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March 26, 2001

'Poetry Matters' to campuswide group

By Michael Terrazas


Lovers of verse will get their chance to read and hear poetry read aloud and in the open air Wednesday, as Emory’s young Poetry Council sponsors “Poetry Matters,” a public reading to be held March 28 from noon to 4 p.m. next to the Cox Hall Bell Tower.

“Part of the goal implicit in this event is to demonstrate how prevalent poetry is in the Emory community—it’s not just the province of the English major or faculty member,” said Steve Enniss, literary curator in Special Collections and a member of the Poetry Council. “We hope this will help people broaden their awareness.”

Formed last September, the council’s goal is similar to that of its first planned event: to foster awareness and recognition of the role poetry plays in the lives of people all across campus, not just those who work or study in traditionally “literary” disciplines. The council’s dozen-odd members meet monthly to discuss how this might be accomplished.

“The idea was to support poetry in areas where it’s traditionally not recognized or not obviously part of the program,” said council member Cheryl Crowley, assistant professor of Japanese in Russian and East Asian Languages and Culture. “We want to make poetry a bigger part of daily life at Emory.”

Also on the council is Bruce Covey, associate director of Emory Bookstore and a published poet himself; his work appears in The Greek Gods as Telephone Wires, and he is a part-time lecturer in creative writing.

“There is a lot of poetry happening in Atlanta and Georgia, and there hasn’t really been a central location for it,” Covey said. “There are lots of individual groups at different universities and on campus but not a lot of communication between them.” He said the council can serve two purposes: to coordinate and advertise poetry-themed events, and to become a “center for poetry” in the area.

“Poetry Matters,” held on the cusp of National Poetry Month in April, is a fine example of the former goal. Everyone in the University community is invited to sign up for the event via its LearnLink conference or by sending e-mail to, or by calling 404-727-5087 or 404-727-4885.

Participants may read any sort of verse, from Dr. Seuss to T.S. Eliot, of either their own or others’ creation. With each reader limited to three minutes for the four-hour event, the council is hoping for about 80 participants.

“I suspect we’ll fill up that time,” said Enniss, who added that the council is hoping people come in groups, such as professors with their students or interest groups—“whether it’s the Korean students’ association or the baseball team,” Crowley added.

The council also is sponsoring an April 12 reading by poet Reetika Vazirani, author of White Elephants, in a location to be determined.

Vazirani is writer-in-residence at Sweet Briar College in Virginia and is a recipient of a Discovery Award, the Barnard New Women Poets Prize and the Virginia Faulkner Award for Literary Excellence.


Back to Emory Report March 26, 2001