Poetry and Pie: Students gathered for a night of pie and self-expression

The coffee shop opened to students and faculty ready to share stanzas and dessert on Nov. 13 . Students shared their work, with topics ranging from grandfathers to Italian plums to small moments that would be otherwise forgotten.

JV_7808

On Friday evening students gathered in the Mind and Hearth to share their thoughts and ideas through poetry. Along with poetry, the event hosted by English department club Westminster Round featured blueberry, apple and pumpkin pie.

Senior Hannah Cobb has attended Poetry and Pie three times prior to this year, and has always enjoyed hearing what peers and faculty read, she said.

This year, she read her poetry aloud for the rst time at the event.

“[Reading] was terrifying," Cobb said. I had never done this before...this is me kind of forcing myself out of my comfort zone a little bit to share it.”

Cobb draws inspiration for her poems through moments she notices, she said. Poetry and Pie is a time for her not just to express her thoughts, but to hear everyone else’s, she said.

“I just love hearing what everyone else is thinking,” Cobb said. “I think poems are such an honest re ection of yourself and who you are and what’s going on in your brain.”

Some of the poets touched on serious subjects, but other works brought laughter to the coffee shop. One such poem by English professor Fred Johnson expressed a list of 10 situations a possum might find itself in, which had students chuckling all the way through.

The event also featured poet Cathy Bobb, wife of English professor Vic Bobb, who shared a handful of poems reflecting on tragedies in her life and on her family’s struggles with mental illness.

Freshman Ainsley Detwiler attended the event, and liked Cathy Bobb’s work for the background and depth that she put into her poetry, along with the eerie feeling Detwiler got after hearing some of the poems, Detwiler said. Cathy Bobb’s work also features a favorite, titled “The Politics of Pie,” where Cathy Bobb makes a pie for her family, but continuously eats it, making up excuses for each new helping.

Detwiler was also impressed by the unintimidating atmosphere the audience created.

“It was really relaxed...the people surrounding were very nonjudgmental, if anything they were really encouraging,” Detwiler said. “It was all around very welcoming and cozy and supportive.”

 

Meghan Foulk

Staff Writer

Contact Meghan Foulk at

meghanfoulk19@my.whitworth.edu

Influential poet B.H. Fairchild inspires students

IMG_6731

The audience listened with rapt attention as poetry filled the hall. The poet had each member hanging on for the next phrase, filling the space with the flow of his stanzas, spinning imagery and narrative.

B.H. Fairchild is an accomplished poet, and has won many awards such as the Beatrice Hawley Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, according to his Poetry Foundation profile.

Fairchild’s poetry reading was held on Tuesday, Sept. 29 in Weyerhaeuser Hall. The performance drew in faculty, students and other members of the Spokane community. Some students were required to attend for various classes, and many were excited to hear the writer’s work.

“I had read a few B.H. Fairchild poems in high school and I really liked it,” freshman Jordan Seiersen said. “It was interesting hearing his poems out loud rather than reading them.”

The reading reinforced the importance of reading poems out loud. That was especially true for Fairchild’s poems because they are from personal experience, which gives his stories a deeper meaning and makes them applicable to the population. They are quite beautiful, Seiersen said.

English professor Thomas Caraway introduced Fairchild to the audience. A long-time fan of the poet’s work, Caraway loves how Fairchild brings in sound, metaphor, figurative language, as well as interesting narratives and characters, which makes him such a powerful writer, Caraway said.

“He’s able to combine all of the elements that make poetry so important,” Caraway said. “All these things kind of come together like at the end of a symphony where you’ve had all of these individual strings. You know, the choir part is good over here, and the strings are good over here, and the brass, every- thing, and with the end, the crescendo it all comes together. And that’s what his poetry does for me.”

Fairchild read the poems “Language, Nonsense, Desire,” “The Limits of my Language: English 85B,” “The Deposition,” “Cigarettes,” “What He Said, What She Said” and other pieces from his book “The Blue Buick.”

Fairchild provided commentary on each poem before he read them to provide insight into his personal experiences. He explained the inspirations for each piece, ranging from a high school Spanish video to his days working as a young adult in his hometown.

Fairchild spoke of his days before poetry, and his revelation that days of “work, eat, sleep” were aimless. He wanted a purpose, which he found in literature, because there is always a point and a promise. Poetry fulfilled that purpose, and the influences of growing up in a blue-collar American society is evident, Fairchild said.

His work explores the area where he was born and the empty landscapes that accompany it, along with the lives of the working residents. Many times his poems include his own family and friends, according to his Poetry Foundation profile.

The audience didn’t stay silent throughout the performance. Many times the silence was broken by laughter, usually caused by Fairchild’s humorous anecdotes. Students often take too many literary classes, and could not accept a poem for what it was an enjoy it, Fairchild said.

The friendly atmosphere brought many poetry lovers and new enthusiasts together.

 

Meghan Foulk

Staff Writer

Contact Meghan Foulk at

meghanfoulk19@my.whitworth.edu