New York Poet Laureate shares her work

By Kaite Dougherty
Staff Writer

The College’s creative writing organization, INK, presented renowned poet Marie Howe as part of INK’s Master Series on Thursday, April 25 in the Education Building.

Many students and a few faculty members gathered for the event to witness and hear the enchanting words of the current New York State Poet Laureate at their very own college campus. This particular occasion enabled aspiring poets and literature lovers to hear Howe read some of her most expressive poetry aloud, while simultaneously learning about the writers who influenced her creative ambition.

Alexa Logush, sophomore English and history double major, was one of the students who helped organize the poetry event.

“She’s very talented, especially in the way she takes mundane or simple events and turns them into something more,” Logush said, describing Howe’s writing style.

Through Howe’s use of poetics, seemingly everyday occurrences such as parking a car or going on a walk are transformed into very significant and magical events.

Carly DaSilva, sophomore English major and the lead organizer of the reading, introduced Howe with a beautiful and welcoming speech. DaSilva, who writes poetry herself, claimed that she was very much inspired by Howe’s writing style.

“She’s a fabulous writer and I love her,” DaSilva said.

When asked if she would ever attempt to emulate Howe’s distinct writing style, DaSilva stated that she could never recreate Howe’s exact poetic ability. But she does believe that Howe is one of those poets whose style can subconsciously “seep” into one’s own writing. Howe’s work is just that powerful.

DaSilva recited a couple of lines from her favorite Howe poem, “The Last Time,” during the introduction. Howe was deeply touched and was filled with modest gratitude as she approached the podium.

“I left all my notes at home,” Howe said jokingly after realizing that she forgot to bring a few discussion points she jotted down. “But I know what I want to talk about.”

Howe began the poetry reading by discussing many metaphysical poets who influenced her writing including a German poet named Rainer Maria Rilke, the ever-celebrated Robert Frost and the late Jane Kenyon.

“These are the poets who have nourished me,” Howe said.

Howe then proceeded to read a few select poems from these inspirational writers. She read a Rainer Maria Rilke poem titled “Annunciation to Mary.” This poem presented a unique version of the ancient story about the Virgin Mary’s visit from the angel Gabriel.

Howe also read some pieces by Jane Kenyan, who was also one of her closest friends. After reading Kenyan’s poem, “Bright Sun after Heavy Snow,” Howe noted how Kenyan was a master at establishing metaphorical meaning through the description of nature.

“Her consciousness is like a shuttle of light,” Howe said, regarding Kenyan’s perception within her poems.

Howe ended the reading by reciting some of her own poems, including “The Cold Outside,” “The Gate,” “The Dream” and her well-known piece “What the Living Do.” All of the poems Howe read centered on her brother John, who passed away from the AIDS virus. Her deeply personal and emotionally-driven words pored over the audience like a soothe song.

Howe’s relaxed and overall humble disposition made her all the more approachable for students and professors to chat with after the poetry reading. She autographed several copies of her poetry collections and thanked the audience for their time.