Poets address babies, mustaches, teen feelings

Peter Davis shared selections from his book of poetry, “Hitler’s Mustache” at ink’s Double Header Poetry Reading on Wednesday Sept. 22. (Photo Courtesy of Christopher Lombardi)

By Alexa Woronowicz
Correspondent

Poet Peter Davis made an instantly humorous impression last Wednesday Sept. 22 at the Double Header Poetry Reading in the Brower Student Center with the introduction of his poetry book.

“Do we really need a book about Hitler’s mustache? Yes, yes we do,” he said.

Davis shared selections from “Hitler’s Mustache” during the reading, also featuring Shanna Compton, at the event sponsored by ink.

His first choice, “Hitler’s Mustache: The Short Story,” did not mention Hitler, but instead substituted “mustache” for more appropriate words in the poem. The word “mustache” began to appear so frequently that, by the end, Davis frantically read nonsensical lines such as “the mustache would be able to mustache the mustache.”

“The embodiment of evil is Hitler and he looks ridiculous,” he said.

In his latest book, “Poetry, Poetry, Poetry,” each poem is dedicated to a specific audience, sometimes leading to heartfelt confessions or humorous responses.

“Poem Addressing People Who Have Invited Me to Participate in Their Reading Series” revealed that the speaker simply enjoys feeling wanted. “Poem Addressing Babies,” however, caused Davis to repeatedly coo phrases like “Isn’t this a good poem?” and “Aren’t you a cutie?” in a high-pitched voice.

Compton explored a variety of themes in her new book, “The Seam Rovers,” which will be released in February. Still a work in progress, the 30 to 35 poems of “Seam Rovers” allows Compton to test out unfamiliar techniques and styles.

“Exaggeration, melodrama, tweaking those teen feelings … (That’s) not what I normally do,” she said. “There are lots of animals and different kinds of language being smushed together.”

She inserted her own commentary on the pieces. After “Coasting,” a thoughtful prose poem, she admitted it made her feel sad.

“I talk between the poems because I get nervous,” she said.

“Hey, Mike,” a sillier poem, consisted of ridiculous tasks being given to an unfortunate hotel-worker, Mike, such as salivating in a cup to eliminate him as a suspect.

The humorous nature of the night came as a surprise to some audience members.

“I was totally not expecting it to be as funny as it was,” freshman English major Rebecca Abrams said.

Though both poets elicited many laughs, there was much more at work than comedy.

Hitler’s Mustache’ has a lot of stuff that’s pretty horrifying,”Davis said. “It’s funny because it’s kind of sad.”