And now we are here. It is just past 7:30 on a Tuesday evening in July. My fellow comrades and I have spent time fighting rush hour traffic in cars, buses, and even on bikes to be here tonight. Concerning the dank streets and sky, we mumble soundlessly under our breath and in our minds: To hell with the rain.
Tonight, a modest crowd has gathered in the patio of Cafe Brasil, a local haunt for food junkies, film buffs, and, now, literary addicts. But this is no rehab, for we do not seek to detoxify or purify minds or bodies. Rather, we intend to feed that addiction with a drug we like to call Glass Mountain. Never heard of it? Well, that’s quite alright. We won’t ostracize you; not yet, anyway.
Glass Mountain is the University of Houston’s undergraduate literary journal. Its editors read, edit, and publish work from all over the nation. Not only is the journal open to all genres of literature, it also welcomes–and encourages–art submissions as well. However, rather than merely publish work in the pages of a slickly bound journal, Glass Mountain desires to transcend the restriction of parched, identical rectangular pages, and venture forward more openly. How will we do this? Through evening readings at Cafe Brasil every third Tuesday of the month.
Unfortunately, if you are reading this and have no idea what I am talking about, then you probably missed our kick-off reading which took place on Tuesday, July 24. If that is indeed the case, then you might consider marking your calendar for next month’s literary orgy which will take place on August 21.
Supplying both presence and prose, readers Brett Forsberg, Steven Simone, and Rebecca Wadlinger officially stole this reading series’ virginity. Gracing those in attendance with both fiction and poetry, the three readers certainly earned their keep, with pieces that showcase just why Houston–though still in its adolescence–deserves to be considered a literary hub.
Starting the night off, Steven Simeone shared a brief fiction piece; both dark and blunt in its delivery, the story’s intensity succeeded in capturing its audience. Not to be upstaged, Brett Forsberg’s story “Role Models” consummated themes of adolescence and discovery, embellishing these qualities with forceful bouts of comedy. Striking a balance between satire and sadness, both readers managed to set the night’s tone.
During the intermission, local musician Austin Smith roused the crowd with his eclectic blend of vocals, guitar, and keyboard. Relaxed, yet spirited, the virtuoso played a brief set before handing the stage over to Glass Mountain graduate student advisor Elizabeth Winston, who then introduced the final reader of the night: poet Rebecca Wadlinger.
“I wrote this when I felt terrible”: this was Wadlinger’s introduction to her first poem of the night, aptly titled “If You Feel Terrible,” followed by two others. With an ear and tongue for Norwegian, Wadlinger also read from a forthcoming poetry collection by Gro Dahle which she recently translated. According to Wadlinger, the collection follows a contemporary Norwegian surrealist tradition, and this disclaimer proved to be true, indeed.
Speaking of tradition, this reading is only the first of many to come, so prepare yourself for a great season of readers and good company.
The following photos piece together the night’s eventful reading:
Assistant Fiction Editor