Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Among the many culminating student arts performances of this week and next was last night’s poetry reading, by the twelve members of this semester’s Advanced Poetry workshop. Professor Natalie Anderson, who teaches the workshop, introduced the students by explaining the purpose of their class as helping students to shape and extend their collection of work, as well as hone personal styles. “These are strong voices, each unlike the other,” she said of her students before briefly and provocatively describing each poet’s tone and subject matter, drawing laughter from the packed Scheuer Room.
Each student read two to four of their poems, attending with gravity to the various emotions and intensities invoked in their writing. Many members of the audience listened intently with closed eyes, and the student poets exchanged many smiles among themselves, acknowledging each other’s work.
Alan Smith ’05 was first to read, and started off with a poem called “The Bus,” which marked off the sixteen hours of a European bus ride. Megan Mills ’06 read a series of poems entitled “Copper,” “Taking My Sister to Meet Mia Hamm,” and “Autopsy.” Tiana Pyer-Pereira ’07 included a poem for her mother, a Swarthmore alumna, describing her in the poem as a “silent witness to these my thus far best of times.” Cari Carlson ’06 amused the audience with her poem “Transmutation,” which began “I dropped a baby off a changing table.” Ariana Nash ’06 spoke of travels in Thailand and India in her poem “Autonomy,” saying “I do not know yet how not to be sad when Buddhists rip me off.”
“Sentimentally Speaking” and “She is Made in Me” were among the titles of John Beauregard’s (’05) poems. Emily Regier ’06 shared poems entitled “Heinous Lies of Water Droplets” and “Turning Yellow in the Rain.” The forceful poems of Tanya Aydelott ’05 were described by Professor Anderson as dealing with the “complex sexuality of the postcolonial feminist subject.” Katie Chamblee ’07 spoke of viewing Bottecelli paintings and harrying her stepmother in her poems “Bottecelli Burning” and “Thicker.” Sapphic love and massing feminist power were described in the poems of Anisha Chandra ’06. Soo Lee ’05 read two poems she said she had written for her friends, “An Excerpt” and “Mama I Ate One of Your Roses Today.” Chris White ’05 ended the night with a poem about “the world’s premiere concert typist” and the “Squirrel of Discord.”
Each student will be creating a book of their work, and Professor Anderson noted that they will hopefully be on display in McCabe next semester. Work by these students will also be found in soon-to-be-circulated literary magazines like Small Craft Warnings.