Poet-in-residence provides valuable feedback

By Michelle Reed

Contributing Writer

Poetry, one of the most powerful literary forms of all time, has the ability to create personal connections between writer and audience.

On Jan. 31, Mark Doty enchanted the audience in Bucknell Hall with a reading of poems from his National Book Award winning collection, “Fire to Fire.” Seven students had an even closer encounter with Doty’s poetic prowess: a master class.

During his time as The Stadler Center for Poetry’s 2011-2012 poet-in-residence, Doty taught two advanced poetry workshops at the “Poet’s Cottage” on campus to a small group of students. These writers were required to submit a portfolio of their work well ahead of Doty’s visit to be considered for a spot in the class.

Along with the two three-hour workshop sessions, members of the class were able to meet with Doty one-on-one to discuss their writing. Lauren Krichilsky ’12 found the conference time with Doty especially rewarding.

“Meeting Mark on a personal level to discuss a few of my works enabled me not only to better understand myself as a writer, but also to edit to near completion a poem with which I was struggling,” Krichilsky said. “In fact, I have since submitted that poem to a contest.”

Students who took the workshop enjoyed the informal setting.

“Doty promoted a casual atmosphere by opting to conduct class not in a classroom,” William Bonfiglio ’12 said.

Bonfiglio also took The Stadler Center for Poetry’s poet-in-residence master class last spring with poet Natasha Trethewey.

“Bucknell provides a unique opportunity each spring to work in an intimate setting with an established poet,” Bonfiglio said. “I’ve found that any experience shared with a published writer can be beneficial. Each has his or her own stories and advice to share, and they’re eager to offer guidance.”

Students described Doty’s master class as an “unforgettable” experience, noting the benefit of collaborating with a community of writers.

“The Mark Doty workshop was an amazing way to connect with other Bucknellians who share a passion for poetry,” Krichilsky said. “I hope that master classes will more occasionally be available to Bucknellians. That way, students can realize the true importance of poetry and its relevance today.”

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