The annual Crystal Field Scholarship Reading is an Open Mic event. All donations collected at the event help support the Crystal Field Scholarship for a creative writing student at UMKC. What makes this scholarship different is that all of the donations come from writers supporting new writers. Those who cannot attend and still want to give a donation to the scholarship fund can make a check out to The Crystal Field Scholarship Fund and send it to Robert Stewart at New Letters.
All participants must sign up for the event through its organizer, Maryfrances Wagner. Reading times are limited to fit in a set time frame. Participants write a poem, short fiction or nonfiction piece that reflects the theme in any way they interpret it. Poets should be prepared to read one poem on the theme and possibly one short poem of their choice, and fiction and nonfiction writers may read one very short (under five minutes) fiction or nonfiction piece on the theme.
Crystal MacLean Field was an area poet, workshop leader, and teacher. She published The Good Woman (BkMk chapbook) and My Sister’s Leather Bag (Mid Am Press). She began a Communiversity writing group that met once a month for twenty years, and she helped establish the Kansas City Writing Series (later the Simpson House Reading Series), one of the first reading series in the greater Kansas City area, that began in the 1970’s. In 1987, she died unexpectedly of a heart attack. This scholarship honors her community contributions.