Award-winning poets read at Student Center

Jessica Dreschel

Last night’s Wick Poetry Reading inspired 86-year-old audience member Gus Tarian to read aloud one of his own poems, on mortality.

Two women read at last night’s Wick Poetry reading, winners of the 2003 student chapbook competition. Catherine Pierce and J. Gabriel Scala each read selections from their book, as well as new works.

Pierce, a creative writing fellow at the University of Missouri, read first. Her poetry book, Animals of Habit, is about human habit. Her first poems were themed love poems to abstract subjects — one was about an empty space.

Maggie Anderson, director of the Wick Poetry Center, called Pierce’s “Love Poem to America” the “most original patriotic poem I have ever heard.”

“I have a love/hate relationship with America,” Pierce said.

Pierce’s reading also included poems themed around famous last words. One poem, called “The Last Words of George Apple,” is about a gangster sentenced to die in the electric chair. His last words: “Well gentlemen, you are about to see a baked Apple,” Pierce said.

Scala, a doctoral candidate at the University of Mississippi, began her reading with new selections. Three of the new poems were from a series of litanies. “Grocery Store Litany,” about a woman waiting in an unmoving grocery store line, drew laughter from the crowd. The litany poems were all a single sentence, 21 lines long

“They are literally breath-taking to read,” Scala said.

Scala read her winning poetry book, 20 Questions for Robbie Dunkle. The book is a series of poems written as questions to a seventh-grade classmate killed in a car crash.

Contact academic technology reporter Jessica Dreschel at [email protected]