Columbia hosts annual poetry reading
Poet Richard Meier read pieces from his latest poetry book, “In the Pure Block of the Whole Imaginary,” Kate Greenstreet, author of three poetry books, kicked off her shoes before a crowd of about 200 attendees and read selections from her latest book titled “Young Tambling,” as part of the Creative Writing Department’s Poetry Reading Series at the 600 S. Michigan Ave. Building in the Alexandroff Campus Center Oct. 2.
Joshua Young, associate director of poetry and nonfiction and adjunct faculty member in the English Department, said the department will host more poetry readings during the semester so students can meet professional poets and writers.
“It’s nice to see the poets read their work after reading it from the book yourself,” Young said. “It’s a really good chance to see people actually working in poetry and publishing in poetry and seeing the different types of poets.”
Meier and Greenstreet both read poems, which varied in length, style and theme. For example, Meier’s use of adjectives in his piece “A Letter to Someone” vividly depicted scenes he saw and heard while writing poetry on Sept. 29, 2012. In one of Greenstreet’s pieces, she describes her life and thoughts while working at a dry cleaner in her hometown after graduating high school.
Greenstreet said she finds inspiration for her poems by looking at her environment. She said she considers her work to be a mixture of her experiences, abstract dreams and memories. Her latest book contains more of her personal experiences than the previous two books, she added.
“I pull [ideas] from spaces all around me,” Greenstreet said. “I really believe that poetry is all around us all the time.”
For new poets and writers, Greenstreet said she recommends they read other writers’ work, continuously submit their work online for journal publication and find other authors whose work is similar to their own. Greenstreet spoke from experience and said she followed those steps to get published.
“Read, read, read, read, online journals especially, because you can submit to them for free,” Greenstreet said. “Read everything you can and try to see if you can locate writing that reminds you a little bit of your own writing.”
Tierra Russell, a senior creative writing major, said she felt that listening to Greenstreet read her poetry was very different from reading the poems on her own.
“My favorite part was the Kate Greenstreet part, because I’m reading her book for class and it’s just nice to hear her voice along with what I was reading,” she said. “You just have to hear the way she reads slow, the way she pronounces her words, [and] the way she emphasizes things—if you didn’t hear her voice [you] wouldn’t know that.”
The Creative Writing Department’s next installment in the series features Shanna Compton & Nick Twemlow and takes place Nov. 13 at Stage Two in the 618 S. Michigan Ave. Building.