Visiting poet talks about life and death

Last Friday, as part of the Visiting Writers Series sponsored by ink, Pushcart Prize-winning poet Sarah Manguso came to the College to read some of her poetry and share some insight about the writing process.

During the event, Manguso read poems out of her first book, “The Captain Lands in Paradise,” and her upcoming 2006 book, “Siste Viator.”

She has been reading her own poems since 1999.

“During the first reading I ever gave, which was at the Mill Restaurant in Iowa City, I was extremely intoxicated,” she said. “These days, however, I find it deeply relaxing to give a reading though I have trouble going on the date without having an anxiety attack.”

“The Captain Lands in Paradise” in hand, Will Lewis, junior secondary education/English major, felt that Manguso’s “Nine Hundred Pound Bear” stood out to him. “It was random. I can sit down and be with it,” Lewis said.

According to Manguso, the poems she performs change at reading.

“I read the ones I can bear to read that day,” she said. “Sometimes you think you look presentable in the green dress; other days you think you think you should wear a foundation garment or just move to Canada. Perspectives change.”

Maggie Murphy, senior English major, explained that ink works with the Writing Communities class, an option in the Creative Writing minor offered at the College, to promote the Visiting Writers Series readings.

“ink is an organization for (the College’s) student writers whose mission is not only to promote a social atmosphere but also to support writers interested in exploring their craft,” Murphy said.

But some people at the reading were not writers, just students interested in supporting the creative community.

“The only writing I do is in reports,” Mark Walzer, a senior psychology major at the reading, said.

For Chuck Murphy, alumnus of the College, Manguso’s advice stood out for him. “It is what she said about writing needing to be authentic,” he said.

“Sarah is the perfect writer to bring to (the College) as part of the Visiting Writers Series,” Sarah Maloney, ink president, said. “It is a privilege to have such a talented poet here.”

– Signal staff members contributed to this report