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Visiting Writers Series: Xavier Pastrano reads “XXX”

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Xavier Pastrano was the first in the Visiting Writers Series at SMSU this year. The English teacher, author, father, husband, musician, and 2008 SMSU alumnus shared poems from his self-published chapbook titled XXX and other poems form his earlier work in the Whipple Gallery on Sept. 25.

Pastrano came to SMSU in 2004. He majored in creative writing with a minor in theatre.

“Some friends had said very good things about the school and I wanted to be far enough away from home where I could do my own thing,” Pastrano said. “I really enjoyed being in small classrooms and that way my teachers actually got to know.

After graduating, Pastrano attended the University of North Dakota. With his masters in English, UND was also his first venture into teaching. He taught courses there, including a semester teaching abroad in Norway.

Even as an English teacher, Pastrano considers his niche to be in poetry.

“I remember taking fiction workshops and screen writing, but poetry just clicked for me,” Pastrano said. “I’ve always liked the harmonious elements it has and is very similar to song writing, which I also enjoy.”

He takes inspiration from multiple sources, whether it be politics, science, race, family, and even some of the things his students talk about in the classroom.

“Things I see or hear in my classroom are a great source,” Pastrano said. “Hearing what some of these kids have to go through at 14 or 15 years old is staggering. It’s hard to imagine going through it as an adult.”

The Visiting Writers Series hosts regular readings on campus. Events can be found on the university event calendar site.

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Visiting Writers Series: Xavier Pastrano reads “XXX”