Daisy Fried Delights Students with Poetry

By Amanda Schreck
SC Staff Writer

On Thursday April 16, East Stroudsburg University’s Beers Lecture Hall was packed with English professors and an abundance of students, waiting to dive into Daisy Fried’s poetry.

Fried read a mix of 11 poems from all three of her books, “She Didn’t Mean to Do It,” “My Brother is Getting Arrested Again” and “Women’s Poetry: Poems and Advice.”

Fried is a story teller through her poems, and not only silenced the room until everyone could hear a pin drop, but made the whole hall reverberate with laughter.

Her poems detail personal feelings, stories that impacted her, situations with her friends and family, and events that took place in Philadelphia, where she lives.

Fried started the reading by asking everyone if they still have this “old fashion technology” called a land line. Laughs resonated as a handful of students and faculty raised their hands and nodded their heads.

Her poem, “Cordless” mixed humor, tactile imagery, and frequent dialogue, which Fried read with a comical high pitched voice for one of her characters.

She then told everyone the three rules of poetry, “No matter what your professors say.” They are as follows: 1. never write about babies, 2. never write about kittens, and 3. never write about getting drunk.

This prefaced her poem, “Midnight Feeding,” which detailed a moment in time when she fed wild kittens while she heard her baby daughter cry on the baby monitor she hung around her shoulder.

Fried also read, “Shooting Kanisha,” “Econo Motel, Ocean City,” and “Lyric,” which was a narrative poem that she wrote while thinking about the difference between narrative and lyric poems.

During this poem, like many others, she gesticulated and acted out some of the scenes she was speaking about.

She held her thumb and pinky fingers up to her ear and mouth like a phone while she emphasized the dialogue of certain people.

She used sound effects that can’t really be put on paper, but can resonate on the page.

In her poem, “Broken Radios,” she made sound effects like a radio and used her hands to demonstrate the narrative.

She then read a portion of a Christopher Smart poem, “Jubilate Agno,” that she used as a model for her poem, “Jubilate South Philly: City Fourteen,” which used “For” as the first word of every line in the poem.

She read, “Carnival in Spring,” “Slaughterhouse Island,” “My Brother is Getting Arrested Again,” and the final poem of the afternoon, “Women’s Poetry.”

Fried masterfully told stories through each of her poems, with changes in her voice, her mannerisms, and even a little bit of a song in one of her poems.

She said that she uses narrative as a strategy, and most of her poems are based off family members, but they may be exaggerated or fictionalized in some way.

“Life is full of sorrow and humor. Your poem becomes manipulative if you only write about sorrow,” she said when asked if her humor comes naturally.

She also said writers need to write regularly, “Inspiration doesn’t come that often. Keep your muscles warm and limber, so when inspiration hits, you’re ready.”

She said to start writing 10 minutes a day, even if you think it’s terrible. “Just set your goals low,” she said with a laugh. Fried said writing is like working out. You go slowly, about 20 minutes a day at a moderate pace, and the same goes for writing.

A lot of her poems are free verse, but with patterns in tone, and a structure “that seems like it hangs together but is created organically.”

Fried said one of the best feelings in writing is finishing a work. She explained, “I feel like my head clears, and I’m nice to my family.”

Email Amanda at:
aschreck@live.esu.edu

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