California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Cal Lutheran’s English Department and Pearson Library celebrate National Poetry Month

This April, California Lutheran University once again welcomes the celebration of National Poetry Month. The English Department and Pearson Library have partnered together to create several unique events throughout the month to celebrate the occasion. 

National Poetry Month was first introduced in the United States in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry. Since then the month has been celebrated by institutions across the country to get people more involved in literature. 

“All of these events are intended to celebrate poetry, language, and the imagination,” Professor of English and Creative Writing Jacqueline Lyons said.

While also a time to celebrate poetry, Pearson Library has taken the opportunity to encourage students to get back into the library setting. Librarian Erin Sommers said the library has seen dwindling numbers of students since COVID-19. 

“We have not had an actual event for National Poetry Month in a long time, so this is a new thing for us,” Sommers said. “We wanted to recognize poetry month because it is its own art form, and on top of that we have a lot of poets in our collection and also there might be people on campus that are interested in poetry but don’t really know where to start or want some direction. So it’s about recognizing that as an art form but also that the library is a place to learn more about poetry.”

One of the events taking place in the library will be an Erasure Poetry Workshop hosted by Lyons, which has been planned to coincide with National Library Week.  National Library Week is an annual celebration organized by the American Library Association to appreciate libraries. 

“They’re going to see a bunch of our absolutely incredible and talented English majors performing their works, primarily poetry for the poetry reading,” junior Michael Festekjian said. “They should expect to hear some amazing performances from our amazing students here in the English department.”

The event will take place in the Pearson Library’s Reading Room on April 11, and will mostly involve students from the creative writing poetry class, but will be open to anyone who wishes to participate.

“Erasure poetry is when you have a blank page that has words already on it. So a lot of people will rip pages out of a book or a magazine, and then they will select words from within the page by drawing or circling or whatever pattern they wish to create to form a poem based on the words that already exist,” Sommers said.

Another event Lyons will lead is National Poems-in-Pocket Day which is a nationwide event sponsored by the Academy of American Poets on April 18. They provide printable poems on their website, and encourage people to carry a poem around and give poems to other people.

“For many years now on National Poems in Pocket Day I have engaged students in one or more of my courses in that activity. So we go around campus and hand out poems,” Lyons said. 

The two remaining events for the month take place during Civic Scholars Week. One of those events was a reading given by students in the ENGL-303 Creative Writing Poetry class. The other event includes poetry, but is a celebration of all literature genres along with music and is called the Morning Glory Art Festival. Festekjian said the Morning Glory, Cal Lutheran English Department’s literary magazine, has been running for more than 50 years. 

“It is an award-winning magazine,” Festekjian said. “It’s mostly things that CLU students do in their free time. CLU faculty may also participate, I know we get submissions from them as well.”

Festekjian said the selected submissions are usually compiled into both print and online editions, and the print editions will be handed out during the Morning Glory Arts Festival. He also said the print edition typically contains mostly poetic works or small samples of prose, while the rest of the content can be read on the Morning Glory website, or in a PDF format.

Pearson Library will also be hosting a display, created by Sommers, which she said is meant to highlight certain poetry books that the library has available for students, located near the atrium of the library on a white table. 

“For our displays in general we try to do a mix of older and newer books in our collection. We try to purchase books from more authors from under-represented groups, so I always try to have books from varying backgrounds included in the displays and try to include classics and older books,” Sommers said.

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