The Narrow Chimney Reading Series, which occurs Monday nights at Uptown Pubhouse in downtown Flagstaff, is worthy of recognition. The reading series has ran eleven times since its beginning in September 2013 and has featured outstanding and experienced professional writers along with talented, up-and-coming graduate students from Northern Arizona University’s MFA program in Creative Writing.
The following are some of the featured, professional writers: James Jay, Eddie Chuculate, Warren Perkins, Ann Cummins, Nicole Walker, Darcy Falk, Jean Rukkila, Ryan Heinsius, Justin Robert Lightfoot Bigos, Erin Stalcup, Tony Norris, and Matthew Henry Hall. Some of the dozen or so students have included Jesse Sensibar, Grace Liew, and Rachel Cupp.
Additionally, they have worked with the spoken word poets at the Fire Creek Poetry Series to feature their monthly winner of their spoken word contest.
The Narrow Chimney Reading Series describes itself with the statement below:
Monday nights at 7PM we’ll feature a MFA student from NAU’s English Department and a professional, established regional writer. Each person will read for ten to fifteen minutes. Whether poets, novelists, journalists, or playwrights, we host a high quality reading designed to present the best of each genre. Afterwards, we’ll have folks hanging out, talking poetry and literature, getting books signed, and hopefully generating a good informal setting to build a writing community through a network of people from different backgrounds.
To this end of including writers from diverse backgrounds, they have been tremendously successful. Young, beginning writers have an opportunity to talk with established writers and glean some of their decades of experience. Award winning university professors, journalists, cowboy poets, spoken word poets, fiction writers, novelists, and natural history writers all come together to listen to each others writing techniques, voices, and ideas.
The series was created by longtime Flagstaff writers, James Jay and Jesse Sensibar. They have partnered with Thin Air Magazine to include university students and faculty with the wider writing and literary community of Flagstaff. Both Jay and Sensibar are familiar with a vast array of writers and readers and their attendance numbers demonstrate their connectedness to Flagstaff. (They average well over forty attendees on a weekly basis.)
The readings are free to the public, and the writers, the venue, and organizers all donate their time and energy. The results are a dynamic and vibrant reading series, and its energy ripples through the community of Flagstaff. They plan to do two dozen more readings in 2014 in order to keep up the momentum.