‘Poetry is very much alive and well’ at festival

Hearing a poem from its author is an entirely different experience than reading it from the pages of a book. 

Sophomore Tonnette Hendricks was among the students and employees who heard works from four poets come to life at the UIC Poetry Festival Sept. 23 in Student Center East.

“The event was very interesting because there were so many different poetry styles,” Hendricks said. “This was poetry that makes you think and gets into the thoughts of the poet.”

Participants heard readings by award-winning poets Roger Reeves, assistant professor of English; Christina Pugh, associate professor of English; Cristina Correa, grad student in Latin American and Latino studies; and Somali-American poet Ladan Osman.

Cristina Correa reads her poetry

Cristina Correa shares her work. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services

The festival was the first event of the academic year in the Chancellor’s Lecture and Event Series.  “When I created the lecture series I wanted it to be dynamic. I wanted to hear a variety of voices. I was spellbound by the creativity, the message and the experience of these poets,” said Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares.

Osman appreciated the diverse audience. “Faculty and student from different departments filled up the space,” she said. “When we started reading, it did feel very intimate — you could almost of see the kind of attentiveness and listening.”

Diversity is an important aspect of poetry, Reeves said.  “The beauty is that we saw that poetry is very much alive and well and that there is a conversation about diversity happening at UIC,” he said.

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