Ellen Murphey addresses the audience during the symposium.
Ellen Murphey addresses the audience during the symposium.

What Would Your Poetry Bumper Sticker Say?

Being a print communications major pretty much defines me. I love everything about words and the English language. My favorite form of literature is poetry. I remember being introduced to poetry in grade school with rhyming books, and continued reading and exploring. I’ve considered myself a writer of poetry since. So when I found out about an upcoming poetry symposium on campus, I was excited. And I got even more excited knowing that all of the poets would be connected to Arcadia in some way.

The symposium is sponsored each year by the seminar “Artist, Activist Deep-Sea Diver: The Role of the Poet in Society.” For me, it’s a stimulating poetry course. Taught by Professor Ellen Murphey, the seminar helps students access their inner poet and understand and determine poetry’s role in society. I’m thrilled to be taking the course.

Request more info about Arcadia.

The poets symposium, in its fourth year, featured 21 poets, including current students, professors, graduate students, alumni and spouses of Arcadia students. The event on Oct. 22 drew an overflowing crowd to the Commons Great Room, with every seat filled and some attendees standing along the walls or sitting on the carpet. The smell of donuts, coffee, and tea traveled through the room.

Mathematician and poet Marion Cohen reads one of her poems.

Mathematician and poet Marion Cohen reads one of her poems.

The poets introduced themselves and recited original poetry, while the audience followed along  with a booklet that included their work. Topics ranged from sleep paralysis, aging fathers, an ode to boots, and my personal favorite, Kailey Tedesco’s feminism-inspired poem.
The evening was inspiring and I noted several favorite lines:

“Turn the world to stickers, arrange them in a book.” – Kailey Tedesco

“Lawyers make great poets because they understand the economy of language, how to spend it, and the value of words.” – Jim Warner

“Everybody keeps their distance these days. Everybody is so many different kinds of people and I have run out of fingers and toes.” – Michelle Reale

Dan Schall, one of the featured poets, posed a question to the rest of the panel: “What would your poetry bumper sticker be?“

Another poet elaborated and asked if you had to describe your relationship with poetry using a bumper sticker, what would it say? My favorite answer came from Cameron Conoway, who said, “It’s a privilege to read and write poetry.“

I have to agree. I left knowing that I would be part of the 5th annual poets symposium—as a featured poet. It would be mean a lot to me to be able to share my work at my soon-to-be alma mater.

Photos by Jessica Mallepalle ’16