Passing students pick up impromptu poetry

By Miguel Gonzalez
Sports Editor

Students write poetry using typewriters that date back to the 1950s. (Kim Iannarone / Photo Editor)

On a warm afternoon by the side of the Education Building, professor Tabitha Dell’Angelo was creating poems with one push of a lever at a time.

No internet, cables, adapters, Wi-Fi or even electricity were needed. Just a typewriter, a table, a box full of ideas and students hungry for quickly printed poetry.

Dell’Angelo, an associate professor in the department of early and elementary education and the coordinator of the urban education program, and students participated in Poetry 2 Go, an event where passersby requested poems to be immediately written on a typewriter. The three-hour event, sponsored by the urban education program and Sigma Tau Delta, lasted from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 18.

Students had the option of pulling ideas out of a box or requesting any topic for a personalized poem. The majority of poems featured two stanzas with four poetic lines.     

“I’m a geek for typewriters,” Dell’Angelo said. “You don’t need technology, internet or even electricity to slide in a piece a paper and tell a story.”

Dell’Angelo and several students were using a typewriter that dated back to 1950, when it was produced by L.C. Smith Bros. and Corona Typewriters, Inc.

“It’s exciting to use a typewriter,” said Nina Navazio, a freshman secondary education major. “You get what you see in an instant. The letter. The space. The return to the next line.”

Alan Amtzis, the director of the College’s Regional Training Center graduate degree program, joined in and recalled his younger days of using a typewriter.

“Using the typewriter takes me back to when I was a kid,” Amtzis said. “The tippy-tacky sound. I wish typewriters were still used. It brings a different type of connection for a poet and it’s enjoyable. Sure, you can’t erase with a typewriter but you can never lose your data!”

The most important part of the event allowed students to freely type poetry and share it with their peers. Navazio and Fernandez had their own distinctive approaches.

“I rhyme in most of my poems,” Navazio said. “It’s all about rhythm and flow. Say like I want to rhyme rooms, I would think of spoons and somehow find a way to make them related.”

Meanwhile, Fernandez writes her poems freely.

“I’ll write about anything and everything,” Fernandez said. “Though, I do have a passion for love stories. Some of my lines can be cliché, but it turns out great in the end. If I want to write a really good poem, I won’t constrain myself and start freestyling.”

Ultimately, students were able to use an antique device and showcase fun poetry.  Amtzis also emphasized the impact of great poetry.

“It’s always a challenge to write,” Amtzis said. “What makes a poem? We try to take a human experience and express it on paper. I’m always inspired by good poetry. Sometimes it takes days or weeks to understand a piece of poetry.”