April is not only for rain showers. As a matter of fact, April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month as well as the month in which poetry is appreciated all around the country and, hopefully, all around the world.
To celebrate, International Student Services hosted an event every Tuesday throughout April (excluding the 11th because it fell during Spring Break) celebrating poetry, with an emphasis in poems written in different languages or by authors or translators who have international backgrounds.
Students and faculty were invited to celebrate National Poetry Month by listening, reciting and writing poetry during programs featuring poets from different cultures while international students were encouraged to share favorite poems from their countries. The month-long event was co-sponsored by the Department of English & Communication Studies, Modern Languages & Cultures as well as the Writing Studio.
The first event, which took place on April 4, featured Anca Cristofovici as a guest speaker. Cristofovici is a Romanian writer and translator who has lived in France for more than 30 years where she is a professor of American Literature and Arts at the University of Caen.
Cristofovici read some poems from “The Hour of Sand, Selected Poems 1969-1989” by Ana Blandiana, Romania’s Nobel candidate, which she translated to English with Peter Jay of Anvil Press. She talked about the intersections of visual images and text — how they can uplift each other and take on forms of their own. She also read some snippets of her novel “Stela” as well as talked about the particular lyricism of writing in a certain language.
At the end of the event, students and faculty had 30 minutes to work on some poetry prompts, courtesy of Professor Amy Lemmon of the English department here at FIT.
The second event, held on April 18, was an Open Mic at which students and faculty read their own poetry or that of their favorite authors, national or foreign. International students read in different languages such as Spanish, Chinese, Indian and Creole, offering English translations to give context to their poetry.
To close the month’s celebrations, the last event on April 25 held a conversation about poetry and its connections to other forms of art such as photography, music and dance. Special guests included student and faculty poets from the Fashionable Muses Project, BrickFIT, other poets inspired by visual art or music and creators of visual pieces connected to poetry.
Many FIT students were excited to discover that the campus has a surprisingly wide array of student and faculty poets. Because the programs garnered such enthusiasm, talks about creating year-long poetry events rather than events limited to the month April have been initiated. So if you missed these April celebrations, don’t be discouraged. You might be able to attend FIT Open Mics very soon.