Wick words capture journeys

Heather Bing

Maureen Passmore presents her poem during the first Wick Poetry event this semester. Passmore and fellow poet Joanne Lehman were 2004 Chapbook winners. ALLIEY BENDER | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Surrounded by the language of rural country life and the distant echoes of a journey to the Ukraine, audience members learned to listen.

The Wick Poetry Center hosted the first reading of its spring poetry series last night.

2004 Wick Chapbook Competition winners Maureen Passmore and Joanne Lehman read poems published in their chapbooks as well as from their outside work.

Wick Publications Assistant Valerie Suffron Hilty said the winners spent the day on campus speaking to creative writing classes about their poems and chapbooks.

“The event is mainly to promote the chapbook competition,” she said. “The competition is not so intimidating because winning is not impossible. Because there is a difference between the open and student competitions, students are competing against their peers, not other established poets.”

Seventy to 80 people listened to the reading and could purchase books, have them signed and ask the winners questions.

Passmore won the student portion of the chapbook competition, which was open to poets enrolled in any Ohio institution of higher learning. She said she has been writing her whole life, but she didn’t start sharing her poems until recently.

Passmore said her poems explore her time in the Ukraine. Although she lived there for three months during her undergraduate years, she waited to put those experiences into print. Her chapbook, Stranger Truths, contains poems about her time as an outsider in that culture.

“She writes about what she wants to know,” said David Hassler, Wick program and outreach director. “Maureen’s poems are gifts that have traveled between countries.”

Lehman won the open competition, which was for any poet residing in Ohio. She said she entered the competition because it was regionally based and she thought it suited a new poet like herself.

Contact College of Arts and Sciences reporter Heather Bing at [email protected].