Students and faculty celebrate inauguration with poetry together

What’s the best part about poetry readings? “Hearing things you’ve never heard before,” or at least according to Dr. Jane Bowman Smith, who was among the faculty and students chosen to read selected poetry in celebration of the inauguration of Dr. Jayne Marie Comstock on Thursday morning in Kinard Auditorium.

“I felt like Robert Frost when he was asked to read for Kennedy’s inauguration,” senior Alex Muller joked about being asked to read for the event.

Muller and senior Lauren Clark were the students who read. Along with Smith, the faculty poets included Dr. Mary E. Martin, Dr. Jo Koster and Evelyne Weeks, who also hosted the event.

One of Smith’s poems, entitled “Quilting,” spoke of “the circle of family, hearth, and home.” Another poem of Smith’s, called “Morning Sample,” was about a needle worker experiencing “an edge of hope.”

Clark read three poems, one of which she wrote while studying abroad in Ireland. She also read a poem about her relationship with Winthrop, entitled “Home,” where she referred to Winthrop as a “habitat of homage.”

Martin prefaced her trifecta of poems by saying “all of these poems have to do with connection.” Her poem called “The Luminous Disarray,” which was written while meditating on the moon, was about “feeling the pressure light no longer outside but within us.”

Koster read two poems that were spawned by the suggestions of students and a poem she wrote last year after the Boston Marathon bombings, called “Yeast.” The latter poem’s concluding line was “they and all of us will rise.”

Muller read three poems as well, one being an example of the form of poetry he invented, called the “motet,” which includes lines that can be read in various ways. Another of Muller’s poems, which he wrote specifically for the event, was called “The Syllable” and was about “the moment before the next moment starts.

“Make note that you were in college with Lauren Clark and Alex Muller, because you will be hearing those names again, I firmly believe,” Weeks said of the student-poets.

Weeks read poems of her own, including one called “Time.” Another of her poems, “Frogs and Such” was about when Weeks “first discovered that tree frogs existed” as a child.

All five participating poets have been published, and Muller and Clark will be attending graduate school at Wake Forest University and Auburn University respectively in the fall.

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