By Henry Schecker
Last Thursday’s on campus poetry reading was a rousing success.
Dennis Nurkse was the guest speaker and was here to perform a sampling of his critically acclaimed poetry.
The event, which was held at Lower Dansbury at 4 p.m., was a packed house.
I arrived ten minutes early and still had to sit in the back. However Mr. Nurkse was mic’d so he was audible in any corner of the room.
Nurkse has written and published 10 collections of poetry that have been translated into many different languages and received several national awards.
The event was sponsored by the staff of ESU’s literary journal, Calliope, and the English Department, and was arranged by Professor Richard Madigan.
After a brief introduction by Prof. Madigan and short thanks to Dean Hawkes, Nurkse took the podium.
The crowd was respectful and immediately went silent, all focusing on the poetry being read.
A packet of Nurkse’s poems had been dispersed through the crowd beforehand, but only one poem from the packet was read.
Nurkse opened with a collection of poems focusing on his youth, briefly interluding between poems to tell humorous anecdotes and introduce the next poem.
His cadence was rhythmic and hypnotizing.
Often times I found myself staring blankly forward, locked in only on his voice.
His words were profound and resonating.
Although I couldn’t recall well enough to repeat his words verbatim, his themes stick with me three days later.
The themes were relatable, like memories of childhood gone by and the introspective thoughts one has in moments that float around in your head once that moment has passed. I dug it.
Nurkse read about a dozen or so poems for his hour timeslot and ended with a 30-minute Q&A session followed by a chance to purchase an autographed edition of one of his books.
The English department tries to bring in a guest speaker to campus every spring and they’re usually very interesting.
Chalk this up as another win for them.
It was a positive experience, and it was good to get a little cultured on my Thursday afternoon.
I’d recommend attending a guest speaker event, and I myself will be looking forward to the next one.
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