Wrapping Up National Poetry Month
- Madeline Kinser
- Thursday, April 30th, 2020
This month has looked a lot different for all of us. COVID-19 has changed the way that we learn, work, and socialize, but it has brought us together in ways that some of us may not have expected. As you know, April is National Poetry Month. The WKU English Department usually celebrates by hosting the annual Goldenrod Poetry Festival, inviting guest poets to share their work, and handing out poems in Cherry Hall on Poem in Your Pocket Day. Obviously, we had to adapt, like so many of us have during these unprecedented times, but we didn’t let this keep us from celebrating poetry and the connection that it can provide.
While Goldenrod couldn’t take place in its usual capacity, a virtual celebration still took place on Friday, April 17th. The finalists, WKU English faculty, and this year’s guest poet – Erin Slaughter, a graduate of WKU’s M.F.A. program – met over Zoom to celebrate the finalists and hold their workshop. The three winners were Noah Powers, Ella Corder, and Sarah Olive. Dr. Tom Hunley spoke to Erin Slaughter’s leadership during the celebration. “She was an excellent contest judge and workshop leader. We’ll definitely bring her out to give a public reading when we’re able,” said Dr. Hunley.
Even though public readings couldn’t take place, students and faculty from the department were still able to share their favorite poems and even their own writing by submitting videos to be posted on social media. Dr. Langdon, interim department head, kicked off poetry month with a reading of Ada Limón’s “The Leash.” Several other faculty members shared readings of their own, as well as students from Jon Meyers’ English 200 class. The department was also fortunate enough to hold an interview with Kentucky’s poet laureate, Jeff Worley, who had a lot to say about poetry and what it means to be a poet.
National Poetry Month may have been different this year, but hopefully our online celebration brought inspiration and connection during a time when we need it most. Even though April is ending, we hope that the spirit of National Poetry Month will continue!