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Open Mic Draws Poets and Listeners to the Library

“My mother never forgave my father
for killing himself,
especially at such an awkward time…”

Joey Bagnasco reads "A Sunday"

Stanley Kunitz’s poem, “The Portrait,” provided a dramatic beginning to the seventh annual Open Mic Poetry Reading on April 24.

Lisa Sewell, PhD, an associate professor in the English Department and also the director of programming, Gender & Women’s Studies, began the poetry reading with “The Portrait” and also “The Long Boat” by Kunitz.

Dr. Sewell introduced senior class member Kathleen Pierce. Kathleen presented the just-released 2012 issue of Arthology, one of University’s student literary-art journals. Editor-in-chief of and a contributor to Arthology, she made copies of the journal available to attendees.

Kathleen also shared her poem, “Commuter’s Daydream.” Ahren Potratz came to the microphone next to read “In a Wheatfield in Auvers-sur-Oise.” And Ciara Sprance presented “Naturalism.” Arthology features all three of these poems.

Next, Gerald Dierkes, a Library staff member, recited his poem “Apostrophe.” Paul Trahey offered “Ode to Cold Spaghetti” and “The Altar.” Then Irish Studies Director Joseph Lennon, PhD, delivered three of his own poems about learning to play the harmonica, before reading two poems by Paul Durcan: “The Kilfenora Teaboy” and “The Lion Tamer.”

Meghan Farley, a Senior Class Poet contestant, presented “Secrets.” Barbara Quintiliano, instructional services librarian and team leader for Life Sciences/Nursing, read “Disarmed.” Senior Class Poet contestant Ashley Dunbar shared “You Came, Too” by Nikki Giovanni, and Alicia Hobson delivered “Cat Calls” by Anonymous.

Joey Bagnasco, a Senior Class Poet contestant, offered “Vulpes” and “A Sunday,” which appears on a poster in the Library. Each Senior Class Poet contestant had one of his/her poems published on posters, which are on display throughout the library first floor. University Librarian Joe Lucia delivered “The Afterlife of Libraries.”

Ravahn Duval presented “One Day,” which appears in Arthology. Melanie Romero shared “The Pietà.” Melanie’s selection as Senior Class Poet was announced at the English Department awards ceremony on May 4.

Jacqui Kelliher read “The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God” by J. Milton Hayes.

Dr. Sewell concluded the event with her own poem, “Murder on the Orient Express.” The Open Mic Poetry Reading showcased the students’ imaginative creativity and skill.  And Dr. Sewell’s obvious passion for promoting poetry made this well-attended event a success.

Set in the new Speakers’ Corner of Falvey Memorial Library, the event was co-sponsored by Falvey and the English Department. Other organizers included Dierkes, Judy Olsen, graphic designer Joanne Quinn and Falvey’s Events & Outreach team. Dr. Sewell handles the Senior Class Poet competition on behalf of the English Department.

Contributed by Gerald Dierkes; photography by Alice Bampton

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Last Modified: May 7, 2012