By Ryan O’Connell
Arts & Features Editor
The English Department held a faculty poetry reading consisting of seven poets over Zoom Oct 19.
Talia Adry, English professor and Framingham State alumna, was the first of seven readers, and shared three poems. Adry began with, “When Hank Left, We Didn’t Look For Him,” which she said was written about the death of a close friend.
She followed with “We Fossil,” a poem she said was inspired by her curiosity with “the process of discovery, and what we unearth in our personal relationships.” She read about the time two lovers had spent together, and the connection they shared.
“We, an ancient couple, remarkably, have exoskeletons,” she read. “My words: ‘I can’t breathe,’ and yours: ‘You must.’”
Adry read, “Somewhere Near The Ides of March, 2020” last, which she had written at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and said it dealt with rebirth and “the end of winter.” She added all of the poems she chose to read at the event were about death in some way.
Hannah Baker-Siroty, English professor, read second, sharing four short poems mostly involving her children. Baker-Siroty said she was grateful for the English Department’s Week of Poetry as well as her inclusion in the faculty reading.
Baker-Siroty read about her daily routine, her morning duties, tiredness, and how her son always yells for her in the morning. She shared how she intrepets this screaming, and the love she feels hearing it, as well as a similar story about her daughter in her poem “Blooming.”
She first read from “First Things First,” “Each morning I think joy, or partial joy and not for coffee, but for my son screaming ‘Mommy!’ And that he means me, and needs to start the day surrounded by me. That I am who he continues to pick, among all the things, I am his very first thing.”
Colleen Coyne, English professor, read three poems, two of which involved her personal interest in informal historical texts. She began with “The City Itself is a Mystery School,” which she said recounted her early 20s in Chicago, where she considered she came of age.
She said portions of her poem “Some Remarks On The Great and Unusual Darkness,” which was based on a weather anomaly in the 17th century, incorporated epitaphs written on headstones in New England cemeteries.
She added, “Wish You Were Here” was based on her passion for collecting old postcards, further connecting to her passion for historical documents while discussing a tumultuous relationship.
Bernard Horn, a retired English professor at FSU, said he also had a lot of poems about death, and shared five of them. He added he and his wife have dealt with the death of several close friends in the last year and a half, and not from COVID-19.
“So death has been around, and so the parts of our lives our friends remembered that we’d forgotten are gone forever,” he said.
Horn’s poem “At The Cemetery” discussed dying, fading life, and unfamiliarity that grows with age, which he read first before sharing a related entry from his “COVID Log” collection of work.
He also shared lighter poems, such as “Love Before,” which recounted parts of his life before he met his wife. “Love before it knew it was love,” he said.
Miriam Levine, a retired English professor at FSU, also shared some of her recent work. She read four poems, “I Belong To The Party of Lyric Poetry,” “Watching Birds,” “November,” and “First Lover,” most of which also addressed loss.
Before Levine read “First Lover,” she told student attendees “Oh, by the way, sometimes you mustn’t listen to your teachers,” sharing that this poem was based on a dream, and she had been told once by a colleague, “‘Too many dream poems, Miriam.’
“You know, so, I didn’t listen to her. If I had I wouldn’t have written this poem, whether it’s good or bad or whatever - I wrote it,” she said.
She read about seeing her first love in a dream, young and lustly, who she knew intimately. She said he was dead, though, and that if she was in the afterlife, he would have appeared “in his ravishing shape, and rise again.”
Rachel Trousdale, English professor, read three of her poems, which all related to various scientific topics.
The poems discussed the role her father played in the invention of the laser, the circumstances which gave Earth most of its coal, and a single line poem about her young son’s newfound interest in nature.
Sam Witt, English professor, concluded the faculty poetry reading with two long-form poems, “The 16th Law of Entanglement” and “Stepping Into The Light,” which both discussed connections he had with important figures in his life - first a close friend who died in 2006 and secondly, his maternal grandfather.