Student poetry reflects culture

Bethany English

Student poetry reflects culture

Writing, drawings to be published in future.

Writing, drawings to be published in future

The Office of International Affairs is introducing a new way for international students to express themselves and their creative talents through the International Poetry Society.

Leila Ghannad, international student and scholar adviser, said she started the organization to help international students share their feelings, ideas and talents with other students.

The International Poetry Society, which accepts any type of creative work in any style or language, will offer readers something more than entertainment.

“If it’s good, you give a little glimpse of your soul,” she said.

Ghannad also said that having international students share this glimpse of themselves, their cultures and their viewpoints can help debunk the stereotypes often associated with certain groups of individuals.

In less than two weeks, international students have submitted 20 items to the International Poetry Society.

Pritam Mandal, an international student from India pursuing a Ph.D. in physics, said he entered his piece because he wanted other students to see it and give him feedback. He said responses from readers help motivate him to write more.

“Everyone has his or her own world,” Mandal said. “I would like to invite people to see my own, personal world.”

Le Su, sophomore electronic media major from China, entered a drawing of the Temple of Heaven, which is a famous building in China.

Su’s drawing, which was also a birthday gift for her mother, was done in a style she called “pen and ink.” She said she hopes to create an interest in Chinese culture through her drawings and introduce students to something new.

Ghannad said the International Poetry Society’s goal is to use the submissions for a journal that can be published at least once a year.

She also said she wants to bring a stronger focus to art and literature because it’s something that doesn’t seem to be “as present in pop culture” as it used to be.

Although the long-term goal is to have a yearly journal, right now Ghannad said she is focused on just sharing the works with other students and getting the artists and authors published.

The submissions have been added into the newsletters Kristi Campbell, assistant director of the Office of International Affairs, sends out to international students.

At the end of the year, the Office of International Affairs plans to host an exhibition showcasing all the submissions the International Poetry Society has collected.

Ghannad said after the society gets more organized, she would like to include work by domestic students who have studied abroad.

The journal will reflect a global perspective because the contributors are from various cultures and viewpoints, but Ghannad also said the importance of this project is that it can “help foster friendships and understanding.”

Contact international affairs and honors reporter Bethany English at [email protected].