The next, and last, student poetry reading takes place in the Poetry Center of the library on Tuesday, April 1st at 6 in the evening. Before I began attending these readings, at some point in my sophomore year decided to put some slapdash poetry together. To my surprise one of my pieces was accepted into Suffolk’s own Venture Literary/Arts Magazine, and since then I’ve been writing, and writing, and writing and sharing those poems with the other students at these readings. Over the course of time (something I’ve seen in them as well) those students have seen, or rather, heard, the plethora of stylistic changes in my writing. Some people think it’s great; some people, well, it’s not their cup of tea. But I still go to the readings and read the pieces I write, trying to attend every one, even if it means trying to quickly polish a piece that I honestly feel isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
These readings really are the community of Suffolk’s writers, which has grown into its own circle. There are many familiar faces coming to read the poetry they have written. This, however, really is not a bad thing for newcomers, believe me. Everyone was new to it at some point, I was new as well (and terrified, because well, it happens sometimes), some are still new, and still come to each one. Everyone is very accepting of anyone that attends and encourages nothing but growth in that little room.
Among the community are some avid writers: Dan, for instance, carrying through a keenly educated, yet fluid and spokenly poetic voice, then Corey, a fun skater with a big beard who writes about subjects from love to the traumas of the marathon bombings, and there’s Kayla, a poet who in my opinion has made great strides in her poetry over the past two years, and has since become a strong and formidable writer (writers by nature can get competitive, and seriously, everyone should feel threatened by her). There is also, of course, the organizer of the event, Matt Bancroft, now a Suffolk TA, writing poems on a variety of subjects with his own unique stylistic base of language and form.
I can say happily and with confidence that it has been a pleasure to read with them. One of the most interesting aspects of the readings is, as a person who has read over some of their work before, actually hearing them read at these events, hearing how their intonation and idiosyncratic, communicative syntax breathes more life into the poem than I would ever found just seeing it on paper. All of the authors above breathe that life into their own pieces from their speaking and open the bounds of language and the emotional aesthetic that truly exists in poetry. It is a true reminder of what poetry is: the music of language. Even my own reading has taught me much about the style of my writing.
Every writer at some point comes to a plateau where something feels stopped, ended, an opaque fog that covers the page as the words are either pressed or seemingly vanish into a somewhere and are left only in mind-fragments with the mental pollution that every writer has known, and will, perhaps, always know. Going to these readings helped me overcome one of my biggest episodes of this. I would plan to go as I had, but I was feeling as if I couldn’t write and I could only think, repeatedly, what can I do? What can I actually do?
My answer was how it would sound when I read it. I went through the pieces I was to read and began reading them out loud to myself, and discovered that the syntax on the page is virtually always different from the syntax of a poem itself, the music of it, as it is read out loud. It was then I came to another transformation in style, and realized that poetry isn’t meant to just be read, but exists in its innate form as something to be heard. This is how I made my poetry, and if I hadn’t gone to these readings, I never would have discovered this. I might have been trapped in that fog for a while. If I hadn’t, I might still be trapped in it.
And that’s why I go. It’s the growth of form, but so much more than that. It’s the other poets, more poetry, more writing, more words, more styles, more moods, and more of what it is to live, and truly live the human experience. There isn’t anyone who can’t attend, there isn’t anyone who shouldn’t attend, as everyone will get the same respect, and everyone can learn and expand the bounds of their writing and their world. It’s there one of my favorite aspects of these readings lies: to see someone I have never seen before, watch him go to the small podium in the Poetry Center that hangs over the cemetery, and hear a formation of words I have never heard. If you go, you may be surprised. Even new writers who have only written a couple pieces can send a silence through the room paved in chairs and background of the small, ornate library. They also send smiles, and laughs through the cracks of the double doors. But every writer gives something, and any poet would be mistaken not to attend. Tuesday, April 1st in the Poetry Center. 6 PM. It’s no April Fools’ joke: if you write, want to write, or just like writing in itself, it’s great to see some faces around there.
CLAS Peer Tutor