Students gather, read poems for G-Week


Photo by: Dani Isgett

Dr. Pamela Rooks recites “Power” by Adrenne Rich.

The Snow Island Review (SIR) and FMU chapter of Sigma Tau Delta (STD) collaborated to put on a poetry reading in support of Gender Awareness Week (G-Week) at FMU on March 2.

SIR, the art and literary journal of FMU, and STD, an international English honor society, came together to put on this event to get people of all genders and sexual orientations to read poetry that reflects their views and perspectives on relevant topics, according to SIR assistant editor and STD member Mason Jones.

The purpose of the event, according to English professor and SIR faculty advisor Dr. Mica A. Hilson, was to do something in a public space, for self-expression and in collaboration with G-Week. Hilson said poetry has a way of helping people express their deepest emotions and pain in a way that they cannot find the security to do in other environments, so the groups felt that a poetry reading would be a good way to support the goals of G-Week. Because each poet tends to have a unique point of view, Hilson said he hoped students would bring some of their own poetry.

The first reader was Dr. Pamela A. Rooks, English professor and coordinator of the gender studies program at FMU. The poem Rooks chose to read was “Power” by Adrienne Rich, discussing Marie Curie, a famous female scientist, the source of her power and how she died. “Something about poetry really lends itself to these topics,” Hilson said.

Hilson read some poems on relevant topics of sexuality and gender from a diverse selection of poets over the past centuries to add to the original poems by students at FMU.

Hilson read “may i feel said he” by e. e. cummings. He said that he really enjoys the jazzy feel of the poem, which is why he chose it. He also read Jonathan Swift’s “The Lady’s Dressing Room,” which he said has been interpreted multiple ways. In his interpretation, it is a humorous poem that makes fun of a misogynist who cannot cope with the fact that his girlfriend is a human who has to groom herself and who passes waste.

Rooks then read “Recreation” by Audre Lorde. Rooks described the relevance of Lorde’s poetry to the event before reading.

“She was black, had a white lesbian lover, was a feminist- she checked all the boxes,” Rooks said.

“[Audre Lorde] is great in the era of Black Lives Matter,” Hilson said.

Hilson said that the range of poets that he brought for the event was great, and the purpose of this was because people are diverse. There are many points of view, he said. However, he added that he had brought many poems by women of color, and that he wished for more female readers since it was hard for him to portray the role of the persona in those poems as a white male.

Members of the SIR also read some poems by students at FMU from the 2015 edition of the journal.

One student in the audience, sophomore biology major Tajhma Ford, came because she was offered extra credit in her theater class by attending. Ford said she was glad that she attended.

“I didn’t know much about [the SIR] before I came today but I’m glad to learn about it,” Ford said. “I just wish it had been in a better place because it was loud and hard to hear.”

Ford added that she picked up a copy of the Snow Island Review is looking forward to flipping through it and exploring the creativity of the students of FMU.