What: OSU-Cascades MFA Creative Writing hosts the Hazel Hall Memorial Reading

When: 6 p.m. Saturday

Where: At Liberty Arts Collective, 849 NW Wall St., Bend

Cost: Free

Contact: facebook.com/events/2495622990714646/

It’s residency time for the students pursuing a master’s degree in Oregon State University-Cascades’ Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

Because OSU’s MFA program is low-residency, the students spend most of the school year away, writing and working with faculty remotely.

But each June and November, when the students and faculty convene in Bend for intensive 10-day residencies, it’s a different story.

“We kind of call it 12 weeks in 10 days,” said Jenna Goldsmith, the current program lead as OSU hunts for a new director. “The students have been preparing through mentorships and coursework to get to this residency piece. And so they’re really prepared. They’ve been writing, and then they’re sort of prepared to hit the ground running with their faculty once they get here.”

While this may be crunch time for writers, it’s fun time for bibliophiles: On Saturday, students and faculty will read their work at the Hazel Hall Memorial Reading, so named for the early-20th-century Oregon poet. The free event will by held at At Liberty Arts Collaborative in downtown Bend.

What they read — whether their words were just scrawled on a napkin or will soon land in a literary magazine — is left to the discretion of the writers.

“I’m imagining that students will read works in progress,” Goldsmith said. “But it’s up to them.” (With refreshments from Crux Fermentation Project and AVID Cider Company being served, expect to hear people saying “Mmm” more than usual at a reading.)

The core faculty members currently in Bend are Jennifer Tseng, Geronimo Johnson, Christopher Boucher, Beth Alvarado and Ru Freeman. (Though also a part of the core faculty, poet TC Tolbert is on leave thanks to earning a fellowship from the Academy of American Poets, Goldsmith said.)

Additionally, students are studying with the program’s Distinguished Visiting Faculty, which in the past has included such authors as Geraldine Brooks, Karen Finneyfrock and James Prosek. This time around, it’s poet Rebecca Morgan Frank; poet, essayist and critic Raquel Gutiérrez; and fiction writer Justin Taylor.

Taylor, of Portland, was in town earlier this week for his class. He said that he’ll often read new work, preferably unpublished “if I can swing it,” he said. “As new a thing as I feel comfortable with.”

Taylor believes reading his words aloud is always beneficial — audience or no audience.

“I read my work aloud to myself while I’m revising it,” he said. “I write very much to my own ear, and I think writing to the breath is just a part of how I work. Everything I do is sort of written toward the voice, or toward the sound or the level of a sentence.

“But when you read in front of an audience … sometimes you learn they think things are funny that you weren’t expecting. If you’re in front of a roomful of people, you can feel when you’ve got their attention, and when you don’t. It can be pretty instructive sometimes to see how that attention is waxing and waning. It gives you a little bit of a clue.”

Taylor has a memoir, “Riding with the Ghost,” set for release next year from Random House. But with a novel and two short story collections under his belt, “fiction is mostly what I do,” he said.

The memoir came about due to a unique set of circumstances in his life, he said.

“Just different things that were going on in my life, and this need to sort of really think through my relationship with my father in a deep way, and what his life was about. The last years of his life especially. I really responded to circumstance in that way.”

While Taylor is not opposed to the idea of writing another memoir, “I would be very surprised, and frankly dismayed, if anything else happened in the next few years to occasion another full treatment like this,” he said.

Saturday’s reading is being presented in collaboration with the nonprofit creative arts organization Scalehouse.

“We feel really, really excited to be doing (this),” Goldsmith said. “We’ve reached out to lots of faculty to encourage their students (to attend). So we’re hoping that we get a good blend of students and community members in the same room so we can showcase the exciting work that’s happening in our program.”

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected. In the original version, Jennifer Tseng was omitted from the list of core faculty members. The Bulletin regrets the error.

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