Writers gather to share stories, inspiration on Pearl Street

On Friday, Sept. 13 from 7:30-9 p.m., the cobblestone courtyard of the Savin Hill Yoga Coop on Pearl Street will be filled for a free public evening of fiction and poetry readings by Dorchester and UMass Boston (UMB) authors at the first of three installments of the “Write on the DOT” 2013 fall series.

“Write on the Dot is a great example of proactive, student leadership and facilitation of a positive connection between writers at the university and in those in the community.”

So says Candelaria Silva-Collins, one of a quartet of Dorchester authors preparing to share samples of their otherwise lonely craft tomorrow evening as an increasingly popular literary series starts its third year.

Featured will be Silva-Collins, Rayna Briceno, Caleb Nelson and Joshua Jones. All four are Dot residents; the latter two are also UMB students.

The prolific Silva-Collins, the inaugural Director of ACT Roxbury (1998-2007), blogs at “Good and Plenty.” BPS assistant headmaster Briceno blogs at “Who’s Got Morale,” which gives “insight to the lives of the adults who are raising young men and women of color.”

Virginia-born Jones spent the last four years living in Texas before moving to Dorchester to get his MFA at UMB.

“The poems I will be reading will reflect that movement. I have some Boston poems already and I’ll read those right alongside the Texas and Virginia poems. I think places are incredibly important, particularly for artists,” said Jones.

Nelson reflects his pride and excitement in strengthening the town and gown link here.

“I grew up in Dorchester. Some Sundays, after church, my parents bought pizza and took us all (my sister, my two brothers and me) out on Columbia Point, and we sat on the grass there and watched the boats tool around. But it took me years to recognize UMB as part of Dorchester,” said Nelson. “That peninsula, buttressed by the highway, might as well have been an island. UMB doesn’t have the metropolitan charm of BU or Northeastern. Dorchester lacks the urbanity of Cambridge. The people that live here, stay here — we’re townies.

“So I’m excited for an opportunity to share an art I love in the neighborhood where I grew up. Write on the Dot is one expression of UMB’s ‘urban mission,’ a phrase I’ve heard a lot as a UMB student. And I’m glad to spot university roots reaching out under Dorchester. And I’m psyched to participate as our university matures to become a buttress within our community rather than without.”

Typically, the program opens with an icebreaker, then continues with two poets and two prose writers, each reading for no more than 15 minutes, totaling an hour followed by socializing. 

“Write on the DOT” was founded in late 2010 by students in UMB’s Creative Writing MFA program in order to create a space in which the Dorchester and UMB creative writing communities “can meet, mingle, and check out what each other are up to.” Besides sponsoring readings, the group has mentored teen writers and collected books to start a library at the Erick Jean Center for the Arts.

Check out writeonthedot.blogspot.com for details of the October and December readings. Dot authors who wish to be considered for an invitation to read should contact coordinator Lynn Holmgren at dotreadingseries@gmail.com.

Jones sums it up nicely. “It would be very odd indeed if the school or neighborhood didn’t make use of the other, especially since they both have so much to offer.”