even whether she is talking about playing with her son or her friend’s abortion, her poems seem to exist in another, softer world while she is reading them.

She also started off her reading with praise for the Red Dog series, saying that it is her favorite series in the city. If that isn’t glowing praise, I don’t know what is.

Before the next featured reader, Dorina Pena, there was an open mic portion. Five people read, two of whom were Chatham students. Stephanie Ramser, the vice president of Chatham’s creative writing club and a senior creative writing major, read her poem "S-curve". Claire Wozniak, our very own Campus Correspondent read two poems, “Cuyahoga National Park, Late August” and “Farmers Market Marigold”.

Dorina Pena was a part of the Pittsburgh writing community for many years, and although she now lives in Philadelphia, is it clear that she is still has a lot of friends and fans in our writing community. Her poems all dealt with her experiences being a black woman in America. All of the poems had a lyrical honesty that was easy to connect to, even though many in the audience haven’t had the same experiences. Her poems have one quality that I personally think is important to most, if not all, writing: the ability to bridge the gaps between people and make them feel connected to experiences or people in a way they had never been able to before.

The Red Dog reading series is always a great way to connect to the local writing community, especially with its open mic portion, and will return on September 19 with Gerry LaFemina and Jim Daniels.