Wick poetry winner reveals inspirations

Anna Riggenbach

Ariana-Sophia M. Kartsonis, winner of the 2005 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize, reads from her book Intaglio at the Wick Poetry Series reading yesterday in the Kiva. LESLIE CUSANO | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Steve Schirra

Speaking about her background, relationships and her grandmother’s death, Ariana-Sophia M. Kartsonis took the audience on a journey last night at the Kiva.

Kartsonis, whose first book of poetry was recently published, read her poems along with Eleanor Wilner, who has published six books of poetry.

Wilner was the judge who chose Kartsonis as the 2005 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize winner.

Wilner said she was “moved and delighted” by Kartsonis’ work.

Provost Paul Gaston started the night by bringing the audience into the world of poetry.

“Poetry thrives on quiet,” Gaston said. “Poetry gives the world back to the world.”

Kartsonis began by saying she was blown away by being chosen as the winner.

“There is no prize that I could be more proud of winning,” she said. “Thank you for something I will never forget.”

Kartsonis said her inspiration for her poetry often comes from sounds.

“I was always interested in rhythm and rhyme,” she said. “Unusual similarities or contradictions, images and news material also inspire me.”

Kartsonis said her book of poems, Intaglio, was mostly written about her grandmother, who was mentally ill and whose marriage was arranged.

Kartsonis heard she had won the prize a month before her grandmother passed away.

The poems were hard to “whip into shape,” Kartsonis said.

Kartsonis’ next book of poetry will deal with women who were mentally ill. Her inspiration stemmed from the poor treatment her grandmother received.

Maggie Anderson, director of the Wick Poetry Center, then introduced Wilner.

“Wilner has an eye for the humble and invisible in the world,” Anderson said. “When I read her poems, I feel like we have been invited to sit around a table, pull up a chair and share our stories.”

Wilner, who has won many awards, including the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and the Jupiter Prize, read poetry from her various books. One of her most recent poems, “The Girl with Bees in Her Hair,” was inspired by a picture.

“Everything inspires me,” Wilner said. “The voices in the silence and cultural memory, figures that change.”

Contact College of Arts and Sciences reporter Anna Riggenbach at [email protected].