Wick Poetry Center holds first reading of the semester

Jason Clevenger

Ted Lardner, one of the winners of the 2007 Ohio Chapbook Competition from the Wick Poetry Center, reads one of his poems to an audience in the Kiva yesterday afternoon. Lardner and Kevin Oberlin, the other winner of the Chapbook Competition, read both pu

Credit: DKS Editors

There was an undeniable romantic tendency for heads to lean against shoulders in the dimly lit Kiva during the first Wick Poetry Center reading of the semester on Thursday.

The 2007 Wick Chapbook Competition winners read from their recently published work and other “homeless poems” – poems that haven’t yet been published.

A chapbook is a short book of poems that is about 25 pages long and costs “less than dinner for two, or a couple of six-packs of beer,” said Maggie Anderson, director of the Wick Poetry Center, during her introduction at the reading.

Kevin Oberlin, author of “Spotlit Girl,” one of the recently-published chapbooks, read poems that ranged in theme from the insecurities of a young woman to the work of veterinarians.

He even read a poem about sex in a workout room, just to “get a little sex in there. It sells, right?” he said, to the amusement of the audience.

Ted Lardner, author of “Tornado,” another recently published chapbook, read about viewing ants working, the place outside of town where people let their dogs run loose and other topics.

Anderson quoted world renowned poet Alicia Ostriker, who taught a workshop Lardner attended, when she introduced him: “Tornado is a book of ravishing and precise beauty.”

Among the audience of about 50 teachers, writers and students was Robert Wick himself, one of the two founders of the Wick Poetry Center.

“I felt I should be here to hear these marvelous poets. It’s a constant inspiration for me,” Wick said.

Connie Locker, a junior history major, enjoyed the reading. Her creative writing class has been reading the chapbooks.

“It was nice to listen to them read their own work rather than how we’ve been interpreting it in class,” she said.

Both chapbook winners felt honored to have their chapbooks published and to be able to read.

“There’s an amazing family and interconnection between the poets and the people around the Wick program,” said Lardner. “It’s very unique.”

Since 1984, the Wick Poetry Center has published two chapbooks every year, published by Kent State University Press.

“To get a Wick chapbook is a privilege and an honor,” said Oberlin, for whom this was his first chapbook publication. “It’s a great start.”

Contact College of Arts and Sciences reporter Jason Clevenger at [email protected].