Tonight at 8 p.m. in the Tillotson Room of the Tippie Alumni Center, poets Keith Taylor and Robert B. Hass will read from their works as part of the final Single Voice Reading of the semester.
Although Taylor and Hass possess different writing styles, they will come together tonight to read a few excerpts from their respective works, and to answer questions put to them by an audience of budding writers.
Keith Taylor, author of “If the World Becomes So Bright,” is frequently billed as a nature poet.
“I’m willing to live with that,” said Keith Taylor of his works’ characterization. “Proud of it, even.”
Taylor translates Modern Greek poetry and teaches environmental writing at the University of Michigan. As for his writing, Taylor dabbles with many different subjects.
“Early on, I wrote a bunch of stuff about my very conservative — almost Mennonite — upbringing in western Canada,” Taylor said.
Of course, he does not limit himself to a single subject matter. “Lots of things move me to writing,” Taylor said. “I try to exclude nothing.”
As an avid reader, Taylor’s work is influenced by several poets, including William Carlos Williams, James Wright, C.P. Cavafy and Rene Char.
Anna Rose Welch, ’11, who will introduce Taylor, described his writing as “beautiful and connecting.”
“He has an ability to focus on the world around him and seamlessly place himself into a landscape,” Welch said. “[Taylor’s poetry] establishes a divinity in nature.”
Robert B. Hass, who recently published his first poetry collection, “Counting Thunder,” is also the author of “Going by Contraries: Robert Frost’s Conflict with Science.” Hass is an English professor at Edinboro University and literary critic.
“It [Hass’s poetry] channels pastorals and epics,” said Christian Detisch, ’11, who will introduce Hass at the reading. “Hass focuses on traditional form. He holds a sense of wit while also retaining tension between seeing things with a fresh point of view and still being meditative. There is much surprise in his poetry.”
For Hass, poetry has something to prove through its formalism.
“For me, traditional verse is as much a moral choice as it is an aesthetic one,” Hass said. Poems should adhere to the traditional means of expression — form, rhythm, music, metaphor — that have always differentiated poetry from both prose and speech.”
Hass’s poetry also becomes a reflection of the world at a specific cultural moment.
“Since I came of age during a time of great upheaval and chaos, I saw it my duty as a poet to impose beauty upon the world’s ugliness rather than succumb to it.”
Despite the busy end of the semester, students find reason to praise the event.
“We should support the arts and poetry needs to be admired,” Welch said. “It is interesting to connect a poetic voice with the author.
It helps others develop their own writing.”
Detisch agrees that there is an importance to celebrating the readings.
“I like to hear how the author reads their work,” Detisch said. “It offers an interpretive reading from the poet’s point of view.”
“I think it [Single Voice Reading] allows the students to get more in touch with the people whose work they are reading and get a sense of what inspired them to do so,” said Kim Langin, ’13.