Poetry@Tech

Poetry@Tech

            Last Thursday night I attended a Poetry@Tech event. This is a poetry event held at Georgia Tech where three poets read some of their work over the course of an hour and a half. The event is held in the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum, an interesting building, located on the edge of Georgia Tech’s campus. Over the course of my three years at Georgia Tech, I have been to many of these events. However, not until the readings last week did I truly take notice of the environment in which these readings are held. I’ll be honest, it’s not the most beautiful space, but its casual qualities make the Poetry events spontaneous and relaxed.

            It’s no Broadway Theater, and for those who live in Georgia, it is nothing close to the Fox. As I am sitting here, typing away this piece, I cannot recall the wall colors of the Museum or the carpet texture, the pattern on the material of the seats, or the height of the small stage in front. This tells me it is nothing special or glamorous; certainly it isn’t memorable. Nevertheless, I can tell you about the poems read the evening of April 3rd, and I am sure the poets would agree when I say, this is probably the point of a poetry reading.

            The seats were comfortable, at the least. I didn’t get up from my seat after the evening and rub my back trying to ease pain. I can recall that there are mini desks at each seat, and personally, I enjoy this, for it makes taking notes an easier task. I take notes in order to remember the topics of each poem, and I do this because it is a requirement for my Creative Writing course. In all sincerity, I detest the fact that I have to take notes, for I think it distracts me from the poems. However, surely the décor of the Museum doesn’t distract me, and this is also important to a poetry reading, I am sure.

            How elegant would a Poetry@Tech event be if it were to be held at the Fox Theater? One special event where everyone dressed up, including the poets, and cocktails were served in white-gloved men dressed in tuxedoes. Perhaps I should suggest this to the committee…. However, I wonder if the poets would enjoy such a setting? Do poets prefer calm soothing settings? Or would they enjoy a night filled with elegance and sheen. What does a poet consider to be a distraction? I am sure this answer differs for every poet; however, it’s an interesting question to survey.

What Do Freshman Write About?

Last Thursday, I had the interesting privilege of sitting in on an afternoon’s English class. I observed the class taught by Dr. Lux, the woman who was my own English professor a few years back. I spent two semesters with her, during my freshman year at Georgia Tech., learning about poetry and poems and figurative language. During her class, I performed, ‘This be the Verse’ by Philip Larkin, and this was the first time the word ‘fuck’ fell so cleanly from my mouth. During these two semesters I recall that I felt especially homesick, and Dr. Lux and I reminisced on the day when I read a handwritten poem aloud to my classmates, balling as the words trickled from my mouth, for I was too nostalgic to gather myself. I learned a great deal in Dr. Lux’s class (she truly sparked my appreciation for poetry), and I was very eager to see how this freshman class responded to poetry.

 On the day that I observed Dr. Lux’s class, I was primarily interested in what topics her students would talk about. As a freshman, due to the fact that I was horribly homesick, the content of my poems solely consisted of mom, dad, sisters, and New Jersey, even Newark Airport, and it was truly fascinating to see that these students were not much different than I was, nearly three years ago. They spoke of their relationships with their mothers, fathers, siblings, and hometowns. They also mentioned their love of home cooked foods, and the traditions of their grandparents. They also spoke of their childhood pets and their favorite hobbies and the places they most felt at ease. It sincerely put the largest of grins on my face, to see that these freshmen students value their homes and the places they come from.  

 It doesn’t shock me that these were the chosen topics of the students. I am not surprised that the one girl, from Boston, in the class prefaced her poem by saying, “since none of you are from the north, you probably aren’t going to understand what I’m saying- GO REDSOCKS.” What truly astonishes me is the freshman student, although not present in this class, who declares that they resent their home life, their mom and dad, and they plan on never returning to the place they grew up. I feel so unhappy for students like those, and I honestly have come across many. Even in Dr. Lux’s class, a few international students read poems about family hardships and difficult decisions families had to make; however, there was still a sense of pride for their loved ones. Personally, I am a true patriot to the place I come from and the people back home who support me. They are all still topics of my poems, even as a junior in college, and probably that is something that will remain stagnant. Freshman year is truly a year of outsized changes and enormous boughs of acclimation. Family appears more important than previous years because without them, fending for yourself seems like someone has stolen a body part from you.

 I suppose some things never change- one’s love for their family, home, home-cooked meals, grandparents, dogs, and the town you grew up.

 XOXO

Poetry @ Georgia Tech

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On Thursday night, February 6th, I attended my ninth Poetry at Tech event. This event was one of my favorites, and it definitely stands out from the others. I have been to several Poetry at Tech events because I have been enrolled in numerous poetry/ creative writing class while being a Tech student. I thoroughly enjoy listening to poetry because poets are remarkable in the way they manipulate words, and Rupert Fike, Bruce McEver, and Sandra Meek are not exceptions to this art. This poetry event stands out to me not because it is most fresh in my mind, but because I found myself not calculating my grocery list in my head. Magically, I paid attention the entire hour and few minutes, and the poets had a clenched fist around my concentration.

            Rupert Fike started the night with crackling laughter from the audience. ‘Congealed Bacon Grease’ was his introductory poem, and it instantly warmed the southern audience. Fike’s initial poems reminisced about his childhood in the south, and he talked about his unique Jewish childhood, unique because there aren’t many Jewish families in the south. This steady theme throughout many of his poems had me recognizing the fact that growing up in a city where you cannot identify with the religion of others must impact your perspective on friends, family, and education. Regardless, Fike was a character and he truly started off the night with a solid and exciting bang. Next up to bat was Bruce McEver.

            It has been a few days since the poetry reading occurred, and initially I thought Bruce McEver was a not so stimulating poet, and now for the life of me, I cannot thoroughly recall his reading. His poem such as ‘Celebrating the Moon Festival at the Financer’s Club’ received light laughter from the audience, and I was not immune to the humor; however, his lovely language of Georgia pines, and his kind-hearted voice had me drawing pictures in my notebook- I found him to be a bit overcast! I appreciated his poetry; I really enjoyed ‘On the Glacier’, for his depiction of New Zealand was really beautiful. One can tell McEver has a strong adoration for his poetry; his poems are a way his life experiences are immortal. Nevertheless, I found the other poets who read on that night to be more captivating and interesting. Sandra Meek may have been my favorite poet of the night.

            Sandra Meek was the final poet of the night, and her poetry, although melancholy during many moments, definitely had my full attention, and throughout her reading I consistently thought, how has this woman’s life experiences not broken her down? And perhaps they have/had, but her poems exuded her down-to-earth and warm qualities. Meek’s poems spoke of her mother’s ailment and Meek’s membership in the Peace Corps. ‘Skeleton Coast’ was a poem that took place in Namibia, and I wondered why she had never returned to this place permanently, which in my opinion may have been the place where she was most content with life. Regardless, because my own grandfather died of cancer only a few short months ago, and Meek discussed her mother’s cancer in several of her poem’s, one being ‘Chemo Session Six’, I found her to be a relatable woman, and her emotions seemed real. They were honest and recognizable, and they were very genuine.

            Overall, February 6th was a very successful poetry reading at Georgia Tech. The poets were stimulating, humorous, light-hearted, and most importantly relatable. All three poets had moving poetry, and because of my attendance at the reading, I shall continue to read these poet’s works.