Chase Twichell inspires students and poets alike

Mae Emlyn Currie, Asst. Campus Life Editor

“Real complexity is not damaged by clarity,” award-winning poet Chase Twichell said. “If you can say something as clearly as you can, and suddenly it’s not complex anymore, then guess what? It’s not complex.”

Bucknell Hall was packed for Twichell’s poetry reading that began at 7 p.m. on Feb. 3. Audience members included students enrolled in the ‘Introduction to Creative Writing: Poetry’ class as well as students and adults who simply enjoy poetry readings.

“Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been,” written by Twichell, was one of the required poetry books on Professor Paula Closson Buck’s syllabus.

“I was able to pay more attention to her poems and have a better understanding since I had prior experience with reading her work and was familiar with them,” Anna Gould ’18, a member of Buck’s class, said.

Twichell read to her eager listeners new poems that have not yet been published. “The Ghost Tom,” “Private Ceremony,” “My Bob Dylan,” “Earlier Winter Wilderness,” “Radio Silence,” “Booby Trapped Weapons,” “Crickets at the End of the World,” and “Earth Without Humans” are just eight out of her set list.

She did not hesitate to be as realistic as a human can be.

During one of her readings, Twichell said, “I just realized that I cut a line that I needed … I need to fix that.” The crowd exploded into laughter.

The closing line of her final poem, “Death marries whatever it loves,” is a line that means a lot to the inspiring poet.

“It kind of sticks to me because you think of death as being a negative thing, and you think of marriage as being a positive thing and love as being a positive thing. But if death marries whatever it loves, it basically means that all beauty, everything that we love, eventually dies. So it’s kind of a double whammy,” Twichell said.

As to which poem is her favorite, the poet wisely answered, “Somebody asked Picasso which of all of his many works so far he liked the best. He did paintings, pottery, sculptures, all kinds of things, and they said, ‘Which is your favorite?’ And he said, ‘The next one.’ And I can’t give a better answer than that. It’s always the next one that seems the most interesting.”

“Albert Einstein once said that we should try to express things in a way as simple as possible but no simpler,” Twichell said. “And I think that a lot of young writers are afraid that what they’re saying is going to turn out to be boring or ordinary or common, and so they kind of dress it up by putting a lot of language over the top of it, and lots of student poems I see—I would say there may be a great body under it, but they’re wearing too many clothes. I like to see poems that are stripped clean, so you can really see what’s there.”

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