Friday, April 25, 2014

Phenomenal Women, Phenomenal Poets

Phenomenal Women, Phenomenal Poets
By: Brittney Woods

  Last night, Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 7:30 pm in the Lane Center, poets Laura McCullough and Suzanne Parker read some of their most famous poems. Both women are exceptional writers and their poetry left a positive impression on the audience. 

  Suzanne Parker, a Manhattan native, works at Brookdale Community College in New Jersey where she is a creative writing professor. Along with writing her own poetry, Parker spends her time editing other works of aspiring poets. Viral is Parker's most recent book of poetry and she decided to specifically dedicate it to Tyler Clementi. Tyler Clementi was a Rutgers University student who committed suicide after a video of him kissing another man was exposed. Clementi's roommate, Dharun Ravi, recorded the two young men in the privacy of their room and leaked the video from Molly Wei's computer, another Rutgers student. Clementi ended his life by jumping from the George Washington Bridge which connects New York to New Jersey. Suzanne Parker felt especially motivated to write poems based off of the incident. "I follow young queer cases, males in particular, and the Tyler Clementi case just broke my heart because I'm queer so it just really upset me." Parker goes on to say, "I came out in New York and I just feel I needed to write about Clementi's case although I never knew him." 

  At the reading, Parker read her poems: "Momentum," "Peeping Tom," "Practice," "Splash," "Only Kissing," "Just," and "Stopped." Parker explained "the book is in three sections. The first section is closely related to Tyler's story and then the next section begins to open up. The final section looks at the [homosexual] culture." While reading you could tell Parker is so passionate about poetry and she does a wonderful job taking a heartbreaking topic and turning it into art which takes some of the pain away from this tragedy. 

  Laura McCullough, a New Jersey native, works at the University of Wisconsin-Stout where she teaches creative writing. She also is an editor and enjoys poetry more than anything else. McCullough starts off her introduction, "the strangest place I peed was in Breadloaf. Me and my friend decided we had too many beers so we had to pee. The next day when we went back we realized we were right near a ravine and since that day I took that as a good fortune." 

  Rigger Death and Hoist Another  is McCullough's most recent book and she says it hit here hard after her mother unfortunately passed away two weeks ago. She decided to read the poems that spoke out to her the most and helps her get through her grieving process. These poems were: "They Dreamed of AK47's," "Like Water on Pavement," "And Some Join The Military," and "Scarification."

  McCullough had a tough time speaking to the public about her mother's death and reading her poems; however, her tone towards poetry told the audience she was sincere and wanted to reach out to others if she could. She went on to say, "the only thing I trust is poetry. I trust my poetry more than I trust myself."

  Overall, these two women are truly passionate about poetry and it shows through their writing. They encourage others to do what they are most passionate about and to follow their dreams no matter how outrageous it may seem.

For more information on Laura McCullough click here
For more information on Suzanne Parker click here

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