Creative Writing MFA student Mariah Bosch to perform experimental spoken word at Rogue Festival

Composer EJ Hinojosa and Fresno State MFA student Mariah Bosch

~ By Jefferson Beavers, communication specialist, Department of English

First-year Master of Fine Arts student Mariah Bosch will co-star in a collaborative show featuring music and spoken word called “Triptych” at the 2019 Rogue Festival.

Bosch, a 2018 Fresno State alumna who now studies poetry in the graduate Creative Writing Program, works as a teaching associate in the Department of English. She volunteers as a graduate artist fellow in the Laureate Lab Visual Words Studio inside Henry Madden Library, working with U.S. Poet Laureate Emeritus Juan Felipe Herrera on bringing poetry and art to the community.

Bosch and composer EJ Hinojosa’s Rogue show, “Triptych,” brings music and spoken word together in “an experimental collaboration characterized by risk and heartfelt contemplation.” The poetry explores themes of past, present, and future, while the music synthesizes jazz, rock, and baroque styles inspired by the poetry.

Ensemble musicians performing with Bosch and Hinojosa will include Liana Elmore, violin; Kelvin Inoa, cello; David Aus, electric piano; Chris Janzen, electric guitar; and Anthony Arias, clarinet.

Jefferson Beavers: Describe your Rogue show in 50 words or less.

Mariah Bosch: “Triptych” is a collaborative project that EJ Hinojosa and I have created using his original music compositions and a three-part poem of mine called “my future, my dreams, your future, your dreams: triptych” — shortened to “Triptych” for Rogue.

JB: What’s a triptych and how did you make a Rogue show out of it?

MB: The word triptych usually refers to a three-paneled art piece — think altarpieces — but has since evolved into the literary world to mean a three-part piece that is meant to all work together in some way. EJ and I decided we wanted to go for it and create a Rogue show out of it after he picked this particular poem out of a sample of my work I passed along to him.

JB: How did your collaboration with Hinojosa develop?

MB: I’ve known EJ for years. We met while I was at Edison High School — 2010? 2011? — and he was helping to run the Glee Club there that I was part of. It’s funny for me to think about that now because it feels much more like we’re friends and peers than former instructor and former clueless high-school performer. We’ve remained in touch all this time, mostly by running into each other everywhere in the Tower District, and the collaboration evolved from an idea EJ had to do a Rogue show just like the one we ended up with. 

JB: What has it been like for you to practice performing your poetry alongside live musicians?

MB: I actually haven’t done this yet, but will soon! The process of seeing and hearing the music that EJ composed, though, was really exciting, and it was an interesting way to see a response to my work that was beyond feedback or commenting, but instead relied on inspiration or working off of the poem and translating it to music. 

JB: What does it mean to you as a graduate student studying poetry to perform your work at a freewheeling community event like the Rogue?

MB: It’s really exciting and frankly, nerve-wracking too. I’ve grown up in Fresno and have never even attended Rogue shows, but I learned about the ins and outs of running and putting together shows while I worked as a barista at The Revue coffee shop during last year’s Rogue Fest. I think that as a graduate student, especially a first-year one, I’ve been really trying to push my work in new ways and challenging myself to go for it and to do a Rogue show is the furthest from what I would normally do or try. But it also feels like the ideal setting to play and experiment. 

JB: Finish this statement: “You’d love seeing my show ‘Triptych’ at the Rogue Festival if you like …”MB: … poetry that deals with sharing both dreams and fears with someone else, alongside music that draws on jazz, rock, and classical influences to bind those moments together.

“Triptych” will be performed at the Vista Theatre, 1296 N. Wishon Ave. Times and dates are: 8:30 p.m. on March 1; 2 p.m. on March 2; 6:30 p.m. on March 3; 8:30 p.m. on March 7; and 5 p.m. on March 9. Admission is $12.Tickets can be purchased here.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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