The Art and Culture Center/Hollywood was pleased to host the live, virtual literary event “Julie Marie Wade: Poetry, Prose & Conversation,” as part of its programming for the gallery exhibition and film Open Dialogues: Stories From the LGBTQ Community. The Oct. 3 reading and talk was hosted by Jeff Rusnak, the Center’s Director of Development, and featured questions from attendees who joined from screens in South Florida and around the country.
Wade read an excerpt from her most recent book, Just an Ordinary Woman Breathing, and poems from her 2014 collection When I Was Straight, which captures the before and after of her coming-out experience. She finished her reading segment with a new, unpublished poem titled “Out Here,” a three-minute piece she wrote as “a welcoming gesture toward the bravery it takes to come out.”
During the conversation with the host and audience following her reading, Wade discussed, among other topics, how coming-out as a university student nearly 20 years ago affected her writing, and how other disciplines, such as art, music and even mathematics, enrich her writing process.
The author of 12 books, Wade is one of seven Broward County residents who shared her coming-out story in the Open Dialogues film, which was produced by the Center and is being screened through Oct. 25 in the Interactive Room gallery. The 20-minute film is an official selection in the upcoming Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, and was screened at the recent OUTshine Film Festival.
A winner of the Marie Alexander Poetry Series and the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Memoir, Wade lives in Dania Beach and teaches in the creative writing program at Florida International University.
The reading and the Open Dialogues exhibition are funded by the Community Foundation of Broward as part of its Broward Pride grant initiative.