“Women’s Words,” a more-than-just-poetry reading held by the women’s and gender studies department in honor of Women’s History Month, featured five women writers and poets from the College. Associate English professor Kim Pearson, former English department head Lana Diskin, English professor Catie Rosemurgy, high school teacher Lois Harrod and principal library assistant Melissa Hoffmann read their work to students and faculty.
“When is somebody gonna tell the kids that Lil’ Kim puts on clothes when she goes to business meetings?” Pearson asked in her poem “Theme for Mister Hughes.”
Pearson’s poems, along with her rap, “Compared to What?,” focused on current events and the media. They provided social commentary on media figures, the news and George W. Bush getting “gangsta” with regard to the war with Iraq.
“All of the poetry was really high-quality, especially the rap that Kim Pearson did,” Catherine Campbell, freshman biology major, said. “It was relevant to what is going on now in the world while still being poetic.”
Other readers focused on a variety of themes. In “Miss. Peach, Ex-Sorority Sister,” Rosemurgy brought up the idea of a bad body image through examples of diet pills and powders, with lines like, “. meanwhile I’d eat a beetle if I knew it’s legs would make my lashes longer.” She then went on in “Miss. Peach Gets Lucky” to recount Miss. Peach’s date with a werewolf. This date mockingly pointed out basic similarities between werewolves and men, using sarcastic remarks such as, “He’s got basic desires that lack a corresponding orifice.”
“Rosemurgy’s poems were funny, but they had an underlying theme of self-respect for women, which is great,” Adrienne Ockrymiek, freshman communication studies major, said.
Hoffman focused mainly on love and heartbreak in the poetry she read.
“Then there was the stage when I wrote ‘angry chic poems’ and understood those Alanis Morisette songs,” Hoffman said before reciting a few.
In “Damage Control,” Hoffman’s anger and bitterness were upheld by such lines as, “There must be a crime when honesty pleads the fifth.”
Harrod amused the audience with such poems as the one entitled “I’m Gonna Drive Somewhere Far With the Windows Up.”
She said that “most people only write when they are depressed,” before reciting “My Sister’s Short Life as a Writer.” Reminiscent of a heartbreak experienced by her sister, the poem was filled with remarks written on a bathroom wall in vengeance of the heartbreak, including “men don’t floss” and “semen causes ovarian cancer.” Lines like these kept the audience laughing throughout Harrod’s presentation.
Diskin’s poetry had various themes, the most prominent being strength and weakness. In “Tree or Bird,” Diskin metaphorically looked at life from a bird’s eye view as well as through the view of a tree. She spoke of the beauty of the bird along with its simple-mindedness as compared with the huge awkwardness of the tree and its strength.
“Nobody pushes me around,” Diskin said as a tree. This poem, a reference to youth and simplicity along with aging and intelligence was highly applauded by the audience, as was her other poetry.