Poetry reinvents Wheeler at ‘The Goods’

Susan Wheeler performed at ‘The Goods.’ (Delisa O’Brien / Staff Photographer)

The Rathskeller overflowed with ink members last Saturday when ink held its biannual day-long student performance event, “The Goods.” Ink members and student performers alike took the Rat stage, which bustled with a talented lineup of student acts leading up to headlining poet Susan Wheeler.

Wheeler, a professor at Princeton University, has published five books of poetry and one novel since 1993. She has won a number of awards, including the Norma Farber First Book Award, the Witter Bynner Prize for Poetry and numerous fellowships, according to poetry.org.

Wheeler read from her most recent collection of poetry, “Assorted Poems.” Her poems ranged over various topics, including her brother, her fantasies of living in New York City as a young woman and controversies in Lagos, Nigeria.

When asked by a member of the audience how she managed to adjust from writing poetry to a novel, her answer was surprising.

“I hated every second of the 10 years I spent working in (the novel),” Wheeler said. “It was the first and last.” She admitted that although writing novels taught her patience, she prefers to write poetry.

Wheeler wasn’t the only poet to perform that day.

Performers included sophomore

English and special education double major Alicia Cuomo, junior journalism and English double major and Signal Arts & Entertainment editor Katie Brenzel, senior English major and ink publicist Joanna Fantozzi, senior statistics major and ink treasurer Lou Klein, junior English major Corey Drake, senior math and secondary education double major Stevenson Demorcy, sophomore English major Mary Dwyer and senior interactive multimedia major Esteban Martinez.

Poetry didn’t completely monopolize the event, though.

Senior English major Nicole Pieri read her short story, “Otaku,” about a girl who tries to balance fitting in with her friends with her love of anime. Senior English major Alyssa Gillon and senior history major

Senior math and secondary education double major Stevenson Demorcy performed at ‘The Goods.’ (Delisa O’Brien / Staff Photographer)

Andrew Kolbenschlag read fiction as well. Kolbenschlag read his story, “Gaviota,” at a past Student Reading Series. Gillon admitted that she wrote her piece, “Picnic,” the day before.

A number of student musicians entertained the audience as well. Freshman English major Becca Abrams and sophomore early childhood education major Frank Sung, performing under the name Cottage, opened “The Goods” with a short set, covering a few songs such as “Buy U A Drank” and “Dog Days are Over” on the ukulele and xylophone. Freshman open options culture and society major Stephanie Frustaci sang Avril Lavigne’s “Alice” early in the event as well.

Introduced by ink president and senior English major Enrico Bruno as “one of the favorite acts of ‘The Goods,’” Pieri and interactive multimedia and computer science double major Chris Hallberg took the stage as Nicky and Chris and the Bipolar Band. As their name suggests, the duo performed an eclectic mix of covers, from Michael Jackson to the Dixie Chicks to, as Hallberg put it, “the obligatory Iron and Wine song.”

What would happen if you mixed drums, a bass, a keyboard, a cello, a violin and Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are?”

The answer is Kollaborations, a cover band led by sophomore elementary education major Karisse Bendijo that takes popular songs by artists such as Justin Bieber and OneRepublic and makes them sound refreshingly different and original.

Kollaborations was the last student act of the night.

It was a satisfying completion to a day brimming with creative talent.