Faculty and students express creativity together

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By ANGELA MAURONI
Features Editor
[email protected]

 

On Friday, Jan. 25, four faculty members read original pieces of poetry at the Voodoo Brewery Lounge, as well as offering an open mic and concluding the evening with a faculty based band.

Professor Roberta Hatcher and Professor Graciela Maglia of the Modern and Classical Languages department, along with Professor Christopher Bakken, the English department chair, and Professor Kirk Nesset of the English department all coordinated the event and read their poetry.
Before the first reader, the event was introduced as a launching party for ProfessorMaglia’s recently released book, Entrόpicos/Entropics. It is in both Spanish and English, and details her experience living in Columbia for the last ten years.

Professor Hatcher began the event with several poems titled “French Lessons.” She addressed  differences in languages, and read some of her poetry in French.

Next Professor Maglia read her poetry with themes involving love and mythology, one being addressed to Odysseus. She also crossed linguistic borders by reading in Spanish and having her poetry translated by  Hillary Fenrich, ‘14.

Professor Bakken’s poetry had a large focus on a boat metaphor, and discussed violence, separation and defiance.

Professor Nesset concluded the faculty readings with a concentration on nature imagery. The poem he read was changed from prose to verse after being translated from Turkish.

Introducing the faculty members was Diehl Edwards, ‘14, who spoke comically as well as poetically.

All of the faculty members are published writers, with Professor Hatcher just recently publishing several of her poems the St. Petersburg Review. This journal is published annually and aims to gather support for global connections of poetry, fiction, nonfiction and drama.

Professor Bakken has multiple publications in poetry, essays and books, and has earned numerous awards for his work.

Professor Nesset also has many books, poems and stories published and is currently undertaking the task of writing three more books.

Before the event, none of them had ever heard the others’ work read, so no one knew what to expect.

Once the faculty members concluded their reading, they opened the mic to anyone in the audience who wanted to share. Ten students stepped up, including Kyle Donelly, ‘17, Manuella Muihemuka, ‘14, Colin Abel, ‘15, Mike Iverson, ‘15, Chris Sexauer, ‘15, Cale Davis, ‘14, Lucy Crozier, ‘15, Adam Zehren, ‘15, Walter Stover, ‘17, and Mimi O’Leary, ‘14. These students addressed everything from human perception, to progress, to the hardening of society, to love.

Walter Stover, ‘17, one of the open mic readers, practiced hard before his reading to master the Chinese translation of his chosen poem, Shu Dao Nan, or Quiet Night, by Li Bai. He read it in English after.

“I think it’s a beautiful and unique language, in both written and spoken form. I wanted people to hear what Chinese poetry sounded like, because it’s very different from most of the Indo-European languages we’re familiar with,” said Stover.

Aside from celebrating the launching of Professor Maglia’s new book, Professor Hatcher, who has been writing poetry for much of her life, expressed excitement regarding the nature of the event.

“Our goal is to show students that poetry exists in all languages,” she said. “Poetry is more than something you do in a classroom.”

Professor Nesset also expressed his passion for poetry.

“Poetry doesn’t need to have a real story behind it, but one can love to celebrate poetry’s capacity for ambiguity,” he said.

One student, William Chappell, ‘14, the treasurer of Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honor Society, helped to publicize the event along with other members of the honor society. He agrees that exposure to poetry is important.

“I think it’s important to broadcast thoughts through art—there is no other way I know of that communicates specific ideas, thanks to images, to that many people at once. I attended in order to hear and understand others, “ he said.

He also expressed interest in the multilingual aspect of the evening.

“To me, this is a chance for me to appreciate two things I often overlook in English language poetry: the musicality and pure aestheticism of spoken words, and the realization that other languages tell of things that English, or any other tongue, might not have words for,” said Chapell.

He continued on to say how his own studies of language have contributed to his study of poetry.

“My understanding of English words has increased due to my study of Latin—because I know another language, however limitedly compared to English, I can distinguish between my feelings and the words I use to show them,” Chapell said.

After the open mic closed up around 9 p.m., the band Twisted Roots was presented, which included Professor Nesset and Professor David Statman of the physics department. Both of the professors sang and harmonized to acoustic music. They opened with several cover songs, but also sang originals.

For anyone interested in seeing more of their professors’ creativity, Twisted Roots is performing Feb. 7, at the Ailhouse in Erie. They also perform weekly at the Voodoo Brewery.

Modern languages professor Roberta Hatcher recites her poems during the Four Poets event at Voodoo Brewery on Jan. 24. 2014. MEGHAN HAYMAN/THE CAMPUS

Modern languages professor Roberta Hatcher recites her poems during the Four Poets event at Voodoo Brewery on Jan. 24. 2014. MEGHAN HAYMAN/THE CAMPUS

Adam Zahren, ‘15, participates in the open mic portion of the event where members of the audience were allowed to read their own poetry. MEGHAN HAYMAN/THE CAMPUS

Adam Zahren, ‘15, participates in the open mic portion of the event
where members of the audience were allowed to read their own poetry.
MEGHAN HAYMAN/THE CAMPUS

MEGHAN HAYMAN/THE CAMPUS

MEGHAN HAYMAN/THE CAMPUS

MEGHAN HAYMAN/THE CAMPUS

MEGHAN HAYMAN/THE CAMPUS

 

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