OLIVIA RICHMAN — General Assignment Reporter
An evil coach who told his players to eat salt cubes instead of drink water, a stray dog that likes to hump anything that moves, getting dressed up for prom and even Hell. These are all topics that poet William Trowbridge touched upon in his readings from his new book of poetry, “Ship of Fool.”
Trowbridge and Sarah Borden, author of “Games to Play After Dark,” came to Southern Connecticut State University for the English Department’s Fiction and Poetry Reading on Oct. 19. Both are Southern alumni and read for a packed room in the English department in Engleman Hall.
One of the audience members was Nicole Pieper, an English major “for now,” who said she was very inspired by Trowbridge’s poetry.
“I haven’t heard poetry like this,” she said. “I enjoyed it—most poetry is very wordy but his poetry was light like dialogue. It was a different style but it was effective, funny and enjoyable. I am going to try to include humor in my poetry in the future.”
Trowbridge’s poetry had the audience laughing nonstop.
He read from three different sections of his new book of poetry. One section was all about a character called simply the fool, who he said could be in anybody, which fascinates him. Another section was about foolish things, such as a stray dog following him home, getting dressed up for prom or a coach who reinforces the “no drinking water” policy during a football game.
“I write about all kinds of things,” Trowbridge said. “I’ve had a couple of books, one about Fool. Another poem book, ‘The Complete Book of Kong,” which has poems from the eyes of King Kong. I write personal, historical, social, biological and I use humor when I can with serious undertones.”
Trowbridge said he started writing poetry in graduate school. He was on his way to be an educated scholar but when he finished up he changed himself into a poet, he said.
“The poets I read, such as Howard Memroe, inspired me to start writing poetry. I was taken with his poetry so I started to write my own. I wound up teaching myself,” he said.
Now, Trowbridge has five full poetry collections published, along with three “chap” books, which are pamphlet-sized books.
“It’s hard to get published,” he said. “It’s hard to keep at it, work at it. Not many people have the stubbornness. And the financial rewards are minimal. A lot of big publishers won’t consider poetry because it doesn’t have a wide market right now. They may even lose money on them. Big publishers stay away from poetry. Right now university presses and small presses work with poets.”
Borden said she began writing before college, but thought getting her MFA at SCSU was very helpful.
“Having someone read your stuff,” she said, “having an audience, is important.”
Borden’s book, “Games to Play After Dark,” focuses on the hardships of marriage and child-rearing and takes place in Connecticut.
“I grew up in Manhattan,” she said. “Connecticut is very different. It’s interesting to me. The landscape, oil tanks, drives along I-95.”
Pieper said she loved Borden’s excerpt from her book.
“It inspired me to have more natural, realistic characters in my own books,” said Pieper.