Strike a Match with Poetry

American poet, writer and editor Carl Sandburg once said that “poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air.” Poetry is similar to music in that it allows one to convey and communicate his/her personal expression through a language that resonates with others.
The English Department, in collaboration with Student Advisory Group for English, Sigma Tau Delta and The Writing Center, asked all members of the Wittenberg community to share some lines (a single line or two) of poetry that resonate with them individually. These lines were then sealed in matchbooks/envelopes; anyone and everyone was invited to draw a matchbook/line from the fishbowl and write an original poem using the borrowed line they chose to participate in the coming poetry reading. This event was founded by Jodi Rambo and has since been a running project and event on campus for six years.
The event was held in Ness Auditorium on Thursday, April 13 at 4:30 p.m. Each participant was prompted to share their given line, their inspiration or “what ever you feel so passionate about this evening.” Some examples of given lines were: “I would like to be that unnoticed and that unnecessary,” “It’s all the same; we’re at war,” “A ghost is someone” and “You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”
That last example was a excerpt from a poem by Mary Oliver titled “Wild Geese,” in which the poet read briefly and then echoed her own words in response to this with the help of an advice book her mother wrote for her as she left home for college.This book included advice such as: “Firm handshake and eye contact, always” and “The myth of the freshman fifteen will come true if you eat pizza three times a day.” This was only one of the many powerful and expressive bits of prose shared in Ness this past Thursday.
Senior English major Meaghan Summers feels that poetry is a vital element in language and culture as it “speaks to soul and emotions rather than just the page. All good writing seeks to be holistic in execution, but poetry is innately passionate and emotionally-charged.”
Summers went on to explain that there are times in life where everyday language fails and, in those moments, poetry fills in. She feels that, culturally, poetry allows individuals to communicate and discuss cultural differences in an “edifying and unique way.”
As a lover of poetry, Summers is pleased that students have this opportunity to share their words with others in the campus and local community.

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