Wellspring Wows the Crowd

Community-favorite event features two debuts, capacity audience

Guests attending the March 11 Wellspring Literary Series—another standing-room only crowd at Art Reach of Mid Michigan—experienced a dazzling evening of culture showcasing poets and musicians.

Featured poet Helena Mesa read several moving poems from her recently published collection Where Land is Indistinguishable from Sea. Mesa is a Cuban-American poet from Ann Arbor and a professor at Albion College.

Helena Mesa stands facing a microphone to read from her book.
Helena Mesa reads from her book during the Wellspring Literary Series event.

Also wowing the crowd, Magdalena Fanning, a 16-year-old sophomore at Mount Pleasant High School (MPHS), sang three original songs in her first ever public performance, provoking loud cheers. Fanning is the daughter of Series facilitator Robert Fanning, an English professor at Central Michigan University.

In another Series debut, William Horan and Henry Wang, two MPHS students, kicked off the event by each reading a poem.

“I have long wanted to include local high school poets at the event, and with the help of MPHS creative writing teacher Stephanie Sedlar, it will now be a Wellspring tradition to start each event with a poem by a local high school student,” Robert Fanning announced.

Sedlar, a writer herself who also leads the MPHS Literary Society and Creative Writing Clubs, was impressed with the event.

“It was especially exciting for me to introduce my students to this world,” she said. “It's very exciting to show them that poetry is not this thing from the past, but a living, breathing way to engage with the world.”

CMU Master of Arts in Creative Writing student Jordyn Damato also read a short selection of poetry and a piece of flash fiction.

“Reading at the Wellspring Literary Series was nothing short of an honor,” Damato said. “Having the opportunity to share my work with the community that's fostered me for five years now was a dream come true and a memory I'll cherish forever. I'm beyond grateful to have had the chance to connect with others through the power of my own words.”

The final Wellspring Literary Series event of this year takes place April 8 and will feature readings by MPHS students, music by three piano students from the CMU School of Music, a reading by CMU Master of Arts candidate Adison Reeder, and featured reader Katie Hartsock, an award-winning poet and professor at Oakland University.

For more information, visit the Wellspring Literary Series website or contact Robert Fanning at

View the March 11 Wellspring Photo Gallery courtesy of Dmitry Erofeev.

Maggie Fanning seated while holding a guitar and singing into a microphone.
Maggie Fanning plays guitar and sings during the Wellspring Literary Series event.


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