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ISSUE 120 VOL 19 PUBLISHED 4/27/2007

Poetry enthusiasts gather for National Poetry Month

By Ginna Baker
Contributing Writers

Friday, April 27, 2007

Poetry may be considered a dying art in some parts of the world, but the vibrant group of students and community members who filled the Contented Cow on April 19 in support of National Poetry Month showed that poetry is alive and well in Northfield.

Despite the seeming lack of public interest that has plagued the poetry community in recent years, it was in a festive mood that a number of poetry lovers filed into the Northfield pub for an open-mic poetry night.

Sponsored by River City Books, the event comprised readings of both original poems and perennial favorites from around the world.

The event coordinator, Stephanie Walker '05, was excited for the opportunity to “tout the poetry banner” with fellow artists and readers and was pleased at seeing so much support for what she deemed a “dying genre.”

During the poetry hour, several St. Olaf poets read original works.

Josh Kalscheur ’'07 read "“When the Communion Wafer Fell to the Ground,”" a deeply reflective piece imagining the many places Jesus (in the form of communion bread) might end up after being accidentally dropped on the floor.

Kristen Rau’s ‘'07 “"The Skirt"” sensuously detailed a beautiful skirt on a woman and its journey through a day in a poor, urban setting.

Brett DeFries ’'08 introduced an austere young woman whose amazing ability to love was expressed by cutting holes in the ice to allow submerged whales to breathe in his poem “"St. Frances and the Whales of Prudhoe Bay”."

Midway through the hour, St. Olaf Associate Professor of English and critically acclaimed poet Eliot Wilson took the stage to read two of his satirical poems. One titled “"Minnesota Can’t Complain”" fused together aspects of Minnesotan culture and vernacular to offer a hilarious critique of the state as a whole. Filled with cheese balls, bell choirs and the occasional “pilgrimage to the Mall of America,” Wilson’s poem offered a highly amusing, if not downright insulting, assessment of Minnesota. Luckily for him, those Minnesotans present had enough of a sense of humor to hold their complaints, and many likely headed to after the reading to order a copy of his book “"The Saint of Letting Small Fish Go."”

Many in attendance expressed pleasure at the good turnout. Kalscheur commented on the “nice mix of professors, community members and students” present.

Walker gave repeated and enthusiastic invitations for Northfield’s most recent literary development: a newly-forming poetry group. Interested persons are invited to attend an interest meeting at River City Books on May 3 at 7 p.m.

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