Telling The Real Stories

Poets came to celebrate National Poetry Month

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Poets Katrina Vandenberg and Gretchen Marquette visited SCSU on Wednesday to celebrate National Poetry Month.

Vandenberg, professor at Hamline University, and Marquette, a 2007 SCSU graduate–who came with “The Gretchen File,” collection of her work that she had as a undergraduate–started the reading at 7 p.m. in the Miller Center by sharing pieces that inspired them.

Marquette chose a more comical piece titled “Why Latin Should Be Taught in High School,” while Vandenberg chose a more solemn poem that was titled “As Children Together.”

Each poet shared their experiences in writing, and the difficulties of finding a job or figuring  out the next step after graduation. Vandenberg, also new mother, expressed how difficult it was to find time to write and tend to her three-year-old. Marquette said jokingly that graduate school forces writing students to get time in to be creative.

Marquette then read from her up and coming book “May Day.” She explained how difficult it was to pick the title. She wanted something that resonated with the reader, especially after spending months on a poem, she said.

The discussion when on, giving students time to ask questions. The poets talked about their writing processes, “bad poems,” and the things that inspire them.

“Sometimes I write when I’m the least inspired,” Vandenberg said.

Marquette and Vandenberg both shared their experiences surrounding inspiration, and agreed that it’s important for prospective poets to “be out in the world, [and to] go to readings,” while keeping a notebook close by.

They went on to talk about the process they went through to become a published poet. To close the event, each poet shared another reading.

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