Poetry reading features student work
Olivia Jackson | Friday, February 6, 2015
For Saint Mary’s Heritage week, seniors Kelly Konya and Sarah Prezek hosted a “Then and Now” poetry reading featuring professors who read poems by Saint Mary’s alumnae and students who read their own work.
Prezek said the idea for the reading was Konya’s [Editor’s note: Konya is Saint Mary’s Editor at The Observer] and was based on a similar event held during Heritage Week 2014.
“Last year, students did not read their own work, and the poetry was mostly by Sister Madeleva [Wolff]
because it was the 50th anniversary of her death,” Prezek said. “John Kovach played a recording of Sister Madeleva reading her own poetry, which was a big weekly event on campus when she was president. She would read her poetry for the students.”
This year, the reading featured poetry taken from past issues of the Saint Mary’s art and literary journal Chimes and poetry written by current students, Prezek said.
College archivist John Kovach said 2015 is the 123rd year of publication for Chimes, which also used to function as a student newspaper.
“From 1892 to 1926, Chimes contained short stories [and] poems and also served as a campus newspaper. Even now, if we need to find campus news from that time, I look back to Chimes first.”
Kovach said Chimes was student-driven and often published from September to July. He said Saint Mary’s has every issue of Chimes and all other campus literary periodicals since the date of initial publication in the archives.
Senior Catherine Sullivan said the poetry reading began with a poem by Sister Madeleva.
“It was nice that we started with a poem by Sister Madeleva because her work is such a valued tradition here at Saint Mary’s,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan said she and the other students who participated in the reading wrote their poems specifically for the event. Students were asked to write about their experiences as Saint Mary’s women, and Sullivan said she enjoyed hearing experiences of past students juxtaposed with her own.
“Hearing [poetry] form girls who are grown up now but were our age once makes the future not so scary,” Sullivan said.
Aaron Moe, a professor of English at Saint Mary’s, said he was asked to read a poem written by a 1897 graduate of Saint Mary’s.
“So often with literature in grammatical time, language is just one word after another,” Moe said. “Hearing current voices and past voices together gave language a whole new dimension.”
Junior Jennifer Vosters said she found sharing her poetry in this unique context a positive experience.
“This [poetry reading] was such a special opportunity to showcase the work of students both past and present,” Vosters said.