Stadler Center presents poetry and prose

Caroline Wenzel, Contributing Writer

On March 1, 2015-2016 Stadler Fellow Emily Goodman Means and Spring 2016 Philip Roth Resident Martha Park read some of their most recent work to students, faculty, and other attendees in Walls Lounge. Means read from two bodies of work, with the first being a poem based on the relationship between language and body in athleticism. She made broad connections between poetry and soccer, which were evident in the poem itself, but made more clear during the question and answer portion of the reading.

“The reason I chose to write about soccer, aside from my obsession, is that poetry is so similar to soccer. They sit in difficult spaces outside of the mainstream,” Means said. 

Means’s second selection of poetry was about witchcraft, and when asked why she made the decision to write about such a topic, she simply replied that it was something she was interested in and enjoyed writing about. Although her two bodies of work covered different themes and topics, both were composed in the same format.

Park, the second speaker, read from one of her works of creative nonfiction. She introduced her body of work by explaining her life growing up in Memphis.

“I’m from Memphis and my dad was a minister, so I write a lot about what growing up there was like, the role of religion in the south, and about my dad,” Park said.

The body of work she read from, which she stated was still incomplete, discusses the concept of electrical currents. When she was younger, her father told her a story about two boys who were electrocuted, and it took her a while to separate that story from the biblical ones her father read to her as well. The theme of electricity took a broader role, and was used throughout her essay to explain the energy that connects us all.

“Somedays I feel more inward and other days I feel more outward. I let those feelings guide me and my writing. My father was also a huge inspiration. Every Thursday through Sunday was his writing time, so he helped me in understanding the disciple—although I’m not writing sermons,” Park said. 

“I feel like most writers will sit down and write, but I don’t do that. I let the words and sentences accumulate over time, and at the end of a certain period I will sit down and sort through them all,” Means said. 

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