HoCoPoLitSo Hosts Wilde Readings

Amira Cooper

The Howard County Poetry & Literature Society, also known as HoCoPoLitSo, hosted Wilde Readings on Tuesday, Oct. 13. Wilde Readings is an open mic event open to people of all ages along with featured speakers.

This year, Wilde Readings is a series of webinar events where there is an audience, but only the speakers are seen. The event featured two authors who shared their selected pieces within a twenty-minute time limit.

The featured guests Vonetta Young and Mathangi Subramanian had their turns first, then the audience members or anyone who signed up had a chance to read something of theirs for the open mic. Unfortunately, no one volunteered to read their pieces, but the special guests had captivating work to keep the event alive.

Vonetta Young, “an essayist, memoirist, and short storyist,” explores stories of complex family dynamics, identity, belonging, and the intersection of race and class, according to the host of the event, Ann Bracken. Young often depicts situations and issues that she has experienced herself, embracing them in her pieces.

Bracken also added that Young’s “essays and fiction have been published in Catapult, DASH, Lunch Ticket, Barrelhouse, and Cosmonauts Avenue, among others.” For further information on Young and her works, visit her website vonettayoung.com.

Mathangi Subramanian, “an award-winning South Asian American author and educator,” focuses on the stories of young women, LGBTQ+, people of color, human dignity and intelligence, and more. She is known for her novel, “A People’s History of Heaven,” which,”was a finalist for the LAMBDA Literary Awards and the PFC – Valley of Words Awards, was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award, and was named a Skipping Stones Honor Book.”

Subramanian has had her nonfiction pieces published in “The Washington Post.com”, “Ms. Magazine Digital”, “Zora Magazine”, “Al Jazeera America”, “Quartz”, “The Hindu”, “The Wire”, “The Indian Express”, and “The Seal Press Anthology: Click! When We Knew We Were Feminists”among others. For further information on Subramanian and her works, visit her website mathangisubramanian.com.

Both Young and Subramanian recited excerpts of their chosen works for Wilde Readings.

Young read an excerpt from her contribution, “Sand and Salt,” and the “Furious Gravity Anthology,” which is the ninth volume of the “Grace and Gravity” literary journal series.

Young included that the anthology is “devoted to women writers in the D.C. region.” Her contribution focused on the concept of complex family dynamics. “Sand and Salt” follows a young woman, Selma, and her family’s tense and complex interactions between each other and towards her. Young states how uncomfortable it was for Selma to have close connections with her low-income family after she gained a wealthier status.

Subramanian recited excerpts from her novel, “A People’s History of Heaven.” “A People’s History of Heaven” follows the story of “five girls who forge an unbreakable bond in Heaven, a ramshackle slum in Bangalore, India…Muslim, Christian, and Hindu; queer and straight; they love and accept one another unconditionally,” Subramanian says. She recited the passages that reflected the friendship that the four girls fostered and how they would do anything for each other in numerous situations.

This is not the last of Wilde Readings. HoCoPoLitSo will host other Wilde Reading events on Nov. 11, Dec. 8, Jan. 12, and Feb. 9. Everyone has a chance to attend any of the nights and even sign up for the open mic to share their own contributions. The link for the event registration is here.

“We encourage our featured artists and open mic readers to freely express themselves and their art,” Bracken states. “even if the topics are sensitive or controversial, the freedom of expression in our socio-political climate can be life-changing.”w